Grammar. Grammatical meaning


Иностранные языки, филология и лингвистика

When we name very general statements about grammar, we are idealizing about the language system, identifying broad patterns. grammar has evolved to fossilitate the expression of basic meanings. Meanings which are so inexpensible and so commonly occuring, that we require an economical means of expressing them. It would be absurd if we had to elaborate entirely new strings of words whenever we wanted to observe things around us. grammatical meaning is closely



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grammar is essentially a limited set of devices for expressing certain kinds of necessary meaning that cannot be conveyed by referential vocabulary alone.

As things become more and more specific, they tend more and more to be realized by the choice of a lexical item, than the choice of a grammatical cat.

When we name very general statements about grammar, we are idealizing about the language system, identifying broad patterns. grammar has evolved to fossilitate the expression of basic meanings. Meanings which are so inexpensible and so commonly occuring, that we require an economical means of expressing them. It would be absurd if we had to elaborate entirely new strings of words whenever we wanted to observe things around us. grammatical meaning is closely ????? with lexical meaning. lexical meaning is concrete, grammatical- abstract. Grammatical meaning concerns itself, not with the concrete meanings of separate words, but with meanings charatceristic of whole classes of words. the difference lies in their meaning: grammatical meaning is relational, lexical meaning. Also lies in the form of their expression : lexical is rended by words and combinations, grammatical- by grammatical forms, word order, stress. Lexical meanings form the basis of thought. They are independent. Grammatical meanings organize thought, so they are dependent on lexical meaning they acompany.

Lexical meanings are connected with definite lexical meaning.

Grammatical meaning is generalizing.

Lecixal meanings are always individual, grammatical are not individual.

LM apperaed earlier than GM (they generalize LM). Every unit of a lexicon has GM.

LM are specific in different languages. And the system of Gm is more or less universal in different languages. (Category of number, time, nouns and verbs, quality)

Each part of speech has a specific set of grammatical meanings. English nouns have categories of number and case.

GM is realised in this or that form. A Gform is a sumtotal of all the formal means constantly employed to render this or that grammatical meaning. The sumtotal of Gmeans used to convey a certain GM is called a grammeme. The present tense grammeme comprises the zero exponent for the 1st and 2d person singular and plural, and the 3d person plural/ and the inflection of es/s for the 3 person singular. A zero exponent represents a meaningful absence of any outword sign. Homogenious grammemes build up a grammatical category. Grammemes possessing a common generalized GM. The notions grammatical form, grammeme and Gcategory build a 3- level hierarchy:

1. The GForm constitutes the lowest level on the rank scale.

2. A grammeme, which is a unity of homogenious gforms

3. Gcategory which is a unity of homogenious grammemes.

The Gform never characterizes the word as a whole. one and the same form can render the meanings of different Gcategories. One form cannot combine in itself 2 meanings of one and the same category.

There are no isolated grammatical forms. Each of them makes part of this or that Gcategory.

Types of Gcategories:

1. Nominal/ verbal categories. Nominal( category of number, case, gender)/ verbal (category of aspect, mood, voice, tense, number)

2. General/ particular. 1st approach: generalC is a category of tense in general (all languages) and particular in one language (english). 2d approach: the generalC of number can be divided into 2 particula categories of number: singular and plural.

3. Inflectional/ classifying. Inflectional (category of number in nouns, degrees of comparison, tense)/ classifying (we do not change the word itself. Category of transitivity and intransitivity of verbs; animation and inanimation in nouns)

4. Morphological/ syntactical. M (number, case, mood, voice); S (predication, modality, transitivity, intransitivity, coordination, subordination)

5. Open/ closed. Open (can be defined  without any context), closed (can be defined only within the context).

Types of Gforms:

The ways of building up Gforms depend on the structure of the language.

1. Syntatic. Are build up by the change in the body of the word.

2. Analytical. Consist of at least 2 words: 1 rendering the GM the other the LM or the analytical complex.

Inflected languages such as Russian use primarily syntatic forms. Analytical language such as English give preference to analytical forms. Syntatic and analytical forms go hand in hand. It is not the presense or the absence, but the relative proportion of them, that differentiate the language.

Syntatic forms -different affixes. Affixation consists in attaching grammatical morphemes to the rout. Affixes: prefixes and suffixes. Prefixation was used to form the pathectic aspect, but dissapeared. Suffixation is the commonest type. In the category of number in nouns, degrees of comparison in adj and adv, we form padt simple, participle I, gerund with the help of suffixes. It plays important role, but is few in number.

2. Sound interchange. Wide spread, but not productive. E.g. Irregular verbs. Vowel interchange (man-men)

3. Suppletive forms. (Go-went). They go back to different routes.

4. Stress can also express grammatical meaning. We can differentiate meanings (Export-expOrt)

Grammatical oppositions. The ordered set of GF expressing a categorial function constitutes a paradigm. The paradigmatic correlations of GF in a category are exposed by grammatical oppositions. Opposition may be defined as a correlation of lingual forms by means of which a certain function is expressed. The correlated elements or members of the opposition must possess 2 types of features: common and differential. Common features serve as the basic contrast.

Types of oppositions.

1. Privative. By the number of members contrasted oppositions can be divided into binary (2 members. Opposition of number, voice) and more than binary (mood, tense). The main type is binary privative opposition. It is formed by a contrastive pair of members in which 1 member is characterised by the presence of a certain differential feature, while the other member is characterized by the absence of this very feature. The 1st is called marked strong/positive member (+). The other is called unmarked weak/negative (-). These members are not equal. (We play- we played).

2. Gradual. The second type is gradual opposition (degrees of comparison). Is formed by a contrastive group of members, which are distinguished nit by a presence or absence of a feature, but by the degree of it.

3. Equipollent. Is formed by a contrastive pair or group of members. In which the members are distinguished by different positive features. (Am-is-are). all the members are equal and they all show their subcategorial status.

Neutralisation. In various contextual conditions 1 member of the opposition can be used in the position of the other member. (Tonight we fly to Paris. We use the weak member, insted of any other strong will fly). The opposition present-future is neutralised. The weak member present replaces the strong member the future. Transposition (you are always loosing things! Expressive). 1 of the members is placed in contextual contradiction, which is purposeful. We use the strong member instead of the week.

All these things mainly occur in speech.


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