Lectures in Contrastive Lexicology of the English and Ukrainian Languages
IN CONTRASTIVE LEXICOLOGY OF THE ENGLISH
AND UKRAINIAN LANGUAGES
Т.О. Курс лекцій з порівняльної лексикології англійської та української мов.
кандидат філологічних наук, доцент Т.А. Мирончук
(Міжнародна Академія управління персоналом);
філологічних наук, доцент І.В. Тіменко (Київський міжнародний університет)
посібник включає лекції, які охоплюють програму курсу порівняльної лексикології
англійської та української мов. Розглядаються питання теорії слова та
словотвору, семантичної структури слова, фразеології англійської та української
мов, етимології, загальної характеристики вокабуляру.
розрахований на студентів III
курсу факультету лінгвістики.
за рішенням Вченої Ради Київського міжнародного університету.
Lectures in Contrastive Lexicology of the English
and Ukrainian Languages are intended for students of English at universities.
Lectures are devoted to the following topics: the Morphological and Semantic
Structures of Words; Synonyms. Antonyms. Homonyms; Word Combinations and Phraseology
in Modern English and Ukrainian Languages; the Etymology of English and
Ukrainian Words; General Characteristics of the Vocabulary.
The aim of the lectures is
to lead the students to a deeper understanding of the Modern English and Ukrainian lexical systems.
The list of
bibliographical references will serve as a guide to those who would like to
attain a more complete view of the topics discussed.
STRUCTURE OF WORDS AND WORD-BUILDING
1. General problems of the
theory of the word.
2. The structure of the word.
Types of morphemes and their specific features.
Problems of the Theory of the Word. The Definition of the Word
associated with the definition of the word have always been most complex and
remain disputable. Determining the word involves considerable difficulties for
the criteria employed in establishing it are of different character and each
language presents a separate system with its own patterns of vocabulary items,
its specific types of structural units and its own ways of distinguishing them.
The matter is that the simplest word has many different aspects. It has
a sound form because it is a certain arrangement of phonemes.
It has its
morphological structure, being a certain arrangement of morphemes.
central element of any language system, the word is a sort of focus for the
problems of phonology, lexicology, syntax, morphology and also some other
sciences that have to deal with language and speech, such as philosophy,
psychology and probably quite a few other branches of knowledge.
All attempts to characterise the word are necessarily specific for each
domain of science and are considered one-sided by the representatives of all
the other domains and criticised for incompleteness,
of the word from the point of view of philosophy:
Words are not
mere sounds but names of matter (T. Hobbes).
of the word from the point of view of physiology:
A word is a
universal signal that can substitute any other signal from the environment in
evoking a response in a human organism (I. Pavlov).
of the word from the point of view of Machine Mathematical Linguistics:
A word is a
sequence of graphemes between two blanks.
of the word from the point of view of syntax:
A word is a
minimum sentence (H. Sweet).
A word is a
minimum free form (L. Bloomfield).
of the word from the point of view of semantics:
meaningful units (S. Ullmann).
of the word from the point of view of syntax and semantics:
A word is one
of the smallest completely satisfying bits of isolated units into which the
sentence resolves itself (E. Sapir).
of the word from the point of view of semantics and phonology:
A word is an
articulate sound-symbol in its aspect of denoting something which is spoken
about ( A. Gardiner).
of the word from the point of view of semantics, phonology and grammar:
A word is the
association of a given meaning with a given group of sounds
susceptible to a given grammatical employment (A. Meillet).
have attempted to define the word as a linguistic phenomenon. Yet none of the
definitions can be considered totally satisfactory in all aspects. The
definition which is a bit extended but takes into account different aspects and
hence can be considered optimal is the definition of the word given be I. Arnold:
The word is a
speech unit used for the purposes of human communication, materially representing
a group of sounds, possessing a meaning, susceptible to grammatical employment
and characterised by formal and semantic unity.
2. The Structure of the Word.
Types of Morphemes and their Specific Features
If viewed structurally,
words appear to be divisible into smaller units which are called morphemes.
Like a word a morpheme is an association of a given meaning with a given group
of sounds. But unlike a word it is not autonomous. Morphemes occur as
constituents of words. But there are quite a lot of words which contain only
morpheme is of the Greek origin. Morphe means form, the suffix –eme means the
be divided into two main types: free (those that can occur alone) and bound
(those which cannot occur alone).The word wool, for instance, has one free
morpheme, the word woolen consists of two morphemes: wool (which is free) and
–en (which is bound). The word лісистий consists of the free morpheme ліс and the bound morpheme –ст.
A word has at least one
lexical morpheme represented by a root by which we mean the ultimate
constituent element which remains after the removal of affixes and it does not
admit any further analysis. It is the common element of words within a
word-family. It is the primary element of the word, its basic part conveys its
fundamental lexical meaning. There are many root-morphemes which can stand
alone as words: table, car chair, room. It is one of the specific features of
the English language. Free morphemes can be found only among roots. But not all
roots are free morphemes. Only productive roots are free.
affixes are usually bound morphemes. According to their function and meaning
prefixes and suffixes are divided into derivational and functional. There are
several differences between them. Derivational affixes are those by means of
which new words are formed: to teach – a teacher. Functional are those by means
of which new forms of words are formed: teach – teaches. Derivational affixes
permit the substitution of one word by another without this affix. Functional
affixes do not permit such substitution without violating grammar rules. Derivational
affixes permit further derivation: teach – teaching – teaching-room. Functional
affixes do not permit such derivation. Derivational affixes do not combine freely.
Functional affixes combine more or less freely. The suffix
–s can be
added practically to any noun to form the plural form.
the creation of a word by modifying its root with an affix. It is a very
productive type of word formation.
with the division of derivational affixes into suffixes and prefixes affixation
is subdivided into suffixation and prefixation.
study of a great many suffixal and prefixal derivatives has revealed an
essential difference between them.
First of all in modern
English suffixation is characteristic of noun and adjective formation.
Prefixation is typical of verb formation.
modify the lexical meaning of stems to which they are added. A prefixal
derivative usually joins the part of speech the unprefixed word belongs to.
– indefinite; convenient – inconvenient.
In a suffixal
derivative the suffix does not only modify the lexical meaning of the stem it
is affixed to, but the word itself is usually transferred to another part of
– careless (A), good (A) – goodness (N).
A suffix closely knit together
with a stem forms a fusion retaining less of its independence than a prefix
which is, as a general rule, more independent semantically.
– the act of one who writes; the ability to write;
to rewrite –
to write again.
In the English
language there prevails either suffixation or prefixation, in the Ukrainian
language they can be used in the same word.
suffixes usually transfer a word from one part of speech into another,
Ukrainian affixes never do it.
affixed before the stem are called prefixes. They modify the lexical meaning of
the stem, but in doing so they seldom affect its basic lexico-grammatical
component. Unlike suffixation, which is usually bound up with a paradigm of a
certain part of speech, prefixation is considered to be neutral in this
respect. The only exceptions are the prefixes be-, en-, a-, pre-, post.
(A) – belittle (V);
friend (N) –
(A) – enable (V);
courage (N) –
sleep (N) –
asleep (word of the category of state);
foot (N) –
war (N) –
prewar (A) ;
war (N) –
prefixes do not change a part of speech.
The Source of Prefixes
Prefixes originated from
notional words, which in the course of time lost their independent meanings and
e.g.: re (Lat.
Adv.) – once again or back;
Adv., Prep.) - under;
Adv., Prep) – foresee.
Nowadays this process
continues. In Modern English there exist the so-called semi-prefixes - words
which are losing their meanings.
stone-deaf, ill-tempered, ill-fated.
The Classification of Prefixes
be classified from the point of view of their meanings.
Among them we
can single out prefixes of the negative meaning: un-, in-, dis-, mis-.
e.g.: comfortable –
uncomfortable, convenient – inconvenient, satisfied – dissatisfied, understand
denoting reversal or repetition of an action: un-, dis-, re-, роз-, пере-.
e.g.: lock – unlock, regard – disregard, consider – reconsider, єднати – роз’єднати, писати –
Ukrainian language the most productive is the prefix не-, which is used to form adjectives and
nouns, but never verbs: нелегкий, невільний. A very productive prefix is the prefix без-: безпомічний. In the English language
this prefix corresponds to the suffix –less: defenceless. The prefixes де-, дис-, а- are used as parts of borrowed words
and they are unproductive: децентралізація, дисбаланс, асиметричний.
denoting space and time relations: fore-, pre-, post-, over-, super-, до-, перед-, над-, під-,
e.g.: tell – foretell, war – prewar, war – postwar, spread – overspread, structure – superstructure, історичний – доісторичний, воєнний
– післявоєнний, водний – підводний.
Prefixes can be
Anti-/анти- (antifascist, антифашист);
Counter-/контр (countermarch, контрмарш);
sub-/суб (submarine, субмарина).
Some prefixes can have a
semantic identity only (but no linguistic similarity):
foresee – передбачити;
extranatural – надприродний.
There can be semantically
alien prefixes pertaining to one of the contrasted languages:
A specifically Ukrainian
phenomenon is the usage of the prefix по- (попоїсти).
Suffixation is the
formation of words with the help of suffixes. Suffixes usually modify the
lexical meaning of stems and transfer words to a different part of speech.
There are suffixes, however, which do not shift words from one part of speech
into another. A suffix of this kind usually transfers a word into a different
concrete noun becomes an abstract one: child – childhood.
be classified according to their ability to form a new part of speech, to their
(kindness, tenderness). These suffixes are productive.
(strength, length). These suffixes are non-productive.
Ukrainian language these are the following suffixes:
(noisy, sunny). These are productive suffixes.
(golden, woollen) – non-productive.
Ukrainian language these are the following suffixes:
ськ-/ цьк- (англійський, німецький).
are homonymous. For example, the suffix ful- can form adjectives and nouns: careful
(Adj) – handful (N).
Ukrainian language (but not in English) diminutive suffixes are often used:
(малесенький), -чк (дівчатко), -ець(вітерець).
(seventh, eighth). These are non-productive suffixes.
The suffix is non-productive.
- en (darken,
- fy (signify,
(attribute, execute). These suffixes are non-productive.
Ukrainian language these are the suffixes: (ув)ати-, ити-(сушити, головувати).
- ly (quickly,
- long (sidelong,
ward(s) forward, toward(s);
wise (clockwise, otherwise, crabways). Of all these suffixes only the suffix
Ukrainian language that is the suffix о-: високо, широко.
From the point
of view of semantics suffixes can be classified in the following way:
1. Agent suffixes:
-ist/ -іст/-ист (journalist, артист) ;
ar/ -ар/-яр (scholar, школяр);
ier-/-yer/ -ир (cashier, бригадир).
2. Suffixes denoting abstract
-ism/ -ізм (socialism, комунізм);
-ац (demonstration, демонстрація);
-dom/ -ств/-цтв (kingdom, газетярство);
-ств (brotherhood, братство).
3. Evaluative suffixes:
-атк/ ятк (дівчатко, оленятко)
All Ukrainian diminutive
suffixes are productive. In English only –ie/ey, -ette are productive.
4. Gender/sex expressing
Ukrainian language they can express masculine gender:
- -ар/яр (лікар, школяр);
- -ист/іст (бандурист);
- -ій (водій);
- -ант/ент (студент).
gender can be expressed by means of the following suffixes:
is expressed by means of:
suffixes are only sex expressing: actor – actress.
5. International suffixes:
-er/or ор(conductor, кондуктор);
-ist/іст (socialist, соціаліст);
-tion/ц (revolution, революція);
In both languages
there are semi-affixes. In English these are the elements:
In Ukrainian the
semi-suffixes are: повно-,
ново-, само-, авто-, -вод, -воз (повноправно,
автопілот, водовоз, тепловоз).
(zero derivation, root formation, functional change) is the process of coining
a new word in a different part of speech and with different distribution
characteristics but without adding any derivative element, so that the basic
form of the original and the basic form of derived words are homonymous. This
phenomenon can be illustrated by the following cases: work – to work, love – to
love, water – to water.
If we regard
these words from the angle of their morphemic structure, we see that they are
root words. On the derivational level, however, one of them should be referred
to a derived word, as having the same root morpheme they belong to different
parts of speech. Consequently the question arises here: “What serves as the
word-building means in such cases?” It would appear that the noun is formed
from the verb (or vice versa) without any morphological change, but if we probe
deeper into the matter, we inevitably come to the conclusion that the two words
differ only in the paradigm. Thus, it is the paradigm that is used as a
word-building means. Hence, we can define conversion as the formation of a new
word through changes in its paradigm.
The change of
the paradigm is the only word-building means of conversion. As the paradigm is
a morphological category, conversion can be described as a morphological way of
As a type of
word-formation conversion exists in many languages. What is specific for the
English vocabulary is not its mere presence, but its intense development.
reason for the widespread development of conversion in present-day English is
no doubt the absence of morphological elements serving as classifying signals,
or, in other words, of formal signs marking the part of speech to which the
word belongs. The fact that the sound pattern does not show to what part of
speech the word belongs may be illustrated by the word back. It may be a noun,
a verb, an adjective, an adverb.
are homonymous and therefore the general sound pattern does not contain any
information as to the possible part of speech.
(N), darken (V), woollen (A), often (Adv).
points out that the causes that made conversion so widely spread are to be
approached diachronically. The noun and verb have become identical in form
firstly as a result of the loss of endings. More rarely it is the prefix that
is lost (mind < gemynd). When endings had disappeared phonetical development
resulted in the merging of sound forms for both elements of these pairs.
e.g.: OE carian
(verb) and caru (noun) merged into care (verb, noun); OE drinkan (verb) and drinca,
drinc (noun) merged into drink (verb, noun).
homonymy resulted in the borrowing from French of pairs of words of the same
root but belonging in French to different parts of speech. These words lost
their affixes and became phonetically identical in the process of assimilation.
Prof. A. Smirnitsky
is of the opinion that on a synchronic level there is no difference in
correlation between such cases as listed above, i.e. words originally
differentiated by affixes and later becoming homonymous after the loss of
endings (sleep – noun :: sleep – verb) and those formed by conversion (pencil –
noun :: pencil – verb).
