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English Lexicology (III)
Contents
8. Word Meaning
 9. Sense Relations

To be continued
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Chapter 8 Word Meaning
8.1 Types of Word Meaning
8.2 Grammatical Meaning
8.3 Lexical meaning
8.4 Conceptual meaning
8.5 Associative meaning
8.1 Types of Word Meaning
Word Meaning
Grammatical
Meaning
Lexical
Meaning
Conceptual
Meaning
Associative
Meaning
Connotative meaning
Stylistic meaning
Affective meaning
Collocative meaning
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8.2 Grammatical Meaning
 Grammatical
meaning(语法意义)refers to that
part of meaning of the word which indicates
grammatical concept or relationships such as
the word class, singular and plural forms of
nouns, tense meaning of verbs and their
inflectional forms (forget, forgets, forgot,
forgotten, forgetting).
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8.3 Lexical meaning
 Lexical
meaning(词汇意义) is the meaning of an
isolated word in a dictionary. This component of
meaning is identical in all the forms of the word.

E.g. ‘go, goes, went, gone, going’ possess
different grammatical meaning. But they
have the same lexical meaning expressing
the process of movement.
 Lexical
meaning itself has two components:
conceptual meaning and associative meaning.
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8.4 Conceptual meaning
 Conceptual
meaning(概念意义) (also known as
denotative meaning) is the meaning given in the
dictionary and forms the core of word meaning.
Conceptual meaning forms the basis for
communication as the same word has the same
conceptual meaning to all the speakers of the
same language.
Sun: a heavenly body which gives off light,
heat,and energy
 Mother: a female parent

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8.5 Associative meaning
 Associate
meaning(关联意义) is the secondary
meaning supplemented to the conceptual
meaning. It differs from the conceptual meaning
in that it is liable to the influence of such factors
as culture, experience, religion, geographical
region, class background, education,etc.
 Associative meaning comprises four types:
connotative meaning, stylistic meaning, affective
meaning, and collocative meaning.
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8.5 Associative meaning

Connotative meaning (内涵意义)

In contrast to denotative meaning, connotative meaning
refers to the overtones or associations which a word
suggests or implies.



Mother (a female parent) is often associated with
‘love’, ‘care’, ‘tenderness’, ‘forgiving’, etc.
Home (a dwelling place) may suggest ‘family, warmth,
safety, love, convenience’, etc. ‘East or west, home
is best’.
Statesman implies ‘loyalty, devotion to public
welfare’; politician implies ‘deceit, power-drunk,
bragging, villainy’.
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8.5 Associative meaning
 Connotative meaning
 For
people with different cultural backgrounds, a
word might evoke different associations.
China
magpie Good luck, good will
owl
red
Britain
wordiness
bad luck, malignance composure, wisdom
happiness, good luck, unfavoured state
success
‘red-light district’
‘red flags’
‘in the red”
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8.5 Associative meaning
 Stylistic meaning(文体意义)
 Words
may have stylistic features, which make
them appropriate for different contexts.
 This stylistic difference is especially true of
synonyms. It is observed that there are few
words which have both the same conceptual
meaning and stylistic meaning.
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8.5 Associative meaning
 Stylistic meaning
 Degrees
of formality
Formal
 Neutral/Common
 Informal/ Colloquial

 Examples
male parent, father, daddy
 residence, home, pad

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8.5 Associative meaning
 Stylistic meaning
 bodily----corporal
 brotherly---fraternal
 tooth----dental
 blood----sanguinary
 hereby,
thereby, therefore, however, moreover,
furthermore
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8.5 Associative meaning

Affective meaning(情感意义)


Affective meaning indicates the speaker’s attitude
towards the person or thing in question.
Words that have emotive values may fall into two
categories:


