94603

Лексикология современного английского языка

Книга

Иностранные языки, филология и лингвистика

The Object of Lexicology. The Theoretical and Practical Value of English Lexicology. The Connection of Lexicology with Phonetics, Stylistics, Grammar and Other Branches of Linguistics. Types of Lexical Units. The Notion of Lexical System. The Theory of Oppositions. Characteristics of the Word as the Basic Unit of Language.

Английский

2015-09-14

1.29 MB

3 чел.

И. В. АРНОЛЬД

Лексикология

современного

английского

языка

Издание третье,

переработанное

и дополненное

Допущено

Министерством высшего и среднего специального
образования СССР в качестве учебника для студентов институтов и факультетов иностранных языков

Сканирование, распознавание, проверка:

Аркадий Куракин (ark # mksat. net), сен-2004.

Орфография унифицирована к британской.

Пропущены страницы:
50-53, 134-139, 152-161, 164-171, 201-202, 240-243

Москва «Высшая школа» 1986


ББК 81.2 Англ-923 А 84

Рецензент:

кафедра английской филологии Оренбургского государственного педагогического института им. В. П. Чкалова (зав. кафедрой д-р филол. наук Н. А. Шехтман)

Арнольд И. В.

А 84  Лексикология современного английского языка: Учеб. для ин-тов и фак. иностр. яз. — 3-е изд., перераб. и доп. — М.: Высш. шк., 1986. — 295 с., ил. — На англ. яз.

Учебник посвящен слову как основной единице языка, его семантической и морфологической структуре, особенностям английского словообразования и фразеологии. Английская лексика рассматривается как непрерывно развивающаяся система.

В 3-м издании (2-е—1973 г.) обновлен теоретический и иллюстративный материал, расширены главы, посвященные теории слова и семасиологии.

А 4602010000—443 ББК 81.2 Англ-923

001(01)—86 215-86 4И (Англ)

© Издательство «Высшая школа», 1973

© Издательство «Высшая школа», 1986, с изменениями


CONTENTS

Preface  6

Abbreviations  8

Introduction  9

Chapter 1. Fundamentals  9

§ 1.1 The Object of Lexicology  9

§ 1.2 The Theoretical and Practical Value of English Lexicology .... 12

§ 1.3 The Connection of Lexicology with Phonetics, Stylistics, Grammar

and Other Branches of Linguistics  14

§ 1.4 Types of Lexical Units  18

§ 1.5 The Notion of Lexical System  21

§ 1.6 The Theory of Oppositions  25

Part One THE ENGLISH WORD AS A STRUCTURE

Chapter 2. Characteristics of the Word as the Basic Unit of Language ... 27

§ 2.1 The Definition of the Word  27

§ 2.2 Semantic Triangle  31

§ 2.3 Phonetic, Morphological and Semantic Motivation of Words .... 33

Chapter 3. Lexical Meaning and Semantic Structure of English Words ... 37

§ 3.1 Definitions  37

§ 3.2 The Lexical Meaning Versus Notion  42

§ 3.3 Denotative and Connotative Meaning  47

§ 3.4 The Semantic Structure of Polysemantic Words  50

§ 3.5 Contextual Analysis  56

§ 3.6 Componential Analysis  57

Chapter 4. Semantic Change  60

§ 4.1 Types of Semantic Change  60

§ 4.2 Linguistic Causes of Semantic Change  71

§ 4.3 Extralinguistic Causes of Semantic Change  73

Chapter 5. Morphological Structure of English Words. Affixation  77

§ 5.1 Morphemes. Free and Bound Forms. Morphological Classification of

Words. Word-Families  77

§ 5.2 Aims and Principles of Morphemic and Word-Formation Analysis . . 81

§ 5.3 Analysis into Immediate Constituents  83

§ 5.4 Derivational and Functional Affixes  87

§ 5.5 The Valency of Affixes and Stems. Word-Building Patterns and Their

Meaning  90

§ 5.6 Classification of Affixes  96

§ 5.7 Allomorphs   101

§ 5.8 Boundary Cases Between Derivation, Inflection and Composition . . 102

§ 5.9 Combining Forms  104

§ 5.10 Hybrids  106


Chapter 6. Compound Words  108

§ 6.1 Definitions and Introductory Remarks  108

§ 6.2.1 The Criteria of Compounds  112

§ 6.2.2 Semi-Affixes  116

§ 6.2.3 “The Stone Wall Problem"  118

§ 6.2.4 Verbal Collocations of the Give Up Type  120

§ 6.3 Specific Features of English Compounds  121

§ 6.4.1 Classification of Compounds  122

§ 6.4.2 Compound Nouns  123

§ 6.4.3 Compound Adjectives  125

§ 6.4.4 Compound Verbs  126

§ 6.5 Derivational Compounds  127

§ 6.6 Reduplication and Miscellanea of Composition  129

§ 6.6.1 Reduplicative Compounds  129

§ 6.6.2 Ablaut Combinations  130

§ 6.6.3 Rhyme Combinations  130

§ 6.7 Pseudo Compounds  131

§ 6.8 The Historical Development of English Compounds  131

§ 6.9 New Word-Forming Patterns in Composition  133

Chapter 7. Shortened Words and Minor Types of Lexical Oppositions . . . 134

§ 7.1 Shortening of Spoken Words and Its Causes  134

§ 7.2 Blending  141

§ 7.3 Graphical Abbreviations. Acronyms  142

§ 7.4 Minor Types of Lexical Oppositions. Sound Interchange  145

§ 7.5 Distinctive Stress  147

§ 7.6 Sound Imitation  148

§ 7.7 Back-Formation  150

Chapter 8. Conversion and Similar Phenomena  153

§ 8.1 Introductory Remarks  153

§ 8.2 The Historical Development of Conversion  155

§ 8.3 Conversion in Present-Day English  156

§ 8.4 Semantic Relationships in Conversion  158

§ 8.5 Substantivation  161

§ 8.6 Conversion in Different Parts of Speech  162

§ 8.7 Conversion and Other Types of Word-Formation  163

Chapter 9. Set Expressions  165

§ 9.1 Introductory Remarks. Definitions  165

§ 9.2 Set Expressions, Semi-Fixed Combinations and Free Phrases .... 166

Changeable and Unchangeable Set Expressions  166

§ 9.3 Classification of Set Expressions  169

§ 9.4 Similarity and Difference between a Set Expression and a Word . . 174

§ 9.5 Features Enhancing Unity and Stability of Set Expressions .... 177

§ 9.6 Proverbs, Sayings, Familiar Quotations and Clichйs  179

Part Two ENGLISH VOCABULARY AS A SYSTEM

Chapter 10. Homonyms. Synonyms. Antonyms  182

§ 10.1 Homonyms  182

§ 10.2 The Origin of Homonyms  188

§ 10.3 Homonymy Treated Synchronically   191

§ 10.4 Synonyms  194

§ 10.5 Interchangeability and Substitution  200

§ 10.6 Sources of Synonymy  203


§ 10.7 Euphemisms  207

I 10.8 Lexical Variants and Paronyms  207

§ 10.9 Antonyms and Conversives  209

Chapter 11. Lexical Systems  216

§ 11.1 The English Vocabulary as an Adaptive System. Neologisms . . . 216

§ 11.2 Morphological and Lexico-Grammatical Grouping  221

§ 11.3 Thematic and Ideographic Groups. The Theories of Semantic Fields.

Hyponymy  226

§ 11.4 Terminological Systems  229

§ 11.5 The Opposition of Emotionally Coloured and Emotionally Neutral

Vocabulary  233

§ 11.6 Different Types of Non-Semantic Grouping  238

Chapter 12. The Opposition of Stylistically Marked and Stylistically Neutral

Words   240

§ 12.1 Functional Styles and Neutral Vocabulary  240

§ 12.2 Functional Styles and Registers  241

§ 12.3 Learned Words and Official Vocabulary  243

§ 12.4 Poetic Diction  244

§ 12.5 Colloquial Words and Expressions  245

§ 12.6 Slang  249

Chapter 13. Native Words Versus Loan Words  252

§ 13.1 The Origin of English Words  252

§ 13.2 Assimilation of Loan Words  255

§ 13.3 Etymological Doublets  259

§ 13.4 International Words  260

Chapter 14. Regional Varieties of the English Vocabulary  262

§ 14.1 Standard English Variants and Dialects  262

§ 14.2 American English  265

§ 14.3 Canadian, Australian and Indian Variants  270

Chapter 15. Lexicography  272

§ 15.1 Types of Dictionaries  272

§ 15.2 Some of the Main Problems of Lexicography  276

§ 15.3 Historical Development of British and American Lexicography . . 281

Conclusion  286

Recommended Reading  289

Subject Index  293


PREFACE

This book is meant as a textbook in lexicology forming part of the curricula of the Foreign Language faculties in Teachers’ Training Colleges and Universities. It is intended for students, teachers of English, postgraduates and all those who are interested in the English language and its vocabulary.

The main tool throughout the book is the principle of lexical opposition, i.e. the application of N.S. Trubetzkoy’s theory of oppositions to the description of lexical phenomena.

The existence of lexicology as an independent discipline forming part of the curriculum in our Colleges and Universities implies that the majority of Soviet linguists consider words and not morphemes to be the fundamental units of language. Another implication is that I think it possible to show that the vocabulary of every particular language is not a chaos of diversified phenomena but a homogeneous whole, a system constituted by interdependent elements related in certain specific ways.

I have attempted as far as possible to present at least some parts of the material in terms of the theory of sets which in my opinion is a very convenient interpretation for the theory of oppositions. This very modest and elementary introduction of mathematical concepts seems justified for two main reasons: first, because it permits a more general treatment of and a more rigorous approach to mass phenomena, and it is with large masses of data that lexicology has to cope; secondly, there is a pressing need to bridge the gap between the method of presentation in special linguistic magazines and what is offered the student in lectures and textbooks. A traditionally trained linguist is sometimes unable to understand, let alone verify, the relevance of the complicated apparatus introduced into some modern linguistic publications.

On the other hand, it is the linguistic science developed before structuralism and mathematical linguistics, and parallel to them, that forms the basis of our knowledge of lexical phenomena. Much attention is therefore given to the history of linguistic science as it deals with vocabulary.

With the restrictions stated above, I have endeavoured to use standard definitions and accepted terminology, though it was not always easy, there being various different conventions adopted in the existing literature.

The 3rd edition follows the theoretical concepts of the previous books, the main innovation being the stress laid on the features of the vocabulary as an adaptive system ever changing to meet the demands of thought and communication. This adaptive system consists of fuzzy sets, i.e. sets that do not possess sharply defined boundaries. English is growing and changing rapidly: new words, new meanings, new types of lexical units appear incessantly. Bookshelves are bursting with new publications on lexical matters. The size of the manual, however, must not change. To cope with this difficulty I have slightly changed the bias in favour of actual description and reduced the bibliography to naming the authors writing on this or that topic. The student has to become more active and look up these names in catalogues and magazines. The debt of the author of a manual to numerous works of scholarship is heavy whether all the copious notes and references are given or not, so I used footnotes chiefly when quotations seemed appropriate or when it seemed specially important for a student to know about the existence of a book. In this way more space was available for describing the ever changing English vocabulary.


Another departure from the previous patterns lies in a certain additional attention to how the material is perceived by the student: the book is intended to be as clear and memorable as possible.

Lexicology is a science in the making. Its intense growth makes the task of a textbook writer extremely difficult, as many problems are still unsettled and a synthesis of many achievements is a thing of the future. I shall be greatly indebted for all criticism and correction.

My warmest thanks are due to my fellow-philologists who reviewed the two former editions for their valuable advice and suggestions and the interest they have shown in this book, and to all those who helped me with the MS. I would also like to thank Messieurs William Ryan and Colin Right, who went through the MS and suggested improvements in language and style.

I am very grateful to the Department of English Philology of Orenburg Pedagogical Institute and their head prof. N.A. Shekhtman who reviewed this third edition.

I. Arnold
Leni
ngrad, 1986


ABBREVIATIONS

A words belonging in Ch. Fries’s classification to Class III, i. e. adjectives and words that can occupy the position of adjectives

a adjective

adv adverb

AmE American English

COD The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English

Engl English

Germ German

Goth Gothic

Gr Greek

Fr French

IC’s immediate constituents

It Italian

Lat Latin

ME Middle English

ModE Modern English

N words belonging in Ch. Fries’s classification to Class I, i. e. nouns and words that can stand in the same position

n noun

NED New English Dictionary (Oxford)

OE Old English

OED The Oxford English Dictionary

OFr Old French

ON Old North

pl plural

prp preposition

Russ Russian

Scand Scandinavian

sing singular

V words belonging in Ch. Fries’s classification to Class

II, i. e. verbs, except the auxiliaries v verb

LIST OF SYMBOLS

< 'changed from’ or ‘derived from'

> 'changed to’ or ‘becomes'

: : between forms denotes opposition

/ between forms denotes alternation or allophones

* indicates a reconstructed or hypothetical form

→  denotes transformation

<- denotes that transformation is impossible

II cognate to


INTRODUCTION

Chapter 1 FUNDAMENTALS

§1.1 THE OBJECT OF LEXICOLOGY

Lexicology (from Gr lexis ‘word’ and logos ‘learning’) is the part of linguistics dealing with the vocabulary of the language and the properties of words as the main units of language. The term v o c a b u l a-r y is used to denote the system formed by the sum total of all the words and word equivalents that the language possesses. The term word denotes the basic unit of a given language resulting from the association of a particular meaning with a particular group of sounds capable of a particular grammatical employment. A word therefore is simultaneously a semantic, grammatical and phonological unit.

Thus, in the word boy the group of sounds [bOI] is associated with the meaning ‘a male child up to the age of 17 or 18’ (also with some other meanings, but this is the most frequent) and with a definite grammatical employment, i.e. it is a noun and thus has a plural form — boys, it is a personal noun and has the Genitive form boy’s (e. g. the boy’s mother), it may be used in certain syntactic functions.

The term word will be discussed at length in chapter 2.

The general study of words and vocabulary, irrespective of the specific features of any particular language, is known as general lexicology. Linguistic phenomena and properties common to all languages are generally referred to as language universals. Special lexicology devotes its attention to the description of the characteristic peculiarities in the vocabulary of a given language. This book constitutes an introduction into the study of the present-day English word and vocabulary. It is therefore a book on special lexicology.

It goes without saying that every special lexicology is based on the principles of general lexicology, and the latter forms a part of general linguistics. Much material that holds good for any language is therefore also included, especially with reference to principles, concepts and terms. The illustrative examples are everywhere drawn from the English language as spoken in Great Britain.

A great deal has been written in recent years to provide a theoretical basis on which the vocabularies of different languages can be compared and described. This relatively new branch of study is called contrastive lexicology. Most obviously, we shall be particularly concerned with comparing English and Russian words.

The evolution of any vocabulary, as well as of its single elements,

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forms the object of historical lexicology or etymology. This branch of linguistics discusses the origin of various words, their change and development, and investigates the linguistic and extra-linguistic forces modifying their structure, meaning and usage. In the past historical treatment was always combined with the comparative method. Historical lexicology has been criticised for its atomistic approach, i.e. for treating every word as an individual and isolated unit. This drawback is, however, not intrinsic to the science itself. Historical study of words is not necessarily atomistic. In the light of recent investigations it becomes clear that there is no reason why historical lexicology cannot survey the evolution of a vocabulary as an adaptive system, showing its change and development in the course of time.

Descriptive lexicology deals with the vocabulary of a given language at a given stage of its development. It studies the functions of words and their specific structure as a characteristic inherent in the system. The descriptive lexicology of the English language deals with the English word in its morphological and semantical structures, investigating the interdependence between these two aspects. These structures are identified and distinguished by contrasting the nature and arrangement of their elements.

It will, for instance, contrast the word boy with its derivatives: boyhood, boyish, boyishly, etc. It will describe its semantic structure comprising alongside with its most frequent meaning, such variants as ‘a son of any age’, ‘a male servant’, and observe its syntactic functioning and combining possibilities. This word, for instance, can be also used vocatively in such combinations as old boy, my dear boy, and attributively, meaning ‘male’, as in boy-friend.

Lexicology also studies all kinds of semantic grouping and semantic relations: synonymy, antonymy, hyponymy, semantic fields, etc.

Meaning relations as a whole are dealt with in semantics — the study of meaning which is relevant both for lexicology and grammar.

The distinction between the two basically different ways in which language may be viewed, the historical or diachronic (Gr dia ‘through’ and chronos ‘time’) and the descriptive or synchronic (Gr syn ‘together’, ‘with’), is a methodological distinction, a difference of approach, artificially separating for the purpose of study what in real language is inseparable, because actually every linguistic structure and system exists in a state of constant development. The distinction between a synchronic and a diachronic approach is due to the Swiss philologist Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913).1 Indebted as we are to him for this important dichotomy, we cannot accept either his axiom that synchronic linguistics is concerned with systems and diachronic linguistics with single units or the rigorous separation between the two. Subsequent investigations have shown the possibility and the necessity of introducing the historical point of view into systematic studies of languages.

Language is the reality of thought, and thought develops together

1 Saussure F. de. Cours de linguistique générale. Paris, 1949.

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with the development of society, therefore language and its vocabulary must be studied in the light of social history. Every new phenomenon in human society and in human activity in general, which is of any importance for communication, finds a reflection in vocabulary. A word, through its meaning rendering some notion, is a generalised reflection of reality; it is therefore impossible to understand its development if one is ignorant of the changes in social, political or everyday life, production or science, manners or culture it serves to reflect. These extra-linguistic forces influencing the development of words are considered in historical lexicology. The point may be illustrated by the following example:

Post comes into English through French and Italian from Latin. Low Latin posta — posita fern. p.p. of Latin ponere, posit, v. ‘place’. In the beginning of the 16th century it meant ‘one of a number of men stationed with horses along roads at intervals, their duty being to ride forward with the King’s “packet” or other letters, from stage to stage’. This meaning is now obsolete, because this type of communication is obsolete. The word, however, has become international and denotes the present-day system of carrying and delivering letters and parcels. Its synonym mail, mostly used in America, is an ellipsis from a mail of letters, i.e. ‘a bag of letters’. It comes from Old French male (modern malle) ‘bag’, a word of Germanic origin. Thus, the etymological meaning of mail is ‘a bag or a packet of letters or dispatches for conveyance by post’. Another synonym of bag is sack which shows a different meaning development. Sack is a large bag of coarse cloth, the verb to sack ‘dismiss from service’ comes from the expression to get the sack, which probably rose from the habit of craftsmen of old times, who on getting a job took their own tools to the works; when they left or were dismissed they were given a sack to carry away the tools.

In this connection it should be emphasised that the social nature of language and its vocabulary is not limited to the social essence of extra-linguistic factors influencing their development from without. Language being a means of communication the social essence is intrinsic to the language itself. Whole groups of speakers, for example, must coincide in a deviation, if it is to result in linguistic change.

The branch of linguistics, dealing with causal relations between the way the language works and develops, on the one hand, and the facts of social life, on the other, is termed sociolinguistics. Some scholars use this term in a narrower sense, and maintain that it is the analysis of speech behaviour in small social groups that is the focal point of sociolinguistic analysis. A. D. Schweitzer has proved that such microsociological approach alone cannot give a complete picture of the sociology of language. It should be combined with the study of such macrosociological factors as the effect of mass media, the system of education, language planning, etc. An analysis of the social stratification of languages takes into account the stratification of society as a whole.

Although the important distinction between a diachronic and a synchronic, a linguistic and an extralinguistic approach must always

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be borne in mind, yet it is of paramount importance for the student to take into consideration that in language reality all the aspects are interdependent and cannot be understood one without the other. Every linguistic investigation must strike a reasonable balance between them.

The lexicology of present-day English, therefore, although having aims of its own, different from those of its historical counterpart, cannot be divorced from the latter. In what follows not only the present status of the English vocabulary is discussed: the description would have been sadly incomplete if we did not pay attention to the historical aspect of the problem — the ways and tendencies of vocabulary development.

Being aware of the difference between the synchronic approach involving also social and place variations, and diachronic approach we shall not tear them asunder, and, although concentrating mainly on the present state of the English vocabulary, we shall also have to consider its development. Much yet remains to be done in elucidating the complex problems and principles of this process before we can present a complete and accurate picture of the English vocabulary as a system, with specific peculiarities of its own, constantly developing and conditioned by the history of the English people and the structure of the language.

§ 1.2 THE THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL VALUE OF ENGLISH LEXICOLOGY

The importance of English lexicology is based not on the size of its vocabulary, however big it is, but on the fact that at present it is the world’s most widely used language. One of the most fundamental works on the English language of the present — “A Grammar of Contemporary English” by R. Quirk, S. Greenbaum, G. Leech and J. Svartvik (1978) — gives the following data: it is spoken as a native language by nearly three hundred million people in Britain, the United States, Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and some other countries. The knowledge of English is widely spread geographically — it is in fact used in all continents. It is also spoken in many countries as a second language and used in official and business activities there. This is the case in India, Pakistan and many other former British colonies. English is also one of the working languages of the United Nations and the universal language of international aviation. More than a half world’s scientific literature is published in English and 60% of the world’s radio broadcasts are in English. For all these reasons it is widely studied all over the world as a foreign language.

The theoretical value of lexicology becomes obvious if we realise that it forms the study of one of the three main aspects of language, i.e. its vocabulary, the other two being its grammar and sound system. The theory of meaning was originally developed within the limits of philosophical science. The relationship between the name and the thing named has in the course of history constituted one of the key questions in gnostic theories and therefore in the struggle of materialistic and idealistic trends. The idealistic point of view assumes that the earlier

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forms of words disclose their real correct meaning, and that originally language was created by some superior reason so that later changes of any kind are looked upon as distortions and corruption.

The materialistic approach considers the origin, development and current use of words as depending upon the needs of social communication. The dialectics of its growth is determined by its interaction with the development of human practice and mind. In the light of V. I. Lenin’s theory of reflection we know that the meanings of words reflect objective reality. Words serve as names for things, actions, qualities, etc. and by their modification become better adapted to the needs of the speakers. This proves the fallacy of one of the characteristic trends in modern idealistic linguistics, the so-called Sapir-Whorf thesis according to which the linguistic system of one’s native language not only expresses one’s thoughts but also determines them. This view is incorrect, because our mind reflects the surrounding world not only through language but also directly.

Lexicology came into being to meet the demands of many different branches of applied linguistics, namely of lexicography, standardisation of terminology, information retrieval, literary criticism and especially of foreign language teaching.

Its importance in training a would-be teacher of languages is of a quite special character and cannot be overestimated as it helps to stimulate a systematic approach to the facts of vocabulary and an organised comparison of the foreign and native language. It is particularly useful in building up the learner’s vocabulary by an effective selection, grouping and analysis of new words. New words are better remembered if they are given not at random but organised in thematic groups, word-families, synonymic series, etc.