Prof. I. Arnold
is of the opinion that prof. Smirnitsky is mistaken. His mistake is in the wish
to call both cases conversion, which is illogical if he, or any of his
followers, accepts the definition of conversion as a word-building process
which implies the diachronistic approach. Prof. I. Arnold states that
synchronically both types sleep (noun) – sleep (verb) and pencil (noun) –
pencil (verb) must be treated together as cases of patterned homonymy. But it
is essential to differentiate the cases of conversion and treat them separately
when the study is diachronistic.
been the subject of a great many discussions since 1891 when
H. Sweet first
used the term in his New English Grammar. Various opinions have been expressed
on the nature and character of conversion in the English language and different
conceptions have been put forward.
of conversion as a morphological way of forming words was suggested by A.I. Smirnitsky
and accepted by R.Z. Ginzburg, S.S. Khidekel,
linguists sharing, on the whole, the conception of conversion as a
morphological way of forming words disagree, however, as to what serves here as
a word-building means. Some of them define conversion as a non-affixal way of
forming words pointing out that its characteristic feature is that a certain
stem is used for the formation of a categorically different word without a derivational
affix being added
the view that conversion is the formation of new words with the help of a
zero-morpheme (H. Marchand).
There is also
a point of view on conversion as a morphological-syntactic word-building means
(Y.A. Zhluktenko), for it involves, as the linguists sharing this conception
maintain, both a change of the paradigm and of the syntactic function of the
e.g.: I need
some paper for my room : He is papering his room.
is also a purely syntactic approach commonly known as a functional approach to
conversion. In Great Britain and the United States of America linguists are
inclined to regard conversion as a kind of functional change. They define
conversion as a shift from one part of speech to another contending that in
modern English a word may function as two different parts of speech at the same
categories of parts of speech especially affected by conversion are the noun
and the verb. Verbs made from nouns are the most numerous among the words
produced by conversion.
e.g.: to hand,
to face, to nose, to dog, to blackmail.
frequently made from verbs: catch, cut, walk, move, go.
Verbs can also
be made from adjectives: to pale, to yellow, to cool.
A word made by
conversion has a different meaning from that of the word from which it was made
though the two meanings can be associated. There are certain regularities in
these associations which can be roughly classified. In the group of verbs made
from nouns some regular semantic associations are the following:
- A noun is a
name of a tool – a verb denotes an action performed by the tool: to knife, to
- A noun is a
name of an animal – a verb denotes an action or aspect of behaviour typical of
the animal: monkey – to monkey, snake – to snake. Yet, to fish does not mean to
behave like a fish but to try to catch fish.
- A noun
denotes a part of a human body – a verb denotes an action performed by it : hand
– to hand, shoulder – to shoulder. However, to face does not imply doing something
by or even with one’s face but turning it in a certain direction.
- A noun is a
name of some profession or occupation – a verb denotes an activity typical of
it : a butcher – to butcher, a father – to father.
- A noun is a
name of a place – a verb denotes the process of occupying this place or putting
something into it: a bed – to bed, a corner – to corner.
- A noun is
the name of a container – a verb denotes an act of putting something within the
container: a can – to can, a bottle – to bottle.
- A noun is
the name of a meal – a verb denotes the process of taking it: supper – to
supper, lunch – to lunch.
groups do not include all the great variety of verbs made from nouns by
conversion. They just represent the most obvious cases and illustrate the great
variety of semantic interrelations within the so-called converted pairs and the
complex nature of the logical associations which underlie them.
fact, these associations are more complex and sometimes even perplexing.
Types of Conversion
conversion is a kind of a double process when first a noun is formed by
conversion from a verbal stem and next this noun is combined with such verbs as
to give, to make, to take to form a separate phrase: to have a look, to take a
swim, to give a whistle.
There is a great number of
idiomatic prepositional phrases as well: to be in the know, in the long run, to
get into a scrape. Sometimes the elements of these expressions have a fixed
grammatical form, as, for example, where the noun is always plural: It gives me
the creeps (jumps). In other cases the grammatical forms are free to change.
is the phenomenon when one of the meanings of the converted word is a source
for a new meaning of the same stem: cable (металевий провідник) – to cable (телеграфувати) – cable(телеграма); help(допомога) – to help (допомагати пригощати) – help (порція їжі), deal (кількість) – to deal (роздавати) – deal (роздача карт).
can also be considered as a type of conversion. Complete substantivation is a
kind of substantivation when the whole paradigm of a noun is acquired: a
private - the private – privates – the privates. Alongside with complete
substantivation there exists partial substantivation when a feature or several
features of a paradigm of a noun are acquired: the rich. Besides the
substantivized adjectives denoting human beings there is a considerable group
of abstract nouns: the Singular, the Present. It is thus evident that
substantivation has been the object of much controversy. Those who do not
accept substantivation of adjectives as a type of conversion consider
conversion as a process limited to the formation of verbs from nouns and nouns
from verbs. But this point of view is far from being universally accepted.
not characteristic of the Ukrainian language. The only type of conversion that
can be found there is substantivation: молодий, хворий.
can be defined as the formation of a lexical unit out of two or more stems,
usually the first differentiating, modifying or qualifying and the second
identifying. The last element expresses a general meaning, whereas the prefixed
element renders it less generally. Any compound word has at least two semantic
centres but they are never equal in their semantic value. Thus a compound word
is characterised by both structural and semantic unity. It makes them function
in a sentence as a separate lexical unit.
are unusually graphic. They often come into existence by popular demand. They
are formed simply by combining two words that are in current usage. There are
three types of compound words:
words with the solid representation: spacecraft, hardtop, землевласник.
compound words: sit-in, freeze-dry, диван-ліжко.
words represented by a phrase: cold war, free flight.
words can be further classified: from the functional point of view, from the
point of view of the way the components of the compounds are linked together,
from the point of view of different ways of composition.
compounds are viewed as words belonging to different parts of speech. The bulk
of modern English compounds belong to nouns and adjectives: hot-dog,
slow-coach, worldold. Adverbs and connectives are represented by an
insignificant number of words: outside. Composition in verbs is not productive
either: to rough-house, to backbite.
the English language compound words can be graded according to frequency in the
following way: nouns – adjectives – verbs. In the Ukrainian language the scheme
will be the following; adjectives – nouns – verbs.
to the type of relationship between the components compound words can be
coordinative and subordinative.
are the compounds in which neither of the components dominates the other, both
are structurally and semantically independent: secretary-stenographer,
лікар-кардіолог. The constituent stems belong to the
same part of speech. They are divided into three groups: additive,
reduplicative and those formed by joining the phonetically variated rhythmic
compounds denote a person or an object that is two things at the same time:
actor-manager is an actor and a manager at the same time. Лікар-кардіолог is лікар and кардіолог at the same time.
compounds are the result of the repetition of the same stem: fifty-fifty,
tick-tick. Such words in the
Ukrainian language are not considered to be compounds.
which are formed by joining the phonetically variated rhythmic forms of the
same stem are: drip-drop, ding-dong, helter-skelter.
compounds of the last two groups are mostly restricted to the colloquial layer
and are characterised by a heavy emotive charge.
compounds are the words in which the components are not equal either
semantically or structurally. The second component is the structural centre,
the grammatically dominant part of the word, which imparts its part-of-speech
meaning to the whole word: stone-deaf, age-long, wrist-watch, baby-sitter, миротворець, самозахист.
the order of components subordinative compounds are divided into syntactic and
the words the components of which are placed in the order of words in free
phrases: bluebell, slow-coach, know-nothing.
the words whose stems are not placed in the order that resembles the order of
words in a free phrase: red-hot, tear-stained, oil-rich.
the degree of motivation compound words can be motivated, partially motivated
compounds are those whose meanings are the sum of meanings of their components:
blackboard, classroom. Partially motivated compounds are those in which one of
the components has changed its meaning: chatter-box, lady-killer. Non-motivated
compounds are those in which neither of the elements preserves its meaning: ladybird,
compounds can be classified into neutral, morphological and syntactic.
Neutral compounds that are
formed without any linking elements are called simple neutral: sun-flower,
лікар-терапевт, місто-побратим. Neutral-derived compounds are formed by means of some affix: blue-eyed,
new-comer. Neutral contracted compounds are those in which one of the parts is
contracted: TV-set, V-day. Morphological compounds are formed by means of some
linking element: Anglo-Saxon, spokesman, handicraft, жовтоблакитний, доброзичливий. Syntactic compounds are formed from
segments of speech: Jack-of-all-trades, pick-me-up, go-between,
Jack-in-the-box, stay-at-home, не сьогодні-завтра.
It should be
mentioned that among compound words the group of bahuvrihi is pointed out. The
term bahuvrihi is borrowed from the grammarians of ancient India. Its literal
meaning is “much-riced”. These are the compounds consisting of A+N stems and
naming a thing metonymically: Big wig, green-horn, lazy-bones одчайдух, жовтобрюх. Semantically the bahuvrihi are
almost invariably characterised by a depreciative, ironical, emotional tone.
In the English
language there are many words which were compounds though just now they are not
treated as such: window (vind + auga), daisy (day’s eye), always (all+way+s),
woman (wif+man), breakfast (break+fast). Such compounds are called hidden or
processes involve not only qualitative but also quantitative changes.
As a type of
word-building shortening of spoken words also called clipping, curtailment or
contraction, is recorded in the English language as far back as 15 century. It
is another fairly productive way of vocabulary enrichment. The moving force
behind it is economy of effort expressed in the trend towards monosyllabism
that has always been characteristic of the English vocabulary.
shortenings distinction should be made between lexical abbreviations and
abbreviations are formed by a simultaneous operation of shortening and
should be made between shortening of words in written speech and in the sphere
of oral intercourse. Shortening of words in written speech results in graphical
abbreviations which are, in fact, signs representing words and word groups of
high frequency in various spheres of human activity: RD for road, St for street
on envelopes. English graphical abbreviations include rather numerous shortened
variants of Latin and French words and word groups: a.m. (Lat. ante meridiem) –
in the morning, before noon; p.m. (Lat. post meridiem) – in the afternoon; i.e.
(Lat. id.est) – that is.
characteristic feature of graphical abbreviations is that they are restricted
in use to written speech, occurring only in various kinds of texts, articles,
books. In reading many of them are substituted by the words and phrases that
they represent: Mr (Mister), Oct. (October). It is natural that some graphical
abbreviations should gradually penetrate into the sphere of oral intercourse : SOS
(Save our Souls), MP (Member of Parliament).
formed from the initial letters of each of the successive or major parts of a
compound term are called acronyms: the USA (United States of America), the NATO
(North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), WASP (Women’s Air Force Service Pilots), США (Сполучені Штати
Америки), ООН (Організація Об’єднаних Націй). They are used as words and if an
abbreviation that has a wide currency is inconvenient for articulation, it is
sometimes altered: W.R.N.S. (Women’s Royal Naval Service) was difficult to
pronounce, so it was changed to WRENS.
There are two
possible ways of reading acronyms in the English language. If the abbreviated written form can be read as
though it were an ordinary English word it will be read like one: the NATO, the
UNESCO, the UNO. The second way of reading acronyms is reading according to the
ABC: BBC (the British Broadcasting Corporation), G.I. (Government Issue).
The second group of
shortened words is represented by clippings. Clipping consists in the cutting
off of one of several syllables of the word. It can be of three types:
aphaeresis, syncope, apocope.
the omission of the initial part of the word. In many cases the shortened word
differs from its source only stylistically: telephone – phone, omnibus – bus.
Sometimes, however, the shortened word is somewhat modified in meaning or even
altered: acute (sharp) – cute (pretty, clever), espy (see at a distance) – spy
(to try to get secret information).
Some words owe
their historical development to aphaeresis as for instance down from adown
which in its turn developed from the Anglo-Saxon of dune (from the hill, from
names were shortened the aphaeresis way: Bess (Elisabeth), Becky (Rebecca) etc.
Syncope is the
omission of an unstressed middle syllable: fantasy – fancy, courtesy – curtsy. Syncopated
words used to be popular with poets (e’en – even, ne’er – never) because of
purely rhythmical considerations. Modern poetry seldom if ever resorts to
syncope. There are some graphical abbreviations of this type: Mr, Mrs, LP.
Apocope is the
omission of the final part of the word. It is the most productive type of
shortening. It is mostly through apocope that stylistic synonyms are coined. It
is the colloquial layer that profits from apocope: gym (gymnasium), specs
(spectacles), croc (crocodile). Proper names are also apocopated: Nick
(Nicholas), Ed (Edward), Люда (Людмила). There are some words that are seldom
if ever used in their unapocopated form (pub for public house, brig for
syncope are not characteristic of the Ukrainian language. Though apocope is
used in Ukrainian slang: універ, лаби. Apocope is often used with compounding: генпрокуратура, міськрада. There are not so many words
of this type in English: Internet, Eurobank.
Cases of a
combination of several shortening devices are also possible: perambulator –
pram (syncope + apocope); refrigerator – fridge (aphaeresis + apocope).
brings new words in the same part of speech. Most lexical units of this type
are nouns. Shortened verbs like rev from revolve, tab from tabulate are very
rare. Such verbs as to phone, to tot up (to sum up, total), to taxi, to vac
come to look like clipped words but are in fact, denominal verbs made through
conversion. Clipped adjectives are also few in number: comfortable – comfy,
awkward – awk, impossible – imposs.
It is a
well-known fact that in the course of time a good many slang clippings have
found their way into standard English. Some of them occur both in spoken and
written English, others keep only colloquial tinge.
The coining of
clipped word-forms may result either in the ousting of one of the words from
the vocabulary or in establishing a clear semantic differentiation between the
two units. In a few cases the full words become new roots: chapman – chap,
brandywine – brandy. But in most cases a shortened word exists in the
vocabulary together with the longer word from which it is derived and usually
has the same lexical meaning differing only in stylistic reference. The
question naturally arises whether the shortened and original forms should be
considered separate words. Though it is obvious that in the case of semantic
difference between a shortened unit and a longer one from which it is derived
they can be termed as two distinct words: cabriolet – cab. Some linguists hold
the view that as the two units do not differ in meaning but only in stylistic
application, it would be wrong to apply the term word to the shortened unit. In
fact, the shortened unit is a word-variant. Other linguists contend that even
when the original word and the shortened form are generally used with some
difference in style, they are both to be recognised as two distinct words. If
this treatment of the process of word-shortening is accepted, the essential difference
between the shortening of words and the usual process of word-formation should
be pointed out.
- Words built
by affixation, for example, are of a more complex character both structurally
and semantically. Shortened words are structurally simple words and in most
cases have the same lexical meaning as longer words from which they are
- There are no
structural patterns after which new shortened words could be coined. At any
rate, linguistic research has failed to establish any so far.
abbreviations and clipped words possess some peculiarities. They are the
performing syntactical functions of ordinary words they take on grammatical
inflections: exams, MPs.
- They may be
used with articles: a bike, the BBC.