Appreciative or commendatory(褒义): words of
positive overtones used to show appreciation or
approval.
Pejorative or derogatory(贬义): words of negative
connotations imply disapproval, contempt or
criticism.
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8.5 Associative meaning
 Affective meaning
 Appreciative

love, cherish, prize, treasure, admire,
worship, charm, fascinate, attract
 Pejorative

hate, detest, loathe, abominate, vicious,
good-for-nothing
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8.5 Associative meaning
 Affective meaning
 This
affective difference is especially true of
synonyms.
Appreciative
gathering
Neutral
crowd
Pejorative
mob
senior citizen
slender,slim
unique
old person
thin
unusual
fossil
skinny
bizarre
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8.5 Associative meaning
 Collocative meaning(搭配意义)
 Collocative
meaning consists of the associations
a word acquires in its collocation. In other words,
it is that part of the word meaning suggested by
the words before or after the word in discussion.
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8.5 Associative meaning
 Collocative meaning
 ‘A bit
or a little’ collocates with words of negative
connotations: drunk, jealous, gloomy, tired,
worried…
 ‘Highly’ collocates with words of positive
connotations: important, significant, intelligent,
sensitive…
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8.5 Associative meaning
 Collocative meaning
 wide
awake, fully awake, sound asleep, far apart
(‘Very’ is inappropriate here)
 tremble with fear, quiver with excitement
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Chapter 9 Sense Relations
9.1 Sense Relations
9.2 Hyponymy
9.3 Synonymy
9.4 Antonymy
9.5 Homonymy
9.1 Sense Relations
 What are sense relations(语义关系)?
 Words
are arbitrary symbols and are
independent identities so far as heir outer facet--spelling and pronunciation, is concerned. But
semantically, all words are related in one way or
another, hence sense relations. In light of sense
relations, words can be classified semantically.
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9.1 Sense Relations
 Types of sense relations
 Hyponymy(上下义关系)---semantic
inclusion
 Synonymy(同义关系)---semantic similarity
 Antonymy(反义关系)---semantic opposition
 Homonymy(同形或同音异义关系)
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9.2 Hyponymy
 The definition of hyponymy
 Hyponymy
deals with the relationship of
semantic inclusion. It refers to the relationship
which obtains between the genus (general lexical
item)and the species(specific lexical items).
The general lexical item is called the
superordinate(上义词).
 The specific words are known as
hyponyms(下义词).

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9.2 Hyponymy
literature
prose
novel
fiction
drama
novelette
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poetry
short story
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9.2 Hyponymy
sports
swimming
ball games
weight-lifting
wrestling
athletics
running race
running
long-distance race
gymnastics
sprinting
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boxing
hurdle race
relay
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9.2 Hyponymy

The semantic field theory(语义场理论)


The vocabulary of a language is not simply a listing of
independent items, but is organized into areas or fields,
the members of which are joined together by some
common semantic component. The whole vocabulary
can be divided up into fields. Words in each field are
semantically related and define one another. Vocabulary
is seen as ‘ an integrated system of lexemes interrelated
in sense’.
------Jost Trier (a German linguist)
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9.2 Hyponymy

The semantic field theory

Most languages share same semantic fields.








Time
Space
Age
Kinship
Food
Color
Emotion
………
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9.2 Hyponymy
 The semantic field theory
 The
semantic field of the same concept may not
have the same members in different languages,
thus lexical gaps(词汇空缺) occur.
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9.2 Hyponymy
 The semantic field theory
 The
semantic field of kinship
Members in English: 13----father, mother,
son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt,
nephew, niece, cousin, husband, wife.
 Members in Chinese: ……….

 The
semantic field of food
hot dog, sandwich, hamburger
 豆腐, 馒头

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9.2 Hyponymy
 The semantic field theory
emotion
joy
hate
fear
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grief
love
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9.2 Hyponymy
 Implications of semantic field for vocabulary
learning
character/ virtue
easy-going, aggressive, arrogant, self-conceited,
modest,considerate, sympathetic, extrovert, introvert,
amicable, Ambitious, honest, loyal, obedient,
strong-willed, Iron-willed, trustworthy, obstinate,
stubborn, unyielding, confident
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9.3 Synonymy
 Types of synonyms
 Absolute
or perfect synonyms: words which are
identical in meaning in all its aspects, I.e. both in
grammatical and lexical meaning, including
conceptual and associative meaning. Such
synonyms are rare in natural languages.
compounding and composition;
 word building and word-formation;
 malnutrition and undernourishment