A good knowledge of the system of word-formation furnishes a tool helping the student to guess and retain in his memory the meaning of new words on the basis of their motivation and by comparing and contrasting them with the previously learned elements and patterns.

The knowledge, for instance, of the meaning of negative, reversative and pejorative prefixes and patterns of derivation may be helpful in understanding new words. For example such words as immovable a, deforestation n and miscalculate v will be readily understood as ‘that cannot be moved’, ‘clearing land from forests’ and ‘to calculate wrongly’.

By drawing his pupils’ attention to the combining characteristics of words the teacher will prevent many mistakes.1 It will be word-groups falling into patterns, instead of lists of unrelated items, that will be presented in the classroom.

A working knowledge and understanding of functional styles and stylistic synonyms is indispensable when literary texts are used as a basis for acquiring oral skills, for analytical reading, discussing fiction and translation. Lexicology not only gives a systematic description of the present make-up of the vocabulary, but also helps students to master

1 Combining characteristics or distribution — structural patterns in which the words occur and their lexical collocations.

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the literary standards of word usage. The correct use of words is an important counterpart of expressive and effective speech.

An exact knowledge of the vocabulary system is also necessary in connection with technical teaching means.

Lexicology plays a prominent part in the general linguistic training of every philologist by summing up the knowledge acquired during all his years at the foreign language faculty. It also imparts the necessary skills of using different kinds of dictionaries and reference books, and prepares for future independent work on increasing and improving one’s vocabulary.

§ 1.3 THE CONNECTION OF LEXICOLOGY WITH PHONETICS, STYLISTICS, GRAMMAR AND OTHER BRANCHES OF LINGUISTICS

The treatment of words in lexicology cannot be divorced from the study of all the other elements in the language system to which words belong. It should be always borne in mind that in reality, in the actual process of communication, all these elements are interdependent and stand in definite relations to one another. We separate them for convenience of study, and yet to separate them for analysis is pointless, unless we are afterwards able to put them back together to achieve a synthesis and see their interdependence and development in the language system as a whole.

The word, as it has already been stated, is studied in several branches of linguistics and not in lexicology only, and the latter, in its turn, is closely connected with general linguistics, the history of the language, phonetics, stylistics, grammar and such new branches of our science as sociolinguistics, paralinguistics, pragmalinguistics and some others.1

The importance of the connection between lexicology and phonetics stands explained if we remember that a word is an association of a given group of sounds with a given meaning, so that top is one word, and tip is another. Phonemes have no meaning of their own but they serve to distinguish between meanings. Their function is building up morphemes, and it is on the level of morphemes that the form-meaning unity is introduced into language. We may say therefore that phonemes participate in signification.

Word-unity is conditioned by a number of phonological features. Phonemes follow each other in a fixed sequence so that [pit] is different from [tip]. The importance of the phonemic make-up may be revealed by the substitution test which isolates the central phoneme of hope by setting it against hop, hoop, heap or hip.

An accidental or jocular transposition of the initial sounds of two or more words, the so-called spoonerisms illustrate the same

Paralinguistics — the study of non-verbal means of communication (gestures, facial expressions, eye-contact, etc.).

Pragmalinguistics — the branch of linguistics concerned with the relation of speech and its users and the influence of speech upon listeners. See: Leech G. Principles of Pragmatics. London, 1985.

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point. Cf. our queer old dean for our dear old queen, sin twister for twin sister, May I sew you to a sheet? for May I show you to a seat?, a half-warmed fish for a half-formed wish, etc.1

Discrimination between the words may be based upon stress: the word ‘import is recognised as a noun and distinguished from the verb im'port due to the position of stress. Stress also distinguishes compounds from otherwise homonymous word-groups: ‘blackbird : : black bird. Each language also possesses certain phonological features marking word-limits.

Historical phonetics and historical phonology can be of great use in the diachronic study of synonyms, homonyms and polysemy. When sound changes loosen the ties between members of the same word-family, this is an important factor in facilitating semantic changes.

The words whole, heal, hail, for instance, are etymologically related.2 The word whole originally meant ‘unharmed’, ;unwounded’. The early verb whole meant 4to make whole’, hence ‘heal’. Its sense of ‘healthy’ led to its use as a salutation, as in hail! Having in the course of historical development lost their phonetic similarity, these words cannot now exercise any restrictive influence upon one another’s semantic development. Thus, hail occurs now in the meaning of ‘call’, even with the purpose to stop and arrest (used by sentinels).

Meaning in its turn is indispensable to phonemic analysis because to establish the phonemic difference between [ou] and [o] it is sufficient to know that [houp] means something different from [hop].

All these considerations are not meant to be in any way exhaustive, they can only give a general idea of the possible interdependence of the two branches of linguistics.

Stylistics, although from a different angle, studies many problems treated in lexicology. These are the problems of meaning, connotations, synonymy, functional differentiation of vocabulary according to the sphere of communication and some other issues. For a reader without some awareness of the connotations and history of words, the images hidden in their root and their stylistic properties, a substantial part of the meaning of a literary text, whether prosaic or poetic, may be lost.

Thus, for instance, the mood of despair in O. Wilde’s poem “Taedium Vitae” (Weariness of Life) is felt due to an accumulation of epithets expressed by words with negative, derogatory connotations, such as: desperate, paltry, gaudy, base, lackeyed, slanderous, lowliest, meanest.

An awareness of all the characteristic features of words is not only rewarded because one can feel the effect of hidden connotations and imagery, but because without it one cannot grasp the whole essence of the message the poem has to convey.

1 Spoonerism — from the name of W.A. Spooner, warden of a college at Oxford, who was known for such slips.

2 Etymology that branch of linguistics which deals with the origin and history of words, tracing them to their earliest determinable base.

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The difference and interconnection between grammar and lexicology is one of the important controversial issues in linguistics and as it is basic to the problems under discussion in this book, it is necessary to dwell upon it a little more than has been done for phonetics and stylistics.

A close connection between lexicology and grammar is conditioned by the manifold and inseverable ties between the objects of their study. Even isolated words as presented in a dictionary bear a definite relation to the grammatical system of the language because they belong to some part of speech and conform to some lexico-grammatical characteristics of the word class to which they belong. Words seldom occur in isolation. They are arranged in certain patterns conveying the relations between the things for which they stand, therefore alongside with their lexical meaning they possess some grammatical meaning. Сf. head of the committee and to head a committee.

The two kinds of meaning are often interdependent. That is to say, certain grammatical functions and meanings are possible only for the words whose lexical meaning makes them fit for these functions, and, on the other hand, some lexical meanings in some words occur only in definite grammatical functions and forms and in definite grammatical patterns.

For example, the functions of a link verb with a predicative expressed by an adjective cannot be fulfilled by every intransitive verb but are often taken up by verbs of motion: come true, fall ill, go wrong, turn red, run dry and other similar combinations all render the meaning of ‘become sth’. The function is of long standing in English and can be illustrated by a line from A. Pope who, protesting against blank verse, wrote: It is not poetry, but prose run mad.1

On the other hand the grammatical form and function of the word affect its lexical meaning. A well-known example is the same verb go when in the continuous tenses, followed by to and an infinitive (except go and come), it serves to express an action in the near and immediate future, or an intention of future action: You're not going to sit there saying nothing all the evening, both of you, are you? (Simpson)

Participle II of the same verb following the link verb be denotes absence: The house is gone.

In subordinate clauses after as the verb go implies comparison with the average: ... how a novel that has now had a fairly long life, as novels go, has come to be written (Maugham). The subject of the verb go in this construction is as a rule an inanimate noun.

The adjective hard followed by the infinitive of any verb means ‘difficult’: One of the hardest things to remember is that a man’s merit in one sphere is no guarantee of his merit in another.

Lexical meanings in the above cases are said to be grammatically

1 A modern ‘invasion’ of grammar into lexicological ‘territory’ is a new and promising trend referred to as semantic syntax, in which a lexico-semantic approach is introduced into syntactic description. See, for example, the works by T.B. Alisova, V.V. Bogdanov, V.G. Gak, I.P. Sousov. Compare also communicative syntax as studied by L.P. Chakhoyan and G.G. Poсheptsov.

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conditioned, and their indicating context is called syntactic or mixed. The point has attracted the attention of many authors.1

The number of words in each language being very great, any lexical meaning has a much lower probability of occurrence than grammatical meanings and therefore carries the greatest amount of information in any discourse determining what the sentence is about.

W. Chafe, whose influence in the present-day semantic syntax is quite considerable, points out the many constraints which limit the co-occurrence of words. He considers the verb as of paramount importance in sentence semantic structure, and argues that it is the verb that dictates the presence and character of the noun as its subject or object. Thus, the verbs frighten, amuse and awaken can have only animate nouns as their objects.

The constraint is even narrower if we take the verbs say, talk or think for which only animate human subjects are possible. It is obvious that not all animate nouns are human.

This view is, however, if not mistaken, at least one-sided, because the opposite is also true: it may happen that the same verb changes its meaning, when used with personal (human) names and with names of objects. Compare: The new girl gave him a strange smile (she smiled at him) and The new teeth gave him a strange smile.

These are by no means the only relations of vocabulary and grammar. We shall not attempt to enumerate all the possible problems. Let us turn now to another point of interest, namely the survival of two grammatically equivalent forms of the same word when they help to distinguish between its lexical meanings. Some nouns, for instance, have two separate plurals, one keeping the etymological plural form, and the other with the usual English ending -s. For example, the form brothers is used to express the family relationship, whereas the old form brethren survives in ecclesiastical usage or serves to indicate the members of some club or society; the scientific plural of index, is usually indices, in more general senses the plural is indexes. The plural of genius meaning a person of exceptional intellect is geniuses, genius in the sense of evil or good spirit has the plural form genii.

It may also happen that a form that originally expressed grammatical meaning, for example, the plural of nouns, becomes a basis for a new grammatically conditioned lexical meaning. In this new meaning it is isolated from the paradigm, so that a new word comes into being. Arms, the plural of the noun arm, for instance, has come to mean ‘weapon’. E.g. to take arms against a sea of troubles (Shakespeare). The grammatical form is lexicalised; the new word shows itself capable of further development, a new grammatically conditioned meaning appears, namely, with the verb in the singular arms metonymically denotes the military profession. The abstract noun authority becomes a collective in the term authorities and denotes ‘a group of persons having the right to control and govern’. Compare also colours, customs, looks, manners, pictures, works which are the best known examples of this isolation, or, as it

1 See the works by V.V.Vinogradov, N.N. Amosova, E. Nida and many others.

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is also called, lexicalisation of a grammatical form. In all these words the suffix -s signals a new word with a new meaning.

It is also worthy of note that grammar and vocabulary make use of the same technique, i.e. the formal distinctive features of some derivational oppositions between different words are the same as those of oppositions contrasting different grammatical forms (in affixation, juxtaposition of stems and sound interchange). Compare, for example, the oppositions occurring in the lexical system, such as work :: worker, power :: will-power, food :: feed with grammatical oppositions: work (Inf.) :: worked (Past Ind.), pour (Inf.) :: will pour (Put. Ind.), feed (Inf.) :: fed (Past Ind.). Not only are the methods and patterns similar, but the very morphemes are often homonymous. For example, alongside the derivational suffixes -en, one of which occurs in adjectives (wooden), and the other in verbs (strengthen), there are two functional suffixes, one for Participle II (written), the other for the archaic plural form (oxen).

Furthermore, one and the same word may in some of its meanings function as a notional word, while in others it may be a form word, i.e. it may serve to indicate the relationships and functions of other words. Compare, for instance, the notional and the auxiliary do in the following: What you do’s nothing to do with me, it doesn’t interest me.

Last but not least all grammatical meanings have a lexical counterpart that expresses the same concept. The concept of futurity may be lexically expressed in the words future, tomorrow, by and by, time to come, hereafter or grammatically in the verbal forms shall come and will come. Also plurality may be described by plural forms of various words: houses, boys, books or lexically by the words: crowd, party, company, group, set, etc.

The ties between lexicology and grammar are particularly strong in the sphere of word-formation which before lexicology became a separate branch of linguistics had even been considered as part of grammar. The characteristic features of English word-building, the morphological structure of the English word are dependent upon the peculiarity of the English grammatical system. The analytical character of the language is largely responsible for the wide spread of conversion1 and for the remarkable flexibility of the vocabulary manifest in the ease with which many nonce-words2 are formed on the spur of the moment.

This brief account of the interdependence between the two important parts of linguistics must suffice for the present. In future we shall have to return to the problem and treat some parts of it more extensively.

§ 1.4 TYPES OF LEXICAL UNITS

The term unit means one of the elements into which a whole may be divided or analysed and which possesses the basic properties of this

1 See Chapter 8.

2 A nonce-word is a word coined for one occasion, a situational neologism: (for the) nones — by misdivision from ME (for then) ones.

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whole. The units of a vocabulary or lexical units are two-facet elements possessing form and meaning. The basic unit forming the bulk of the vocabulary is the word. Other units are morphemes that is parts of words, into which words may be analysed, and set expressions or groups of words into which words may be combined.

Words are the central elements of language system, they face both ways: they are the biggest units of morphology and the smallest of syntax", and what is more, they embody the main structural properties and functions of the language. Words can be separated in an utterance by other such units and can be used in isolation. Unlike words, morphemes cannot be divided into smaller meaningful units and are functioning in speech only as constituent parts of words. Words are thought of as representing integer concept, feeling or action or as having a single referent. The meaning of morphemes is more abstract and more general than that of words and at the same time they are less autonomous.

Set expressions are word groups consisting of two or more words whose combination is integrated so that they are introduced in speech, so to say, ready-made as units with a specialised meaning of the whole that is not understood as a mere sum total of the meanings of the elements.

In the spelling system of the language words are the smallest units of written discourse: they are marked off by solid spelling. The ability of an average speaker to segment any utterance into words is sustained by literacy. Yet it is a capacity only reinforced by education: it is well known that every speaker of any language is always able to break any utterance into words. The famous American linguist E. Sapir testified that even illiterate American Indians were perfectly capable of dictating to him — when asked to do so — texts in their own language “word by word”. The segmentation of a word into morphemes, on the other hand, presents sometimes difficulties even for trained linguists.

Many authors devoted a good deal of space to discussing which of the two: the word or the morpheme is to be regarded as the basic unit. Many American linguists (Ch. Hockett or Z. Harris, for instance) segmented an utterance into morphemes ignoring words. Soviet lexicologists proceed from the assumption that it is the word that is the basic unit, especially as all branches of linguistic knowledge and all levels of language have the word as their focal point. A convincing argumentation and an exhaustive review of literature is offered by A. A. Ufimtseva (1980).

If, however, we look now a little more closely into this problem, we shall see that the boundaries separating these three sets of units are sometimes fluid. Every living vocabulary is constantly changing adapting itself to the functions of communication in the changing world of those who use it. In this process the vocabulary changes not only quantitatively by creating new words from the already available corpus of morphemes and according to existing patterns but also qualitatively. In these qualitative changes new morphemic material and new word-building patterns come into being, and new names sometimes adapt features characteristic of other sets, those of groups of words, for instance.

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Orthographic words are written as a sequence of letters bounded by spaces on a page. Yet, there exist in the English vocabulary lexical units that are not identical with orthographic words but equivalent to them. Almost any part of speech contains units indivisible either syntactically or in terms of meaning, or both, but graphically divided. A good example is furnished by complex prepositions: along with, as far as, in spite of, except for, due to, by means of, for the sake of, etc.

The same point may be illustrated by phrasal verbs, so numerous in English: bring up ‘to educate’, call on ‘to visit’, make up ‘to apply cosmetics’, ‘to reconcile after a disagreement’ and some other meanings, put off “to postpone’. The semantic unity of these verbs is manifest in the possibility to substitute them by orthographically single-word verbs. Though formally broken up, they function like words and they are integrated semantically so that their meaning cannot be inferred from their constituent elements. The same is true about phrasal verbs consisting of the verbs give, make, take and some others used with a noun instead of its homonymous verb alone: give a smile, make a promise, take a walk (cf. to smile, to promise, to walk).

Some further examples are furnished by compound nouns. Sometimes they are not joined by solid spelling or hyphenation but written separately, although in all other respects they do not differ from similar one-word nominations. By way of example let us take some terms for military ranks. The terms lieutenant-commander and lieutenant-colonel are hyphenated, whereas wing commander and flight lieutenant are written separately. Compare also such inconsistencies as all right and altogether, never mind and nevertheless.

All these are, if not words, then at least word equivalents because they are indivisible and fulfil the nominative, significative, communicative and pragmatic functions just as words do.

It is worth while dwelling for a moment on formulaic sentences which tend to be ready-made and are characterised by semantic unity and indivisibility: All right, Allow me, Nothing doing, Never mind, How do you do, Quite the contrary. They are learned as unanalysable wholes and can also be regarded as word equivalents.

To sum up: the vocabulary of a language is not homogeneous. If we view it as a kind of field, we shall see that its bulk, its central part is formed by lexical units possessing all the distinctive features of words, i.e. semantic, orthographic and morphological integrity as well as the capacity of being used in speech in isolation. The marginal elements of this field reveal only some of these features, and yet belong to this set too. Thus, phrasal verbs, complex prepositions, some compounds, phraseological units, formulaic expressions, etc. are divided in spelling but are in all other respects equivalent to words. Morphemes, on the other hand, a much smaller subset of the vocabulary, cannot be used as separate utterances and are less autonomous in other respects but otherwise also function as lexical items. The new term recently introduced in mathematics to describe sets with blurred boundaries seems expressive and worthy of

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use in characterising a vocabulary — such sets are called fuzzy sets.1

§ 1.5 THE NOTION OF LEXICAL SYSTEM

It has been claimed by different authors that, in contrast to grammar, the vocabulary of a language is not systematic but chaotic. In the light of recent investigations in linguistic theory, however, we are now in a position to bring some order into this “chaos”.

Lexicology studies the recurrent patterns of semantic relationships, and of any formal phonological, morphological or contextual means by which they may be rendered. It aims at systematisation.

There has been much discussion of late, both in this country and abroad, concerning different problems of the systematic nature of the language vocabulary. The Soviet scholars are now approaching a satisfactory solution based on Marxist dialectics and its teaching of the general interrelation and interdependence of phenomena in nature and society.

There are several important points to be made here.

The term system as used in present-day lexicology denotes not merely the sum total of English words, it denotes a set of elements associated and functioning together according to certain laws. It is a coherent homogeneous whole, constituted by interdependent elements of the same order related in certain specific ways. The vocabulary of a language is moreover an adaptive system constantly adjusting itself to the changing requirements and conditions of human communications and cultural surroundings. It is continually developing by overcoming contradictions between its state and the new tasks and demands it has to meet.

A set is described in the abstract set theory as a collection of definite distinct objects to be conceived as a whole. A set is said to be a collection of distinct elements, because a certain object may be distinguished from the other elements in a set, but there is no possibility of its repeated appearance. A set is called structured when the number of its elements is greater than the number of rules according to which these elements may be constructed. A set is given either by indicating, i.e. listing, all its elements, or by stating the characteristic property of its elements. For example the closed set of English articles may be defined as comprising the elements: the, a/an and zero. The set of English compounds on the other hand is an infinite (open) set containing all the words consisting of at least two stems which occur in the language as free forms.

In a classical set theory the elements are said to be definite because with respect to any of them it should be definite whether it belongs to a given set or not. The new development in the set theory, that of fuzzy sets, has proved to be more relevant to the study of vocabulary. We have already mentioned that the boundaries of linguistic sets are not sharply delineated and the sets themselves overlapping.

1 Another term often used nowadays and offered by V.G. Admoni is field-structure.

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The lexical system of every epoch contains productive elements typical of this particular period, others that are obsolete and dropping out of usage, and, finally, some new phenomena, significant marks of new trends for the epochs to come. The present status of a system is an abstraction, a sort of scientific fiction which in some points can facilitate linguistic study, but the actual system of the language is in a state of constant change.

Lexicology studies this whole by determining the properties of its elements and the different relationships of contrast and similarity existing between them within a language, as well as the ways in which they are influenced by extra-linguistic reality.

The extra-linguistic relationships refer to the connections of words with the elements of objective reality they serve to denote, and their dependence on the social, mental and cultural development of the language community.

The theory of reflection as developed by V.I. Lenin is our methodological basis, it teaches that objective reality is approximately but correctly reflected in the human mind. The notions rendered in the meanings of the words are generalised reflections of real objects and phenomena. In this light it is easy to understand how things that are connected in reality come to be connected in language too. As we have seen above, the original meaning of the word post was ‘a man stationed in a number of others along a road as a courier’, hence it came to mean the vehicle used, the packets and letters carried, a relay of horses, the station where horses could be obtained (shortened for post-office), a single dispatch of letters. E. g.: It is a place with only one post a day (Sidney Smith). It is also used as a title for newspapers. There is a verb post ‘to put letters into a letter-box.'

The reflection of objective reality is selective. That is, human thought and language select, reflect and nominate what is relevant to human activity.

Even though its elements are concrete and can be observed as such, a system is always abstract, and so is the vocabulary system or, as Academician V.V. Vinogradov has called it, the lexico-semantic system. The interdependence in this system results from a complex interaction of words in their lexical meanings and the grammatical features of the language. V.V. Vinogradov includes in this term both the sum total of words and expressions and the derivational and functional patterns of word forms and word-groups, semantic groupings and relationships between words. The interaction of various levels in the language system may be illustrated in English by the following: the widespread development of homonymy and polysemy, the loss of motivation, the great number of generic words and the very limited autonomy of English words as compared with Russian words are all closely connected with the mono-morphemic analytical character of the English language and the scarcity of morphological means. All these in their turn result, partly at least, from levelling and loss of endings, processes undoubtedly connected with the reduction of vowels in unstressed syllables. In this book the relations between these elements and the regularity of these relations are shown


In terms of oppositions, differences, equivalencies and positional values. Equivalence should be clearly distinguished from equality or identity. Equivalence is the relation between two elements based on the common feature due to which they belong to the same set.

The term sуstem as applied to vocabulary should not be understood to mean a well-defined or rigid system. As it has been stated above it is an adaptive system and cannot be completely and exactly characterised by deterministic functions; that is for the present state of science it is not possible to specify the system’s entire future by its status at some one instant of its operation. In other words, the vocabulary is not simply a probabilistic system but a set of interrelated adaptive subsystems.

An approximation is always made possible by leaving some things out of account. But we have to remember that the rules of language are mostly analogies.

The following simple example offered by J. Lyons illustrates this point: the regular, that is statistically predominant, pattern for adjective stems is to form abstract nouns by means of the suffix -ness: shortness, narrowness, shallowness. All the antonyms of the above-mentioned words, however, follow a different pattern: they have a dental suffix: length, width, depth. This second analogy becomes a constraint on the working of the first. Moreover, the relationship of the adjective big with the rest of the system is even more unpredictable, as it is mostly correlated with the noun size. The semantic correlation then is as follows:

short = narrow = shallow = long = wide = deep = big shortness narrowness shallowness length width depth size

At this point it will be helpful to remember that it is precisely the most frequent words that show irregular or suppletive derivation and inflection.