- They may be
combined with derivational affixes and used in compounding: M.Pess (woman –
member of Parliament), hanky from handkerchief
words are characteristic of colloquial speech, lexical abbreviations are used
in written speech.
or back derivation is a term of diachronistic linguistics. It implies the
inferring of a short word from a long one. If we take, for example, the word
speaker we reasonably connect it with the verb to speak. The existence of a
derivative speaker suggests that the basic word speak also exists. Now, if
speaker is correlated to speak, then editor must have the basis, edit too. But
historically speaking, things are different.
words in English which owe their origin to one part of a word being mistaken
for some derivative suffix or more rarely a prefix. A word of this kind has
often been supposed to imply the existence of a primary word from which it has
been derived. Similarly, the new verb to burgle has been created from burglar,
evidently through reinterpretation on the analogy to the lie from liar. Further
examples of back formation are: to hush from husht, to pettifog from
pettifogger, to audit from auditor, to peeve from peevish. These examples show
that simple, derived words were formed from other root lexical units by means
of splitting the root.
may be also based on the analogy of inflectional forms as testified by the
singular nouns pea and cherry. Pea (Plural peas) is from ME pese < OE
pise< Lat. pisa, Plural pesum. The ending s being the most frequent mark of
the plural in English, English speakers thought that sweet peas(e) was a plural
and turned peas(e)(soup into pea soup. Cherry is from OFr. cherise and the se
was dropped for exactly the same reason.
At the present
time back formation is applied intentionally. At the beginning of the 19th
century to diddle appeared by means of back formation from the surname Jeremy
Diddler (the character in J.Kenney’s work “Raising the Wind”. At the beginning
of the 20th century the verb to maffick appeared under the influence
of the spirit which was in London during Anglo-boerish war after the town
is held due to the rules of the development of the English language. It is not
by chance that such words as to beg, to peeve, to resurrect were formed on the
analogy of the existing word-building pattern.
blending is used to designate the method of merging parts of words (not
morphemes) into one new word. The result of it is a blend, also known as a
portmanteau word. It was Lewis Carroll , the author of the well-known book
“Alice in Wonderland”, who called such creations portmanteau words and
described them as words into which two meanings are packed like in a
We always look
for a way of saving time. This explains the growing popularity of blends. Why
use two words if one will do? If, for example, you get up too late for
breakfast and too early for lunch you can have brunch. If a state decides to
execute a criminal with the aid of electricity it electrocutes him. A telegram
sent by cable is a cablegram. The astronaut has a tool, a space hammer, which
is known as spammer. News that is broadcast is a newscast. If фрукт is added to йогурт you will get фругурт.
are short-lived. A fair proportion has become established in the vocabulary. In
most cases blends belong to the colloquial layer of the vocabulary sometimes
bordering on slang: slanguage = slang + language, pollutician = pollute +
when the final part of one word and the initial part of another coincide is
called telescoping because the words seem to slide into one another like
sections of a telescope: infanticipate = infant + anticipate.
for sound interchange is gradation. It is the feature that is characteristic of
all Indo-European languages. In English sound interchange used to play a
certain role in word-building: sit – sat, fall – fell. Vowel interchange is the
most widespread case: food – feed, tooth – teeth, стіл – стола. Consonant interchange is
a more rare case: advice – advise, сів - сіла. In other cases both vowel and consonant interchange takes place: bath –
to bathe, grass – to graze, сидіти - село. Sometimes sound interchange is accompanied by affixation: deep – depth, long – length.
verbs of Latin-French origin are distinguished from the corresponding nouns by
the position of the stress: 'conduct – to con'duct, 'present – to pre'sent,
'export – to ex'port, 'import – to im'port. Stress interchange is not
restricted to pairs of words consisting of a noun and a verb. Adjectives and
adverbs can undergo this process: 'frequent - to fre'quent, 'absent – to
ab'sent. Stress distinction is, however, neither productive nor regular. There
are many denominal verbs that are forestressed and thus homonymous with the
corresponding nouns: 'figure – to 'figure, 'programme – to 'programme. There is a large group of disyllabic
loan words that retain the stress on the second syllable both in nouns and
verbs: ac'count – to ac'count, de'feat – to de'feat.
Ukrainian language homonyms can also be formed by means of stress interchange: до'рога – доро'га, дере'вина – дереви'на.
It is worth
noting that stress alone, unaccompanied by any other differentiating factor,
does not seem to provide a very effective means of distinguishing words and
that is, probably, the reason why oppositions of this kind are neither regular
11. Sound Imitation
for sound imitation are onomatopoeia and echoism. Words coined by this type of
word building are made by imitating different kinds of sounds that may be
produced by animals, birds, human beings and inanimate objects.
Dogs bark, cocks
cock-a-doodle-doo, ducks quack, frogs croak, cats mew (miaow, meow), cows moo
кукуріку, кря-кря, ква-ква, мяу: промовляють українські тварини та птахи.
There is a
hypothesis that sound imitation as a way of word building should be viewed as
something much wider than just the production of words by the imitation of
purely acoustic phenomena. Some scholars suggest that words may imitate through
their sound form certain acoustic features and qualities of inanimate objects,
actions or that the meaning of the word can be regarded as the immediate
relation of the sound group to the object. If a young chicken or kitten is
described as fluffy there seems to be something in the sound of the adjective
that conveys softness. To glance, to glide, to slide, to slip convey the
meaning of an easy movement over a slippery surface. To rush, to dash, to flash
render the meaning of brevity, swiftness.
Some scholars have given
serious consideration to this theory. However, it has not yet been properly
SEMANTIC STRUCTURE OF WORDS
1. Semasiology as a branch
2. The word
and its meaning.
3. Types of
4. Polysemy of
English and Ukrainian words.
5. The main
as a Branch of Linguistics
The branch of
the study of language concerned with the meaning of words and word equivalents
is called semasiology. The name comes from the Greek word semasia meaning
signification. As semasiology deals not with every kind of meaning but with the
lexical meaning only, it may be regarded as a branch of Lexicology.
This does not
mean that a semasiologist need not pay attention to the grammatical meaning. On
the contrary, the grammatical meaning must be taken into consideration in so
far as it bears a specific influence upon the lexical meaning.
diachronically, semasiology studies the change in meaning which words undergo.
Descriptive synchronic approach demands a study not of individual words but of
semantic structures typical of the language studied and of its general semantic
words semasiology and semantics are used indiscriminately. They are really
synonyms but the word semasiology has one meaning, the word semantics has
pure semantics is a branch of mathematical logic originated by Carnap. Its aim
is to build an abstract theory of relationships between signs and their
referents. It is a part of semiotics – the study of signs and languages in
general, including all sorts of codes (traffic signals, military signals).
Unlike linguistic semantics which deals with real languages, pure semantics has
as its subject formalised language.
one of the youngest branches of linguistics, although the objects of its study
have attracted the attention of philosophers and grammarians since the times of
antiquity. A thousand years before our era Chinese scholars were interested in
semantic change. We find the problems of word and notion relationship discussed
in the works of Plato and Aristotle and the famous grammarian Panini.
For a very
long period of time the study of meaning formed part of philosophy, logic,
psychology, literary criticism and history of the language.
Semasiology came into its
own in the 1830’s when a German scholar Karl Reisig, lecturing in classical
philology, suggested that the studies of meaning should be regarded as an
independent branch of knowledge. Reisig’s lectures were published by his pupil
F. Heerdegen in 1839 some
years after Reisig’s death. At that time, however, they produced but little
stir. It was Michel Breal, a Frenchman, who played a decisive part in the
creation and development of the new science. His book “Essai de semantique”
(Paris, 1897) became widely known and was followed by a considerable number of
investigations and monographs on meaning not only in France, but in other
countries as well.
of meaning throughout the 19th century and in the first decade of
the 20th was purely diachronistic. Attention was concentrated upon
the process of semantic change and the part semantic principles should play in
etymology. Semasiology was even defined at that time as a science dealing with
the changes in word meaning, their causes and classification. The approach was
“atomistic”, i.e. semantic changes were traced and described for isolated words
without taking into account the interrelation of structures existing within
each language. Consequently, it was impossible for this approach to formulate
any general tendencies peculiar to the English language.
As to the
English vocabulary, the accent in its semantic study, primarily laid upon
philosophy, was in the 19th century shifted to lexicography. The
Golden age of English Lexicography began in the middle of the 19th
century, when the tremendous work on the many volumes of the Oxford Dictionary
of the English Language on Historical Principles was carried out. The English
Trench, J. Murray, W. Skeat constantly reaffirmed the
primary importance of the historical principle, and at the same time elaborated
the contextual principle. They were firmly convinced that the complete meaning
of a word is always contextual, and no study of meaning apart from a complete
context can be taken seriously.
time indications of semantic change were found by comparing the contexts of
words in older written records and in contemporary usage, and also by studying
different meanings of cognate words in related languages.
In the 20th
century the progress of semasiology was uneven. The 1930’s were said to be the
most crucial time in its whole history. After the work of F. de Saussure the
structural orientation came to the forefront of semasiology when Jost Trier, a
German philologist, offered his theory of semantic fields, treating semantic
phenomena historically and within a definite language system at a definite
period of its development.
In the list of
current ideas stress is being laid upon synchronic analysis in which
present-day linguists make successful efforts to profit by structuralist
procedures combined with mathematical statistics and symbolic logic.
2. The Word
and its Meaning
broadly speaking two schools of thought in present-day linguistics representing
the main lines of contemporary thinking on the problem: the referential
approach which seeks to formulate the essence of meaning by establishing the
interdependence between words and things or concepts they denote, and the
functional approach, which studies the functions of a word in speech and is
less concerned with what meaning is than with how it works.
All major works on
semantic theory have so far been based on referential concepts of meaning. The
essential feature of this approach is that it distinguishes between the three
components closely connected with meaning: the sound form of the linguistic
sign, the concept underlying this sound form and the referent, i.e. that part
or that aspect of reality to which the linguistic sign refers. The best known
referential model of meaning is the so-called “basic triangle”.
As can be seen
from the diagram the sound form of the linguistic sign, e.g. [teibl] , is
connected with our concept of the piece of furniture which it denotes and
through it with the referent, i.e. the actual table. The common feature of any
referential approach is the implication that meaning is in some form or other
connected with the referent.
Meaning and Sound Form
The sound form
of the word is not identical with its meaning, e.g. [d v] is the sound form used
to denote a pearl-grey bird. There are no inherent connections, however,
between this particular sound cluster and the meaning of the word dove. The
connections are conventional and arbitrary. This can be easily proved by
comparing the sound forms of different languages conveying the same meaning: стіл- стол- table – tisch.
It can also be
proved by comparing almost identical sound forms that possess different
meanings in different languages. E.g.: [ ni:s] - a daughter of a brother or a
sister (English); ніс - a part of a face (Ukrainian).
meaning were inherently connected with the sound form of a linguistic unit, it
would follow that a change in the sound form of the word in the course of its
historical development does not necessarily affect its meaning.
examine a word we see that its meaning though closely connected with the
underlying concept or concepts is not identical with them.
Concept is the category of
human cognition. Concept is the thought of the object that singles out its
essential features. Our concepts reflect the most common and typical features
of different objects. Being the result of abstraction and generalisation all
concepts are thus almost the same for the whole of humanity in one and the same
period of its historical development. That is to say, words expressing
identical concepts in English and Ukrainian differ considerably.
concept of the physical organism is expressed in English by the word body, in
Ukrainian by тіло, but the semantic range
of the English word is not identical with that of Ukrainian. The word body is
known to have developed a number of secondary meanings and may denote: a number
of persons and things, a collective whole (the body of electors) as
distinguished from the limbs and the head; hence, the main part as of an army,
a structure of a book (the body of a book). As it is known, such concepts are
expressed in Ukrainian by other words.
between meaning and concept can also be observed by comparing synonymous words
and word-groups expressing the same concepts but possessing a linguistic
meaning which is felt as different in each of the units under consideration.
e.g.: - to
fail the exam, to come down, to muff;
- to be
ploughed, plucked, pipped.
Meaning and Referent
linguistic whereas the denoted object or the referent is beyond the scope of
language. We can denote the same object by more than one word of a different
e.g.: a table
can be denoted by the words table, a piece of furniture, something, this as all
these words may have the same referent.
be equated with the actual properties of the referent. The meaning of the word
water cannot be regarded as identical with its chemical formula H2O
as water means essentially the same to all English speakers including those who
have no idea of its chemical composition.
Among the adherents of the
referential approach there are some who hold that the meaning of a linguistic
sign is the concept underlying it, and consequently they substitute meaning for
concept in the basic triangle. Others identify meaning with the referent.
Meaning is closely connected but not identical with the sound form, concept or
referent. Yet, even those who accept this view disagree as to the nature of
meaning. Some linguists regard meaning as the interrelation of the three points
of the triangle within the framework of the given language, but not as an
objectively existing part of the linguistic sign. Others proceed from the basic
assumption of the objectivity of language and meaning and understand the
linguistic sign as a two-facet unit. They view meaning as a certain reflection
in our mind of objects, phenomena or relations that makes part of the
linguistic sign – its so-called inner facet, whereas the sound form functions
as its outer facet.
Functional Approach to Meaning
The functional approach
maintains that a linguistic study of meaning is the investigation of the
relation of sign to sign only. In other words, they hold the view that the
meaning of a linguistic unit may be studied only through its relation to either
concept or referent.
e.g.: We know that the meaning of the two
words a step and to step is different because they function in speech
differently. To step may be followed by an adverb, a step cannot, but it may be
proceeded by an adjective.
The same is
true of the different meanings of the same word. Analysing the function of a
word in linguistic contexts and comparing these contexts, we conclude that
meanings are different (or the same): to take a tram, taxi as opposed to to
take to somebody. Hence, meaning can be viewed as the function of distribution.
When comparing the two
approaches described above we see that the functional approach should not be
considered as alternative, but rather a valuable complement to the referential
theory. There is absolutely no need to set the two approaches against each
other; each handles its own side of the problem and neither is complete without
3. Types Of Meaning
The two main
types of meaning are the grammatical and lexical meanings.
We notice, for
example, that word-forms such as tables, chairs, bushes though denoting widely
different objects of reality have something in common. This common element is
the grammatical meaning of plurality.