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9.3 Synonymy
 Types of synonyms
 Relative
or partial synonyms: words which are
similar or nearly the same in denotation, but
embrace different shades of meaning or different
degree of a given quality. It is this type of
synonyms we shall deal with here.
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9.3 Synonymy
 Sources of synonyms
 Borrowing
Native
room
foe
help
leave
bodily
Borrowed
chamber
enemy
aid
depart
corporal
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9.3 Synonymy
 Sources of synonyms
 Borrowing
Native
French
Latin
time
age
epoch
belly
stomach
abdomen
fire
flame
conflagration
ask
question
interrogate
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9.3 Synonymy
 Sources of synonyms
 Dialects
lift
tube
petrol
call box
charm
and regional English
elevator
subway
gasoline
telephone booth
glamour (ScotE)
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9.3 Synonymy
 Sources of synonyms
 Figurative
and euphemistic of words
occupation
walk of life
dreamer
star-gazer
drunk
elevated
lie
distort the fact
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9.3 Synonymy
 Sources of synonyms
 Coincidence
pick up
give up
go on with
put off
win
hesitate
with idiomatic expressions
choose
abandon
continue
postpone
gain the upper hand
be in two minds
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9.3 Synonymy
 Semantically synonymous field(同义语义场)
 Base
on semantic similarity, synonyms are
usually arranged into synonymic groups or sets.
Within this groups there is the most general term
known as “synonymic dominant”(主导同义词).
The synonymic dominant is the common
denotational component that brings two or more
words together into a synonymic group(同义词
群), which can be called a semantically
synonymous field.
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9.3 Synonymy
 Semantically synonymous field
synonymic synonymic group
dominant
Leave
depart, quit, retire, withdraw,
exit…
Look
stare, gaze, eye, peep,
glance…
Picture
painting, photo, drawing…
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9.3 Synonymy

Implications of Semantically synonymous field

General------specific


Say/speak: murmur, scream, retort, argue, protest,
claim, state, declare
Monotony----vividness



We have but one aim and one single, irrevocable
purpose. We are resolved to destroy Hitler and every
vestige of the Nazi regime. From this nothing will
turn us, nothing. We will never parley, we will never
negotiate with Hitler or any of his gangs.
-------Winston Churchill
Barbie doll’s fashion: fashions, costumes, outfits,
apparel, dress…..
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9.3 Synonymy

Discrimination of synonyms

Difference in denotation
------look: stare, gaze, eye, peep, glance
------laugh: chortle, chuckle, giggle, guffaw,
snicker/snigger, titter
------extend, increase, expand
-------make one’s way: thread one’s way, dig one’s way,
break one’s way, push one’s way, shoulder one’s way,
elbow one’s way, worm one’s way
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9.3 Synonymy
 Discrimination of synonyms
 Difference
in denotation
-----let, allow, permit
-----want, wish, desire
-----rich, wealthy
-----big, large, huge
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9.3 Synonymy
 Discrimination of synonyms
 Difference
in denotation
------chilly, frigid, icy, cold, frosty, cool
Cool-----chilly-----cold-----frosty-----frigid-----icy
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9.3 Synonymy
 Discrimination of synonyms
 Difference
in connotation
Differ in emotional coloring
 Differ in stylistic coloring

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9.3 Synonymy
 Discrimination of synonyms
 Difference
in collocation
-----empty (box, street, room), vacant (seat,
chair, apartment), blank (check, a blank
sheet of paper)
------a large (not big) amount/number/quantity
of…
------great courage/confidence/wisdom
------make efforts, take measures
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9.3 Synonymy

Discrimination of synonyms

Difference in collocation
-----accuse….of, charge…with, rebuke…for,
reproach…with/for
-----a lump of sugar, a sheet of paper, a slice of
meat/bread, a cake of soap, a chunk of wood
-----a flock of sheep/goats/birds, a herb of
cows/elephants/zebras/antelopes, a school of
fish/whales/dolphins, a swarm of
ants/bees/wasps/locusts, a stable of horses, a pride
of lions
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9.3 Synonymy
 Discrimination of synonyms
 Difference
in distribution
Pre-modifier VS post-modifier
---He is the greatest living novelist in England.
---He is the greatest novelist alive in England.
---Don’t disturb the sleeping old man.
---Don’t disturb the old man asleep.
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9.3 Synonymy
 Discrimination of synonyms
abolish, cancel, extinguish, eliminate
losing team was eliminated from further
competition.
 Firefighters extinguished a big fire.
cancelled because of
 The meeting has been
the flu.
abolished the tax on alcohol.
 The government
 The
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9.3 Synonymy
 Discrimination of synonyms
abstract, outline, summary
outline of ideas she wanted to
made an
present in her talk.
abstract of his book.
 I have read the
 The chemistry book had a summary at the end
of each chapter.
 She
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9.3 Synonymy
 Discrimination of synonyms
absurd, ridiculous, silly
is ridiculous to judge a foreign culture only
by its food.
absurd
 There was an
idea that the earth
was flat and motionless.
silly
 You were very
to trust him.
 It
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9.3 Synonymy