Last but not least, one final point may be made about the lexical system, namely that its elements are characterised by their combinatorial and contrastive properties determining their syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships. A word enters into syntagmatic (linear) combinatorial relationships with other lexical units that can form its context, serving to identify and distinguish its meaning. Lexical units are known to be context-dependent. E. g. in the hat on her head the noun head means ‘part of the body’, whereas in the head of the department Head means ‘chief. A word enters into contrastive paradigmatic relations with all other words, e. g. head, chief, director, etc. that can occur in the same context and be contrasted to it.1 This principle of contrast or opposition is fundamental in modern linguistics and we shall deal with it at length in § 1.6. concerned with the theory of oppositions.

1 paradigm < Lat paradigtna < Gr paradeigma ‘model’ < paradeiknynai ‘to compare'

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Paradigmatic and syntagmatic studies of meaning are functional because the meaning of the lexical unit is studied first not through its relation to referent but through its functions in relation to other units.

Functional approach is contrasted to referential or onomasiological approach, otherwise called theory of nomination, in which meaning is studied as the interdependence between words and their referents, that is things or concepts they name, i.e. various names given to the same sense. The onomasiological study of lexical units became especially prominent in the last two decades. The revival of interest in onomasiological matters is reflected in a large volume of publications on the subject. An outline of the main trends of current research will be found in the monographs on the Theory of Nomination issued by the Institute of Linguistics of the Academy of Sciences.

The study of the lexical system must also include the study of the words’ combinatorial possibilities •— their capacity to combine with one another in groups of certain patterns, which serve to identify meanings. Most modern research in linguistics attaches great importance to what is variously called valency, distributional characteristics, colligation and collocation, combining power or otherwise. This research shows that combinatorial possibilities of words play an important part in almost every lexicological issue.

Syntagmatic relationships being based on the linear character of speech are studied by means of contextual, valency, distributional, transformational and some other types of analysis.

Paradigmatic linguistic relationships determining the vocabulary system are based on the interdependence of words within the vocabulary (synonymy, antonymy, hyponymy, etc.).

Diachronically the interdependence of words within the lexical subsystem may be seen by observing shifts in the meaning of existing words that occur when a new word is introduced into their semantic sphere. This interdependence is one of the reasons why historical linguistics can never achieve any valuable results if it observes only the development of isolated words. Almost any change in one word will cause changes in one or several other words. Characteristic examples are to be found in the influence of borrowings upon native words. The native OE haerfest (ModE harvest || Germ Herbst) originally meant not only the gathering of grain’ but also ‘the season for reaping’. Beginning with the end of the 14th century, that is after the Romance word autumne > autumn was borrowed, the second meaning in the native word was lost and transferred to the word autumn.

When speaking about the influence of other aspects on the development of the vocabulary, we mean the phonetical, morphological and syntactical systems of the English language as they condition the sound form, morphological structure, motivation and meaning of words. This influence is manifold, and we shall have to limit our illustration to the most elementary examples. The monosyllabic phonological type of the English word, for instance, enhances homonymy. Сf. miss v ‘not hit’, ‘not catch’ and miss n a title for a girl or unmarried woman.

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The influence of morphology is manifest, for instance, in the development of non-affixed word-formation. Cf. harvest n and harvest v.

The above considerations are not meant to be exhaustive; they are there to give some general idea of the relationships in question.

In this connection it is necessary to point out that various interpretations of the same linguistic phenomena have repeatedly been offered and have even proved valuable for their respective purposes, just as in other sciences various interpretations may be given for the same facts of reality in conformity with this or that practical task. To be scientific, however, these interpretations cannot be arbitrary: they must explain facts and permit explanation and prediction of other facts. Therefore they must fit without bringing contradictions into the whole system of the theory created for the subject.

§ 1.6 THE THEORY OF OPPOSITIONS

This course of English lexicology falls into two main parts: the treatment of the English word as a structure and the treatment of English vocabulary as a system. The aim of the present book is to show this system of interdependent elements with specific peculiarities of its own, different from other lexical systems; to show the morphological and semantic patterns according to which the elements of this system are built, to point out the distinctive features with which the main oppositions, i.e. semantically and functionally relevant partial differences between partially similar elements of the vocabulary, can be systematised, and to try and explain how these vocabulary patterns are conditioned by the structure of the language.

The theory of oppositions is the task to which we address ourselves in this paragraph.

Lexical opposition is the basis of lexical research and description. Lexicological theory and lexicological description cannot progress independently. They are brought together in the same general technique of analysis, one of the cornerstones of which is N.S. Trubetzkoy’s theory of oppositions. First used in phonology, the theory proved fruitful for other branches of linguistics as well.

Modern linguistics views the language system as consisting of several subsystems all based on oppositions, differences, samenesses and positional values.

A lexical opposition is defined as a semantically relevant relationship of partial difference between two partially similar words.

Each of the tens of thousands of lexical units constituting the vocabulary possesses a certain number of characteristic features variously combined and making each separate word into a special sign different from all other words. We use the term lexical distinctive feature for features capable of distinguishing a word in morphological form or meaning from an otherwise similar word or variant. Distinctive features and oppositions take different specific manifestations on

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different linguistic levels: in phonology, morphology, lexicology. We deal with lexical distinctive features and lexical oppositions.

Thus, in the opposition doubt : : doubtful the distinctive features are morphological: doubt is a root word and a noun, doubtful is a derived adjective.

The features that the two contrasted words possess in common form the basis of a lexical opposition. The basis in the opposition doubt :: doubtful is the common root -doubt-. The basis of the opposition may also form the basis of equivalence due to which these words, as it has been stated above, may be referred to the same subset. The features must be chosen so as to show whether any element we may come across belongs to the given set or not.1 They must also be important, so that the presence of a distinctive feature must allow the prediction of secondary features connected with it. The feature may be constant or variable, or the basis may be formed by a combination of constant and variable features, as in the case of the following group: pool, pond, lake, sea, ocean with its variation for size. Without a basis of similarity no comparison and no opposition are possible.

When the basis is not limited to the members of one opposition but comprises other elements of the system, we call the opposition polydimensional. The presence of the same basis or combination of features in several words permits their grouping into a subset of the vocabulary system. We shall therefore use the term lexical group to denote a subset of the vocabulary, all the elements of which possess a particular feature forming the basis of the opposition. Every element of a subset of the vocabulary is also an element of the vocabulary as a whole.

It has become customary to denote oppositions by the signs:  , ч

or ::, e. g.

The common feature of the members of this particular opposition forming its basis is the adjective stem -skilled-. The distinctive feature is the presence or absence of the prefix un-. This distinctive feature may in other cases also serve as the basis of equivalence so that all adjectives beginning with un- form a subset of English vocabulary (unable, unaccountable, unaffected, unarmed, etc.), forming a correlation:

In the opposition man :: boy the distinctive feature is the semantic component of age. In the opposition boy :: lad the distinctive feature is that of stylistic colouring of the second member.

The methods and procedures of lexical research such as contextual analysis, componential analysis, distributional analysis, etc. will be briefly outlined in other chapters of the book.

1 One must be careful, nevertheless, not to make linguistic categories more rigid and absolute than they really are. There is certainly a degree of “fuzziness” about many types of linguistic sets.


Part One
THE ENGLISH WORD AS A STRUCTURE

Chapter 2

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE WORD AS THE BASIC UNIT OF LANGUAGE

§ 2.1 THE DEFINITION OF THE WORD

Although the borderline between various linguistic units is not always sharp and clear, we shall try to define every new term on its first appearance at once simply and unambiguously, if not always very rigorously. The approximate definition of the term word has already been given in the opening page of the book.

The important point to remember about definitions is that they should indicate the most essential characteristic features of the notion expressed by the term under discussion, the features by which this notion is distinguished from other similar notions. For instance, in defining the word one must distinguish it from other linguistic units, such as the phoneme, the morpheme, or the word-group. In contrast with a definition, a description aims at enumerating all the essential features of a notion.

To make things easier we shall begin by a preliminary description, illustrating it with some examples.

The word may be described as the basic unit of language. Uniting meaning and form, it is composed of one or more morphemes, each consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation. Morphemes as we have already said are also meaningful units but they cannot be used independently, they are always parts of words whereas words can be used as a complete utterance (e. g. Listen!). The combinations of morphemes within words are subject to certain linking conditions. When a derivational affix is added a new word is formed, thus, listen and listener are different words. In fulfilling different grammatical functions words may take functional affixes: listen and listened are different forms of the same word. Different forms of the same word can be also built analytically with the help of auxiliaries. E.g.: The world should listen then as I am listening now (Shelley).

When used in sentences together with other words they are syntactically organised. Their freedom of entering into syntactic constructions is limited by many factors, rules and constraints (e. g.: They told me this story but not *They spoke me this story).

The definition of every basic notion is a very hard task: the definition of a word is one of the most difficult in linguistics because the

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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 also a certain arrangement of morphemes; when used in actual speech, it may occur in different word forms, different syntactic functions and signal various meanings. Being the central element of any language system, the word is a sort of focus for the problems of phonology, lexicology, syntax, morphology and also for some other sciences that have to deal with language and speech, such as philosophy and 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 therefore considered one-sided by the representatives of all the other domains and criticised for incompleteness. The variants of definitions were so numerous that some authors (A. Rossetti, D.N. Shmelev) collecting them produced works of impressive scope and bulk.

A few examples will suffice to show that any definition is conditioned by the aims and interests of its author.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), one of the great English philosophers, revealed a materialistic approach to the problem of nomination when he wrote that words are not mere sounds but names of matter. Three centuries later the great Russian physiologist I.P. Pavlov (1849-1936) examined the word in connection with his studies of the second signal system, and defined it as a universal signal that can substitute any other signal from the environment in evoking a response in a human organism. One of the latest developments of science and engineering is machine translation. It also deals with words and requires a rigorous definition for them. It runs as follows: a word is a sequence of graphemes which can occur between spaces, or the representation of such a sequence on morphemic level.

Within the scope of linguistics the word has been defined syntactically, semantically, phonologically and by combining various approaches.

It has been syntactically defined for instance as “the minimum sentence” by H. Sweet and much later by L. Bloomfield as “a minimum free form”. This last definition, although structural in orientation, may be said to be, to a certain degree, equivalent to Sweet’s, as practically it amounts to the same thing: free forms are later defined as “forms which occur as sentences”.

E. Sapir takes into consideration the syntactic and semantic aspects when he calls the word “one of the smallest completely satisfying bits of isolated ‘meaning’, into which the sentence resolves itself”. Sapir also points out one more, very important characteristic of the word, its indivisibility: “It cannot be cut into without a disturbance of meaning, one or two other or both of the several parts remaining as a helpless waif on our hands”. The essence of indivisibility will be clear from a comparison of the article a and the prefix a- in a lion and alive. A lion is a word-group because we can separate its elements and insert other words between them: a living lion, a dead lion. Alive is a word: it is indivisible, i.e. structurally impermeable: nothing can be inserted between its elements. The morpheme a- is not free, is not a word. The

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situation becomes more complicated if we cannot be guided by solid spelling.’ “The Oxford English Dictionary", for instance, does not include the reciprocal pronouns each other and one another under separate headings, although they should certainly be analysed as word-units, not as word-groups since they have become indivisible: we now say with each other and with one another instead of the older forms one with another or each with the other.1

Altogether is one word according to its spelling, but how is one to treat all right, which is rather a similar combination?

When discussing the internal cohesion of the word the English linguist John Lyons points out that it should be discussed in terms of two criteria “positional mobility” and “uninterruptability”. To illustrate the first he segments into morphemes the following sentence:

the - boy - s - walk - ed - slow - ly - up - the - hill

The sentence may be regarded as a sequence of ten morphemes, which occur in a particular order relative to one another. There are several possible changes in this order which yield an acceptable English sentence:

slow - ly - the - boy - s - walk - ed - up - the - hill up - the - hill - slow - ly - walk - ed - the - boy - s

Yet under all the permutations certain groups of morphemes behave as ‘blocks’ they occur always together, and in the same order relative to one another. There is no possibility of the sequence s - the - boy, ly - slow, ed - walk. “One of the characteristics of the word is that it tends to be internally stable (in terms of the order of the component morphemes), but positionally mobile (permutable with other words in the same sentence)”.2

A purely semantic treatment will be found in Stephen Ullmann’s explanation: with him connected discourse, if analysed from the semantic point of view, “will fall into a certain number of meaningful segments which are ultimately composed of meaningful units. These meaningful units are called words."3

The semantic-phonological approach may be illustrated by A.H.Gardiner’s definition: “A word is an articulate sound-symbol in its aspect of denoting something which is spoken about."4

The eminent French linguist A. Meillet (1866-1936) combines the semantic, phonological and grammatical criteria and advances a formula which underlies many subsequent definitions, both abroad and in our country, including the one given in the beginning of this book: “A word is defined by the association of a particular meaning with a

1 Sapir E. Language. An Introduction to the Study of Speech. London, 1921, P. 35.

2 Lyons, John. Introduction to Theoretical Linguistics. Cambridge: Univ. Press, 1969. P. 203.

3 Ullmann St. The Principles of Semantics. Glasgow, 1957. P. 30.

4 Gardiner A.H. The Definition of the Word and the Sentence // The British Journal of Psychology. 1922. XII. P. 355 (quoted from: Ullmann St., Op. cit., P. 51).

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particular group of sounds capable of a particular grammatical employment."1

This definition does not permit us to distinguish words from phrases because not only child, but a pretty child as well are combinations of a particular group of sounds with a particular meaning capable of a particular grammatical employment.

We can, nevertheless, accept this formula with some modifications, adding that a word is the smallest significant unit of a given language capable of functioning alone and characterised by positional mobility within a sentence, morphological uninterruptability and semantic integrity.2 All these criteria are necessary because they permit us to create a basis for the oppositions between the word and the phrase, the word and the phoneme, and the word and the morpheme: their common feature is that they are all units of the language, their difference lies in the fact that the phoneme is not significant, and a morpheme cannot be used as a complete utterance.

Another reason for this supplement is the widespread scepticism concerning the subject. It has even become a debatable point whether a word is a linguistic unit and not an arbitrary segment of speech. This opinion is put forth by S. Potter, who writes that “unlike a phoneme or a syllable, a word is not a linguistic unit at all."3 He calls it a conventional and arbitrary segment of utterance, and finally adopts the already mentioned definition of L. Bloomfield. This position is, however, as we have already mentioned, untenable, and in fact S. Potter himself makes ample use of the word as a unit in his linguistic analysis.

The weak point of all the above definitions is that they do not establish the relationship between language and thought, which is formulated if we treat the word as a dialectical unity of form and content, in which the form is the spoken or written expression which calls up a specific meaning, whereas the content is the meaning rendering the emotion or the concept in the mind of the speaker which he intends to convey to his listener.

Summing up our review of different definitions, we come to the conclusion that they are bound to be strongly dependent upon the line of approach, the aim the scholar has in view. For a comprehensive word theory, therefore, a description seems more appropriate than a definition.

The problem of creating a word theory based upon the materialistic understanding of the relationship between word and thought on the one hand, and language and society, on the other, has been one of the most discussed for many years. The efforts of many eminent scholars such as V.V. Vinogradov, A. I. Smirnitsky, O.S. Akhmanova, M.D. Stepanova, A.A. Ufimtseva to name but a few, resulted in throwing light

1 Meillet A. Linguistique historique et linguistique generate. Paris, 1926. Vol. I. P. 30.

2 It might be objected that such words as articles, conjunctions and a few other words never occur as sentences, but they are not numerous and could be collected into a list of exceptions.

3 See: Potter S. Modern Linguistics. London, 1957. P. 78.

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on this problem and achieved a clear presentation of the word as a basic unit of the language. The main points may now be summarised.

The word is the fundamental unit of language. It is a dialectical unity of form and content. Its content or meaning is not identical to notion, but it may reflect human notions, and in this sense may be considered as the form of their existence. Concepts fixed in the meaning of words are formed as generalised and approximately correct reflections of reality, therefore in signifying them words reflect reality in their content.

The acoustic aspect of the word serves to name objects of reality, not to reflect them. In this sense the word may be regarded as a sign. This sign, however, is not arbitrary but motivated by the whole process of its development. That is to say, when a word first comes into existence it is built out of the elements already available in the language and according to the existing patterns.

§ 2.2 SEMANTIC TRIANGLE

The question that now confronts us is this: what is the relation of words to the world of things, events and relations outside of language to which they refer? How is the word connected with its referent?

The account of meaning given by Ferdinand de Saussure implies the definition of a word as a linguistic sign. He calls it ‘signifiant’ (signifier) and what it refers to — ‘signifie’ (that which is signified). By the latter term he understands not the phenomena of the real world but the ‘concept’ in the speaker’s and listener’s mind. The situation may be represented by a triangle (see Fig. 1).

Here, according to F. de Saussure, only the relationship shown by a solid line concerns linguistics and the sign is not a unity of form and meaning as we understand it now, but only sound form.

Originally this triangular scheme was suggested by the German mathematician and philosopher Gottlieb Frege (1848-1925).

Well-known English scholars C.K. Ogden and I.A. Richards adopted this three-cornered pattern with considerable modifications. With them a sign is a two-facet unit comprising form (phonetical and orthographic), regarded as a linguistic symbol, and reference which is more

1 A concept is an idea of some object formed by mentally reflecting and combining its essential characteristics.

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linguistic than just a concept. This approach may be called referential because it implies that linguistic meaning is connected with the referent. It is graphically shown by there being only one dotted line. A solid line between reference and referent shows that the relationship between them is linguistically relevant, that the nature of what is named influences the meaning. This connection should not be taken too literally, it does not mean that the sound form has to have any similarity with the meaning or the object itself. The connection is conventional.

Several generations of writers, following C.K. Ogden and I.A. Richards, have in their turn taken up and modified this diagram. It is known under several names: the semantic triangle, triangle of signification, Frege semiotic triangle, Ogden and Richards basic triangle or simply basic triangle.

We reproduce it for the third time to illustrate how it can show the main features of the referential approach in its present form. All the lines are now solid, implying that it is not only the form of the linguistic sign but also its meaning and what it refers to that are relevant for linguistics. The scheme is given as it is applied to the naming of cats.

The scheme is still over-simplified and several things are left out. It is very important, for instance, to remember that the word is represented by the left-hand side of the diagram it is a sign comprising the name and the meaning, and these invariably evoke one another. So we have to assume that the word takes two apexes of the triangle and the line connecting them. In some versions of the triangle it is not the meaning but the concept that is placed in the apex. This reflects the approach to the problem as formulated by medieval grammarians; it remained traditional for many centuries.

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We shall deal with the difference between concept and meaning in § 3.2. In the modification of the triangle given here we have to understand that the referent belongs to extra-linguistic reality, it is reflected in our mind in several stages (not shown on the diagram): first it is perceived, then many perceptions are generalised into a concept, which in its turn is reflected in the meaning with certain linguistic constraints conditioned by paradigmatic influence within the vocabulary. When it is the concept that is put into the apex, then the meaning cannot be identified with any of the three points of the triangle.1

The diagram represents the simplest possible case of reference because the word here is supposed to have only one meaning and one form of fixation. Simplification, is, however, inherent to all models and the popularity of the semantic triangle proves how many authors find it helpful in showing the essence of the referential approach.

§ 2.3 PHONETIC, MORPHOLOGICAL

AND SEMANTIC MOTIVATION OF WORDS

The term motivation is used to denote the relationship existing between the phonemic or morphemic composition and structural pattern of the word on the one hand, and its meaning on the other. There are three main types of motivation: phonetical motivation, morphological motivation, and semantic motivation.

When there is a certain similarity between the sounds that make up the word and those referred to by the sense, the motivation is phonetical. Examples are: bang, buzz, cuckoo, giggle, gurgle, hiss, purr, whistle, etc. Here the sounds of a word are imitative of sounds in nature because what is referred to is a sound or at least, produces a characteristic sound (cuckoo). Although there exists a certain arbitrary element in the resulting phonemic shape of the word, one can see that this type of motivation is determined by the phonological system of each language as shown by the difference of echo-words for the same concept in different languages. St. Ullmann2 stresses that phonetic motivation is not a perfect replica of any acoustic structure but only a rough approximation. This accounts for the variability of echo-words within one language and between different languages. Gf. cuckoo (Engl), Kuckuck (Germ), кукушка (Russ). Within the English vocabulary there are different words, all sound imitative, meaning ‘quick, foolish, indistinct talk’: babble, chatter, gabble, prattle. In this last group echoic creations combine phonological and morphological motivation because they contain verbal suffixes -le and -er forming frequentative verbs. We see therefore that one word may combine different types of motivation.

1 See: Ginzburg R.S., Khidekel S.S., Knyazeva G.Y., Sankin A.A. A Course in Modern English Lexicology. M., 1979. P. 16.

2 Ullmann St. The Principles of Semantics. P. 88.

3 И. В. Арнольд 33


Words denoting noises produced by animals are mostly sound imitative. In English they are motivated only phonetically so that nouns and verbs are exactly the same. In Russian the motivation combines phonetical and morphological motivation. The Russian words блеять v and блеяние n are equally represented in English by bleat. Сf. also: purr (of a cat), moo (of a cow), crow (of a cock), bark (of a dog), neigh (of a horse) and their Russian equivalents.

The morphological motivation may be quite regular. Thus, the prefix ex- means ‘former’ when added to human nouns: ex-filmstar, ex-president, ex-wife. Alongside with these cases there is a more general use of ex-: in borrowed words it is unstressed and motivation is faded (expect, export, etc.).

The derived word re-think is motivated inasmuch as its morphological structure suggests the idea of thinking again. Re- is one of the most common prefixes of the English language, it means ‘again’ and ‘back’ and is added to verbal stems or abstract deverbal noun stems, as in rebuild, reclaim, resell, resettlement. Here again these newer formations should be compared with older borrowings from Latin and French where re- is now unstressed, and the motivation faded. Compare re-cover ‘cover again’ and recover ‘get better’. In short: morphological motivation is especially obvious in newly coined words, or at least words created in the present century. Сf. detainee, manoeuvrable, prefabricated, racialist, self-propelling, vitaminise, etc. In older words, root words and morphemes motivation is established etymologically, if at all.

From the examples given above it is clear that motivation is the way in which a given meaning is represented in the word. It reflects the type of nomination process chosen by the creator of the new word. Some scholars of the past used to call the phenomenon the inner word form.

In deciding whether a word of long standing in the language is morphologically motivated according to present-day patterns or not, one should be very careful. Similarity in sound form does not always correspond to similarity in morphological pattern. Agential suffix -er is affixable to any verb, so that V+-er means ‘one who V-s’ or ‘something that V-s’: writer, receiver, bomber, rocker, knocker. Yet, although the verb numb exists in English, number is not ‘one who numbs’ but is derived from OFr nombre borrowed into English and completely assimilated.