Thus, grammatical meaning
may be defined as the component of meaning recurrent in identical sets of
individual forms of different words. e.g.: the tense meaning in the word-forms
of verbs (asked, spoke) or the case meaning in the word-forms of various nouns (the
girl’s, the night’s).
linguistic science it is commonly held that some elements of grammatical
meaning can be identified by their distribution. The word-forms asks, speaks
have the same grammatical meaning as they can all be found in identical
distribution (e.g. only after the pronouns he, she but before such adverbs and
phrases as yesterday, last month, etc.). It follows that a certain component of
the meaning of a word is described when you identify it as a part of speech,
since different parts of speech are distributionally different. The
part-of-speech meaning of the words that possesses but one form, as
prepositions, is observed only in their distribution (cf: to come in (here) and
in (on, under) the table.
grammatical meaning this component of meaning is identical in all the forms of
the word. e.g.: the words write – writes – wrote – written possess different
grammatical meanings of tense, person but in each of these forms we find the
same semantic component denoting the process of putting words on the paper.
This is the lexical meaning of the word which may be described as a linguistic
unit recurrent in all the forms of the word and in all possible distributions of
between the lexical and the grammatical component of meaning is not to be
sought in the difference of the concepts underlying the two types of meaning
rather in the way they are conveyed. The concept of plurality, for example, may
be expressed by the lexical meaning of the word plurality. It may also be
expressed in the forms of different words irrespective of their lexical meaning
interrelation of the lexical and the grammatical meaning and the role played by
each varies in different word classes and even in different groups of words
within one and the same class. In some parts of speech the prevailing component
is the grammatical type of meaning. The lexical meaning of prepositions is, as
a rule, relatively vague (to think of somebody, independent of somebody, some
of the students). The lexical meaning of some prepositions is however
comparatively distinct (in, on, under the table).
The lexical meaning of the
word can be of two types: denotational and connotational.
One of the
functions of the words is to denote things, concepts, etc. Users of a language
cannot have any knowledge or thought of the objects or phenomena of the real
world around them unless this knowledge is ultimately embodied in words which
have essentially the same meaning for all speakers of that language. This is
the denotational meaning, i.e. that component of the lexical meaning which
makes communication possible. There is no doubt that a doctor knows more about
pneumonia than a dancer does but they use the word and understand each other.
component of the lexical meaning is the connotational component which has some
stylistic value of the word, the emotive charge.
an element of emotive evaluation as part of the connotational meaning. The word
hovel denotes a small house or cottage and besides implies that it is a
miserable dwelling place, dirty, in bad repair and unpleasant to live in.
connotations associated with names of animals, birds, insects are universally
understood and used.
e.g.: calf (теля)– a young inexperienced
donkey (осел)– a foolish person;
monkey (мавпа)– a mischievous child;
serpent (змія)– a treacherous, malicious
But it should
be mentioned here that different peoples structure the world differently. E.g.:
the word bug has such figurative meanings in the English language as a crazy, foolish
person and an enthusiast, the word shark means a swindler. In the Ukrainian language
the words жук and акула do not have such meanings. Sometimes words in different
languages can have different meanings. E.g.: the word gull means a fool, a
swindler, in the Ukrainian language the word чайка can be applied to a woman or a girl.
The word hawk possesses a negative meaning in the English language (a
deceiver), the word сокіл
is applied to a handsome and strong young man.
well-established connotations, derived from their individual qualities. The
word gold is associated with great worth. Iron and steel connote strength,
brass - audacity, lead – sluggishness or weight.
Words may also
contain an element of emotive force as part of the connotational meaning. This
is in fact one of the objective semantic features proper to some words as
linguistic units and forming part of the connotative value. Such are, for
example, stylistically coloured words synonymous with their neutral
counterparts: child – kid – kiddie; girl – lass – girlie – lassie.
interjections this meaning is known to prevail.
naturally distinguish between the emotive element as inherent in some words
forming part of the connotation and the subjective use of words that are not
otherwise emotionally coloured.
speech expressive nuances may be obtained in different ways. In various
contexts, linguistic or situational, words devoid of any emotive element may be
endowed with a distinct expressive function depending on the speaker’s attitude
towards his interlocutor or to the thing spoken about.
There are some
other types of lexical meaning. They are abstract and concrete (hope, love -
window, book); primary and secondary (wall of the room - wall of
misunderstanding); bookish and colloquial (young man - chap, lad).
A word that has more than
one meaning in the language is called polysemantic. Its meanings form its
semantic structure. It is an organised set of recurrent variants and shades of
meaning a given sound complex can assume in different contexts, together with
their emotional colouring, stylistic peculiarities and other typical
connotations, if any. The semantic structure of the word is a fact of language,
not of speech. It is developed and fixed in the course of the history of the language.
number of lexical units is not necessarily increased with the appearance of new
ideas and objects it is usually achieved by making an already existing word do
this work. Change of meaning is a commonplace and indeed it would appear to be
fundamental in the living language.
illustrate the statement are not far to seek. When watches were invented no new
words were invented to denote this object and its parts. The word face meaning
front part of a human head was made to serve as the name of the front part of
the watch where all the changes of time were shown; the word hand meaning part
of a human body used to work and indicate things with was made to serve as the
name of the indicator.
Ukrainian word лінія
– вузька смужка,
що тягнеться на якій-небудь поверхні. Closely connected with it are the following
meanings: уявна смужка (лінія
горизонту), шлях (трамвайна лінія), послідовний ряд кровно споріднених осіб (по
материнській лінії), спосіб дії (лінія поведінки).
develop plurality of meanings, or, in other words, become polysemantic.
polysemantic words we are faced not with the problem of the analysis of
different meanings but primarily with the problem of interrelation and
interdependence of the various meanings in the semantic structure of the same
can arise in this connection.
- Are all
meanings equally representative of the semantic structure of the word?
- Is the order
in which the meanings are enumerated in dictionaries purely arbitrary or does
it reflect the comparative value of individual meanings, the place they occupy
in the semantic structure of the word?
The most objective
criterion of the comparative value of individual meanings seems to be the
frequency of their occurrence in speech.
Of great importance is the
stylistic stratification of meanings of a polysemantic word as not only words
but individual meanings too may differ in their stylistic reference. The
stylistic status of monosemantic words is easily perceived.
can be referred to the colloquial stylistic layer, the word parent – to
words as a rule cannot be given any much restrictive labels. There is nothing
colloquial or slangy about the word jerk in the meaning of a sudden movement or
stopping of movement. But when jerk is used in the meaning of an odd person it
neutral words are more frequent.
It should be
mentioned that some meanings are representative of the word in isolation, i.e.
they invariably occur to us when we hear the word or see it written. Other
meanings come to the fore only when the word is used in certain contexts. The
meaning or meanings representative of the semantic structure of the word and
least dependent on context are described as free or denominative meanings.
By the word
context we understand the minimal stretch of speech determining each individual
meaning of the word.
The meaning or
meanings of polysemantic words observed only in certain contexts may be viewed
as determined either by linguistic (lexical and grammatical or verbal) or
extra-linguistic (non-verbal) contexts.
In lexical contexts of
primary importance are the lexical groups combined with the polysemantic word
e.g.: The verb
to take in isolation has the meaning to lay hold of with the hands, grasp,
seize. When combined with the lexical group of words denoting some means of
transportation (to take a bus, a train) it acquires the meaning synonymous with
the meaning of the verb to go. The meanings determined by lexical contexts are
sometimes referred to as lexically or phraseologically bound meanings which
implies that such meanings are to be found only in certain lexical contexts.
contexts it is the grammatical (mainly the syntactic) structure of the context
that serves to determine various individual meanings of a polysemantic word.
e.g.: One of
the meanings of the verb to make (to force, to induce) is found only in the
grammatical context possessing the structure make + N+Infinitive ( to make
somebody do something). Another meaning to become is observed when make is
followed by an adjective or noun (to make a good teacher) . Such meanings are
sometimes described as grammatically or structurally bound meanings.
In a number of
contexts, however, we find that both the lexical and the grammatical aspect
should be taken into consideration. If, for example, we compare the contexts of
different grammatical structures (to take+N and to take to+N) we can assume
that they represent different meanings of the verb to take, but it is only when
we specify the lexical context, i.e. the lexical group with which the verb is
combined in the structure to take+N (to take tea, books, a bus) that we can say
that the context determines the meaning.
pattern to take+N may represent different meanings of the verb to take
dependent mainly on the lexical group of the nouns with which it is combined.
cases when the meaning of the word is ultimately determined not by linguistic
factors but by the actual speech situation in which this word is used. The
meaning of the phrase I’ve got it is determined not only by the grammatical or
lexical context but by the actual speech situation. To get may mean to possess or to
words are comparatively rare in the English language. These are pronouns and
numerals. The greatest number of monosemantic words can be found among terms,
the very nature of which requires precision. But even here we must mention that
terms are monosemantic only within one branch of science.
e.g.: to dress
– to bandage a wound (medical terminology);
to dress – to
prepare the earth for sowing (terminology of agriculture);
to dress – to
decorate with flags (naval terminology).
Words belonging to the
most active, vitally important and widely used part of the English vocabulary
are generally polysemantic.
5. The Main
meaning means extension of the word range. In most cases it is naturally
combined with a higher degree of abstraction than implied in the earlier
meaning of the word.
begin as specific names for things. however, this precise denotation is lost
ant the meaning of the word gets extended and generalised.
once had the meaning spring, time for sowing. Now it embraces all parts of the
had the meaning the money to buy salt for. Now it means money to buy anything.
Thing once meant anything
that can be agreed on in trade. Now it has a generic meaning.
meant fence. Now it denotes a settlement.
meant to land, to reach the shore. Now any place of destination is presupposed.
meant dear. Then according to the process of generalisation it acquired the
meaning free. At first it was used in regard to someone from the family of a
slave-owner, who he loved and respected. Then it was applied to any relative of
a slave-owner. The opposition – free and slave – brought to the extension and
change of meaning of the word.
Стріляти meant випускати стрілу. Now it is used in a
Столяр meant той, що виготовляє столи. Now it means той, хто виготовляє вироби з дерева.
Поле meant порожній великий простір. Now it means ділянка землі відведена під що-небудь, простір, у
межах якого відбувається якась дія, сфера діяльності, смужка вздовж краю аркуша
паперу, відігнуті краї капелюха.
Narrowing of meaning is
the process when a word acquires a specialised sense in which it is applicable
only to some of the objects it had previously denoted or a word of wide usage
is restricted in its application and comes to be used only in a special sense.
Shakespeare’s „King Lear“ there is a reference made to mice and rats and such
small deer. In Old English deer meant any beast.
Coffin once meant a box.
Then it began to mean a special box for the dead.
These are the cases in
which narrowing took place due to the concretization of meaning. Sometimes
narrowing takes place due to the differentiation of concepts. This is the case
when two words were synonyms once and then they acquired different meanings.
once meant табурет і стілець. After the word chair was borrowed
from French, the word stool began to be used only for табурет.
when used continuously with a word may lead to the narrowing of meaning: corn
(Indian corn), private (private soldier).
take place when the name of the material is transferred onto the thing made of
this material: iron, kids.
It is a
well-known fact that people tend to specialise and thus to narrow the meanings
of words connected with their special activities.
e.g.: The word
operation(операція) has quite different meanings to a
financial worker, to a mathematician, to a military man and to a physician.
Печиво meant усе спечене з борошна. Now it means кондитерські вироби з борошна.
Квас meant усе кисле. Now the word means кислуватий напій з житнього хліба або житнього борошна.
meaning presupposes the following thing. Words often rise from humble
beginnings to positions of greater importance. Such changes are not always easy
to account for in detail, but, on the whole, we may say that social changes are
of the very first importance with words that acquire better meanings.
complimentary words were originally applied to things of comparatively slight
meant news (good or bad). Now it means glory.
Nice meant foolish. The
word was gradually specialised in the sense foolishly particular about trifles.
Then the idea of folly was lost and particular about small things, accurate
came into existence.
To adore had the meaning to
speak with, to greet, to address. Now it means to love, to worship.
The words офіс, менеджмент, кур’єр are considered to have better meanings than контора, управління, посильний.
Degradation of meaning is
the process whereby for one reason or another a word falls into disrepute.
Words once respectable may become less respectable. Some words reach such a low
point that it is considered improper to use them at all.
e.g.: Idiot meant private
in Greek and uneducated in Latin. Now it has a negative meaning of a fool in
Greedy meant hungry. Now
it means stingy.
Villain meant a person
living in the country. Now it means a scoundrel.
Metaphor is a transfer of
name based on the association of similarity and thus is actually a hidden
comparison. It presents a method of description which likens one thing to
another by referring to it as if it were some other one. In actual usage the
motivation of the word meaning may be obscured or completely lost. The latter
leads to the development of the so-called fossilised or trite metaphors by
origin. Fossilised metaphors belong to the vocabulary of a given language as a
system. In such cases the connection between the original and transferred word
meaning is lost. Such transpositions may lead to a complete semantic change of
a word, wherein the secondary figuratively derived meaning becomes, in fact,
primary. The word metaphor itself is a metaphor, meaning to carry over, across
a term or expression from its normal usage to another.
Metaphors may be created
on the similarity of different physical properties, such as:
- similarity of shape : needle’s
eye, table’s leg;
вушко голки, павутина доріг;
- similarity of size: midget,
- similarity of colour: orange,
- similarity of function: hand,
рушниця стріляє, металеве перо;
- similarity of position: back
of the chair, foot of the mountain; підніжжя гори;
- similarity of firmness: egg-shell
china, steel resolution; метал у голосі.
It must be borne in mind
that linguistic metaphor is different from metaphor as a literary device. When
the latter is offered and accepted both the author and the reader are to a
greater or lesser degree aware that this reference is figurative, that the
object has another name. The relationship of the direct denotative meaning of
the word and the meaning it has in the literary context in question is based on
the similarity of some features in the objects compared. The poetic metaphor is
the result of the author’s creative imagination. In a linguistic metaphor,
especially if it is dead as a result of long usage, the thing named often has
no other name. In a dead metaphor the comparison is completely forgotten. The
meaning of such expressions as a sun beam or beam of light are not explained by
allusions to a tree, although the word is actually derived from Old English
One can speak of different
degrees of deadness as it were taking for illustration such metaphors as to
ruminate (to think), originally applied to a cow’s cud chewing or, say, such
metaphors as time flies, a cold look which are quite faded. Such adjective
metaphors as orange, violet are no longer felt as figurative.
Metonymy is a device in
which the name of one thing is changed for that of another to which it is
related by association of ideas as having close relationship to one another.
The simplest case of metonymy is synecdoche. Synecdoche means giving a part for
the whole or vice versa.
e.g.: foot (infantry),
town may be applied to the inhabitants of it. The word violin is often used to
denote not the instrument but the musician who plays it.
In the Ukrainian language
the examples of synecdoche can be represented by the following examples: носа не показувати, роботящі
руки, білява куделя оглянулася.