Discrimination of synonyms
accommodate, afford, furnish





Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of
knowledge, it is thinking that makes what we read ours.
This hotel can accommodate up to 500 guests.
afford that expensive sports car.
We can't
The company accommodated the customer's wish and
sent the delivery overnight.
affords
The tall building
a beautiful view of the
ocean.
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9.3 Synonymy
 Discrimination of synonyms
accuse, charge, rebuke
 The
boss
negligence
 The police
 The police
rebuked
accused
charged
him strongly for his
him of theft.
him with murder.
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9.3 Synonymy
 Discrimination of synonyms
acute, critical, crucial, urgent




acute
An
lack of food brought hunger to the Iraqi
people.
It is critical that you study hard for the exam or you
will fail it.
crucial
Improved consumer confidence is
to an
economic recovery.
urgent
We have an
need for help; we are running
out of water.
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9.3 Synonymy

Discrimination of synonyms
ambiguous, obscure, vague, unclear, dim





It is unclear whether the economy will get better.
His changes of recovery from illness are
.
dim
He has some
ideas about what to do, but
vague
nothing specific.
His ambiguous directions confused us; we did not know
which of the two roads to take.
The poetry of Ezra Pound is sometimes difficult to
understand
because
it
contains
so
many
------------ ------ references.
obscure
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9.4 Antonymy
 The definition of antonymy
 Antonymy
is concerned with semantic
opposition. Antonyms can be defined as words
which are opposite in meaning. They are a
variety of “oppositeness”. They can be classified
into three major groups.
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9.4 Antonymy
 Types of antonyms
 Contraries
 Complementaries
 Conversives
 Semantic
incompatibles
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9.4 Antonymy
 Contraries(相对反义词/两极反义词)
 Antonyms
of this type are best viewed in terms
of a scale running between two poles or
extremes. The two opposites are gradable.
hot, warm, cool, cold
 beautiful, pretty, good-looking, plain, ugly
 old-young, open-close, big-small, poor-rich

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9.4 Antonymy
 Complementaries(绝对反义词/互补反义词)
 These
antonyms truly represent oppositeness.
They are so opposed to each other that they are
mutually exclusive and admit no possibility
between them (non-gradable).
dead-alive, present-absent, male-female,
true-false, approval-disapproval, capableincapable
 Prefixes: dis-, in-, il-, ir-, im-, un-……

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9.4 Antonymy
 Conversives(换位反义词/关系反义词)
 This
third type consists of relational opposites.
Husband-wife, fiancé-fiancée, employeremployee, debtor-creditor
 Above-below, in front of-behind, up-down
 Buy-sell, give-receive, go-come, gain-lose

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9.4 Antonymy
 Semantic incompatibles(多项不相容词)
 North,
south, east, west
 Spring, summer, autumn, winter
 January, February, March,……December
 Sunday, Monday, ….Saturday
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9.4 Antonymy
 A word can have more than one antonyms
 Fresh
bread------stale bread
 Fresh air-----stuffy air
 Fresh flowers-----faded flowers
 Fresh look----tired look
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9.4 Antonymy
 Stylistic purpose of the use of antonyms
 To
achieve emphasis by putting contrasting
ideas together, to express economically the
opposite of a particular thought.
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9.4 Antonymy
 Stylistic purpose of the use of antonyms
 United
we stand, divided we fall.
 Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
 Visible darkness, a victorious defeat, a clever
fool, an open secret, painful pleasure, cruel
kindness.
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9.4 Antonymy
 Stylistic purpose of the use of antonyms

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the
age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the
epoch of belief, it was the era of incredulity; it was the
season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the
Spring of Hope, it was the Winter of Despair; we had
everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all
going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other
way.
(Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)
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