The cases of regular morphological motivation outnumber irregularities, and yet one must remember the principle of “fuzzy sets” in coming across the word smoker with its variants: ‘one who smokes tobacco’ and ‘a railway car in which passengers may smoke’.

Many writers nowadays instead of the term morphological motivation, or parallel to it, introduce the term word-building meaning. In what follows the term will be avoided because actually it is not meaning that is dealt with in this concept, but the form of presentation.

The third type of motivation is called semantic motivation. It is based on the co-existence of direct and figurative meanings of the same word within the same synchronous system. Mouth continues to denote a part of the human face, and at the same time it can

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metaphorically apply to any opening or outlet: the mouth of a river, of a cave, of a furnace. Jacket is a short coat and also a protective cover for a book, a phonograph record or an electric wire. Ermine is not only the name of a small animal, but also of its fur, and the office and rank of an English judge because in England ermine was worn by judges in court. In their direct meaning neither mouth nor ermine is motivated.

As to compounds, their motivation is morphological if the meaning of the whole is based on the direct meaning of the components, and semantic if the combination of components is used figuratively. Thus, eyewash ‘a lotion for the eyes’ or headache ‘pain in the head’, or watchdog ‘a dog kept for watching property’ are all morphologically motivated. If, on the other hand, they are used metaphorically as ‘something said or done to deceive a person so that he thinks that what he sees is good, though in fact it is not’, ‘anything or anyone very annoying’ and ‘a watchful human guardian’, respectively, then the motivation is semantic. Compare also heart-breaking, time-server, lick-spittle, sky-jack v.

An interesting example of complex morpho-semantic motivation passing through several stages in its history is the word teenager ‘a person in his or her teens’. The motivation may be historically traced as follows: the inflected form of the numeral ten produced the suffix -teen. The suffix later produces a stem with a metonymical meaning (semantic motivation), receives the plural ending -s, and then produces a new noun teens ‘the years of a person’s life of which the numbers end in -teen, namely from 13 to 19’. In combination with age or aged the adjectives teen-age and teen-aged are coined, as in teen-age boy, teen-age fashions. A morphologically motivated noun teenager is then formed with the help of the suffix -er which is often added to compounds or noun phrases producing personal names according to the pattern *one connected with...’.

The pattern is frequent enough. One must keep in mind, however, that not all words with a similar morphemic composition will have the same derivational history and denote human beings. E. g. first-nighter and honeymooner are personal nouns, but two-seater is ‘a car or an aeroplane seating two persons’, back-hander is ‘a back-hand stroke in tennis’ and three-decker ‘a sandwich made of three pieces of bread with two layers of filling’.

When the connection between the meaning of the word and its form is conventional that is there is no perceptible reason for the word having this particular phonemic and morphemic composition, the word is said to be non-motivated for the present stage of language development.

Every vocabulary is in a state of constant development. Words that seem non-motivated at present may have lost their motivation. The verb earn does not suggest at present any necessary connection with agriculture. The connection of form and meaning seems purely conventional. Historical analysis shows, however, that it is derived from OE (ze-)earnian ‘to harvest’. In Modern English this connection no longer exists and earn is now a non-motivated word. Complex morphological structures tend to unite and become indivisible units, as St. Ullmann

3* 35


demonstrates tracing the history of not which is a reduced form of nought from OE nowiht1 <no-wiht ‘nothing’.2

When some people recognise the motivation, whereas others do not, motivation is said to be faded.

Sometimes in an attempt to find motivation for a borrowed word the speakers change its form so as to give it a connection with some well-known word. These cases of mistaken motivation received the name of folk etymology. The phenomenon is not very frequent. Two examples will suffice: A nightmare is not ‘a she-horse that appears at night’ but ‘a terrifying dream personified in folklore as a female monster’. (OE таrа an evil spirit’.) The international radio-telephone signal may-day corresponding to the telegraphic SOS used by aeroplanes and ships in distress has nothing to do with the First of May but is a phonetic rendering of French m'aidez ‘help me’.

Some linguists consider one more type of motivation closely akin to the imitative forms, namely sound symbolism. Some words are supposed to illustrate the meaning more immediately than do ordinary words. As the same combinations of sounds are used in many semantically similar words, they become more closely associated with the meaning. Examples are: flap, flip, flop, flitter, flimmer, flicker, flutter, flash, flush, flare; glare, glitter, glow, gloat, glimmer; sleet, slime, slush, where fl- is associated with quick movement, gl- with light and fire, sl- with mud.

This sound symbolism phenomenon is not studied enough so far, so that it is difficult to say to what extent it is valid. There are, for example, many English words, containing the initial fl- but not associated with quick or any other movement: flat, floor, flour, flower. There is also nothing muddy in the referents of sleep or slender.

To sum up this discussion of motivation: there are processes in the vocabulary that compel us to modify the Saussurian principle according to which linguistic units are independent of the substance in which they are realised and their associations is a matter of arbitrary convention. It is already not true for phonetic motivation and only partly true for all other types. In the process of vocabulary development, and we witness everyday its intensity, a speaker of a language creates new words and is understood because the vocabulary system possesses established associations of form and meaning.

1 All the etymologies have been checked in the “Webster’s New World Dictionary”. The length of vowels in Old English is not marked in the present book, because it is not the phonetic but the semantic and morphological development of the vocabulary that is our primary concern.

2 Ullmann St. The Principles of Semantics. P. 90.


Chapter 3

LEXICAL MEANING AND SEMANTIC STRUCTURE
OF ENGLISH WORDS

§ 3.1 DEFINITIONS

The branch of linguistics concerned with the meaning of words and word equivalents is called semasiology. The name comes from the Greek sēmasiā ‘signification’ (from sēma sign’ sēmantikos ‘significant’ and logos ‘learning’).

In the present book we shall not deal with every kind of linguistic meaning. Attention will be concentrated on lexical meaning and semasiology will be treated as a branch of lexicology.

This does not mean, of course, that no attention will be paid to grammatical meaning; on the contrary, grammatical meaning must be considered because it bears a specific influence upon lexical meaning (see § 1.3). In most present-day methods of lexicological analysis words are studied by placing them, or rather considering them in larger units of context; a word is defined by its functioning within a phrase or a sentence. This means that the problem of autonomy of lexicology versus syntax is now being raised and solved by special study. This functional approach is attempted in contextual analysis, semantic syntax and some other branches of linguistics.1

The influence of grammar on lexical meaning is manifold (see §1.3) and will be further discussed at some length later. At this stage it will suffice to point out that a certain basic component of the word meaning is described when one identifies the word morphologically, i.e. states to what grammatical word class it belongs.

If treated 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 system.

The main objects of semasiological study treated in this book are as follows: semantic development of words, its causes and classification, relevant distinctive features and types of lexical meaning,

1 The problem is not new. M. Brйal, for instance, devoted much attention to a semasiological treatment of grammar. A German philologist H. Hatzfeld held that semasiology should include syntax, and that many of its chapters need historical and cultural comments.

The problem has recently acquired a certain urgency and a revival of interest in semantic syntax is reflected in a large number of publications by Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev scholars.

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polysemy and semantic structure of words, semantic grouping and connections in the vocabulary system, i.e. synonyms, antonyms, terminological systems, etc. The present chapter does not offer to cover all of this wide field. Attention will be centred upon semantic word structure and semantic analysis.

An exact definition of any basic term is no easy task altogether (see § 2.1). In the case of lexical meaning it becomes especially difficult due to the complexity of the process by which language and human mind serve to reflect outward reality and to adapt it to human needs.

The definition of lexical meaning has been attempted more than once in accordance with the main principles of different linguistic schools. The disciples of F. de Saussure consider meaning to be the relation between the object or notion named, and the name itself (see § 2.2). Descriptive linguistics of the Bloomfieldian trend defines the meaning as the situation in which the word is uttered. Both ways of approach afford no possibility of a further investigation of semantic problems in strictly linguistic terms, and therefore, if taken as a basis for general linguistic theory, give no insight into the mechanism of meaning. Some of L. Bloomfield’s successors went so far as to exclude semasiology from linguistics on the ground that meaning could not be studied “objectively", and was not part of language but “an aspect of the use to which language is put”. This point of view was never generally accepted. The more general opinion is well revealed in R. Jakobson’s pun. He said: “Linguistics without meaning is meaningless."1 This crisis of semasiology has been over for some twenty years now, and the problem of meaning has provided material for a great number of books, articles and dissertations.

In our country the definitions of meaning given by various authors, though different in detail, agree in the basic principle: they all point out that lexical meaning is the realisation of concept or emotion by means of a definite language system. The definition stresses that semantics studies only such meanings that can be expressed, that is concepts bound by signs.

It has also been repeatedly stated that the plane of content in speech reflects the whole of human consciousness, which comprises not only mental activity but emotions, volition, etc. as well. The mentalistic approach to meaning treating it only as a concept expressed by a word oversimplifies the problem because it takes into consideration only the referential function of words. Actually, however, all the pragmatic functions of language communicative, emotive, evaluative, phatic, esthetic, etc., are also relevant and have to be accounted for in semasiology, because they show the attitude of the speaker to the thing spoken of, to his interlocutor and to the situation in which the act of communication takes place.

The complexity of the word meaning is manifold. The four most important types of semantic complexity may be roughly described as follows:

1 Note how this epigram makes use of the polysemy of the word meaning.

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Firstly, every word combines lexical and grammatical meanings. E.g.: Father is a personal noun.

Secondly, many words not only refer to some object but have an aura of associations expressing the attitude of the speaker. They have not only denotative but connotative meaning as well.

E. g.: Daddy is a colloquial term of endearment.

Thirdly, the denotational meaning is segmented into semantic components or semes.

E.g.: Father is a male parent.

Fourthly, a word may be polysemantic, that is it may have several meanings, all interconnected and forming its semantic structure.

E. g.: Father may mean: ‘male parent’, ‘an ancestor’, ‘a founder or leader’, ‘a priest’.

It will be useful to remind the reader that the grammatical meaning is defined as an expression in speech of relationships between words based on contrastive features of arrangements in which they occur. The grammatical meaning is more abstract and more generalised than the lexical meaning, it unites words into big groups such as parts of speech or lexico-grammatical classes. It is recurrent in identical sets of individual forms of different words. E. g. parents, books, intentions, whose common element is the grammatical meaning of plurality. The interrelation of lexics and grammar has already been touched upon in § 1.3. This being a book on lexicology and not on grammar, it is permissible not to go into more details though some words on lexico-grammatical meanings are necessary.

The lexiсo-grammatical meaning is the common denominator of all the meanings of words belonging to a lexico-grammatical class of words, it is the feature according to which they are grouped together. Words in which abstraction and generalisation are so great that they can be lexical representatives of lexico-grammatical meanings and substitute any word of their class are called generic terms. For example the word matter is a generic term for material nouns, the word group for collective nouns, the word person for personal nouns.

Words belonging to one lexico-grammatical class are characterised by a common system of forms in which the grammatical categories inherent in them are expressed. They are also substituted by the same prop-words and possess some characteristic formulas of semantic and morphological structure and a characteristic set of derivational affixes. See tables on word-formation in: R. Quirk et al., “A Grammar of Contemporary English”.1 The common features of semantic structure may be observed in their dictionary definitions:

1 Quirk R., Greenbaum S., Leech G., Svartvik J. A Grammar of Contemporary English. London, 1974.

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management a group of persons in charge of some enterprise,

chorus a group of singers,

team a group of persons acting together in work or in a game.

The degree and character of abstraction and generalisation in lexico-grammatical meanings and the generic terms that represent them are intermediate between those characteristic of grammatical categories and those observed on the lexical level hence the term lexico-grammatical.

The conceptual content of a word is expressed in its denotative meaning.1 To denote is to serve as a linguistic expression for a concept or as a name for an individual object. The denotative meaning may be signifiсative, if the referent is a concept, or demоfistrative, if it is an individual object. The term referent or denotatum (pl. denotata) is used in both cases. Any text will furnish examples of both types of denotative meaning. The demonstrative meaning is especially characteristic of colloquial speech where words so often serve to identify particular elements of reality. E. g.: “Do you remember what the young lady did with the telegram?” (Christie) Here the connection with reality is direct.

Especially interesting examples of significative meaning may be found in aphorisms, proverbs and other sayings rendering general ideas. E. g.: A good laugh is sunshine in the house (Thackeray) or The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work (Frost) contain words in their significative meanings.

The information communicated by virtue of what the word refers to is often subject to complex associations originating in habitual contexts, verbal or situational, of which the speaker and the listener are aware, they give the word its connotative meaning. The interaction of denotative meaning and its pragmatic counterpart connotation is no less complicated than in the case of lexical and grammatical meaning. The connotative component is optional, and even when it is present its proportion with respect to the logical counterpart may vary within wide limits.

We shall call connotation what the word conveys about the speaker’s attitude to the social circumstances and the appropriate functional style (slay vs kill), about his approval or disapproval of the object spoken of (clique vs group), about the speaker’s emotions (mummy vs mother), or the degree of intensity (adore vs love).

The emotional overtone as part of the word’s communicative value deserves special attention. Different approaches have been developing in contemporary linguistics.2

The emotional and evaluative meaning of the word may be part of the denotational meaning. For example hireling ‘a person who offers his services for payment and does not care about the type of work'

1 There are other synonymous terms but we shall not enumerate them here because terminological richness is more hampering than helpful.

2 See the works of E.S. Aznaurova, T.G. Vinokur, R.H. Volpert, V.I. Maltzev, V.N. Mikhaylovskaya, I.A. Sternin, V.I. Shakhovsky and many others.

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has a strong derogatory and even scornful connotation, especially when the name is applied to hired soldiers. There is a considerable degree of fuzziness about the boundaries between the denotational and connotative meanings.

The third type of semantic segmentation mentioned on p. 39 was the segmentation of the denotational meaning into semantic components. The componential analysis is a very important method of linguistic investigation and has attracted a great deal of attention. It is usually illustrated by some simple example such as the words man, woman, boy, girl, all belonging to the semantic field “the human race” and differing in the characteristics of age and sex. Using the symbols HUMAN, ADULT, MALE and marking them positively and negatively so that -ADULT means ‘young’ and -MALE means ‘female’, we may write the following componential definitions:

man: + HUMAN + ADULT + MALE

woman: + HUMAN + ADULT MALE

boy: + HUMAN ADULT + MALE

girl: + HUMAN ADULT MALE

One further point should be made: HUMAN, ADULT, MALE in this analysis are not words of English or any other language: they are elements of meaning, or semes which can be combined in various ways with other similar elements in the meaning of different words. Nevertheless a linguist, as it has already been mentioned, cannot study any meaning devoid of form, therefore these semes are mostly determined with the help of dictionary definitions.

To conclude this rough model of semantic complexities we come to the fourth point, that of polysemy.

Polysemy is inherent in the very nature of words and concepts as every object and every notion has many features and a concept reflected in a word always contains a generalisation of several traits of the object. Some of these traits or components of meaning are common with other objects. Hence the possibility of using the same name in secondary nomination for objects possessing common features which are sometimes only implied in the original meaning. A word when acquiring new meaning or meanings may also retain, and most often retains the previous meaning.

E. g. birth — 1) the act or time of being born, 2) an origin or beginning, 3) descent, family.

The classification of meanings within the semantic structure of one polysemantic word will be discussed in § 3.4.

If the communicative value of a word contains latent possibilities realised not in this particular variant but able to create new derived meanings or words we call that implicational.1 The word bomb,

1 See on this point M.V. Nikitin’s works.

See also the term epidigmatic offered by D.N. Shmelev for a somewhat similar notion of the elements of meaning that form the basis for semantic and morphological derivation and characterise the similarities and differences of variants within the semantic structure of one word.

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for example, implies great power, hence the new colloquial meanings ‘great success’ and ‘great failure’, the latter being an American slang expression.

The different variants of a polysemantic word form a semantic whole due to the proximity of the referents they name and the notions they express. The formation of new meanings is often based on the potential or implicational meaning. The transitive verb drive, for instance, means ‘to force to move before one’ and hence, more generally, ‘to cause an animal, a person or a thing work or move in some direction’, and more specifically ‘to direct a course of a vehicle or the animal which draws it, or a railway train, etc.’, hence ‘to convey in a vehicle’ and the intransitive verb: ‘to go in a vehicle’. There are also many other variants but we shall mention only one more, namely the figurative — ‘to mean’, as in: “What can he be driving at?” (Foote)

All these different meanings can be explained one with the help of one of the others.

The typical patterns according to which different meanings are united in one polysemantic word often depend upon grammatical meanings and grammatical categories characteristic of the part of speech to which they belong.

Depending upon the part of speech to which the word belongs all its possible meanings become connected with a definite group of grammatical meanings, and the latter influence the semantic structure of the word so much that every part of speech possesses semantic peculiarities of its own.

§ 3.2 THE LEXICAL MEANING VERSUS NOTION

The term notion (concept) is introduced into linguistics from logic and psychology. It denotes the reflection in the mind of real objects and phenomena in their essential features and relations. Each notion is characterised by its scope and content. The scope of the notion is determined by all the objects it refers to. The content of the notion is made up of all the features that distinguish it from other notions. The distinction between the scope and the content of a notion lies at the basis of such terms as the identifying (demonstrative) and significative functions of the word that have been discussed above. The identifying function may be interpreted as denoting the objects covered by the scope of the notion expressed in the word, and the significative function is the function of expressing the content of the respective notion. The function of rendering an emotion or an attitude is termed the expressive function.

The relationship between the linguistic lexical meaning and the logical notion deserves special attention not only because they are apt to be confused but also because in comparing and contrasting them it is possible to achieve a better insight into the essence of both. In what follows this opposition will be treated in some detail.

I. The first essential point is that the relationship between notion and meaning varies. A word may have a notion for its referent. In the example A good laugh is sunshine in the house (Thackeray) every word

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evokes a general idea, a notion, without directly referring to any particular element of reality. The scope of the significative meaning and that of the notion coincide; on different levels they cover the same area. But a word may also have, and quite often has a particular individual object for its referent as in “Do you remember what the young lady did with the telegram?” (Christie)

The problem of proper names is particularly complicated. It has been often taken for granted that they do not convey any generalised notion at all, that they only name human beings, countries, cities, animals, rivers, stars, etc. And yet, names like Moscow, the Thames, Italy, Byron evoke notions. Moreover, the notions called forth are particularly rich. The clue, as St. Ullmann convincingly argues, lies in the specific function of proper names which is identification, and not signifying.1

Pronouns possess the demonstrative function almost to a complete exclusion of the significative function, i.e. they only point out, they do not impart any information about the object pointed out except for its relation to the speaker.

To sum up this first point: the logical notion is the referent of lexical meaning quite often but not always, because there may be other referents such as the real objects.

II. Secondly, notions are always emotionally neutral as they are a category of thought. Language, however, expresses all possible aspects of human consciousness (see § 3.3). Therefore the meaning of many words not only conveys some reflection of objective reality but also connotations revealing the speaker’s state of mind and his attitude to what he is speaking about. The following passage yields a good example: “Vile bug of a coward,” said Lypiatt, “why don’t you defend yourself like a man?” (Huxley) Due to the unpleasant connotations the name bug acquires a negative emotional tone. The word man, on the contrary, has a positive connotation implying courage and firmness. When used in emotionally coloured situations emphatic syntactic structures and contexts, as in our example from Huxley, words accumulate emotional associations that finally blur their exact denotative meaning.

The content of the emotional component of meaning varies considerably. Emotionally charged words can cover the whole scale of both positive and negative emotions: admiration, respect, tenderness and other positive feelings, on the one hand, and scorn, irony, loathing, etc., on the other. Two or more words having the same denotative meaning may differ in emotional tone. In such oppositions as brat : : baby and kid : : child the denotative force of the right- and left-hand terms is the same but the left-hand terms are emotional whereas those on the right are neutral.

III. Thirdly, the absence not only of identity, but even of regular

1 Ullmann St. The Principles of Semantics. P. 73. See also on the point of proper names: Jespersen O. Philosophy of Grammar. London, 1929, p.p. 63-71; Sцrensen H.S. Word-Classes in Modern English (with Special Reference to Proper Names), with an Introductory Theory of Grammar, Meaning and Reference. Copenhagen, 1958.

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one-to-one correspondence between meaning and notion is clearly seen in words belonging to some specific stylistic level. This purely linguistic factor is relevant not for the content of the message but for the personality of the speaker, his background and his relations with his audience. The wording of the following example can serve to illustrate the point: “Well,” said Kanga, “Fancy that! Fancy my making a mistake like that.” (Milne) Fancy when used in exclamatory sentences not only expresses surprise but has a definite colloquial character and shows that the speaker and those who hear him are on familiar terms.

The stylistic colouring should not be mixed with emotional tone although here they coincide. A word may have a definite stylistic characteristic and be completely devoid of any emotional colouring (lifer ‘a person who has been sent to prison for life’); two words may belong to the same style and express diametrically opposed emotions (compare, for instance, the derogatory lousy and the laudatory smashing, both belonging to slang).

Summing up the second and the third points, one may say that owing to its linguistic nature the lexical meaning of many words cannot be divorced from the typical sphere where these words are used and the typical contexts, and so bears traces of both, whereas a notion belongs to abstract logic and so has no ties with any stylistic sphere and does not contain any emotive components.

IV. The linguistic nature of lexical meaning has very important consequences. Expressing a notion, a word does so in a way determined by the peculiarities of the lexical and grammatical systems of each particular language and by the various structural ties of the word in speech. Every word may be said to have paradigmatic ties relating it to other words and forms, and giving it a differential quality. These are its relations to other elements of the same thematic group, to synonymous and antonymous words, phraseological restrictions on its use and the type of words which may be derived from it. On the other hand, each word has syntagmatic ties characterising the ordered linear arrangement of speech elements.

The lexical meaning of every word depends upon the part of speech to which the word belongs. Every word may be used in a limited set of syntactical functions, and with a definite valency. It has a definite set of grammatical meanings, and a definite set of forms.

Every lexico-grammatical group of words (see p. p. 28, 39) or class is characterised by its own lexico-grammatical meaning, forming, as it were, the common denominator of all the meanings of the words which belong to this group. The lexico-grammatical meaning may be also regarded as the feature according to which these words are grouped together. Many recent investigations are devoted to establishing word classes on the basis of similarity of distribution.

In the lexical meaning of every separate word the lexico-grammatical meaning common to all the words of the class to which this word belongs is enriched by additional features and becomes particularised.

The meaning of a specific property in such words as bright, clear, good, quick, steady, thin is a particular realisation of the lexico-

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grammatical meaning of qualitative adjectives. These adjectives always denote the properties of things capable of being compared and so have degrees of comparison. They refer to qualities that vary along a continuous scale and are called gradable. The scope of the notion rendered by the lexico-grammatical meaning of the class is much larger than the scope of the notion rendered by the lexical meaning of each individual word. The reverse also holds good: the content of the notion expressed by the lexico-grammatical meaning of the class is smaller, poorer in features than the content of the notion expressed by the lexical meaning of a word.