Faded metonymy can be
found in the political vocabulary when the place of some establishment is used
not only for the establishment itself or its staff but also for its policy: the
White House, the Pentagon, Інститут святкує своє десятиріччя.
Other examples of metonymy
1. The sign for the thing
signified: grey hair (old age).
2. The instrument for the
agent: the best pens of the day (the best writers).
Він – перша скрипка.
3. The container for the
thing contained: He drank a cup. Чайник закипів.
4. The names of various
organs can be used in the same way: head can be used for brains; heart often
stands for emotions. Honey
tongue, a heart of gall.У неї золоте серце.
5. A part of species
substituted for a whole or genus: He manages to earn his bread (the necessaries
6. A whole or genus
substitutes for a part or species: He is a poor creature (man). Він – бідне створіння.
7. The name of the
material which stands for the thing made of this material: iron, kid, фарфор, фаянс.
Due to a great variety of
associations there are a lot of cases where metonymy is disguised.
e.g.: sandwich is named
after John Montague, earl of Sandwich, who invented this kind of meal;
champagne – a white
sparkling wine made in the province of Champagne (France);
nicotine – a poisonous
alkaloid which got its name after Jean Nicot, who introduced tobacco into
definition of synonyms;
d) criteria of synonymy.
definition of antonyms;
definition of homonyms;
a) The Definition of Synonyms
Grouping of words is based
upon similarities and contrasts. Taking up similarity of meaning and contrasts
of phonetic shape we observe that every language has in its vocabulary a
variety of words kindred in meaning but different in morphemic composition,
phonemic shape and usage. The more developed the language is, the richer the
diversity and therefore the greater the possibilities of lexical choice
enhancing the effectiveness and precision of speech.
Synonyms can be defined as
two or more words of the same language, belonging to the same part of speech
and possessing one or more identical or nearly identical denotational meanings,
interchangeable at least in some contexts, without any alteration on the
denotational meaning, but differing in the morphemic composition, phonemic
shape, shades of meaning, connotations, affective value, style, valency and
The words to annoy, to
vex, to irk, to bother are synonyms. To annoy, to vex may mean both a
non-intentional influence and an intentional one. To irk, to bother presuppose
only the intentional influence. To annoy is a neutral word. To vex has a stronger
shade. To bother presupposes the slightest reaction. The denotational meaning
of all these words is the same: to make somebody a little angry by especially
repeated acts. As it is seen from the example the synonymic group comprises a
dominant element. This is the synonymic dominant, the most general term of its
kind potentially containing the specific features rendered by all the other
members of the group. Or in the Ukrainian language the word бридкий is a synonymic dominant in the
огидний, гидкий, потворний, осоружний, негарний.
The majority of English
words are polysemantic. The result of it is that one and the same word may
belong in its various meanings to several synonymic groups.
e.g.: to appear may have
the synonyms, to emerge, to come into sight and to look, to seem.
b) Classifications of Synonyms
Absolute synonyms are very
rare in the language. They are mostly different names for one and the same
plant, animal, disease etc.
e.g.: luce – pike,
compounding – composition, castor – beaver, алфавіт – абетка, буква – літера,
процент – відсоток, площа – майдан, нагідки – календула.
In the course of time
absolute synonyms come to have either a different shade of meaning or different
usage. If two words exactly coincide in meaning and use the natural tendency is
for one of them to change its meaning or drop out of the language.
differ from each other in shades of meaning. Synonyms of this kind are very
numerous in the English language. In such synonyms we can easily find the
general and the particular. The general connects such synonyms into one group,
makes them representatives of one concept whereas the particular allows every
synonym of the group to stress a certain feature of the concept. Thus all the
synonyms express the concept in all its many-sided variety and completeness.
Not all ideographic
synonyms are of the same kind. We can distinguish between those which are very
close in their meanings (horrible – terrible, screech – shriek), synonyms which
differ in meaning considerably. Thus, interpreter and translator denote the
same concept of a person rendering the expressions of one language into the
expressions of another but the oral side of the work is associated with the
interpreter whereas the translator is connected with writing. Both ladder and
stairs denote a set of parallel bars used for climbing up but ladder is
associated with a rope contrivance or a portable device consisting of two beams
crossed by a set of parallel bars while stairs represents a permanent
arrangement mostly within a building, of blocks of wood or slabs of marble
joined to form a long series of steps, stairway or staircase.
Among verbs we find
ideographic synonyms which differ in the manner of the action expressed by the
verb: to look (the synonymic dominant), to glance (to look quickly), to gaze
(to look with surprise, curiosity), to stare (to look fixedly), to regard (to
look attentively), to view (to look searchingly), to eye (to look from head to
foot), to peep (to look stealthily).
Synonyms can differ in the
degree of a given quality, in the intensity of the action performed or the
intensity of the emotions: to want – to desire – to long for; to ask – to beg –
to pray; to work – to toil – to slave.
Synonyms can also differ
in the emotional colouring: big – great; boy – lad.
Synonyms can differ in the
volume of the concept they express: border – frontier. Border is wider in
meaning than frontier for the latter means mostly a state border whereas border
is any limit, edge, etc. Happy is wider than lucky which implies only happy
circumstances attending one’s undertakings.
There are synonyms where
one expresses continuity of action or state while the other expresses a
momentary action of the same nature: to speak – to say; to remember – to
Ukrainian scholars call such synonyms semantic: хата – дім – будинок, череда –
отара – зграя.
Stylistic synonyms do not
differ in shades of their common meaning. They differ in usage and style: doctor
(official) – doc (familiar); to commence (official) – to begin (neutral). They
also show the attitude of the speaker towards the event, object or process
described: to die – to depart, to expire – to kick the bucket; говорити – балакати,
базікати; ходити – шкандибати, дибати, пхатися,
читальний зал – читалка, здібний – кмітливий.
distinguish between semantic-stylistic synonyms: архітектор – зодчий.
are those which do not necessarily differ materially in their meanings or
stylistic value. They differ in their combinative power. Thus, in such groups
as few – little, many – much we can speak not so much of any immediate
difference in the meanings of words as of their difference in application (much
time – little water; many children – much air). We say a sunny day, a moonlit
night but we should use the solar system, a lunar eclipse.
can replace each other in some combinations but are not interchangeable in
others. Use and benefit are synonyms in such expressions as public use, public
benefit whereas they are no longer synonyms and cannot replace each other in
expressions like I have no use for such books, or He was given the benefit of
the doubt. Перед,
to be synonyms if they are used in the context: перед мостом, напередодні свята.
Contextual synonyms are
similar in meaning only under some specific distributional conditions. The
verbs to bear, to suffer and stand are semantically different and not
interchangeable except when used in the negative form.
c) Sources of Synonymy
One of the sources of
synonymy is borrowings. In Modern English a great number of synonyms serve to
differentiate the meanings of words, their colloquial or bookish character.
Most of bookish synonyms are of foreign origin, while popular and colloquial
words are mostly native. Many native synonyms were either restricted or ousted
by foreign terms.
e.g.: The native word heaven
has been more and more restricted to the figurative and religious use for the
Danish word sky began to be used exclusively in the meaning of the blue above
us though originally sky meant only cloud. The Danish word call has ousted the
Old English word heitan, the French word army ousted the native word here.
Shifts of meaning can lead
to the appearance of synonyms: knave and villain once were not synonyms but
their meanings degradated and they became synonyms.
Shortening can result in
the appearance of synonyms: advertisement – ad; examination – exam.
Conversion can be a source
of synonymy: a corner – to corner.
d) Criteria of synonymy
Synonyms are words of the same category of parts of speech conveying the same
notion but differing either in shades of meaning or in stylistic
Semantic criterion: In
terms of componential analysis synonyms may be defined as words with the same
denotation or the same denotative component but differing in connotations or in
the connotative component.
The criterion of
interchangeability: Synonyms are words which are interchangeable at least in
some contexts without any considerable alteration in the denotational meaning.
a) The Definition of Antonyms
Words with diametrically
opposite meanings are called antonyms. We find antonyms among words denoting:
- quality: hard – soft;
good – bad;
здоровий – кволий;
- state: clean – dirty;
wealth – poverty;
чистий – брудний;
- manner: quickly –
slowly; willingly – unwillingly; швидко – повільно;
- direction: up – down;
here – there;
тут – там;
- action or feeling: to
smile – to frown; to love – to hate; любити – ненавидіти;
- features: tall – short;
beautiful – ugly;
високий – низький.
Words which do not have
relative features do not have antonyms.
b) Classifications of Antonyms
Antonyms can be divided
into two groups: those which are formed with the help of negative affixes
(derivational) and those which are of different roots. There are affixes in
English which impart to the root the meaning of either the presence or the
absence of a certain quality, property or state.
The most productive antonym-forming
negative prefixes are un- (unhappy, unimportant), mis-(misfortune,
misunderstanding). In the Ukrainian language that is the prefix не-(неправда, неволя). The prefix без- is also rather productive: безстрашний, безлад).
impart to the word the meaning of the presence or absence of the quality or
feature indicated by the root. The most productive antonym-forming suffixes are
–ful,-less: fruitful – fruitless; hopeful – hopeless.
The second group (antonyms
proper) includes words of different roots: day – night; rich – poor, радість – горе, дружити –
Considered in meaning
antonyms can be divided into absolute, phraseological and complex.
Absolute antonyms are
diametrically opposite in meaning and remain antonyms in any word-combinations.
These are mostly found among negative affix-formed antonyms.
When they become components of phraseological groups or compound words they
sometimes lose their absolutely antonymic nature.
e.g.: to give –to take: to
give a book – to take a book but to give way will not have to take way as its
cannot be used in parallel antonymic expressions indiscriminately. We can say
The books are alike - The books are different but we cannot say an alike book
though we do say a different book.
Complex antonyms are those
polysemantic words that have different antipodes for their various meanings.
e.g.: Soft has such
- not hard, yielding (soft
seat, soft nature);
- not loud, subdued (soft
voice, soft colours);
- mild, not severe (soft
climate, soft punishment).
Naturally all these
meanings will find different words for antipodes:
- hard (hard seat, hard
- loud, harsh (loud voice,
- severe (severe climate,
The Ukrainian word сухий can have the following antonyms: мокрий, м’який, повний,
с)Criteria of Antonyms
traditionally been defined as words of opposite meanings. This definition is not
sufficiently accurate, as it only shifts the problem to the question of what
words may be regarded as words of opposite meanings. Two words are considered
antonyms if they are regularly contrasted in actual speech. A regular and
frequent co-occurrence in such contexts is the most important characteristic
feature of antonyms.
Another criterion is the
possibility of substitution and identical lexical valency. Members of the same
antonymic pair reveal nearly identical spheres of collocation.
e.g.: The adjective hot in
its figurative meanings angry and excited is chiefly combined with unpleasant
emotions (anger, scorn) . Its antonym cold occurs with the same words. But hot
and cold are used in combinations with the emotionally neutral words fellow,
man, but not with the nouns implying positive evaluation friend, supporter.
Antonyms form binary
oppositions, the distinctive feature of which is semantic polarity; its basis
is regular co-occurrence in typical contexts combined with approximate sameness
of distribution and stylistic and emotional equivalence.
Definition of Homonyms
Considering the word from
the viewpoint of its semantic relations with other words we submit to our
examination words having the same form but quite differing in meaning or
homonyms. Saying the same form we must add that the identity of form may be
complete or partial.
There are perfect
homonyms, that is words having entirely different meanings but absolutely
identical in spelling and sound: ball –
м’яч; ball – тюлень; деркач – птах, деркач – віник; бал – вечір танців, бал - оцінка.
Partial homonyms are of
two types: homographs and homophones. Homographs are words identical in
spelling but different in sound and meaning: bow [bou] – bow [bau], row [rou] –
row [rau], о'бід - 'обід, за'мок -'замок. Homophones are the words identical
in sound but different in spelling and meaning: knight – night; piece – peace; цеглина – це глина, потри – по три.
c) Classifications of
From the viewpoint of
their origin homonyms are divided into historical and etymological.
Historical homonyms are
those which result from the breaking up of polysemy; then one polysemantic word
will split up in two or more separate words.
e.g.: plant (рослина) –
plant (завод); pupil (учень) – pupil (зрачок).
But sometimes it is
difficult to decide whether all connection between the meanings of such words
is lost and even the compilers of dictionaries hesitate how to treat such
Etymological homonyms are
words of different etymology which come to be alike in sound or spelling.
Various causes explain their appearance. Among these phonetical changes both in
native and borrowed words played a great role.
e.g.: can (могти) - Old
English cunnan (знати);
can (банка) – Old English
here (тут) – Old English
to hear (чути) – Old
English hieran (чути).
Sometimes a native word
and a borrowed word coincide in form, thus producing homonyms.
e.g.: to bark (гавкати) –
Old English beorcan and bark (кора дерева) from Scandinavian borkr (баркас). Or
the Ukrainian word мул
(дрібні частинки у водоймах) coincided with мул (назва
which is a Latin word).
In other cases homonyms
are a result of borrowing when several different words became identical in
sound and/or in spelling.
e.g.: The Latin word vitim
(wrong, an immoral habit) has given the English vice (порок), the Latin word
vitis (a spiral) has given the English word vice (лещата). The Latin word vice
(instead, in place) is found in vice-president.
In the Ukrainian language
the word гриф (міфічна істота, which is a borrowing from
Greek), гриф (частина струнного музичного
borrowing from German), гриф (штемпель на документі,a borrowing from French).
Considering homonyms in
their morphological aspect prof. Smirnitsky classifies them into lexical and
lexico-grammatical. Lexical homonyms are of two types: perfect and partial.
Perfect homonyms belong to the same part of speech with all forms coinciding:
case (випадок) – case (сумка). Partial homonyms belong to the same part of
speech but coincide only in some of their forms: to lie -–lay – lain; to lie –
lied – lied. Lexico-grammatical homonyms are represented by:
a) words belonging to the
same part of speech but homonymic in their grammatical forms (excluding their
initial forms): bore -to bore (the Past Indefinite of to bear);
b) words belonging to
different parts of speech and homonymic only in some of their forms: I – to
eye; nose – knows.
WORD COMBINATIONS AND
PHRASEOLOGY IN MODERN ENGLISH AND UKRAINIAN LANGUAGES
1. Free and non-free word
2. Classifications of
3. Synonyms in
4. Antonyms in
5. Proverbs, sayings.
1. Free and Non-Free Word
The vocabulary of a
language includes not only words but also stable word combinations which also
serve as a means of expressing concepts. They are phraseological word
equivalents reproduced in speech the way words are reproduced and not created
anew in actual speech.
