It is often due to resemblance of form, position, colour, similarity of function. It is change from concrete to abstract, from specific to general

Types of meaning.

1) Grammatical is a component of meaning, recurrent in identical sets of individual forms of words (e.g. plural of nouns, Past Indefinite etc.).

2) Lexical meaning has denotational and connotational components.

The denotational component expresses notional content of a word and makes communication possible. Denotation expression of main meaning, meaning proper of a linguistic unit, in contrast to its connotation.

Connotational component additional semantic meaning.

Types of connotation: EmotiveEvaluativeConnotation of duration and cause.

Connotation supplementary meaning and stylistic shade that is added to the words main meaning and express all sorts of emotional, expressive overtones.


A word having several meanings is called polysemantic.

The ability of words to have more than one meaning is named polysemy.

The system of meanings of every polysemantic word develops gradually, over the centuries. As more meanings are added, some of old meanings may be lost.

There are 2 levels of analysis of semantic structure of polysemantic words.

1) The semantic structure of a word is treated as the system of meanings.

E.g.: fire 1) flame () 2) an instance of destructive burning () 3) burning material in the stove, fireplace () 4) the shooting of guns ( ) 5) strong feeling, passion 6) strong pain.

Meaning 1 is a dominant, describes concept in the most general way, other meanings are associated with special aspects of the same phenomenon. Meaning 1 is a centre of semantic structure and is the main meaning. Meanings 2-6 are secondary meanings and can be associated with one another.

Each meaning can be divided into semantic components.


Word meaning changes in the course of historical development of language under the influence of extralinguistic and linguistic factors.

Extralinguistic factors changes in the life of speech community, changes in economic and social structure, ideas, way of life as reflected in a word meaning.

E.g.: car any 4-wheeled wagon; motor-car

Linguistic factors development of language system itself. E.g.: deer O.E. any animal; Modern E. .


Types of changing of meaning.

1) Extension extension of a word range, when the exact denotation is lost and the words meaning extends and is generalized.

It is often due to resemblance of form, position, colour, similarity of function. It is change from concrete to abstract, from specific to general.

E.g.: country - To fly .

New meaning is wider and more abstract.

2) Narrowing a word of wide meaning gets narrower, specialized sense. Its usage is restricted to some objects. E.g.: corpse - - field .

3) Transference (metaphor and metonymy).

Metaphor transference of name, based on association of similarity. A new meaning appears as a result of associating 2 objects due to their outer similarity.

Metaphor is based on different types of similarity.

E.g.: a head of a cabbage (shape) Long distance long speech (duration of time and space) Short line short time (duration of time and space)

Transition of proper names into common:Don Juan,Adonys,Narcissus,Cl,Hercules,Don Quixote

Metonymy transference of meaning based upon association of contiguity. The name of one thing is changed for the name of another thing to which it is related by association.

The transference may be influenced by many relations:

Spatial: house House of Commons, chair chairman, department, cash safe.

Causial: youth young people, old age old people.

Symbolic:the British Crownmonarchy,White HouseUS president,Capitol-USCongress,Fort KnoxUS go

Instrumental: hand handwriting.

Common names derived from proper: diesel, mackintosh.

4) Elevation changes depending on the attitude to the object named, connected with social evaluation. It is change from humble meaning to position of greater importance.

E.g.:fond: foolish lovingNice: foolish fineLord: master of the house title Lady:

5) Degradation change by which for one reason or another a word falls into a derogatory emotive change.

A change in denotational component brings extension or restriction of meaning.

A change in connotational component results in elevation or degradation of meaning.

E.g.:knave: boythiefVillainpeasantservantrascal Bubble



Morpheme is the minimum meaningful language unit, constituent part of words, not independent, not divided into smaller meaningful units.

Types of morphemes:

Root morpheme lexical nucleus of the word. It has a very general and abstract lexical meaning, common to a set of semantically related words, constituting one word cluster. Besides lexical meaning, root morphemes possess other types of meaning, proper to morphemes, except the part-of-speech meaning, which is not found in roots.

Affixational morphemes, which are divided into inflexional affixes (inflexions) and derivational affixes (prefixes and suffixes). They are lexically dependent on the root they modify.

Inflexions carry only grammatical meaning and are relevant only for the formation of word forms.

Derivational affixes are relevant for building various types of words.

Lexicology is concerned only with derivational affixes.


Morphemes may be:

Free coincide with word forms of independently functioning words. Free morphemes can be found only among roots. E.g.: boy, undesirable, screensaver

Bound do not coincide with independently functioning words. These are prefixes and suffixes.

E.g.: -un, -able, -er, -dis, re-

Positional variant of morpheme occurring in the specific environment and characterized by complementary distribution is called allomorph.

E.g.: allomorphs of prefix in-: il- (illegal, illogical) im- (impossible, impolite) ir- (irregular, irrational)

Between the inflexions allomorphs also occur (variants of pronunciation of plural ending s, ending ed).


According to number of morphemes words are classified into monomorphic and polymorphic.

Monomorphic (root) word consists of only one root morpheme (cat, book, knife).

Polymorphic words are divided into:

Derived words, which are composed of one root morpheme and one or several derivational morphemes (disagree, illness, impossibility, unlikely).

Compound wordscontain at least 2 root morphemes and number of derivational morphemes is insignificant. There can be root and derivational morphemes (lampshade, light-mindedness).


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