In summing up this fourth point, we note that the complexity of the notion is determined by the relationships of the extra-linguistic reality reflected in human consciousness. The structure of every separate meaning depends on the linguistic syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships because meaning is an inherent component of language. The complexity of each word meaning is due to the fact that it combines lexical meaning with lexico-grammatical meaning and sometimes with emotional colouring, stylistic peculiarities and connotations born from previous usage.

V. The foregoing deals with separate meanings as realised in speech. If we turn to the meaning of words as they exist in language we shall observe that frequently used words are polysemantic.

In every language the combinatorial possibility of meanings in one word is specific. Thus, it is characteristic of English nouns to combine individual and collective, countable and uncountable variants in one phonetic complex. In verbs we observe different meanings based on the transitive and intransitive lexico-semantic variants of the same verb, as illustrated by the following examples: burn vt ‘destroy by fire’, vi ‘be in flames’; hold vt ‘contain, keep fast’, vi ‘be true’. See also different meanings of the verbs fire, fly, run, shake, turn, walk, warm, worry, etc.

Morphological derivation also plays a very important part in determining possible meaning combinations. Thus, for instance, nouns derived from verbs very often name not only the action itself but its result as well, e. g. show n ‘the act of showing’, ‘an exhibition’.

All these examples are sufficient to prove the fifth point, namely, that the grouping of meanings is different from the grouping of notions.

VI. Last but not least, the difference between notion and meaning is based upon the fact that notions are mostly international, especially for nations with the same level of cultural development, whereas meaning may be nationally determined and limited. The grouping of meanings in the semantic structure of a word is determined by the whole system of every language, by its grammar and vocabulary, by the peculiar history both of the language in question and the people who speak it. These factors influence not only the mere presence and absence of this or that meaning in the semantic system of words that may be considered equivalent in different languages, but also their respective place and importance. Equivalent words may be defined as words of two different languages, the main lexical variants of which express or name the same

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notion, emotion or object. Their respective semantic structures (in the case of polysemantic words) show a marked parallelism, but this similarity is not absolute. Its degree may vary.

The meaning of every word forms part of the semantic system of each particular language and thus is always determined by the peculiarities of its vocabulary, namely the existence of synonyms, or words near in meaning, by the typical usage, set expressions and also by the words’ grammatical characteristics depending on the grammatical system of each language.

A good illustration is given by the verb go. Its Russian equivalent is идти. The main meaning ‘move or pass from place to place’ is common to both languages, as well as the meaning ‘extend’ (e. g.: This road goes to London Эта дорога идет в Лондон); and so is the meaning ‘work’ (Is your watch going? Идут ли ваши часы?). There is, however, quite a considerable number of meanings that do not coincide. This is partly due to the existence in the English vocabulary of the words come and walk that point out the direction and character of the movement. Сf. Вот, он идет! Here he comes! On the other hand the Russian language makes a distinction between идти and ехать. So that the English go by train, go by bus cannot be translated as *uдmu на поезде or *идти на автобусе.

There is quite a number of meanings that are realised only under certain specific structural conditions, such as: go fishing (skating, boating, skiing, mountain-climbing); go running (flying, screaming); go limp (pale, bad, blind); be going to ... that have no parallel in Russian (see p. 16).

It is common knowledge that there are many cases when one English word combines the meanings of two or more Russian words expressing similar notions and vice versa. For example:

A. boat судно, шлюпка, пароход, лодка; coat пальто, пиджак, китель; desk парта, письменный стол; floor пол, этаж; gun пушка, ружье; cry кричать, плакать.

B. нога foot and leg; рука hand and arm; часы watch and clock; пальцы fingers and toes; сон sleep and dream; высокий high and tall. The last example is particularly interesting because it reveals that the word high cannot cover all the cases of great vertical dimension, i.e. the scope of the notion and that of the meaning do not coincide.

Summing up all the points of difference between the thing meant, the notion and the meaning, we can say that the lexical meaning of the word may be defined as the realisation or naming of a notion, emotion or object by means of a definite language system subject to the influence of grammar and vocabulary peculiarities of that language. Words that express notions may also have some emotional or stylistic colouring or express connotations suggestive of the contexts in which they often appear. All the specific features that distinguish the lexical meaning from the notion are due to its linguistic nature. Expressing the notion is one of the word’s functions but not the only one, as there are words that do not name any notion; their meaning is constituted by other

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functions. The development of the lexical meaning is influenced by the whole complicated network of ties and relations between the words in a given vocabulary and between the vocabulary and other aspects of the language.

§ 3.3 DENOTATIVE AND CONNOTATIVE MEANING

In the previous paragraphs we emphasised the complexity of word meaning and mentioned its possible segmentation into denotative and connotative meaning. In this paragraph we shall analyse these in greater detail. In most cases the denotative meaning is essentially cognitive: it conceptualises and classifies our experience and names for the listener some objects spoken about. Fulfilling the significative and the communicative functions of the word it is present in every word and may be regarded as the central factor in the functioning of language.

The expressive function of the language with its orientation towards the speaker’s feelings, and the pragmatic function dealing with the effect of words upon listeners are rendered in connotations. Unlike the denotative meaning, connotations are optional.

The description of the denotative meaning or meanings is the duty of lexicographers in unilingual explanatory dictionaries. The task is a difficult one because there is no clear-cut demarcation line between the semantic features, strictly necessary for each definition, and those that are optional. A glance at the definitions given in several dictionaries will suffice to show how much they differ in solving the problem. A cat, for example, is defined by Hornby as “a small fur-covered animal often kept as a pet in the house”. Longman in his dictionary goes into greater detail: a cat is “a small animal with soft fur and sharp teeth and claws, often kept as a pet, or in buildings to catch mice”. The Chambers Dictionary gives a scientific definition — “a cat is a carnivore of the genus Felix, esp. the domesticated kind”.

The examples given above bring us to one more difficult problem. Namely, whether in analysing a meaning we should be guided by all that science knows about the referent, or whether a linguist has to formulate the simplest possible concept as used by every speaker. If so, what are the features necessary and sufficient to characterise the referent? The question was raised by many prominent scientists, the great Russian philologist A. A. Potebnya among them. A. A. Potebnya distinguished the “proximate” word meaning with the bare minimum of characteristic features as used by every speaker in everyday life, and the “distant” word meaning corresponding to what specialists know about the referent. The latter type we could have called ‘special’ or ‘terminological’ meaning. A. A. Potebnya maintained that linguistics is concerned only with the first type. The problem is by no means simple, especially for lexicographers, as is readily seen from the above lexicographic treatment of the word cat.

The demarcation line between the two types is becoming more fluid; with the development of culture the gap between the elementary notions of a layman and the more and more exact concepts of a specialist narrows in some spheres and widens in others. The concepts themselves are

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constantly changing. The speakers’ ideolects vary due to different life experience, education and other extra-linguistic factors.

The bias of studies depends upon their ultimate goals.

If lexicology is needed as the basis for language teaching in engineering colleges, we have to concentrate on terminological semantics, if on the other hand it is the theory necessary for teaching English at school, the meaning with the minimum semantic components is of primary importance. So we shall have to concentrate on this in spite of all its fuzziness.

Now, if the denotative meaning exists by virtue of what the word refers to, connotation is the pragmatic communicative value the word receives by virtue of where, when, how, by whom, for what purpose and in what contexts it is or may be used. Four main types of connotations are described below. They are stylistic, emotional, evaluative and expressive or intensifying.

The orientation toward the subject-matter, characteristic, as we have seen, of the denotative meaning, is substituted here by pragmatic orientation toward speaker and listener; it is not so much what is spoken about as the attitude to it that matters.

When associations at work concern the situation in which the word is uttered, the social circumstances (formal, familiar, etc.), the social relationships between the interlocutors (polite, rough), the type and purpose of communication (learned, poetic, official, etc.), the connotation is stylistic.

An effective method of revealing connotations is the analysis of synonymic groups, where the identity of denotation meanings makes it possible to separate the connotational overtones. A classical example for showing stylistic connotations is the noun horse and its synonyms. The word horse is stylistically neutral, its synonym steed is poetic, nag is a word of slang and gee-gee is baby language.

An emotional or affective connotation is acquired by the word as a result of its frequent use in contexts corresponding to emotional situations or because the referent conceptualised and named in the denotative meaning is associated with emotions. For example, the verb beseech means 'to ask eagerly and also anxiously'. E. g.: He besought a favour of the judge (Longman).

Evaluative connotation expresses approval of disapproval.

Making use of the same procedure of comparing elements of a synonymic group, one compares the words magic, witchcraft and sorcery, all originally denoting art and power of controlling events by occult supernatural means, we see that all three words are now used mostly figuratively, and also that magic as compared to its synonyms will have glamorous attractive connotations, while the other two, on the contrary, have rather sinister associations.

It is not claimed that these four types of connotations: stylistic, emotional, evaluative and intensifying form an ideal and complete classification. Many other variants have been proposed, but the one suggested here is convenient for practical analysis and well supported by facts. It certainly

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is not ideal. There is some difficulty for instance in separating the binary good/bad evaluation from connotations of the so-called bias words involving ideological viewpoints. Bias words are especially characteristic of the newspaper vocabulary reflecting different ideologies and political trends in describing political life. Some authors think these connotations should be taken separately.

The term bias words is based on the meaning of the noun bias ‘an inclination for or against someone or something, a prejudice’, e. g. a newspaper with a strong conservative bias.

The following rather lengthy example is justified, because it gives a more or less complete picture of the phenomenon. E. Waugh in his novel “Scoop” satirises the unfairness of the Press. A special correspondent is sent by a London newspaper to report on a war in a fictitious African country Ishmalia. He asks his editor for briefing:

Can you tell me who is fighting whom in Ishmalia?”

“I think it is the Patriots and the Traitors.”

“Yes, but which is which?”

“Oh, I don’t know that. That’s Policy, you see [...] You should have asked Lord Copper.”

“I gather it’s between the Reds and the Blacks.”

“Yes, but it’s not quite so easy as that. You see they are all Negroes. And the Fascists won’t be called black because of their racial pride. So they are called White after the White Russians. And the Bolshevists want to be called black because of their racial pride.” (Waugh)

The example shows that connotations are not stable and vary considerably according to the ideology, culture and experience of the individual. Even apart of this satirical presentation we learn from Barn-hart’s dictionary that the word black meaning ‘a negro’, which used to be impolite and derogatory, is now upgraded by civil rights movement through the use of such slogans as “Black is Beautiful” or “Black Power”.

A linguistic proof of an existing unpleasant connotation is the appearance of euphemisms. Thus backward students are now called under-achievers. Countries with a low standard of living were first called undeveloped, but euphemisms quickly lose their polite character and the unpleasant connotations are revived, and then they are replaced by new euphemisms such as less developed and then as developing countries.

A fourth type of connotation that should be mentioned is the intensifying connotation (also expressive, emphatic). Thus magnificent, gorgeous, splendid, superb are all used colloquially as terms of exaggeration.

We often come across words that have two or three types of connotations at once, for example the word beastly as in beastly weather or beastly cold is emotional, colloquial, expresses censure and intensity.

Sometimes emotion or evaluation is expressed in the style of the utterance. The speaker may adopt an impolite tone conveying displeasure (e. g. Shut up!). A casual tone may express friendliness о r affection: Sit down, kid [...] There, there just you sit tight (Chris tie).

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Polysemy is a phenomenon of language not of speech. The sum total of many contexts in which the word is observed to occur permits the lexicographers to record cases of identical meaning and cases that differ in meaning. They are registered by lexicographers and found in dictionaries.

A distinction has to be drawn between the lexical meaning of a word in speech, we shall call it contextual meaning, and the semantic structure of a word in language. Thus the semantic structure of the verb act comprises several variants: ‘do something’, ‘behave’, ‘take a part in a play’, ‘pretend’. If one examines this word in the following aphorism: Some men have acted courage who had it not; but no man can act wit (Halifax), one sees it in a definite context that particularises it and makes possible only one meaning ‘pretend’. This contextual meaning has a connotation of irony. The unusual grammatical meaning of transitivity (act is as a rule intransitive) and the lexical meaning of objects to this verb make a slight difference in the lexical meaning.

As a rule the contextual meaning represents only one of the possible variants of the word but this one variant may render a complicated notion or emotion analyzable into several semes. In this case we deal not with the semantic structure of the word but with the semantic structure of one of its meanings. Polysemy does not interfere with the communicative function of the language because the situation and context cancel all the unwanted meanings.

Sometimes, as, for instance in puns, the ambiguity is intended, the words are purposefully used so as to emphasise their different meanings. Consider the replica of lady Constance, whose son, Arthur Plantagenet is betrayed by treacherous allies:

LYMOGES (Duke of Austria): Lady Constance, peace!
CONSTANCE: War! war! no peace! peace is to me a war (Shakespeare).

In the time of Shakespeare peace as an interjection meant ‘Silence!’ But lady Constance takes up the main meaning — the antonym of war.

Geoffrey Leech uses the term reflected meaning for what is communicated through associations with another sense of the same word, that is all cases when one meaning of the word forms part of the listener’s response to another meaning. G. Leech illustrates his point by the following example. Hearing in the Church Service the expression The Holy Ghost, he found his reaction conditioned by the everyday unreligious and awesome meaning ‘the shade of a dead person supposed to visit the living’. The case where reflected meaning intrudes due to suggestivity of the expression may be also illustrated by taboo words and euphemisms connected with the physiology of sex.

Consider also the following joke, based on the clash of different meanings of the word expose (‘leave unprotected’, ‘put up for show’, ‘reveal the guilt of’). E. g.: Painting is the art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic.

Or, a similar case: “Why did they hang this picture?” “Perhaps, they could not find the artist.”

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Contextual meanings include nonce usage. Nonce words are words invented and used for a particular occasion.

The study of means and ways of naming the elements of reality is called onomasiology. As worked out in some recent publications it received the name of Theory of Nomination.1 So if semasiology studies what it is the name points out, onomasiology and the theory of nomination have to show how the objects receive their names and what features are chosen to represent them.

Originally the nucleus of the theory concerned names for objects, and first of all concrete nouns. Later on a discussion began, whether actions, properties, emotions and so on should be included as well. The question was answered affirmatively as there is no substantial difference in the reflection in our mind of things and their properties or different events. Everything that can be named or expressed verbally is considered in the theory of nomination. Vocabulary constitutes the central problem but syntax, morphology and phonology also have their share. The theory of nomination takes into account that the same referent may receive various names according to the information required at the moment by the process of communication, e. g. Walter Scott and the author of Waverley (to use an example known to many generations of linguists). According to the theory of nomination every name has its primary function for which it was created (primary or direct nomination), and an indirect or secondary function corresponding to all types of figurative, extended or special meanings (see p. 53). The aspect of theory of nomination that has no counterpart in semasiology is the study of repeated nomination in the same text, as, for instance, when Ophelia is called by various characters of the tragedy: fair Ophelia, sweet maid, dear maid, nymph, kind sister, rose of May, poor Ophelia, lady, sweet lady, pretty lady, and so on.

To sum up this discussion of the semantic structure of a word, we return to its definition as a structured set of interrelated lexical variants with different denotational and sometimes also connotational meanings. These variants belong to the same set because they are expressed by the same combination of morphemes, although in different contextual conditions. The elements are interrelated due to the existence of some common semantic component. In other words, the word’s semantic structure is an organised whole comprised by recurrent meanings and shades of meaning that a particular sound complex can assume in different contexts, together with emotional, stylistic and other connotations, if any.

Every meaning is thus characterised according to the function, significative or pragmatic effect that it has to fulfil as denotative and connotative meaning referring the word to the extra-linguistic reality and to the speaker, and also with respect to other meanings with which it is contrasted. The hierarchy of lexico-grammatical variants and shades of meaning within the semantic structure of a word is studied with the help of formulas establishing semantic distance between them developed by N. A. Shehtman and other authors.

1 The problem was studied by W. Humboldt (1767-1835) who called the feature chosen as the basis of nomination— the inner form of the word.

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§ 3.5 CONTEXTUAL ANALYSIS

The contextual method of linguistic research holds its own alongside statistical, structural and other developments. Like structural methods and procedures, it is based on the assumption that difference in meaning of linguistic units is always indicated by a difference in environment. Unlike structural distributional procedures (see §5.2, 5.3) it is not formalised. In some respects, nevertheless, it is more rigorous than the structural procedures, because it strictly limits its observations and conclusions to an impressive corpus of actually recorded material. No changes, whether controlled or not, are permitted in linguistic data observed, no conclusions are made unless there is a sufficient number of examples to support their validity. The size of a representative sample is determined not so much by calculation though, but rather by custom. Words are observed in real texts, not on the basis of dictionaries. The importance of the approach cannot be overestimated; in fact, as E. Nida puts it, “it is from linguistic contexts that the meanings of a high proportion of lexical units in active or passive vocabularies are learned."1

The notion of context has several interpretations. According to N. N. Amosova context is a combination of an indicator or indicating minimum and the dependant, that is the word, the meaning of which is to be rendered in a given utterance.

The results until recently were, however more like a large collection of neatly organised examples, supplemented with comments. A theoretical approach to this aspect of linguistics will be found in the works by G. V. Kolshansky.

Contextual analysis concentrated its attention on determining the minimal stretch of speech and the conditions necessary and sufficient to reveal in which of its individual meanings the word in question is used. In studying this interaction of the polysemantic word with the syntactic configuration and lexical environment contextual analysis is more concerned with specific features of every particular language than with language universals.

Roughly, context may be subdivided into lexical, syntactical and mixed. Lexical context, for instance, determines the meaning of the word black in the following examples. Black denotes colour when used with the key-word naming some material or thing, e. g. black velvet, black gloves. When used with key-words denoting feeling or thought, it means ‘sad’, ‘dismal’, e. g. black thoughts, black despair. With nouns denoting time, the meaning is ‘unhappy’, ‘full of hardships’, e. g. black days, black period.

If, on the other hand, the indicative power belongs to the syntactic pattern and not to the words which make it up, the context is called syntactic. E. g. make means ‘to cause’ when followed by a complex object: I couldn’t make him understand a word I said.

1 Nida E. Componential Analysis of Meaning. The Hague-Paris, Mouton 1975. P. 195.

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A purely syntactic context is rare. As a rule the indication comes from syntactic, lexical and sometimes morphological factors combined. Thus, late, when used predicatively, means ‘after the right, expected or fixed time’, as be late for school. When used attributively with words denoting periods of time, it means ‘towards the end of the period’, e. g. in late summer. Used attributively with proper personal nouns and preceded with a definite article, late means ‘recently dead’.

All lexical contexts are subdivided into lexical contexts of the first degree and lexical contexts of the second degree. In the lexical context of the first degree there is a direct syntactical connection between the indicator and the dependent: He was arrested on a treason charge. In lexical context of the second degree there is no direct syntactical connection between a dependent and the indicator. E.g.: I move that Mr Last addresses the meeting (Waugh). The dependent move is not directly connected to the indicating minimum addresses the meeting.

Alongside the context N. N. Amosova distinguishes speech situation, in which the necessary indication comes not from within the sentence but from some part of the text outside it. Speech situation with her may be of two types: text-situation and life-situation. In text-situation it is a preceding description, a description that follows or some word in the preceding text that help to understand the ambiguous word.

E. Nida gives a slightly different classification. He distinguishes linguistic and practical context. By practical context he means the circumstances of communication: its stimuli, participants, their relation to one another and to circumstances and the response of the listeners.

3.6 COMPONENTIAL ANALYSIS

A good deal of work being published by linguists at present and dealing with semantics has to do with componential analysis.1 To illustrate what is meant by this we have taken a simple example (see p. 41) used for this purpose by many linguists. Consider the following set of words: man, woman, boy, girl, bull, cow. We can arrange them as correlations of binary oppositions man : : woman = boy : : girl = bull : : cow. The meanings of words man, boy, bull on the one hand, and woman, girl and cow, on the other, have something in common. This distinctive feature we call a semantic component or seme. In this case the semantic distinctive feature is that of sex — male or female. Another possible correlation is man : : boy = woman : : girl. The distinctive feature is that of age — adult or non-adult. If we compare this with a third correlation man : : bull = woman : : cow, we obtain a third distinctive feature contrasting human and animal beings. In addition to the notation given on p. 41, the componential formula may be also shown by brackets. The meaning of man can be described as (male (adult (human being))), woman as (female (adult (human being))), girl as (female (non-adult (human being))), etc.

1 See the works by O.K. Seliverstova, J.N. Karaulov, E. Nida, D. Bolinger and others.

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Componential analysis is thus an attempt to describe the meaning of words in terms of a universal inventory of semantic components and their possible combinations.1

Componential approach to meaning has a long history in linguistics.2 L. Hjelmslev’s commutation test deals with similar relationships and may be illustrated by proportions from which the distinctive features d1, d2, d3 are obtained by means of the following procedure:

hence

As the first relationship is that of male to female, the second, of young to adult, and the third, human to animal, the meaning ‘boy’ may be characterised with respect to the distinctive features d1, d2, d3 as containing the semantic elements ‘male’, ‘young’, and ‘human’. The existence of correlated oppositions proves that these elements are recognised by the vocabulary.

In criticising this approach, the English linguist Prof. W. Haas3 argues that the commutation test looks very plausible if one has carefully selected examples from words entering into clear-cut semantic groups, such as terms of kinship or words denoting colours. It is less satisfactory in other cases, as there is no linguistic framework by which the semantic contrasts can be limited. The commutation test, however, borrows its restrictions from philosophy.

A form of componential analysis describing semantic components in terms of categories represented as a hierarchic structure so that each subsequent category is a sub-category of the previous one is described by R. S. Ginzburg. She follows the theory of the American linguists J. Katz and J. Fodor involving the analysis of dictionary meanings into semantic markers and distinguishers but redefines it in a clear-cut way. The markers refer to features which the word has in common with other lexical items, whereas a distinguishes as the term implies, differentiates it from all other words.

We borrow from R. S. Ginzburg her analysis of the word spinster. It runs as follows: spinster noun, count noun, human, adult, female, who has never married. Parts of speech are the most inclusive categories pointing to major classes. So we shall call this component class seme (a term used by French semasiologists). As the grammatical function is predominant when we classify a word as a count noun it seems more logical to take this feature as a subdivision of a class seme.

1 Note the possibility of different graphical representation.

2 Componential analysis proper originates with the work of F.G. Lounsbury and W.H. Goodenough on kinship terms.

3 Prof. W. Haas (of Manchester University) delivered a series of lectures on the theory of meaning at the Pedagogical Institutes of Moscow and Leningrad in 1965.