An ordinary word
combination is created according to the grammatical rules of the language in
accordance with a certain idea. The general meaning of an ordinary free word
combination is derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements. Every
notional word functions here as a certain member of the sentence. Thus, an
ordinary word combination is a syntactical pattern.
A free word combination is
a combination in which any element can be substituted by another.
e.g.: I like this idea. I
dislike this idea. He likes the idea. I like that idea. I like this thought.
But when we use the term
free we are not precise. The freedom of a word in a combination with others is
relative as it is not only the syntactical pattern that matters. There are
logical limitations too.
The second group of word
combinations is semi-free word combinations. They are the combinations in which
the substitution is possible but limited.
e.g.: to cut a
Non-free word combinations
are those in which the substitution is impossible.
e.g.: to come clean, to be
in low water.
2. Classifications of
A major stimulus to
intensive studies of phraseology was prof. Vinogradov’s research. The
classification suggested by him has been widely adopted by linguists working on
other languages. The classification of phraseological units suggested by V.V. Vinogradov includes:
- standardised word
combinations, i.e. phrases characterised by the limited combinative power of
their components, which retain their semantic independence: to meet the
request/requirement, подавати надію, страх бере, зачепити гордість, покласти край;
- phraseological unities,
i.e. phrases in which the meaning of the whole is not the sum of meanings of
the components but it is based on them and the motivation is apparent: to stand
to one’s guns,
передати куті меду, прикусити язика, вивести на чисту воду, тримати камінь за
- fusions, i.e. phrases in
which the meaning cannot be derived as a whole from the conjoined meanings of
its components: tit for tat, теревені правити, піймати облизня,
викинути коника, у Сірка очі позичити.
Phraseological unities are
very often metaphoric. The components of such unities are not semantically
independent, the meaning of every component is subordinated to the figurative
meaning of the phraseological unity as a whole. The latter may have a
homonymous expression - a free syntactical word combination.
e.g.: Nick is a musician.
He plays the first fiddle.
It is his wife who plays
the first fiddle in the house.
Phraseological unities may
vary in their semantic and grammatical structure. Not all of them are
figurative. Here we can find professionalisms, coupled synonyms.
A.V. Koonin finds it necessary to divide
English phraseological unities into figurative and non-figurative.
Figurative unities are
often related to analogous expressions with direct meaning in the very same way
in which a word used in its transferred sense is related to the same word used
in its direct meaning.
technical vocabulary, the vocabulary of arts and sports have given many
expressions of this kind: in full blast; to hit below the belt; to spike smb’s
unities we find many verb-adverb combinations: to look for; to look after; to
put down; to give in.
Phraseological fusions are
the most synthetical of all the phraseological groups. They seem to be
completely unmotivated though their motivation can be unearthed by means of
They fall under the
which are associated with some obsolete customs: the grey mare, to rob Peter to
which go back to some long forgotten historical facts they were based on: to
bell the cat, Damocles’ sword.
Idiomatic expressions expressively
individual in their character: My God! My eye!
containing archaic elements: by dint of (dint – blow); in fine (fine – end).
Semantic Classification of
1. Phraseological units
referring to the same notion.
e.g.: Hard work - to burn
the midnight oil; to do back-breaking work; to hit the books; to keep one’s
nose to the grindstone; to work like a dog; to work one’s fingers to the bone.
Compromise – to find
middle ground; to go halfway.
Independence – to be on
one’s own; to have a mind of one’s own; to stand on one’s own two feet.
Experience – to be an old hand
at something; to know something like the back of one’s palm; to know the rope.Ледарювати – байдики бити,
ханьки м’яти, ганяти вітер по вулицях, тинятися з кутка в куток, і за холодну
воду не братися.
e.g.: on the rocks; to
stick to one’s guns; breakers ahead. 3. Phraseological units having similar
e.g.: a dog in the manger;
dog days; to agree like cat and dog; to rain cats and dogs. To fall on deaf
ears; to talk somebody’s ear off; to have a good ear for; to be all ears. To
see red; a red herring; a red carpet treatment; to be in the red; з перших рук; як без рук;
горить у руках; не давати волі рукам.
4. Phraseological units
referring to the same lexico-semantic field.
e.g.: Body parts – to cost
an arm and leg; to pick somebody’s brain; to get one’s feet wet; to get off the
chest; to rub elbows with; not to have a leg to stand on; to stick one’s neck
out; to be nosey; to make a headway; to knuckle down; to shake a leg; to pay
through the noser; to tip toe around; to mouth off; без клепки в голові; серце з
перцем; легка рука.
Fruits and vegetables –
red as a beet; a couch potato; a hot potato; a real peach; as cool as a
cucumber; a top banana;гриби після дощу; як горох при дорозі; як виросте гарбуз на вербі.
Animals – sly as a fox; to
be a bull in a china shop; to go ape; to be a lucky dog; to play cat and mouse; як з гуски вода, як баран
на нові ворота; у свинячий голос; гнатися за двома зайцями.
of Phraseological Units
Еnglish phraseological units can
function like verbs (to drop a brick; to drop a line; to go halves; to go
shares; to travel bodkin), phraseological units functioning like nouns (brains
trust, ladies’ man, phraseological units functioning like adjectives (high and
dry, high and low,ill at ease, phraseological units functioning like adverbs (tooth
and nail, on guard; by heart, phraseological units functioning like
prepositions (in order to; by virtue of), phraseological units functioning like
interjections (Good heavens! Gracious me! Great Scot!).
Ukrainian phraseological units can function like nouns (наріжний камінь, біла ворона,
adjectives ( не з полохливого десятка, не
остання спиця в колесі,
білими нитками шитий), verbs ( мотати на вус, товкти воду в ступі, ускочити в халепу), adverbs ( не чуючи землі під ногами, кров
холоне в жилах, ні в зуб ногою), interjections (цур тобі, ні пуху ні пера, хай йому грець).
classification was initiated by A.V. Koonin. He singles out Nominative,
Nominative and Nominative-Communicative, Interjective, Communicative
units are of several types. It depends on the type of dependence. The first one
is phraseological units with constant dependence of the elements.
e.g.: the Black Maria; the
ace of trumps; a spark in the powder magazine.
The second type is
represented by the phraseological units with the constant variant dependence of
e.g.: dead marines/men; a
blind pig/tiger; a good/great deal.
There also exist
phraseological units with grammar variants.
e.g.: Procrustes’ bed =
the Procrustean bed = the bed of Procrustes.
Another type of the
Nominative phraseological units is units with quantitative variants. They are
formed with the help of the reduction or adding the elements.
e.g.: the voice of one
crying in the wilderness = a voice crying out in the wilderness= a voice crying
in the wilderness = a voice in the wilderness.
The next type of the
Nominative phraseological units is adjectival phraseological units.
e.g.: mad as a hatter;
swift as thought; as like as two peas; fit as a fiddle.
The function of the
adverbial phraseological units is that of an adverbial modifier of attendant
e.g.: as cool as a
cucumber; from one’s cradle to one’s grave; from pillar to post; once in a blue
Nominative-Communicative phraseological units are of several types as well. The
first type is verbal phraseological units. Verbal phraseological units refer to
this type in such cases: a) when the verb is not used in the Passive voice ( to
drink like a fish; to buy a pig in a poke; to close one’s eyes on something ;
b) if the verb is not used in the Active voice (to be reduced to a shadow; to
be gathered to one’s fathers).
Nominative-Communicative phraseological units can have lexical variants.
e.g.: to tread/walk on
air; to close/shut books; to draw a red herring across the trail/track; to come
to a fine/handsome/nice/pretty pass; to sail close/near to the wind; to
crook/lift the elbow/the little finger.
Grammar variants are also
e.g.: to get into deep
water = to get into deep waters; to pay nature’s debt = to pay the debt of
Examples of quantitative
variants can also be found: to cut the Gordian knot = to cut the knot; to lead
somebody a dance = to lead somebody a pretty dance.
are also possible: to close/shut a /the door/doors on/upon/to somebody.
phraseological units are represented by: by George! By Jove! Good heavens!
phraseological units are represented by proverbs and sayings.
e.g.: Rome was not built
in a day. An apple a day keeps a doctor away. That’s another pair of shoes.
More power to your elbow. Carry me out.
3. Synonyms in Phraseology
Synonymy in phraseology
has been greatly enriched by various processes of the meaning shift, by the
influx of foreign words and phrases.
Absolute synonyms which
have the same meaning and connotation are comparatively rare.
e.g.: over head and ears =
up to the neck;
a pretty kettle of fish =
a nice pair of shoes;
байдики бити – давати
Relative synonyms denote
different shades of different degrees of common meaning:
e.g.: to come to a
conclusion; to jump at a conclusion; to leap at a conclusion.
There is every reason to
establish a stylistic differentiation of synonyms. The synonyms of a particular
phrase are not always interchangeable with that phrase as their use depends on
the linguistic situation, the audience addressed, the speaker’s attitude
towards the subject. Some of them are stylistically neutral, others have an
emotional connotation. In stylistic synonyms the difference is not so much in
the meaning as in the emotional colouring.
e.g.: word of honour
(neutral) – as I live by bread (colloquial);
to be in high spirits
(neutral) – to be on high ropes (colloquial);
заснути вічним сном (neutral) – простягти ноги (colloquial).
4. Antonyms in Phraseology
Antonyms can be opposed to
each other in their concrete meanings.
e.g.: an old sea wolf – a
young calf of a mate; вбити собі в голову – викинути з голови, набитий гаманець – вітер у
The elements of the
phraseological units-antonyms are expressed by the same part of speech.
e.g.: safe and sound –
dead and gone; dead from the neck up – as wise as a serpent, макітра розуму – пустий
It is not investigated yet
whether it is possible to use the negative particle not to form an antonym. We
can use the negation in to step into somebody’s boots but we cannot use it in
the expression to take a leaf from somebody’s book though it has the same
meaning. In the Ukrainian language
it is possible to use a negation in the following examples: велике цабе – невелике цабе, з легким
серцем – з нелегким серцем.
5. Proverbs, Sayings
A proverb is a short
familiar epigrammatic saying expressing popular wisdom, the truth or a moral
lesson in a concise and imaginative way. Proverbs have much in common with
phraseological units because their lexical components are also constant, their
meanings are traditional and mostly figurative and they are introduced into
speech ready-made. That is why some scholars following V.V. Vinogradov think
proverbs must be studied together with phraseological units. Another reason why
proverbs must be taken into consideration together with phraseological units is
that they often form the basis of phraseological units.
A proverb is always a
sentence. Very often they are realised in superphrasal units.
Proverbs may have
War is condemned: War is
sweet to them who know it not. War is the sport of kings.
Fools are laughed at: Fools
grow without watering. He who is borne a fool is never cured.
Lazy-bones are criticised:
Idleness is the root of all evil.
Proverbs teach to be
economical: A penny saved is a penny gained. Take care of the pence and the
pounds will take care of themselves.
Proverbs teach to work
hard: He that will eat the kernel must crack the nut. He that would eat the
fruit must climb the tree. He that would catch fish must not mind getting wet.
He would search for pearls must dive below.
Grammatical Structure of
1. Simple affirmative
Appetite comes with
eating. A cat may look at a king. Money makes the mare go. A little pot is soon
hot. The voice of one man is the voice of no one. Друзі пізнаються в біді.
2. Simple negative
You cannot judge a tree by
its bark Plenty is no plague. Hungry bellies have no ears. Нема науки без муки.
3. Compound sentences.
God sends meat and the
devil sends cooks. Nothing venture, nothing gain. Hope is a good breakfast but
a bad supper. За
морем тепліше, та вдома миліше. Від меча рана загоїться, а від лихого слова –
4. Complex sentences.
He is lifeless that is
faultless. He that lies down with/sleeps with dogs must rise up with fleas. If
the things were to be done twice all would be wise. As the fool thinks, so the
bell clinks. Хто мусить, той і каменя
вкусить. Шануй свою голову, бо друга не виросте.
5. Imperative sentences.
Don’t teach your
grandmother to suck eggs. Look before you leap. Don’t cross the bridges before
you come to them.
Не брудни криниці, бо схочеш водиці. Вмієш казати, вмій і мовчати.
Can the leopard change his
spots? What can you expect from a hog but a grunt?
1. Proverbs with the constant
dependence of their elements.
They are the most
wide-spread. Their characteristic feature is that they are monosemantic.
e.g.: A burnt child dreads
the fire. A great ship asks deep waters.
2. Proverbs with the constant-variant
dependence of their elements. Among them there are proverbs with lexical
e.g.: Every cloud has
a/its silver lining. The parson/priest always christens his own child first.
Rats desert/forsake/leave a sinking ship.
Grammar variants are
represented by the following examples: Constant dropping wears away/will wear
away a stone. Small rain lays/will lay great dust.
There are proverbs with
quantitative variants: First catch your hare then cook him = First catch your
hare. There is no rose without a thorn = No rose without a thorn.
variants have been registered: A burden of one’s choice is not felt = The
burden one likes is cheerfully borne. Do in Rome as the Romans do = When at
Rome do as the Romans do. Still waters run deep = Still waters have deep
bottoms. There are spots even in the sun =There are spots on the sun.
Sayings are communicative phrasal units of a non-proverbial character.
They can be represented by
affirmative sentences: The answer is a lemon. The world is a small place. That
is a horse of another colour. All is fish that comes to his net. Часом густо, а часом і
пусто. Сорока на хвості принесла.
Interrogative sentences: Do
you see any green in my eye? What’s the good word? Where do you hail from?
Negative sentences: Не нашого поля ягода. Не святі горшки
Carry me out! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
1. The native element and
2. Causes and ways of
3. Criteria of borrowings
4. The Celtic element in
the English vocabulary.
5. The classical element
in the English language.
6. The Scandinavian
element in the English vocabulary.
7. The Norman-French
element in the English vocabulary.
8. Various other elements
in the vocabulary of the English and Ukrainian languages.
9. False etymology.
10.Types of borrowings.
1. The Native Element and
The most characteristic
feature of English is usually said to be its mixed character. Many linguists
consider foreign influence, especially that of French, to be the most important
factor in the history of English. This wide-spread viewpoint is supported only
by the evidence of the English word-stock, as its grammar and phonetic systems
are very stable and not easily influenced by other languages.
To comprehend the nature
of the English vocabulary and its historical development it is necessary to
examine the etymology of different layers, the historical causes of their
appearance, their volume and role and the comparative importance of native and
borrowed elements in enriching the English vocabulary.
According to their origin
words can be native and borrowed. A native word is a word which belongs to the
original English stock as known from the earliest available manuscripts of the
Old English period.
