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Lexico-semantic group

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Words describing different sides of one and the same general notion are united in a lexico-semantic group if

a)the underlying notion is not too generalized and all-embracing, like the notions of'time', 'space', 'life', 'process', etc.;

b)the reference to the underlying notion is not just an implication in the meaning of the lexical unit but forms an essential part in its semantics.

Thus, it is possible to single out the lexico-semantic group of names of colours, consisting of words: pink, red, green etc. the lexico-sem. group of verbs denoting “physical movement” – to go, to turn, to run; or group of verbs denoting “destruction”: - to ruin, to destroy, to explode, to kill.


Semantic fields:

If the underlying notion is broad enough to include almost all-embracing sections of vocabulary we deal with semantic fields.

# the words cosmonaut (n.), spacious (adj.), to orbit (v.) belong to the semantic field of 'space'

These broadest semantic groups are sometimes referred to as conceptual fields which might be in many cases misleading. The members of the semantic fields are joined together by some common semantic component. The component come to all the members sem.field, which is described as the common denominator of meaning.


The starting point of the whole field theory was J. Trier’s work on intellectual terms in Old and Middle High German. J. Trier shows that they form an interdependent lexical sphere where the significance of each unit is determined by its neighbours. The semantic areas of the units limit one another and cover up the whole sphere.


An early example of the sem.field arrangement of the English voc. is Roget`s thesaurus (идеографический словарь, тезаурус, словарь синонимов и антонимов). It has a hierarchical [ˌhaɪə'rɑːkɪk((ə)l)] organization and entries are arranged in two columns on the pages using the relation of antonymy and synonymy. Roget divides the voc. initially into six broad classes. They are: abstract relations, space, matter, intellect, volition and affections. Each of these classes subdivided into sections: ex.: the class affection has

  • General
  • Personal
  • Religious
  • Sympathetic
  • Moral

A further to subdivisions take place to reach the articles.

Ex.: moral affections are subdivided into:

  • Obligations
  • Sentiments
  • Conditions
  • Practice
  • Institutions

An article contains lists of words organized by word class that would form under the heading of the article. So we should keep in mind that Roget`s categories were based on a philosophical arrangement.


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