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It may, on the other hand, be taken as a marker because it represents a sub-class within nouns, marks all nouns that can be counted, and differentiates them from all uncountable nouns. Human is the next marker which refers the word spinster to a sub-category of nouns denoting human beings (man, woman, etc. vs table, flower, etc.). Adult is another marker pointing at a specific subdivision of living beings into adult and not grown-up (man, woman vs boy, girl). Female is also a marker (woman, widow vs man, widower), it represents a whole class of adult human females. ‘Who has never married’ is not a marker but a distinguisher, it differentiates the word spinster from other words which have other features in common (spinster vs widow, bride, etc.).

The analysis shows that the dimensions of meaning may be regarded as semantic oppositions because the word’s meaning is reduced to its contrastive elements. The segmentation is continued as far as we can have markers needed for a group of words, and stops when a unique feature is reached.

A very close resemblance to componential analysis is the method of logical definition by dividing a genus into species and species into subspecies indispensable to dictionary definitions. It is therefore but natural that lexicographic definitions lend themselves as suitable material for the analysis of lexical groups in terms of a finite set of semantic components. Consider the following definitions given in Hornby’s dictionary:

cow a full grown female of any animal of the ox family calf the young of the cow

The first definition contains all the elements we have previously obtained from proportional oppositions. The second is incomplete but we can substitute the missing elements from the previous definition. We can, consequently, agree with J. N. Karaulov and regard as semantic components (or semes) the notional words of the right hand side of a dictionary entry.

It is possible to describe parts of the vocabulary by formalising these definitions and reducing them to some standard form according to a set of rules. The explanatory transformations thus obtained constitute an intersection of transformational and componential analysis. The result of this procedure applied to collective personal nouns may be illustrated by the following.

e. g. team → a group of people acting together in a game, piece of work, etc.

Procedures briefly outlined above proved to be very efficient for certain problems and find an ever-widening application, providing us with a deeper insight into some aspects of language.1

1 For further detail see: Арнольд И.В. Семантическая структура слова в современном английском языке и методика ее исследования. Л., 1966.

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Chapter 4 SEMANTIC CHANGE

§ 4.1 TYPES OF SEMANTIC CHANGE

In what follows we shall deal in detail with various types of semantic change. This is necessary not only because of the interest the various cases present in themselves but also because a thorough knowledge of these possibilities helps one to understand the semantic structure of English words at the present stage of their development. The development and change of the semantic structure of a word is always a source of qualitative and quantitative development of the vocabulary.

All the types discussed depend upon some comparison of the earlier (whether extinct or still in use) and the new meaning of the given word. This comparison may be based on the difference between the concepts expressed or referents in the real world that are pointed out, on the type of psychological association at work, on evaluation of the latter by the speaker, on lexico-grammatical categories or, possibly, on some other feature.

The order in which various types are described will follow more or less closely the diachronic classification of M. Brйal and H. Paul. No attempt at a new classification is considered necessary. There seems to be no point in augmenting the number of unsatisfactory schemes already offered in literature. The treatment is therefore traditional.

M. Brйal was probably the first to emphasise the fact that in passing from general usage into some special sphere of communication a word as a rule undergoes some sort of specialisation of its meaning. The word case, for instance, alongside its general meaning of ‘circumstances in which a person or a thing is’ possesses special meanings: in law fa law suit’), in grammar (e. g. the Possessive case), in medicine (‘a patient’, ‘an illness’). Compare the following: One of Charles’s cases had been a child ill with a form of diphtheria (Snow). (case = ‘a patient’) The Solicitor whom I met at the Rolfords’ sent me a case which any young man at my stage would have thought himself lucky to get (Idem), (case = ‘a question decided in a court of law, a law suit’)

The general, not specialised meaning is also very frequent in present-day English. E. g.: At last we tiptoed up the broad slippery staircase, and went to our rooms. But in my case not to sleep, immediately at least... (Idem). (case = ‘circumstances in which one is’)

This difference is revealed in the difference of contexts in which these words occur, in their different valency. Words connected with illnesses and medicine in the first example, and words connected with

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law and court procedures in the second determine the semantic structure or paradigm of the word case.

The word play suggests different notions to a child, a playwright, a footballer, a musician or a chess-player and has in their speech different semantic paradigms. The same applies to the noun cell as used by a biologist, an electrician, a nun or a representative of the law; or the word gas as understood by a chemist, a soldier, a housewife, a motorist or a miner.

In all the examples considered above a word which formerly represented a notion of a broader scope has come to render a notion of a narrower scope. When the meaning is specialised, the word can name fewer objects, i.e. have fewer referents. At the same time the content of the notion is being enriched, as it includes a greater number of relevant features by which the notion is characterised. Or, in other words, the word is now applicable to fewer things but tells us more about them. The reduction of scope accounts for the term “narrowing of the meaning” which is even more often used than the term “specialisation”. We shall avoid the term “narrowing", since it is somewhat misleading. Actually it is neither the meaning nor the notion, but the scope of the notion that is narrowed.

There is also a third and more exact term for the same phenomenon, namely “differentiation", but it is not so widely used as the first two terms.

H. Paul, as well as many other authors, emphasises the fact that this type of semantic change is particularly frequent in vocabulary of professional and trade groups.

H. Paul’s examples are from the German language but it is very easy to find parallel cases in English. This type of change is fairly universal and fails to disclose any specifically English properties.

The best known examples of specialisation in the general language are as follows: OE deor ‘wild beast'>ModE deer ‘wild ruminant of a particular species’ (the original meaning was still alive in Shakespeare’s time as is proved by the following quotation: Rats and mice and such small deer); OE mete ‘food'>ModE meat ‘edible flesh’, i. e. only a particular species of food (the earlier meaning is still noticeable in the compound sweetmeat). This last example deserves special attention because the tendency of fixed context to preserve the original meaning is very marked as is constantly proved by various examples. Other well-worn cases are: OE fuzol ‘bird’ (||Germ Vogel) >ModE fowl ‘domestic birds’. The old meaning is still preserved in poetic diction and in set expressions like fowls of the air. Among its derivatives, fowler means ‘a person who shoots or traps wild birds for sport or food’; the shooting or trapping itself is called fowling; a fowling piece is a gun. OE hand ‘dog’ (||Germ Hund) > ModE hound ‘a species of hunting dog’. Many words connected with literacy also show similar changes: thus, teach < OE tжcan ‘to show’, ‘to teach’;write < OE writan ‘to write’, ‘to scratch’, ‘to score’ (|| Germ reiЯen); writing in Europe had first the form of scratching on the bark of the trees. Tracing these semantic changes the scholars can, as it were, witness the development of culture.

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In the above examples the new meaning superseded the earlier one. Both meanings can also coexist in the structure of a polysemantic word or be differentiated locally. The word token < OE tac(e)n || Germ Zeichen originally had the broad meaning of ‘sign’. The semantic change that occurred here illustrates systematic inter-dependence within the vocabulary elements. Brought into competition with the borrowed word sign it became restricted in use to a few cases of fixed context (a love token, a token of respect, a token vote, a token payment) and consequently restricted in meaning. In present-day English token means something small, unimportant or cheap which represents something big, important or valuable. Other examples of specialisation are room, which alongside the new meaning keeps the old one of ‘space’; corn originally meaning ‘grain’, ‘the seed of any cereal plant’: locally the word becomes specialised and is understood to denote the leading crop of the district; hence in England corn means ‘wheat’, in Scotland ‘oats’, whereas in the USA, as an ellipsis for Indian corn, it came to mean ‘maize’.

As a special group belonging to the same type one can mention the formation of proper nouns from common nouns chiefly in toponymies, i.e. place names. E. g.: the City the business part of London; the Highlands the mountainous part of Scotland; Oxford University town in England (from ox + ford, i.e. a place where oxen could ford the river); the Tower (of London) originally a fortress and palace, later a state prison, now a museum.

In the above examples the change of meaning occurred without change of sound form and without any intervention of morphological processes. In many cases, however, the two processes, semantic and morphological, go hand in hand. For instance, when considering the effect of the agent suffix -ist added to the noun stem art- we might expect the whole to mean ‘any person occupied in art, a representative of any kind of art’, but usage specialises the meaning of the word artist and restricts it to a synonym of painter. Cf. tranquilliser, tumbler, trailer.

The process reverse to specialisation is termed generalisation and widening of meaning. In that case the scope of the new notion is wider than that of the original one (hence widening), whereas the content of the notion is poorer. In most cases generalisation is combined with a higher order of abstraction than in the notion expressed by the earlier meaning. The transition from a concrete meaning to an abstract one is a most frequent feature in the semantic history of words. The change may be explained as occasioned by situations in which not all the features of the notions rendered are of equal importance for the message.

Thus, ready < OE rжde (a derivative of the verb ridan ‘to ride’) meant ‘prepared for a ride’. Fly originally meant ‘to move through the air with wings’; now it denotes any kind of movement in the air or outer space and also very quick movement in any medium. See also pirate, originally ‘one who robs on the sea’, by generalisation it came to mean ‘any one who robs with violence’.

The process of generalisation went very far in the complicated history of the word thing. Its etymological meaning was ‘an assembly for

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deliberation on some judicial or business affair’, hence — ‘a matter brought before this assembly’ and ‘what was said or decided upon’, then ‘cause’, ‘object’, ‘decision’. Now it has become one of the most general words of the language, it can substitute almost any noun, especially non-personal noun and has received a pronominal force. Cf. something, nothing, anything, as in Nothing has happened yet.

Not every generic word comes into being solely by generalisation, other processes of semantic development may also be involved in words borrowed from one language into another. The word person, for instance, is now a generic term for a human being:

editor — a person who prepares written material for publication; pedestrian — a person who goes on foot;

refugee — a person who has been driven from his home country by war.

The word was borrowed into Middle English from Old French, where it was persone and came from Latin persona ‘the mask used by an actor’, ‘one who plays a part’, ‘a character in a play’. The motivation of the word is of interest. The great theatre spaces in ancient Rome made it impossible for the spectators to see the actor’s face and facial changes. It was also difficult to hear his voice distinctly. That is why masks with a megaphonic effect were used. The mask was called persona from Lat per ‘through’ and sonare ‘to sound’. After the term had been transferred (metonymically) to the character represented, the generalisation to any human being came quite naturally. The process of generalisation and abstraction is continuing so that in the 70s person becomes a combining form substituting the semi-affix -man (chairperson, policeperson, salesperson, workperson). The reason for this is a tendency to abolish sex discrimination in job titles. The plural of compounds ending in -person may be -persons or -people: businesspeople or businesspersons.

In fact all the words belonging to the group of generic terms fall into this category of generalisation. By generic terms we mean non-specific terms applicable to a great number of individual members of a big class of words (see p. 39). The grammatical categoric meaning of this class of words becomes predominant in their semantic components.

It is sometimes difficult to differentiate the instances of generalisation proper from generalisation combined with a fading of lexical meaning ousted by the grammatical or emotional meaning that take its place. These phenomena are closely connected with the peculiar characteristics of grammatical structure typical of each individual language. One observes them, for instance, studying the semantic history of the English auxiliary and semi-auxiliary verbs, especially have, do, shall, will, turn, go, and that of some English prepositions and adverbs which in the course of time have come to express grammatical relations. The weakening of lexical meaning due to the influence of emotional force is revealed in such words as awfully, terribly, terrific, smashing.

Specialisation” and “generalisation” are thus identified on the evidence of comparing logical notions expressed by the meaning of words. If, on the other hand, the linguist is guided by psychological considerations and has to

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go by the type of association at work in the transfer of the name of one object to another and different one, he will observe that the most frequent transfers are based on associations of similarity, or of contiguity. As these types of transfer are well known in rhetoric as figures of speech called metaphor (Gr metaphora < meta change’ and pherein ‘bear’) and metonymy (Gr metonymia < meta ‘change’ and onoma/onytna ‘name’), the same terms are adopted here. A 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. A cunning person for instance is referred to as a fox. A woman may be called a peach, a lemon, a cat, a goose, a bitch, a lioness, etc.

In a metonymy, this referring to one thing as if it were some other one is based on association of contiguity (a woman a skirt). Sean O'Casey in his one-act play “The Hall of Healing metonymically names his personages according to the things they are wearing: Red Muffler, Grey Shawl, etc. Metaphor and metonymy differ from the two first types of semantic change, i.e. generalisation and specialisation, inasmuch as they do not result in hyponymy and do not originate as a result of gradual almost imperceptible change in many contexts, but come of a purposeful momentary transfer of a name from one object to another belonging to a different sphere of reality.

In all discussion of linguistic metaphor and metonymy it must be borne in mind that they are different from metaphor and metonymy as literary devices. When the latter are 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 a particular literary context is based on similarity of some features in the objects compared. The poetic metaphor is the fruit of the author’s creative imagination, as for example when England is called by Shakespeare (in “King Richard II") this precious stone set in the silver sea.

The term poetic here should not be taken as ‘elevated’, because a metaphor may be used for satirical purposes and be classed as poetic. Here are two examples:

The world is a bundle of hay,

Mankind are the asses who pull (Byron).

Though women are angels, yet wedlock’s the devil (Byron).

Every metaphor is implicitly of the form ‘X is like Y in respect of Z’.1 Thus we understand Byron’s line as ‘women are like angels, so good they are, but wedlock is as bad as the devil’. The words world, mankind, women, wedlock, i.e. what is described in the metaphor, are its tenor, while a bundle of hay, asses, angels, the devil are the vehicle, that

1 The formula is suggested in: Leech G. A Linguistic Guide to Poetry. London: Longman, 1973.

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is they represent the image that carries a description and serves to represent the tenor. The third element Z is called the ground of the metaphor. In the second example the ground is ‘good’ (used ironically) and ‘bad’. The ground, that is the similarity between the tenor and vehicle, in a metaphor is implied, not expressed.

The ground of the metaphors in the examples that follow is the insincerity of the smiles that Gr. Greene mocks at: he excavated his smile; the woman hooked on another smile as you hook on a wreath; she whipped up a smile from a large and varied stock (Greene). (Examples are borrowed from V. K. Tarasova’s work.)

In a linguistic metaphor, especially when it is dead as a result of long usage, the comparison is completely forgotten and the thing named often has no other name: foot (of a mountain), leg (of a table), eye (of a needle), nose (of an aeroplane), back (of a book).

Transfer of names resulting from tropes (figurative use of words) has been classified in many various ways. Out of the vast collection of terms and classifications we mention only the traditional group of rhetorical categories: metaphor, metonymy, hyperbole, litotes, euphemism, because it is time-honoured and every philologist must be acquainted with it, even if he does not accept it as the best possible grouping.

The meaning of such expressions as a sun beam or a beam of light are not explained by allusions to a tree, although the word is actually derived from OE beam ‘tree’ || Germ Baum, whence the meaning beam ‘a long piece of squared timber supported at both ends’ has also developed. The metaphor is dead. There are no associations with hens in the verb brood ‘to meditate’ (often sullenly), though the direct meaning is ‘to sit on eggs’.

There may be transitory stages: a bottleneck ‘any thing obstructing an even flow of work’, for instance, is not a neck and does not belong to a bottle. The transfer is possible due to the fact that there are some common features in the narrow top part of the bottle, a narrow outlet for road traffic, and obstacles interfering with the smooth working of administrative machinery. The drawing of sharp demarcation lines between a dead metaphor and one that is alive in the speaker’s mind is here impossible.

Metaphors, H. Paul points out, may be based upon very different types of similarity, for instance, the similarity of shape: head of a cabbage, the teeth of a saw. This similarity of shape may be supported by a similarity of function. The transferred meaning is easily recognised from the context: The Head of the school, the key to a mystery. The similarity may be supported also by position: foot of a page/of a mountain, or behaviour and function: bookworm, wirepuller. The word whip ‘a lash used to urge horses on’ is metaphorically transferred to an official in the British Parliament appointed by a political party to see that members are present at debates, especially when a vote is taken, to check the voting and also to advise the members on the policy of the respective party.

In the leg of the table the metaphor is motivated by the similarity of the lower part of the table and the human limb in position and partly

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in shape and function. Anthropomorphic1 metaphors are among the most frequent. The way in which the words denoting parts of the body are made to express a variety of meanings may be illustrated by the following: head of an army/of a procession/of a household; arms and mouth of a river, eye of a needle, foot of a hill, tongue of a bell and so on and so forth. The transferred meaning is easily recognised from the context: ...her feet were in low-heeled brown brogues with fringed tongues (Plomber).

Numerous cases of metaphoric transfer are based upon the analogy between duration of time and space, e. g. long distance : : long speech; a short path : : a short time.

The transfer of space relations upon psychological and mental notions may be exemplified by words and expressions concerned with understanding: to catch (to grasp) an idea; to take a hint; to get the hang of; to throw light upon.

This metaphoric change from the concrete to the abstract is also represented in such simple words as score, span, thrill. Score comes from OE scoru ‘twenty’ < ON skor ‘twenty’ and also ‘notch’. In OE time notches were cut on sticks to keep a reckoning. As score is cognate with shear, it is very probable that the meaning developed from the twentieth notch that was made of a larger size. From the meaning ‘line’ or ‘notch cut or scratched down’ many new meanings sprang out, such as ‘number of points made by a player or a side in some games’, ‘running account’, ‘a debt’, ‘written or printed music’, etc. Span <OE spann maximum distance between the tips of thumb and little finger used as a measure of length came to mean ‘full extent from end to end’ (of a bridge, an arch, etc.) and ‘a short distance’. Thrill < ME thrillen ‘to pierce’ developed into the present meaning ‘to penetrate with emotion.'

Another subgroup of metaphors comprises transitions of proper names into common ones: an Adonis, a Cicero, a Don Juan, etc. When a proper name like Falstaff is used referring specifically to the hero of Shakespeare’s plays it has a unique reference. But when people speak of a person they know calling him Falstaff they make a proper name generic for a corpulent, jovial, irrepressibly impudent person and it no longer denotes a unique being. Cf. Don Juan as used about attractive profligates. To certain races and nationalities traditional characteristics have been attached by the popular mind with or without real justification. If a person is an out-and-out mercenary and a hypocrite or a conformist into the bargain they call him a Philistine, ruthlessly destructive people are called Vandals, Huns, unconventional people Bohemians.

As it has been already mentioned, if the transfer is based upon the association of contiguity it is called metоnуmy. It is a shift of names between things that are known to be in some way or other connected in reality or the substitution of the name of an attribute of a thing for the name of the thing itself.

1 Anthropo- indicates ‘human’ (from Gr anthropos ‘man’).

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Thus, the word book is derived from the name of a tree on which inscriptions were scratched. ModE win <OE winnan ‘to fight’; the word has been shifted so as to apply to the success following fighting. Cash is an adaptation of the French word casse ‘box’; from naming the container it came to mean what was contained, i.e. money; the original meaning was lost in competition with the new word safe. The transfer may be conditioned by spatial, temporal, causal, symbolic, instrumental, functional and other connections. The resulting polysemy is called regular because it embraces whole classes of words.

Regular spatial relations are, for instance, present when the name of the place is used for the people occupying it. The chair may mean ‘the chairman’, the bar ‘the lawyers’, the pulpit ‘the priests’. The word town may denote the inhabitants of a town and the House the members of the House of Commons or of Lords.

A causal relationship is obvious in the following development: ModE fear < ME fere/feer/fer < OE fжr ‘danger’, ‘unexpected attack’. States and properties serve as names for objects and people possessing them: youth, age, authorities, forces. The name of the action can serve to name the result of the action: ModE kill < ME killen ‘to hit on the head’, ModE slay < Germ schlagen. Emotions may be named by the movements that accompany them: frown, start.1

There are also the well-known instances of symbol for thing symbolised: the crown for ‘monarchy’; the instrument for the product: hand for ‘handwriting’; receptacle for content, as in the word kettle (cf. the kettle is boiling), and some others. Words denoting the material from which an article is made are often used to denote the particular article: glass, iron, copper, nickel are well known examples.

The pars pro toto (also a version of metonymy) where the name of a part is applied to the whole may be illustrated by such military terms as the royal horse for ‘cavalry’ and foot for ‘infantry’, and by the expressions like I want to have a word with you. The reverse process (totum pro parte) is observed when OE ceol ‘a ship’ develops into keel ‘a lowest longitudinal frame of a ship’.

A place of its own within metonymical change is occupied by the so-called functional change. The type has its peculiarities: in this case the shift is between names of things substituting one another in human practice. Thus, the early instrument for writing was a feather or more exactly a quill (OE pen<OFr penne<It penna<Lat penna ‘feather’). We write with fountain-pens that are made of different materials and have nothing in common with feathers except the function, but the name remains. The name rudder comes from OE roder ‘oar’ || Germ Ruder ‘oar’. The shift of meaning is due to the shift of function: the steering was formerly achieved by an oar. The steersman was called pilot; with the coming of aviation one who operates the flying controls of an aircraft was also called pilot. For more cases of functional change see also the semantic history of the words: filter, pocket, spoon, stamp, sail v.

Common names may be metonymically derived from proper names as

1 These last cases are studied in paralinguistics.

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in macadam a type of pavement named after its inventor John McAdam (1756-1836) and diesel or diesel engine a type of compression ignition engine invented by a German mechanical engineer Rudolf Diesel (1858-1913). The process of nomination includes ellipsis (Diesel engine diesel).

Many international physical and technical units are named after great scientists, as for instance ampere the unit of electrical current after Andrй Marie Ampиre (1775-1836), a great French mathematician and physicist. Compare also: ohm, volt, watt, etc.

Transfers by contiguity often involve place names. There are many instances in 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 is the executive mansion of the president of the USA in Washington, the name is also used for his administration and politics. Similarly The Pentagon, so named, because it is a five-sided building, denotes the US military command and its political activities, because it contains the USA Defence Department and the offices of various branches of the US armed forces. Wall Street is the name of the main street in the financial district of New York and hence it also denotes the controlling financial interests of American capitalism.

The same type is observed when we turn to Great Britain. Here the British Government of the day is referred to as Downing Street because the Prime Minister’s residence is at No 10 Downing Street. The street itself is named after a 17th century British diplomat.

An interesting case is Fleet Street a thoroughfare in central London along which many British newspaper offices are located, hence Fleet Street means British journalism. The name of the street is also metonymical but the process here is reversed a proper toponymical noun is formed from a common noun: fleet is an obsolete term for a creek or an inlet in the shore’. Originally the street extended along a creek.

Examples of geographical names, turning into common nouns to name the goods exported or originating there, are exceedingly numerous. Such transfer by contiguity is combined with ellipsis in the nomination of various stuffs and materials: astrakhan (fur), china (ware), damask (steel), holland (linen), morocco (leather).

The similarly formed names for wines or kinds of cheese are international as, for instance: champagne, burgundy, madeira; brie cheese, cheddar, roquefort, etc.