Native words are further
subdivided into the words of the Indo-European stock and those of the Common
Germanic origin. The words having cognates in the vocabularies of different
Indo-European languages form the oldest layer. It has been noticed that they
readily fall into definite semantic groups. Among them we find terms of kinship
(mother, father, son, daughter), names of animals and birds (cat, wolf, goose),
parts of human body (arm, eye). Some of the most frequent verbs belong to this
word stock: come, sit, stand. Most numerals are also of the Indo-European
A bigger part of the
native vocabulary consists of the words of the Common Germanic word stock. Such
nouns as summer, winter, rain, ice, hat; the verbs to bake, to buy, to make, to
meet; the adjectives deaf, dead, deep are of the Common Germanic origin. Most
adverbs and pronouns also belong here.
Together with the words of
the Common Indo-European stock the Common Germanic words form the bulk of the
most frequent elements used in any style of speech.
Characteristic Features of
the Native Vocabulary
1. The words are
monosyllabic: sun, wood, break.
2. They are polysemantic:
hand – 1. Part of the human body. 2. Power, possession, by a responsibility.3.
Influence. 4. Person from whom news comes. 5. Skill in using one’s hands. 6.
Person who does what is indicated by the context, performer. 7. Workman. 8.
Share in activity. 9. Pointer, indicator. 10. Position or direction. 11.
Handwriting. 12. Signature. 13. Number of cards held by a player. 14. Unit of
measurement. 15. Applause by clapping.
3. They are characterised
by high frequency.
4. Native words are
usually found in set-expressions.
5. Verbs with
post-positions are usually native: to look for, to look after.
6. They are characterised
by a wide range of lexical and grammatical valency.
7. If words begin with wh,
wr, tw, dw, sw, sh. th; if at the end they have dge, tch,nd, ld; if the roots
have ng, aw, ew, ee, oo they are native.
2. Causes and Ways of
Borrowing into English
In its fifteen century
long history recorded in written manuscripts the English language happened to
come in long and close contact with several other languages, mainly Latin,
French, Old Norse. The great influx of borrowings from these sources can be
accounted for by a number of historical causes. Due to the great influence of
the Roman civilisation Latin was for a long time used in England as the
language of learning and religion. Old Norse was the language of the conquerors
who brought with them a lot of new notions of a higher social system –
developed feudalism – it was the language of upper classes, of official
documents from the middle of the 11th century to the end of the 14th
In the study of the
borrowed element in English the main emphasis is as a rule placed on the Middle
English period. Borrowings of the later periods became the object of
investigation only in recent years. These investigations show that the flow of
borrowings has been steady and uninterrupted. The greatest number of them has
come from French. A large portion of them (41) is scientific and technical
The number and character
of borrowings do not only depend on the historical conditions, on the nature
and length of contacts but also on the degree of the genetic and structural
proximity of the languages concerned. The closer the languages the deeper and
more versatile is the influence. Thus under the influence of the Scandinavian
languages, which were closely related to Old English, some classes of words
were borrowed that could not have been adopted from non-related or distantly
Borrowings enter the
language in two ways: through oral and written speech. Oral borrowing took
place chiefly in the early periods of history, whereas in recent times written
borrowing gained importance. Words borrowed orally are usually short and they
undergo more changes in the act of adoption. Written borrowings preserve their
Borrowings can be borrowed
through transcription (football, trailer, jeans), transliteration (cruise,
motel, club). Besides there can be loan words (blue stocking, collective farm).
3. Criteria of Borrowings
Though borrowed words
undergo changes in the adopting language, they preserve some of their former
peculiarities for a comparatively long period. This makes it possible to work
out some criteria for determining whether the word belongs to the borrowed
In some cases the
pronunciation of the word, its spelling and the correlation between sounds and
letters are an indication of the foreign origin of the word: waltz (German),
psychology (Greek). The initial position of the sounds [v], [dz], [z] or of the
letters x, j, z is a sure sign that the word has been borrowed : vase (French),
jungle (Hindi), gesture (Latin).
structure of the word and its grammatical forms may also show that the word has
been borrowed. The suffixes in the words neurosis (Greek), violoncello
(Italian) betray the foreign origin of the words. The same is true of the
irregular plural forms bacteria, media, phenomena.
The lexical meaning of the
word can show the origin of the word. Thus the concept denoted by the words pagoda
(Chinese), kangaroo (Australian) make us suppose that we deal with borrowings.
These criteria are not
always helpful. Some early borrowings have become so thoroughly assimilated
that they are unrecognisable as adoptions without a historical analysis: chalk
(Latin), ill (Scandinavian), car (French).
Sometimes the form of the
word and its meaning in Modern English enable us to tell the immediate source
of borrowing. Thus, if the digraph ch is sounded as [ ] the word is a late
French borrowing (echelon) ; if it is sounded as [k] the word came from the
Greek language (archaic); if it is pronounced as [t ] it is either an early
borrowing or a word of the Anglo-Saxon origin.
4. The Celtic Element in
the English Vocabulary
When the invading
Anglo-Saxon tribes came to the British Isles and encountered the aboriginal
population, the latter did not influence Anglo-Saxon to any serious extent –
these were not more than some 10-12 Celtic words. Besides not all of them were
originally Celtic. No historian as yet has explained the reason why the Celtic
traces in the English vocabulary have been so slight. One of the explanations
may be that before the Anglo-Saxons came Britain had been under Roman
oppression for about four centuries and the native Celtic population must have
been greatly reduced by the Roman invaders. The Roman legions left Britain to defend
their capital from the advancing Goths. At the approach of the new invaders the
Britons fled to Wales and Cornwall, the Celtic tribes of Ireland accepted the
English language and the Celtic tribes of Scotland were influenced in their
speech by the Northern form of English. Now the Celtic tongues exist in the
form of Welsh, Irish, Gaelic and Highland Scotch and exercise their influence
upon the local dialects.
The Celtic element
includes such words as crag (rock), dun (greyish-brown), down (hill). There are
some geographical names like Kent, Avon (river), Dover (water). Celtic elements
are found in such place names as Duncombe, Helcombe ( cum – canyon), Llandaff (llan
– church), Inverness (inver – river mouth). Some of the early Latin, French,
Spanish borrowings came through Celtic (cloak, car, clock, carry).
On the whole, Celtic
borrowings in the English language can be considered of the least importance.
5. The Classical Element
in the English Language
By the classical element
we mean Latin and Greek.
estimated that approximately a quarter of the Latin vocabulary has been taken
over by English. But Latin words are not a homogeneous layer. We must
distinguish between those borrowed through the immediate contact at the early
stages of the development of the language and those later borrowings that came
through writing. The first are mostly monosyllabic and denote things of
everyday importance while the latter are mostly polysyllabic bookish words. The
first are completely assimilated: pea, wine, cup, line.
Borrowings of the 5th
century have a military favour about them for the Romans built fortifications,
military camps and roads: port, street, wall. All these words got completely
assimilated in the English language. Many of the Latin borrowings of this
period did not survive but they are sometimes retained in English place-names: Manchester
(castra – camp), Greenwich, Harwich (vicus – village).
Taken together these two
periods form the first stratum of Latin borrowings.
The second great stratum
of Latin words came into English at the end of the 6th-7th
centuries when the people of England were converted to Christianity. Since
Latin was the language of the church many Latin words denoting religious
concepts came into English: abbot, bishop, candle, mass, temple. Some words
changed their meanings. Many Latin words borrowed at that period can be
referred to other spheres of life, such as things of everyday life (cap, chest),
names of vegetables and plants (beet, plant). Since monasteries were also
cultural centres where books were written and translations made such words as
school, verse were borrowed.
Another great influx of
Latin words came through French after the Norman conquest. They are generally
referred to as the 3rd stratum of Latin borrowings. Their original
source is Latin and their immediate source is French.
The greatest stream of
Latin borrowings poured into the English vocabulary during the period of
Renaissance. At that time words belonging to the following spheres were
borrowed: terms of philosophy, mathematics, physics (fundamental, vacuum), terms
of law and government (alibi, veto), terms of botany (mallow, petal), topographical
terms (equator, tropical).
Nowadays when there
appears a need to coin some term it is coined from the existing Latin or Greek
Greek borrowings are
recognised by their specific spelling (ch – character, ph - philosophy, pn –
pneumonia, rh – rhetoric, ist – socialist, ics – mathematics, osis – neurosis).
To a certain extent Greek borrowings
were latinized in form with the change of the Greek u into Latin y, the Greek k
into the Latin c. When the Latin c changed its pronunciation before e, i, y
many Greek words were changed beyond recognition
( kuriakon – church,
kyklos – cycle). Some Greek proper names are widely used in Great Britain (Margaret,
Sophia, Irene). Many Greek words were borrowed during the period of
Renaissance. They belong to the following lexico-semantic fields: literature
and art (poet, comedy), lexicology (antonym, dialect, philosophy and
mathematics (theory, thesis, diagram), medicine (diagnosis, rheumatism),
physics (pneumatic, thermometer).
6. The Scandinavian
Element in the English Vocabulary
The Scandinavian invasion
of England which proved to be of linguistic importance began in the 8th
century. In 1017 the Danes conquered the whole of England and reigned over up
The Danish settlers
intermingled with the native population. The fact of both languages being
Germanic facilitated mutual understanding and word borrowings. That is why it
is difficult sometimes to say whether a word is native or borrowed from
Scandinavian. Words are sometimes considered to be of the Scandinavian origin
if they were not met in Anglo-Saxon written documents up to the 11th
century. Some examples of Scandinavian borrowings are the following: anger
(OSc. angr – sorrow); gate (OSc. gata); sky (OSc. sky – cloud); want ( OSc. vant
– lacking); to hit (OSc. hitta – not to miss); ill (OSc. illr – bad); ugly
(OSc. uggligr – frightful).
Scandinavian words we may sometimes apply the criterion of sound such as [sk] –
skill, scare, scream. The hard [g] and [k] sounds before i and e speak for the
Scandinavian origin of the word since English words started having the
palatalised [j] and [t ] sounds before i and e already in Old English. But
these features are not always sufficient because sometimes we find [sk] in
words of Latin, Greek or French origin or in Northern dialects.
Some English words changed
their meanings taking on the meanings of the corresponding Scandinavian words:
OSc. draurm – dream (OE dream – joy), OSc.– brauth – bread (OE bread – crumb,
in England left their toponymic traces in a great number of place names: OSc. byr
– village (Derby, Rugby); OSc. foss – waterfall (Fossbury, Fossway); OSc. toft –
cite, plot of land (Brimtoft, Langtoft).
7. The Norman-French Element
in the English Vocabulary
The French layer rates
second to Latin in bulk. It has been estimated that English owes one fourth of
its vocabulary to French. French borrowings penetrated into English in two
ways: from the Norman dialect (during the first centuries after the Norman
Conquest of 1066) and from the French national literary language beginning with
the 15th century.
The Normans who conquered
England in 1066 were of Scandinavian origin and their French differed somewhat
from the central dialect of France. During two centuries after the Norman
Conquest the linguistic situation in England was rather complicated; the feudal
lords spoke the Norman dialect of the French language, the people spoke
English, scientific and theological literature was in Latin, the court
literature was in French. Latin and French were used in administration and
school teaching. Still English was in common use and therefore the Norman
dialect was to a certain extent influenced by English in some phonetical and
lexical points. Gradually English assimilated many French words that either
ousted their Saxon equivalents (OE unhope – despair; OE tholemodness – patience),
brought new concepts (exchequer, parliament) or became synonyms to native words
(to help = to aid; weak = feeble).
Before the Norman Conquest
only a few words were borrowed: proud, market.
French words borrowed
during the period of the 12th –16th centuries show the
social status of the Norman invaders and their supremacy in economic, cultural
and political development. At that time a lot of terms were borrowed into the
of rank: duke, prince, baron;
terms: prison, jury, judge;
terms: army, peace, soldier;
terms: pray, faith, saint;
of art: art, beauty, paint;
of architecture: pillar, palace, castle.
In most cases such words
were completely assimilated.
Later French borrowings
can be easily identified by their peculiar form and pronunciation: garage,
8. Various Other Elements
in the English Vocabulary
Quite a number of words
were borrowed from other languages: Dutch, Italian, Spanish. England was in
commercial contact with the Netherlands during the Middle ages. There lived and
worked many skilful Dutch artisans in England (weavers, shipbuilders). Hence,
the terminology of some professions owes much to Dutch and Flemish: cruise,
dock, reef. Among borrowings there are also weaving terms: rock, spool.
Dutch art terms came to
English as a result of the influence of Dutch art (landscape, easel).
The Italian language began
to contribute to the English vocabulary in the16thcentury. Many
Italian words such as military terms entered through French. During the period
of Renaissance Italian culture greatly influenced the cultural life of England.
Many musical terms were borrowed at that time: piano, opera, sonata. Among
borrowings we find artistic terms (studio, fresco), literary terms (stanza,
canto), business terms (bank, traffic), words denoting realities of Italian
life (gondola, macaroni).
Spanish brought some words
as well. Many words belonging to various languages of the native population of
America came through Spanish: banana, canyon, cargo, potato, Negro.
Some Portuguese words came
through French, Spanish and Dutch: caste, fetish. There are not many words
borrowed immediately from Portuguese: tank, cobra, port (wine), emu.
There are borrowings from
the German language: cobalt, quartz, leitmotiv, kindergarten, rucksack.
Some other languages
contributed to the English vocabulary as well. Arabian gave some terms: algebra,
Moslem, mufti, sherbet.
With the beginning of
England’s colonial expansion in the 16th-17th centuries
many words penetrated into the English vocabulary from the languages of
colonial countries: cashmere, jungle, rupee (Hindi), ginseng, serge (Chinese), hara-kiri,
The Russian language also
contributed to the English vocabulary: rouble, kopeck, taiga, sable, sarafan,
In the Ukrainian language
there borrowings from the Polish language (в’язень, застава, ліжко, зичити), from the Check language (брама, праця, вагатися). There also exist Turkic words (кабан, кайдани) in the Ukrainian language.
Words borrowed from the
English language are partially assimilated (футбол, хокей). Some borrowings in the Ukrainian
language are restricted in word-formation. Such words as ноу-хау, от кутюр have no derivatives.
International words are
used in both languages: organisation, telephone, judo, banana. Some
international words can coincide only in one of the meanings. E.g.: the words stress,
faculty, data. They are called pseudointernationalisms.