Sometimes the semantic connection with place names is concealed by phonetic changes and is revealed by etymological study. The word jeans can be traced to the name of the Italian town Genoa, where the fabric of which they are made was first manufactured. Jeans is a case of metonymy, in which the name of the material jean is used to denote an object made of it. This type of multiple transfer of names is quite common (cf. china, iron, etc.). The cotton fabric of which jeans are made was formerly used for manufacturing uniforms and work clothes and was known for several centuries as jean (from Med Lat Genes, Genoa).

The process can consist of several stages, as in the word cardigan a knitted jacket opening down the front. Garments are often known

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by the names of those who brought them into fashion. This particular jacket is named after the seventh earl of Cardigan whose name is from Cardigan or Cardiganshire, a county in Wales.

Other examples of denominations after famous persons are raglan and Wellingtons. Raglan a loose coat with sleeves extending in one piece to the neckline is named after field-marshal lord Raglan; Wellingtons or Wellington boots boots extending to the top of the knee in front but cut low in back were popularised by the first Duke of Wellington.

Following the lead of literary criticism linguists have often adopted terms of rhetoric for other types of semantic change, besides metaphor and metonymy. These are: hyperbole, litotes, irony, euphemism. In all these cases the same warning that was given in connection with metaphors and metonymy must be kept in mind: namely, there is a difference between these terms as understood in literary criticism and in lexicology. Hyperbole (from Gr hyperbolē ‘exceed’) is an exaggerated statement not meant to be understood literally but expressing an intensely emotional attitude of the speaker to what he is speaking about. E. g.: A fresh egg has a world of power (Bellow). The emotional tone is due to the illogical character in which the direct denotative and the contextual emotional meanings are combined.

A very good example is chosen by I. R. Galperin from Byron, and one cannot help borrowing it:

When people say “Ive told you fifty times,”
They mean to scold and very often do.

The reader will note that Byron’s intonation is distinctly colloquial, the poet is giving us his observations concerning colloquial expressions. So the hyperbole here, though used in verse, is not poetic but linguistic.

The same may be said about expressions like: It’s absolutely maddening, You’ll be the death of me, I hate troubling you, It’s monstrous, It’s a nightmare, A thousand pardons, A thousand thanks, Haven’t seen you for ages, I'd give the world to, I shall be eternally grateful, I'd love to do it, etc.

The most important difference between a poetic hyperbole and a linguistic one lies in the fact that the former creates an image, whereas in the latter the denotative meaning quickly fades out and the corresponding exaggerating words serve only as general signs of emotion without specifying the emotion itself. Some of the most frequent emphatic words are: absolutely! lovely! magnificent! splendid! marvellous! wonderful! amazing! incredible! and so on.1

The reverse figure is called litotes (from Gr litos ‘plain’, ‘meagre’) or understatement. It might be defined as expressing the affirmative by the negative of its contrary, e. g. not bad or not half bad for ‘good’, not small for ‘great’, no coward for ‘brave’. Some

1 See awfully and terribly on p. 63.

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understatements do not contain negations, e. g. rather decent; I could do with a cup of tea. It is, however, doubtful whether litotes should be considered under the heading of semantic change at all, because as a rule it creates no permanent change in the sense of the word used and concerns mostly usage and contextual meaning of words. Understatement expresses a desire to conceal or suppress one’s feelings, according to the code of reserve, and to seem indifferent and calm. E. g.:

But this is frightful, Jeeves!

Certainly somewhat disturbing, sir. (Wodehouse)

Long time since we met.

It is a bit, isn’t it?” (Wodehouse)

The indifference may be superficial and suggest that the speaker’s emotions are too strong to be explicitly stated.

Understatement is considered to be a typically British way of putting things and is more characteristic of male colloquial speech: so when a woman calls a concert absolutely fabulous using a hyperbole a man would say it was not too bad or that it was some concert.

Understatement is rich in connotations: it may convey irony, disparagement and add expressiveness. E. g. rather unwise (about somebody very silly) or rather pushing (about somebody quite unscrupulous).

The term irony is also taken from rhetoric, it is the expression of one’s meaning by words of opposite sense, especially a simulated adoption of the opposite point of view for the purpose of ridicule or disparagement. One of the meanings of the adjective nice is ‘bad’, ‘unsatisfactory’; it is marked off as ironical and illustrated by the example: You’ve got us into a nice mess! The same may be said about the adjective pretty: A pretty mess you’ve made of it!

As to the euphemisms, that is referring to something unpleasant by using milder words and phrases so that a formerly unoffensive word receives a disagreeable meaning (e. g. pass away ‘die’), they will be discussed later in connection with extralinguistic causes of semantic change and later still as the origin of synonyms.

Changes depending on the social attitude to the object named, connected with social evaluation and emotional tone, are called amelioration and pejoration of meaning, and we shall also return to them when speaking about semantic shifts undergone by words, because their referents come up or down the social scale. Examples of amelioration are OE cwen ‘a woman’ >ModE queen, OE cniht ‘a young servant’ > ModE knight. The meaning of some adjectives has been elevated through associations with aristocratic life or town life. This is true about such words as civil, chivalrous, urbane. The word gentle had already acquired an evaluation of approval by the time it was borrowed into English from French in the meaning ‘well-born’. Later its meaning included those characteristics that the high-born considered appropriate to their social status: good breeding, gracious behaviour, affability. Hence the noun gentleman, a kind of key-word in the history of English, that originally meant ‘a man of gentle (high) birth’ came to mean ‘an honourable and well-bred person’.

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The meaning of the adjective gentle which at first included only social values now belongs to the ethical domain and denotes ‘kind’, ‘not rough’, ‘polite’. A similar process of amelioration in the direction of high moral qualities is observed in the adjective noble originally ‘belonging to the nobility’.

The reverse process is called pejoration or degradation; it involves a lowering in social scale connected with the appearance of a derogatory and scornful emotive tone reflecting the disdain of the upper classes towards the lower ones. E. g.: ModE knave<OE cnafa || Germ Knabe meant at first ‘boy’, then ‘servant’, and finally became a term of abuse and scorn. Another example of the same kind is blackguard. In the lord’s retinue of Middle Ages served among others the guard of iron pots and other kitchen utensils, black with soot. From the immoral features attributed to these servants by their masters comes the present scornful meaning of the word blackguard ‘scoundrel’. A similar history is traced for the words: boor, churl, clown, villain. Boor (originally ‘peasant’ || Germ Bauer) came to mean ‘a rude, awkward, ill-mannered person’. Churl is now a synonym to boor. It means ‘an ill-mannered and surly fellow’. The cognate German word is Kerl which is emotionally and evaluatory neutral. Up to the thirteenth century ceorl denoted the lowest rank of a freeman, later a serf. In present-day English the social component is superseded by the evaluative meaning. A similar case is present in the history of the word clown: the original meaning was also ‘peasant’ or ‘farmer’. Now it is used in two variants: ‘a clumsy, boorish, uncouth and ignorant man’ and also ‘one who entertains, as in a circus, by jokes, antics, etc’. The French borrowing villain has sustained an even stronger pejorisation: from ‘farm servant’ it gradually passed to its present meaning ‘scoundrel’.

The material of this chapter shows that semantic changes are not arbitrary. They proceed in accordance with the logical and psychological laws of thought, otherwise changed words would never be understood and could not serve the purpose of communication. The various attempts at classification undertaken by traditional linguistics, although inconsistent and often subjective, are useful, since they permit the linguist to find his way about an immense accumulation of semantic facts. However, they say nothing or almost nothing about the causes of these changes.

§ 4.2 LINGUISTIC CAUSES OF SEMANTIC CHANGE

In the earlier stages of its development semasiology was a purely diachronic science dealing mainly with changes in the word meaning and classification of those changes. No satisfactory or universally accepted scheme of classification has ever been found, and this line of search seems to be abandoned.

In comparison with classifications of semantic change the problem of their causes appears neglected. Opinions on this point are scattered through a great number of linguistic works and have apparently never been collected into anything complete. And yet a thorough understanding of the phenomena involved in semantic change is impossible unless

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the whys and wherefores become known. This is of primary importance as it may lead eventually to a clearer interpretation of language development. The vocabulary is the most flexible part of the language and it is precisely its semantic aspect that responds most readily to every change in the human activity in whatever sphere it may happen to take place.

The causes of semantic changes may be grouped under two main headings, linguistic and extralinguistic ones, of these the first group has suffered much greater neglect in the past and it is not surprising therefore that far less is known of it than of the second. Linguistic causes influencing the process of vocabulary adaptation may be of paradigmatic and syntagmatic character; in dealing with them we have to do with the constant interaction and interdependence of vocabulary units in language and speech, such as differentiation between synonyms, changes taking place in connection with ellipsis and with fixed contexts, changes resulting from ambiguity in certain contexts, and some other causes.

Differentiation of synonyms is a gradual change observed in the course of language history, sometimes, but not necessarily, involving the semantic assimilation of loan words. Consider, for example, the words time and tide. They used to be synonyms. Then tide took on its more limited application to the shifting waters, and time alone is used in the general sense.

The word beast was borrowed from French into Middle English. Before it appeared the general word for animal was deer which after the word beast was introduced became narrowed to its present meaning ‘a hoofed animal of which the males have antlers’. Somewhat later the Latin word animal was also borrowed, then the word beast was restricted, and its meaning served to separate the four-footed kind from all the other members of the animal kingdom. Thus, beast displaced deer and was in its turn itself displaced by the generic animal. Another example of semantic change involving synonymic differentiation is the word twist. In OE it was a noun, meaning ‘a rope’, whereas the verb thrawan (now throw) meant both ‘hurl’ and ‘twist’ Since the appearance in the Middle English of the verb twisten (‘twist’) the first verb lost this meaning. But throw in its turn influenced the development of casten (cast), a Scandinavian borrowing. Its primary meaning ‘hurl’, ‘throw’ is now present only in some set expressions. Cast keeps its old meaning in such phrases as cast a glance, cast lots, cast smth in one’s teeth. Fixed context, then, may be regarded as another linguistic factor in semantic change. Both factors are at work in the case of token. The noun token originally had the broad meaning of ‘sign’. When brought into competition with the loan word sign, it became restricted in use to a number of set expressions such as love token, token of respect and so became specialised in meaning. Fixed context has this influence not only in phrases but in compound words as well.

No systematic treatment has so far been offered for the syntagmatic semantic changes depending on the context. But such cases do exist showing that investigation of the problem is important.

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One of these is ellipsis. The qualifying words of a frequent phrase may be omitted: sale comes to be used for cut-price sale, propose for propose marriage, be expecting for be expecting a baby, media for mass media. Or vice versa the kernel word of the phrase may seem redundant: minerals for mineral waters, summit for summit meeting.1 Due to ellipsis starve which originally meant ‘to die’ (|| Germ sterben) came to substitute the whole phrase die of hunger, and also began to mean ‘to suffer from lack of food’ and even in colloquial use ‘to feel hungry’. Moreover as there are many words with transitive and intransitive variants naming cause and result, starve came to mean ‘to cause to perish with hunger’. English has a great variety of these regular coincidences of different aspects, alongside with cause and result, we could consider the coincidence of subjective and objective, active and passive aspects especially frequent in adjectives. E.g. hateful means ‘exciting hatred’ and ‘full of hatred’; curious ’strange’ and ‘inquisitive’; pitiful — ‘exciting compassion’ and ‘compassionate’. One can be doubtful about a doubtful question, in a healthy climate children are healthy. To refer to these cases linguists employ the term conversives.

§ 4.3 EXTRALINGUISTIC CAUSES OF SEMANTIC CHANGE

The extralinguistic causes are determined by the social nature of the language: they are observed in changes of meaning resulting from the development of the notion expressed and the thing named and by the appearance of new notions and things. In other words, extralinguistic causes of semantic change are connected with the development of the human mind as it moulds reality to conform with its needs.

Languages are powerfully affected by social, political, economic, cultural and technical change. The influence of those factors upon linguistic phenomena is studied by sociolinguistics. It shows that social factors can influence even structural features of linguistic units: terms of science, for instance, have a number of specific features as compared to words used in other spheres of human activity.

The word being a linguistic realisation of notion, it changes with the progress of human consciousness. This process is reflected in the development of lexical meaning. As the human mind achieves an ever more exact understanding of the world of reality and the objective relationships that characterise it, the notions become more and more exact reflections of real things. The history of the social, economic and political life of the people, the progress of culture and science bring about changes in notions and things influencing the semantic aspect of language. For instance, OE eorde meant ‘the ground under people’s feet’, ‘the soil’ and ‘the world of man’ as opposed to heaven that was supposed to be inhabited first by Gods and later on, with the spread of Christianity, by God, his angels, saints and the souls of the dead. With the progress of science earth came to mean the third planet from the sun and the knowledge is constantly enriched. With the development of electrical engineering earth n means ‘a connection of a wire

1 For ellipsis combined with metonymy see p. 68.

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conductor with the earth’, either accidental (with the result of leakage of current) or intentional (as for the purpose of providing a return path). There is also a correspond ing verb earth. E. g.: With earthed appliances the continuity of the earth wire ought to be checked.

The word space meant ‘extent of time or distance’ or ‘intervening distance’. Alongside this meaning a new meaning developed ‘the limitless and indefinitely great expanse in which all material objects are located’. The phrase outer space was quickly ellipted into space. Cf. spacecraft, space-suit, space travel, etc.

It is interesting to note that the English word cosmos was not exactly a synonym of outer space but meant ‘the universe as an ordered system’, being an antonym to chaos. The modern usage is changing under the influence of the Russian language as a result of Soviet achievements in outer space. The OED Supplement points out that the adjective cosmic (in addition to the former meanings ‘universal’, ‘immense’) in modern usage under the influence of Russian космический means ‘pertaining to space travel’, e. g. cosmic rocket ‘space rocket’.

The extra-linguistic motivation is sometimes obvious, but some cases are not as straightforward as they may look. The word bikini may be taken as an example. Bikini, a very scanty two-piece bathing suit worn by women, is named after Bikini atoll in the Western Pacific but not because it was first introduced on some fashionable beach there. Bikini appeared at the time when the atomic bomb tests by the US in the Bikini atoll were fresh in everybody’s memory. The associative field is emotional referring to the “atomic” shock the first bikinis produced.

The tendency to use technical imagery is increasing in every language, thus the expression to spark off in chain reaction is almost international. Live wire ‘one carrying electric current’ used figuratively about a person of intense energy seems purely English, though.

Other international expressions are black box and feed-back. Black box formerly a term of aviation and electrical engineering is now used figuratively to denote any mechanism performing intricate functions or any unit of which we know the effect but not the components or principles of action.

Feed-back a cybernetic term meaning ‘the return of a sample of the output of a system or process to the input, especially with the purpose of automatic adjustment and control’ is now widely used figuratively meaning ‘response’.

Some technical expressions that were used in the first half of the 19th century tend to become obsolete: the English used to talk of people being galvanised into activity, or going full steam ahead but the phrases sound dated now.

The changes of notions and things named go hand in hand. They are conditioned by changes in the economic, social, political and cultural history of the people, so that the extralinguistic causes of semantic change might be conveniently subdivided in accordance with these. Social relationships are at work in the cases of elevation and pejoration of meaning discussed in the previous section where the attitude of the upper classes to their social inferiors determined the strengthening of emotional tone among the semantic components of the word.

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Sociolinguistics also teaches that power relationships are reflected in vocabulary changes. In all the cases of pejoration that were mentioned above, such as boor, churl, villain, etc., it was the ruling class that imposed evaluation. The opposite is rarely the case. One example deserves attention though: sir + -ly used to mean ‘masterful1 and now surly means ‘rude in a bad-tempered way’.

D. Leith devotes a special paragraph in his “Social History of English” to the semantic disparagement of women. He thinks that power relationships in English are not confined to class stratification, that male domination is reflected in the history of English vocabulary, in the ways in which women are talked about. There is a rich vocabulary of affective words denigrating women, who do not conform to the male ideal. A few examples may be mentioned. Hussy is a reduction of ME huswif (housewife), it means now ‘a woman of low morals’ or ‘a bold saucy girl’; doll is not only a toy but is also used about a kept mistress or about a pretty and silly woman; wench formerly referred to a female child, later a girl of the rustic or working class and then acquired derogatory connotations.

Within the diachronic approach the phenomenon of euphemism (Gr euphemismos < eu ‘good’ and pheme ‘voice’) has been repeatedly classed by many linguists as tabоо, i.e. a prohibition meant as a safeguard against supernatural forces. This standpoint is hardly acceptable for modern European languages. St. Ullmann returns to the conception of taboo several times illustrating it with propitiatory names given in the early periods of language development to such objects of superstitious fear as the bear and the weasel. He proves his point by observing the same phenomenon, i.e. the circumlocution used to name these animals, in other languages. This is of historical interest, but no similar opposition between a direct and a propitiatory name for an animal, no matter how dangerous, can be found in present-day English.

With peoples of developed culture and civilisation euphemism is intrinsically different, it is dictated by social usage, etiquette, advertising, tact, diplomatic considerations and political propaganda.

From the semasiological point of view euphemism is important, because meanings with unpleasant connotations appear in words formerly neutral as a result of their repeated use instead of words that are for some reason unmentionable, cf. deceased ‘dead’, deranged ‘mad’.

Much useful material on the political and cultural causes of coining euphemisms is given in “The Second Barnhart Dictionary of New English”. We read there that in modern times euphemisms became important devices in political and military propaganda. Aggressive attacks by armadas of bombers which most speakers of English would call air raids are officially called protective reaction, although there is nothing protective or defensive about it. The CIA agents in the United States often use the word destabilise for all sorts of despicable or malicious acts and subversions designed to cause to topple an established foreign government or to falsify an electoral campaign. Shameful secrets of various underhand CIA operations, assassinations, interception of mail, that might, if revealed, embarrass the government, are called family jewels.

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It is decidedly less emotional to call countries with a low standard of living underdeveloped, but it seemed more tactful to call them developing. The latest terms (in the 70s) are L.D.C. less developed countries and M.D.C. more developed countries, or Third World countries or emerging countries if they are newly independent.

Other euphemisms are dictated by a wish to give more dignity to a profession. Some barbers called themselves hair stylists and even hairologists, airline stewards and stewardesses become flight attendants, maids become house workers, foremen become supervisors, etc.

Euphemisms may be dictated by publicity needs, hence ready-tailored and ready-to-wear clothes instead of ready-made. The influence of mass-advertising on language is growing, it is felt in every level of the language.

Innovations possible in advertising are of many different types as G.N. Leech has shown, from whose book on advertising English the following example is taken. A kind of orange juice, for instance, is called Tango. The justification of the name is given in the advertising text as follows: “Get this different tasting Sparkling Tango. Tell you why: made from whole oranges. Taste those oranges. Taste the tang in Tango. Tingling tang, bubbles  sparks. You drink it straight. Goes down great. Taste the tang in Tango. New Sparkling Tango”. The reader will see for himself how many expressive connotations and rhythmic associations are introduced by the salesman in this commercial name in an effort to attract the buyer’s attention. If we now turn to the history of the language, we see economic causes are obviously at work in the semantic development of the word wealth. It first meant ‘well-being’, ‘happiness’ from weal from OE wela whence well. This original meaning is preserved in the compounds commonwealth and commonweal. The present meaning became possible due to the role played by money both in feudal and bourgeois society. The chief wealth of the early inhabitants of Europe being the cattle, OE feoh means both ‘cattle’ and ‘money’, likewise Goth faihu; Lat pecus meant ‘cattle’ and pecunia meant ‘money’. ME fee-house is both a cattle-shed and a treasury. The present-day English fee most frequently means the price paid for services to a lawyer or a physician. It appears to develop jointly from the above mentioned OE feoh and the Anglo-French fee, fie, probably of the same origin, meaning ‘a recompense’ and ‘a feudal tenure’. This modern meaning is obvious in the following example: Physicians of the utmost fame were called at once, but when they came they answered as they took their fees, “There is no cure for this disease.” (Belloc)

The constant development of industry, agriculture, trade and transport bring into being new objects and new notions. Words to name them are either borrowed or created from material already existing in the language and it often happens that new meanings are thus acquired by old words.


Chapter 5

MORPHOLOGICAL STRUCTURE OF ENGLISH WORDS. AFFIXATION

§ 5.1 MORPHEMES. FREE AND BOUND FORMS. MORPHOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF WORDS. WORD-FAMILIES

If we describe a wоrd as an autonomous unit of language in which a particular meaning is associated with a particular sound complex and which is capable of a particular grammatical employment and able to form a sentence by itself (see p. 9), we have the possibility to distinguish it from the other fundamental language unit, namely, the morpheme.

A morpheme is also an association of a given meaning with a given sound pattern. But unlike a word it is not autonomous. Morphemes occur in speech only as constituent parts of words, not independently, although a word may consist of a single morpheme. Nor are they divisible into smaller meaningful units. That is why the morpheme may be defined as the minimum meaningful language unit.

The term morpheme is derived from Gr morphe ‘form’ + -eme. The Greek suffix -erne has been adopted by linguists to denote the smallest significant or distinctive unit. (Cf. phoneme, sememe.) The morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit of form. A form in these cases is a recurring discrete unit of speech.

A form is said to be free if it may stand alone without changing its meaning; if not, it is a bound form, so called because it is always bound to something else. For example, if we compare the words sportive and elegant and their parts, we see that sport, sportive, elegant may occur alone as utterances, whereas eleg-, -ive, -ant are bound forms because they never occur alone. A word is, by L. Bloomfield’s definition, a minimum free form. A morpheme is said to be either bound or free. This statement should bе taken with caution. It means that some morphemes are capable of forming words without adding other morphemes: that is, they are homonymous to free forms.

According to the role they play in constructing words, morphemes are subdivided into roots and affixes. The latter are further subdivided, according to their position, into prefixes, suffixes and infixes, and according to their function and meaning, into derivational and functional .affixes, the latter also called endings or outer formatives.

When a derivational or functional affix is stripped from the word, what remains is a stem (or astern base). The stem

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expresses the lexical and the part of speech meaning. For the word hearty and for the paradigm heart (sing.) hearts (pi.)1 the stem may be represented as heart-. This stem is a single morpheme, it contains nothing but the root, so it is a simple stem. It is also a free stem because it is homonymous to the word heart.

A stem may also be defined as the part of the word that remains unchanged throughout its paradigm. The stem of the paradigm hearty heartier (the) heartiest is hearty-. It is a free stem, but as it consists of a root morpheme and an affix, it is not simple but derived. Thus, a stem containing one or more affixes is a derived stem. If after deducing the affix the remaining stem is not homonymous to a separate word of the same root, we call it abound stem. Thus, in the word cordial ‘proceeding as if from the heart’, the adjective-forming suffix can be separated on the analogy with such words as bronchial, radial, social. The remaining stem, however, cannot form a separate word by itself, it is bound. In cordially and cordiality, on the other hand, the derived stems are free.