9. False Etymology
The historical development
of borrowed words often brings about an indistinctness of the word’s
etymological meaning. The words are then wrongly associated with their ultimate
source whereas actually the word may have come through some intermediate
language. The word debt comes not from the Latin word debit but from the French
dette while doubt comes not from the Latin word dubitare but from the French
word doute. But scientists wrongly attributed them directly to the Latin source
and consequently introduced the missing b which never came to be pronounced.
In many cases words lose
their etymological clarity. The word buttery (larder) which came from the Latin
word botaria (Latin bota – barrel, bottle) was wrongly associated with the
English word butter. Such instances of the so-called folk etymology are not
very rare in the English language.
In some cases folk
etymology leads to the appearance of compound words which are tautological. In
the word greyhound the first element of which comes from the Scandinavian grey
(собака) was associated with grey meaning colour.
Sometimes under the
influence of folk etymology the spelling of the word is changed. The word
hiccough was written hicket but it was associated with the word cough and a new
spelling was introduced.
10. Types of Borrowings
1. Aliens – words like
eau-de-Cologne, phenomenon – phenomena, retaining their foreign look, their
phonetical and grammatical peculiarities.
2. Denizens – loan-words
that received the “right of citizenship” in English and are not easily
recognised as borrowings (wine, table).
3. Barbarisms – words
usually having synonyms among the completely assimilated or native words
limited to official, literary, bookish usage (en regale, tete-a-tete).
4. Translation loans – a
word-for-word or element—for-element translation of a unit of the lexical
source language (blue stocking, collective farm).
5. Semantic borrowings –
the words which changed their meanings under the influence of a foreign
language: cadres (військовий персонал – кадри).
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF
of classifying the vocabulary.
1. Ways of Classifying the
The whole of the
word-stock of the English language can be divided into three main layers: the
literary layer, the neutral layer and the colloquial layer. The literary and
colloquial layers contain a number of subgroups each of which has a property it
shares with all the subgroups within the layer. Prof. I. Galperin calls this common property the
aspect. The aspect of the literary layer is its markedly bookish character. It
makes the layer more or less stable. The aspect of the colloquial layer is its
lively spoken character which makes the layer unstable. The aspect of the neutral
layer is its universal character. That means it is unrestricted in its use. It
can be used in all styles of the language. It is this feature that makes the
layer the most stable of all.
The subgroups of the
special literary vocabulary are the following: terms, poetical words,
foreignisms and barbarisms, archaic words, nonce-words.
The subgroups of the
special colloquial layer are such: dialectical words, vulgarisms, slang,
jargon, professionalisms, nonce-words.
The common literary,
neutral and common colloquial words are grouped under the term Standard English
vocabulary. Other groups in the literary layer are regarded as special literary
vocabulary and those in the colloquial layer are regarded as special colloquial
Words can be classified
from the point of view of their origin. They can be native and borrowed (See
the previous chapter).
2. Special Literary
Neologisms are words and
expressions used for new concepts that appear in the course of the language
development, new meanings of the already existing words and new names of old
Neologisms appear all the
time. The words table, sky once were neologisms. But soon they became vital and
widespread to be felt neologisms. Names of different fruit, species were new
names of new concepts (pea, cherry, pepper). The introduction of Christianity
brought with it a great number of new concepts and words (church, candle). The
Norman Conquest also contributed to the enrichment of the English vocabulary (army).
The development of
industry, the development of technology, new inventions caused the appearance
of new words (film, television, self-starter).
A great number of
neologisms appeared during the periods of great social upheavals (machine,
After the Bourgeois
Revolution in France there appeared such words as bureaucracy, revolution,
After World War I such
neologisms as blackout, camouflage, air-raid appeared.
After World War II such
words as H-bomb, the UNO, cold war entered the language.
In the 70-s of the 20th
century neologisms were connected with all spheres of life: computerization (multi-user,
neurocomputer, liveware, telepost, telebanking,
finger-print) ; exploration of space (space-bike,
cargo-module, link-up); development of the arts (soft art, action painting,
kinetic art; development of cinema, TV, video (inflight videosystem,
satellite-delivered show, kidvid); theatrical art (theatre of absurd, son et lumiere,
revolve); social development (the Lib movement, libbie). In the 70s libbies
declared that the English language discriminated women. As a result of it the
names denoting occupations and containing the element man underwent some
changes. The word cameraman was substituted by operator, fireman –
fire-fighter, chairman – chairperson, policeman – police officer. Even in
church the word mankind was substituted by people. At the same time the names
of women’s professions were changed: stewardess – flight attendant, nurse –
male nurse, male secretary. He/she in written speech is used when both sexes
are meant. S/he variant is less frequently used.
In the 80-s – 90-s of the
20th century neologisms were connected with lifestyles (belonger,
ladies who lunch, theme pub); computerisation (laptop, to back up, to toggle);
economics (sunrise industry, sunset industry, dawn raid); music (acid house,
MTV, New Age music); mass media (video nasty, video piracy, tabloid television);
art (crossfader, body-popping); medicine (to burn out, PWA, ME); education (baker
day, City technology college ; fashion (body conscious, leisure wear); cookery (jacket
crisp, tapas, yarg).
New semi-affixes were
registered: -driven/led (market-led, design-driven); -friendly
(environment-friendly, student-friendly); -something (thirty-something,
fifty-something); -ware (software, hardware, wetware); -wise (power-wise,
money-wise); loadsa- (loadsamoney, loadsabonuses).
Neologisms can be divided
into three groups: neologisms proper in which the novelty of the form is
combined with the novelty of the contents (audiotyping, bio-computer,
thought-processor); transnominations which combine the novelty of the form with
the meaning which was already rendered by another form (sudser, big C,
bail-out); semantic innovations in which a new meaning is rendered by a form
which already exists in the language (bread, drag, gas).
The English language
enriches its vocabulary at the expense of borrowings but it happens not so
frequently as it was in the Middle Ages or during the period of Renaissance.
From the receiving language it turned into the language that gives. It is
connected with the fact that it became the language of international communication.
Borrowings constitute about 7,5% of all neologisms. The main source of
borrowings is French (cinematheque, petit dejeuner). But there appeared a new
tendency to borrow words from Japanese (zazen), Yiddish (nudge, zoftig, shlep).
Recently there have
appeared many borrowings in the Ukrainian language: електорат, Інтернет, гіпсокартон,
Language is never stable.
In the course of time the vocabulary changes by being supplemented with new
words which come into being with the development of science and culture. A
certain number of obsolete words usually drop out of the vocabulary of the language.
Obsolete words pass out of use completely or remain in the language as elements
performing purely historical descriptive functions. The disappearance of old
occupations causes the disappearance of their old names. The names of such old
occupations can be preserved as family names: Chandler (candle maker), Webster (weaver),
Wright (worker). Archaic words can be preserved in proverbs: Many a little makes
a mickel. The verb to read in the old meaning to interpret, to guess survived
in to read a riddle. An old sense of favour (features, looks) survived in
hard-favoured, ill-favoured, well-favoured. The preposition on was once common
in the meaning because of. This meaning survives in on purpose, on compulsion.
The preposition with originally meant against and now this meaning is preserved
in withdraw, withstand. Archaic are the following adverbs: therefore,
therefrom, wherein, thereon. Archaic are the participles ending in -en:
drunken, gotten, washen.
Archaisms surviving in
compounds, phraseological units are only partly understood as archaisms. Oft is
not archaic when combined with present and past participles as in
oft-recurring. Told is a survival of the Old English word tellan (to count) in
In colloquial speech he word
aught survives in for aught I know
(As far as I know).
Archaisms can be
classified into lexical and grammatical. Lexical archaisms are words: woe
(sorrow), nigh (near), aught (anything). Grammatical archaisms are old
grammatical forms: thou (you), the -est inflexion for the 2nd person
singular, -th for the 3rd person singular, the plural form of brother
(brethren), tense forms like wilt, spake, builded.
Historisms belong to
obsolete words. The causes of their appearance are extralinguistic. It is the
denotatum that is outdated. They are very numerous as names for social
relations and institutions and objects of material culture of the past. The
names of ancient weapons, types of boats, types of carriages, instruments
belong to historisms: battle axe, battering ram.
Archaisms differ from
historisms in this respect that they are obsolete names for existing objects.
Archaisms always have synonyms : to deem - to think, glee – joy.
Obsolete words survived as
parts of compound words. The word gar, an old word for spear, survives in
garlic, garfish. The word mara (incubus, an evil spirit) survives in nightmare.
One can also speak about
obsolete meanings not only about obsolete words. Thus, to come used to mean to
be seemly or becoming, to fall was used in the meaning of to move quickly. But
these meanings are practically forgotten now.
Ukrainian archaic words are: чоло, перст, всує, ланіти, узріти.
Смерд, війт, кожум’яка, плахта, аршин are historisms.
3. Special Colloquial
The history of the English
language begins with the incursions of the Germanic tribes in the middle of the
5th century. The Jutes came first and occupied the smallest
territory (Kent and the Isle of Wight). The Saxons occupied practically all of
England south of the Thames with the exception of the Jutish territories and
Cornwall. They also occupied some territories north of the Thames. The Angles
occupied the greater part of what is now England.
The first dialect that
could lay claim to literary precedence was the Northumbrian, the language of
the kingdom of Northumbria , including the north of England and the south of
Scotland. Other dialects which had grown apart by the 8th century
were Mercian, Saxon, Kentish. After the fall of Northumbria from its political
supremacy Northumbrian sank to the position of a provincial dialect and under
King Alfred in the 9th century the West Saxon dialect came to be
predominant and was regarded as a literary language.
The Norman Conquest
displaced the southern dialect of Wessex from the position of supremacy. The
West Saxon sank to the level of other dialects.
The development of feudalism
in England tended to create dialectical divergences of speech. During the 12th-
13th centuries there existed a number of dialects each of which had
as much right as any other to be called the English language. During the Middle
English period there existed the following dialects: Northern, Midland,
Southern. The Northern dialect was the descendant of the Northumbrian dialect
of Old English. Later a variety of the Northumbrian dialect was developed into
the Scottish language. The Midland dialect was the descendant of the Mercian
dialect of the Old English period. It was divided into two distinct varieties:
East Midland and West Midland. The Southern dialect was spoken between the
Thames and the English Channel. It was a descendant of the West Saxon dialect. Of
these three dialects it was the Midland dialect that became the national
language of the country. The reason that led to the predominance of the Midland
dialect was a large territory which was most important economically,
politically and culturally.
The dialect of London was
the dialect of such cultural centres as Oxford and Cambridge. It was the form
of speech native to Chaucer who wrote in the Midland dialect and contributed
greatly to raising it to the position of superiority.
peculiarities observed in some of the elements of the Modern English vocabulary
go back to the dialects of Old English and to the subsequent dialectical
division of the feudal epoch. Those Old English words that were not included
into the most stable and widely used layer of the English vocabulary are often
preserved in dialects: bairn (child), kemp (fighter). Sometimes dialectical
words are not remnants of Old English words but corrupted words and
expressions, such as nammut (lunch), gurt (great), zote (soft).
There are also borrowed
words used only in dialects: bonny (pretty), tass (cup).
As far as grammatical
peculiarities are concerned the following cases can be mentioned: the usage of
I be in the South , I is in the North. In the South they use the interrogative
and negative constructions without the auxiliary do.
There is one more dialect
that enjoys a somewhat peculiar position for it can be met almost anywhere in
English-speaking countries – Cockney. Its lexical, phonetical and grammatical
peculiarities can be found in the speech of Eliza Doolittle in B.Shaw’s
There are two kinds of
ordinary Cockney: – the variety of Modified Standard speech which is the
typical Cockney English of London, as spoken by educated middle-class people; -
the variety of Modified Standard which is also heard in London but which is
spoken by the semi-literate and quite illiterate.
There are several
peculiarities of Cockney. In pronunciation speakers consistently drop the sound
[h] where it ought to be heard and put in [h] where there is none: ’am an’ heggs
(ham and eggs), I ’ate (I hate), in the hopen air (in the open air).
The substitution of [n] by
[n] is quite a common thing: mornin’, goin’, puddin’.
The sounds [d] and [t] are
also frequently dropped as in an’ (and), hobjec’ (object), nex’ (next).
The sound [w] is dropped :
The diphthong shift is
characteristic of Cockney: [ai] is used instead of [ei], [oi] instead of [ai],
[au] instead of [ou].
The Cockney grammar
exhibits several anomalies: I’s bin (have been); I ain’t (am not); I, we, you
calls; we, you was; I has; he do.
In the Ukrainian language
there are three groups of territorial dialects: northern, south-eastern,
south-western. E.g.: in the northern dialect such words can be found as: коросліп (пролісок), веселуха (райдуга), хупавий
(гарний), жалива (кропива), скот (худоба), но (але) are used in the south-eastern
dialect. In the northern dialect such words as бараболя (картопля), стрий (дядько по
батькові), банітувати (лаяти), пантрувати (стежити) are used.
By slang we mean words or phrases in common
colloquial usage in some or all of their senses hanging on the outskirts of the
literary language but continually forcing their way into it. On the other hand,
the term is often applied to the words and phrases peculiar to people of some
class or profession. Slang is often humorous, witty. It is more and more
penetrating into the literary language. The slang word is a deliberate
substitute for a word of the vernacular just as a nickname is a substitute for
a personal name. Slang is unstable and it has no fixed meaning.
Slang can be of two types:
general and special. General slang includes words that are not specific for any
social or professional group: bean, block, dome, upper storey for a head; three
sheets in the wind, half-seas-over, pin-eyed for drunk. Базар (розмова), здрейфити
(злякатися), наїжджати (чіплятися, погрожувати, кльово (дуже добре) are used in the Ukrainian language.
Special slang is peculiar
for some groups of people: university slang, football slang etc.
Special slang should be
distinguished from terms. When the word is the only name for the special notion
it belongs not to slang but to terminology. If the word is a jocular name for
something that can be described in some other way it is slang. There are cases
when words originated as professional slang later assumed the dignity of
special terms or passed on into general slang. The expression to be on the beam
was first used by pilots about the beam of the radio beacon indicating the
proper course for the aircraft to follow. Then figuratively to be on the beam
came to mean to be right and to be off the beam began to mean to be at a loss.
The most important
peculiarities of slang concern the plane of content not the plane of form. The
lexical meaning of a slang word contains not only the denotational component
but also an emotive component. Slang words are clearly motivated: cradle-snatcher
(an old man who marries a young woman); belly-robber (the head of a military
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
A – Adjective
Adv – Adverb
Lat – Latin
N – Noun
N’s – Noun in the Genitive
Num – Numeral
OE – Old English
OFr – Old French
OSc – Old Scandinavian
Prep - Preposition
V - Verb
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