Bound stems are especially characteristic of loan words. The point may be illustrated by the following French borrowings: arrogance, charity, courage, coward, distort, involve, notion, legible and tolerable, to give but a few.2 After the affixes of these words are taken away the remaining elements are: arrog-, char-, cour-, cow-, -tort, -volve, not-, leg-, toler-, which do not coincide with any semantically related independent words.

Roots are main morphemic vehicles of a given idea in a given language at a given stage of its development. A root may be also regarded as the ultimate constituent element which remains after the removal of all functional and derivational affixes and does not admit any further analysis. It is the common element of words within a word-family. Thus, -heart- is the common root of the following series of words: heart, hearten, dishearten, heartily, heartless, hearty, heartiness, sweetheart, heart-broken, kind-hearted, whole-heartedly, etc. In some of these, as, for example, in hearten, there is only one root; in others the root -heart is combined with some other root, thus forming a compound like sweetheart.

The root word heart is unsegmentable, it is non-motivated morphologically. The morphemic structure of all the other words in this word-family is obvious they are segmentable as consisting of at least two distinct morphemes. They may be further subdivided into: 1) those formed by affixation or affixational derivatives consisting of a root morpheme and one or more affixes: hearten, dishearten, heartily, heartless, hearty, heartiness; 2) compounds, in which two, or very rarely more, stems simple or derived are combined into a lexical unit: sweetheart, heart-shaped, heart-broken or3) derivational compounds where words of a phrase are joined together by composition and affixation: kind-hearted. This last process is also called phrasal derivation ((kind heart) + -ed)).

1 A paradigm is defined here as the system of grammatical forms characteristic of a word. See also p. 23.

2 Historical lexicology shows how sometimes the stem becomes bound due to the internal changes in the stem that accompany the addition of affixes; сf. broad : : breadth, clean : : cleanly ['klenli], dear : : dearth [dэ:θ], grief : : grievous.

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There exist word-families with several tmsegmentable members, the derived elements being formed by conversion or clipping. The word-family with the noun father as its centre contains alongside affixational derivatives fatherhood, fatherless, fatherly a verb father ‘to adopt’ or ‘to originate’ formed by conversion.

We shall now present the different types of morphemes starting with the root.

It will at once be noticed that the root in English is very often homonymous with the word. This fact is of fundamental importance as it is one of the most specific features of the English language arising from its general grammatical system on the one hand, and from its phonemic system on the other. The influence of the analytical structure of the language is obvious. The second point, however, calls for some explanation. Actually the usual phonemic shape most favoured in English is one single stressed syllable: bear, find, jump, land, man, sing, etc. This does not give much space for a second morpheme to add classifying lexico-grammatical meaning to the lexical meaning already present in the root-stem, so the lexico-grammatical meaning must be signalled by distribution.

In the phrases a morning’s drive, a morning’s ride, a morning’s walk the words drive, ride and walk receive the lexico-grammatical meaning of a noun not due to the structure of their stems, but because they are preceded by a genitive.

An English word does not necessarily contain formatives indicating to what part of speech it belongs. This holds true even with respect to inflectable parts of speech, i.e. nouns, verbs, adjectives. Not all roots are free forms, but productive roots, i.e. roots capable of producing new words, usually are. The semantic realisation of an English word is therefore very specific. Its dependence on context is further enhanced by the widespread occurrence of homonymy both among root morphemes and affixes. Note how many words in the following statement might be ambiguous if taken in isolation: A change of work is as good as a rest.

The above treatment of the root is purely synchronic, as we have taken into consideration only the facts of present-day English. But the same problem of the morpheme serving as the main signal of a given lexical meaning is studied in etymology. Thus, when approached historically or diachronically the word heart will be classified as Common Germanic. One will look for cognates, i.e. words descended from a common ancestor. The cognates of heart are the Latin cor, whence cordial ‘hearty’, ‘sincere’, and so cordially and cordiality, also the Greek kardia, whence English cardiac condition. The cognates outside the English vocabulary are the Russian cepдце, the German Herz, the Spanish corazon and other words.

To emphasise the difference between the synchronic and the diachronic treatment, we shall call the common element of cognate words in different languages not their root but their radical element.

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These two types of approach, synchronic and diachronic, give rise to two different principles of arranging morphologically related words into groups. In the first case series of words with a common root morpheme in which derivatives are opposable to their unsuffixed and unprefixed bases, are combined, сf. heart, hearty, etc. The second grouping results in families of historically cognate words, сf. heart, cor (Lat), Herz (Germ), etc.

Unlike roots, affixes are always bound forms. The difference between suffixes and prefixes, it will be remembered, is not confined to their respective position, suffixes being “fixed after” and prefixes “fixed before” the stem. It also concerns their function and meaning.

A suffix is a derivational morpheme following the stem and forming a new derivative in a different part of speech or a different word class, сf. -en, -y, -less in hearten, hearty, heartless. When both the underlying and the resultant forms belong to the same part of speech, the suffix serves to differentiate between lexico-grammatical classes by rendering some very general lexico-grammatical meaning. For instance, both -ify and -er are verb suffixes, but the first characterises causative verbs, such as horrify, purify, rarefy, simplify, whereas the second is mostly typical of frequentative verbs: flicker, shimmer, twitter and the like.

If we realise that suffixes render the most general semantic component of the word’s lexical meaning by marking the general class of phenomena to which the referent of the word belongs, the reason why suffixes are as a rule semantically fused with the stem stands explained.

A prefix is a derivational morpheme standing before the root and modifying meaning, cf. hearten dishearten. It is only with verbs and statives that a prefix may serve to distinguish one part of speech from another, like in earth n unearth v, sleep n asleep (stative).

It is interesting that as a prefix en- may carry the same meaning of being or bringing into a certain state as the suffix -en, сf. enable, encamp, endanger, endear, enslave and fasten, darken, deepen, lengthen, strengthen.

Preceding a verb stem, some prefixes express the difference between a transitive and an intransitive verb: stay v and outstay (sb) vt. With a few exceptions prefixes modify the stem for time (pre-, post-), place (in-, ad-) or negation (un-, dis-) and remain semantically rather independent of the stem.

An infix is an affix placed within the word, like -n- in stand. The type is not productive.

An affix should not be confused with a combining form. A combining form is also a bound form but it can be distinguished from an affix historically by the fact that it is always borrowed from another language, namely, from Latin or Greek, in which it existed as a free form, i.e. a separate word, or also as a combining form. They differ from all other borrowings in that they occur in compounds and derivatives that did not exist in their original language but were formed only in modern times in English, Russian, French, etc., сf. polyclinic, polymer; stereophonic, stereoscopic, telemechanics, television. Combining forms are mostly international. Descriptively a combining form differs from an affix, because it can occur as one constituent of a form whose only other constituent is an affix, as in graphic, cyclic.

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Also affixes are characterised either by preposition with respect to the root (prefixes) or by postposition (suffixes), whereas the same combining form may occur in both positions. Cf. phonograph, phonology and telephone, microphone, etc.

§ 5.2 AIMS AND PRINCIPLES OF MORPHEMIC AND WORD-FORMATION ANALYSIS

A synchronic description of the English vocabulary deals with its present-day system and its patterns of word-formation by comparing words simultaneously existing in it.1

If the analysis is limited to stating the number and type of morphemes that make up the word, it is referred to as morphemic. For instance, the word girlishness may be analysed into three morphemes: the root -girl- and two suffixes -ish and -ness. The morphemic classification of words is as follows: one root morpheme a root word (girl), one root morpheme plus one or more affixes a derived word (girlish, girlishness), two or more stems a compound word (girl-friend), two or more stems and a common affix a compound derivative (old-maidish). The morphemic analysis establishes only the ultimate constituents that make up the word (see p. 85).

A structural word-formation analysis proceeds further: it studies the structural correlation with other words, the structural patterns or rules on which words are built.

This is done with the help of the principle of oppositions (see p. 25), i.e. by studying the partly similar elements, the difference between which is functionally relevant; in our case this difference is sufficient to create a new word. Girl and girlish are members of a morphemic opposition. They are similar as the root morpheme -girl- is the same. Their distinctive feature is the suffix -ish. Due to this suffix the second member of the opposition is a different word belonging to a different part of speech. This binary opposition comprises two elements.

А соrrelatiоn is a set of binary oppositions. It is composed of two subsets formed by the first and the second elements of each couple, i.e. opposition. Each element of the first set is coupled with exactly one element of the second set and vice versa. Each second element may be derived from the corresponding first element by a general rule valid for all members of the relation (see p. 26). Observing the proportional opposition:

girl  child woman monkey spinster book

girlish childish womanish monkeyish spinsterish bookish

1 The contribution of Soviet scholars to this problem is seen in the works by M.D. Stepanova, S.S. Khidekel, E.S. Koubryakova, T.M. Belyaeva, O.D. Meshkov, P.A. Soboleva and many other authors.

6 И. В. Арнольд  81


it is possible to conclude that there is in English a type of derived adjectives consisting of a noun stem and the suffix -ish. Observation also shows that the stems are mostly those of animate nouns, and permits us to define the relationship between the structural pattern of the word and its meaning. Any one word built according to this pattern contains a semantic component common to the whole group, namely: ‘typical of, or having the bad qualities of. There are also some other uses of the adjective forming ‘ish, but they do not concern us here.

In the above example the results of morphemic analysis and the structural word-formation analysis practically coincide. There are other cases, however, where they are of necessity separated. The morphemic analysis is, for instance, insufficient in showing the difference between the structure of inconvenience v and impatience n; it classifies both as derivatives. From the point of view of word-formation pattern, however, they are fundamentally different. It is only the second that is formed by derivation. Compare:

impatience n = patience n = corpulence n impatient a    patient a    corpulent a

The correlation that can be established for the verb inconvenience is different, namely:

inconvenience v = pain v = disgust v = anger v = daydream v

inconvenience n   pain n   disgust n  anger n  daydream n

Here nouns denoting some feeling or state are correlated with verbs causing this feeling or state, there being no difference in stems between the members of each separate opposition. Whether different pairs in the correlation are structured similarly or differently is irrelevant. Some of them are simple root words, others are derivatives or compounds. In terms of word-formation we state that the verb inconvenience when compared with the noun inconvenience shows relationships characteristic of the process of conversion. Cf. to position where the suffix -tion does not classify this word as an abstract noun but shows it is derived from one.

This approach also affords a possibility to distinguish between compound words formed by composition and those formed by other processes. The words honeymoon n and honeymoon v are both compounds, containing two free stems, yet the first is formed by composition: honey n + moon n > honeymoon n, and the second by conversion: honeymoon n> honeymoon v (see Ch. 8). The treatment remains synchronic because it is not the origin of the word that is established but its present correlations in the vocabulary and the patterns productive in present-day English, although sometimes it is difficult to say which is the derived form.

The analysis into immediate constituents described below permits us to obtain the morphemic structure and provides the basis for further word-formation analysis.

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§ 5.3 ANALYSIS INTO IMMEDIATE CONSTITUENTS

A synctironic morphological analysis is most effectively accomplished by the procedure known as the analysis into immediate constituents (IC’s). Immediate constituents are any of the two meaningful parts forming a larger linguistic unity. First suggested by L. Bloomfield1 it was later developed by many linguists.2 The main opposition dealt with is the opposition of stem and affix. It is a kind of segmentation revealing not the history of the word but its motivation, i.e. the data the listener has to go by in understanding it. It goes without saying that unmotivated words and words with faded motivation have to be remembered and understood as separate signs, not as combinations of other signs.

The method is based on the fact that a word characterised by morphological divisibility (analysable into morphemes) is involved in certain structural correlations. This means that, as Z. Harris puts it, “the morpheme boundaries in an utterance are determined not on the basis of considerations interior to the utterance but on the basis of comparison with other utterances. The comparisons are controlled, i.e. we do not merely scan various random utterances but seek utterances which differ from our original one only in stated portions. The final test is in utterances which are only minimally different from ours."3

A sample analysis which has become almost classical, being repeated many times by many authors, is L. Bloomfield’s analysis of the word ungentlemanly. As the word is convenient we take the same example. Comparing this word with other utterances the listener recognises the morpheme -un- as a negative prefix because he has often come across words built on the pattern un- + adjective stem: uncertain, unconscious, uneasy, unfortunate, unmistakable, unnatural. Some of the cases resembled the word even more closely; these were: unearthly, unsightly, untimely, unwomanly and the like. One can also come across the adjective gentlemanly. Thus, at the first cut we obtain the following immediate constituents: un- + gentlemanly. If we continue our analysis, we see that although gent occurs as a free form in low colloquial usage, no such word as lemanly may be found either as a free or as a bound constituent, so this time we have to separate the final morpheme. We are justified in so doing as there are many adjectives following the pattern noun stem + -ly, such as womanly, masterly, scholarly, soldierly with the same semantic relationship of ‘having the quality of the person denoted by the stem’; we also have come across the noun gentleman in other utterances. The two first stages of analysis resulted in separating a free and a bound form: 1) un~ + gentlemanly, 2) gentleman + -ly. The third cut has its peculiarities. The division into gent-+-lemon is obviously impossible as no such patterns exist in English, so the cut is gentle- + -man. A similar pattern is observed in nobleman, and so we state adjective stem

1 Bloomfield L. Language. London, 1935. P. 210.

2 See: Nida E. Morphology. The Descriptive Analysis of Words. Ann Arbor, 1946. P. 81.

3 Harris Z.S. Methods in Structural Linguistics. Chicago, 1952. P. 163.

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+ man. Now, the element man may be differently classified as a semi-affix (see § 6.2.2) or as a variant of the free form man. The word gentle is open to discussion. It is obviously divisible from the etymological viewpoint: gentle < (O)Fr gentil < Lat gentilis permits to discern the root or rather the radical element gent- and the suffix -il. But since we are only concerned with synchronic analysis this division is not relevant.

If, however, we compare the adjective gentle with such adjectives as brittle, fertile, fickle, juvenile, little, noble, subtle and some more containing the suffix -lei-He added to a bound stem, they form a pattern for our case. The bound stem that remains is present in the following group: gentle, gently, gentleness, genteel, gentile, gentry, etc.

One might observe that our procedure of looking for similar utterances has shown that the English vocabulary contains the vulgar word gent that has been mentioned above, meaning ‘a person pretending to the status of a gentleman' or simply'man’, but then there is no such structure as noun stem + -le, so the word gent should be interpreted as a shortening of gentleman and a homonym of the bound stem in question.

To sum up: as we break the word we obtain at any level only two IC’s, one of which is the stem of the given word. All the time the analysis is based on the patterns characteristic of the English vocabulary. As a pattern showing the interdependence of all the constituents segregated at various stages we obtain the following formula:

un- + {[{gent- + -le) + -man] + -ly}

Breaking a word into its immediate constituents we observe in each cut the structural order of the constituents (which may differ from their actual sequence). Furthermore we shall obtain only two constituents at each cut, the ultimate constituents, however, can be arranged according to their sequence in the word: un-+gent-+-le+-man+'ly.

A box-like diagram presenting the four cuts described looks as follows:

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We can repeat the analysis on the word-formation level showing not only the morphemic constituents of the word but also the structural pattern on which it is built, this may be carried out in terms of proportional oppositions. The main requirements are essentially the same: the analysis must reveal patterns observed in other words of the same language, the stems obtained after the affix is taken away should correspond to a separate word, the segregation of the derivational affix is based on proportional oppositions of words having the same affix with the same lexical and lexico-grammatical meaning. Ungentlemanly, then, is opposed not to ungentleman (such a word does not exist), but to gentlemanly. Other pairs similarly connected are correlated with this opposition. Examples are:

ungentlemanly ___ unfair __ unkind __ unselfish gentlemanly fair kind selfish

This correlation reveals the pattern un- + adjective stem.

The word-formation type is defined as affixational derivation. The sense of un- as used in this pattern is either simply ‘not’, or more commonly ‘the reverse of, with the implication of blame or praise, in the case of ungentlemanly it is blame.

The next step is similar, only this time it is the suffix that is taken away:

gentlemanly __ womanly _ scholarly gentleman woman scholar

The series shows that these adjectives are derived according to the pattern noun stem + -ly. The common meaning of the numerator term is ‘characteristic of (a gentleman, a woman, a scholar).

The analysis into immediate constituents as suggested in American linguistics has been further developed in the above treatment by combining a purely formal procedure with semantic analysis of the pattern. A semantic check means, for instance, that we can distinguish the type gentlemanly from the type monthly, although both follow the same structural pattern noun stem + -ly. The semantic relationship is different, as -ly is qualitative in the first case and frequentative in the second, i.e. monthly means ‘occurring every month’.

This point is confirmed by the following correlations: any adjective built on the pattern personal noun stem+-/# is equivalent to ‘characteristic of or ‘having the quality of the person denoted by the stem’.

gentlemanly -*having the qualities of a gentleman

masterly - shaving the qualities of a master

soldierly - shaving the qualities of a soldier

womanly - shaving the qualities of a woman

Monthly does not fit into this series, so we write: monthly ±5 having the qualities of a month

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On the other hand, adjectives of this group, i.e. words built on the pattern stem of a noun denoting a period of time + -ly are all equivalent to the formula ‘occurring every period of time denoted by the stem’:

monthly occurring every month hourly → occurring every hour
yearly → occurring every year

Gentlemanly does not show this sort of equivalence, the transform is obviously impossible, so we write:

gentlemanly ↔ occurring every gentleman

The above procedure is an elementary case of the transformational analysis, in which the semantic similarity or difference of words is revealed by the possibility or impossibility of transforming them according to a prescribed model and following certain rules into a different form, called their transform. The conditions of equivalence between the original form and the transform are formulated in advance. In our case the conditions to be fulfilled are the sameness of meaning and of the kernel morpheme.

E.Nida discusses another complicated case: untruly adj might, it seems, be divided both ways, the IC’s being either un-+truly or un-true+-ly. Yet observing other utterances we notice that the prefix un- is but rarely combined with adverb stems and very freely with adjective stems; examples have already been given above. So we are justified in thinking that the IC’s are untrue+-ly. Other examples of the same pattern are: uncommonly, unlikely.1

There are, of course, cases, especially among borrowed words, that defy analysis altogether; such are, for instance, calendar, nasturtium or chrysanthemum.

The analysis of other words may remain open or unresolved. Some linguists, for example, hold the view that words like pocket cannot be subjected to morphological analysis. Their argument is that though we are justified in singling out the element -et, because the correlation may be considered regular (hog : : hogget, lock : : locket), the meaning of the suffix being in both cases distinctly diminutive, the remaining part pock- cannot be regarded as a stem as it does not occur anywhere else. Others, like Prof. A.I. Smirnitsky, think that the stem is morphologically divisible if at least one of its elements can be shown to belong to a regular correlation. Controversial issues of this nature do not invalidate the principles of analysis into immediate constituents. The second point of view seems more convincing. To illustrate it, let us take the word hamlet ‘a small village’. No words with this stem occur in present-day English, but it is clearly divisible diachronically, as it is derived from OFr hamelet of Germanic origin, a diminutive of hamel, and a cognate of the English noun home. We must not forget that hundreds of English place names end in -ham, like Shoreham, Wyndham, etc. Nevertheless, making a mixture of historical and structural approach

1 Nida E. Morphology, p.p. 81-82. 86

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will never do. If we keep to the second, and look for recurring identities according to structural procedures, we shall find the words booklet, cloudlet, flatlet, leaflet, ringlet, town let, etc. In all these -let is a clearly diminutive suffix which does not contradict the meaning of hamlet. A.I. Smirnitsky’s approach is, therefore, supported by the evidence afforded by the language material, and also permits us to keep within strictly synchronic limits.

Now we can make one more conclusion, namely, that in lexicological analysis words may be grouped not only according to their root morphemes but according to affixes as well.

The whole procedure of the analysis into immediate constituents is reduced to the recognition and classification of same and different morphemes and same and different word patterns. This is precisely why it permits the tracing and understanding of the vocabulary system.

§ 5.4 DERIVATIONAL AND FUNCTIONAL AFFIXES

Lexicology is primarily concerned with derivational affixes, the other group being the domain of grammarians. The derivational affixes in fact, as well as the whole problem of word-formation, form a boundary area between lexicology and grammar and are therefore studied in both.

Language being a system in which the elements of vocabulary and grammar are closely interrelated, our study of affixes cannot be complete without some discussion of the similarity and difference between derivational and functional morphemes.

The similarity is obvious as they are so often homonymous (for the most important cases of homonymy between derivational and functional affixes see p. 18). Otherwise the two groups are essentially different because they render different types of meaning.

Functional affixes serve to convey grammatical meaning. They build different forms of one and the same word. A word form, or the form of a word, is defined as one of the different aspects a word may take as a result of inflection. Complete sets of all the various forms of a word when considered as inflectional patterns, such as declensions or conjugations, are termed paradigms. A paradigm has been defined in grammar as the system of grammatical forms characteristic of a word, e. g. near, nearer, nearest; son, son’s, sons, sons’ (see1 p. 23).

Derivational affixes serve to supply the stem with components of lexical and lexico-grammatical meaning, and thus form4different words. One and the same lexico-grammatical meaning of the affix is sometimes accompanied by different combinations of various lexical meanings. Thus, the lexico-grammatical meaning supplied by the suffix -y consists in the ability to express the qualitative idea peculiar to adjectives and creates adjectives from noun stems. The lexical meanings of the same suffix are somewhat variegated: ‘full of, as in bushy or cloudy, ‘composed of, as in stony, ‘having the quality of, as in slangy, ‘resembling’, as in baggy, ‘covered with’, as in hairy and some more. This suffix sometimes conveys emotional components of meaning. E.g.:

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My school reports used to say: “Not amenable to discipline; too fond of organising,” which was only a kind way of saying: “Bossy.” (M. Dickens) Bossy not only means ‘having the quality of a boss’ or ‘behaving like a boss’; it is also a derogatory word.

This fundamental difference in meaning and function of the two groups of affixes results in an interesting relationship: the presence of a derivational affix does not prevent a word from being equivalent to another word, in which this suffix is absent, so that they can be substituted for one another in context. The presence of a functional affix changes the distributional properties of a word so much that it can never be substituted for a simple word without violating grammatical standard. To see this point consider the following familiar quotation from Shakespeare:

Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.

Here no one-morpheme word can be substituted for the words cowards, times or deaths because the absence of a plural mark will make the sentence ungrammatical. The words containing derivational affixes can be substituted by morphologically different words, so that the derivative valiant can be substituted by a root word like brave. In a statement like I wash my hands of the whole affair (Du Maurier) the word affair may be replaced by the derivative business or by the simple word thing because their distributional properties are the same. It is, however, impossible to replace it by a word containing a functional affix (affairs or things), as this would require a change in the rest of the sentence.

The American structuralists B. Bloch and G. Trager formulate this point as follows: “A suffixal derivative is a two-morpheme word which is grammatically equivalent to (can be substituted for) any simple word in all the constructions where it occurs."1

This rule is not to be taken as an absolutely rigid one because the word building potential and productivity of stems depend on several factors. Thus, no further addition of suffixes is possible after -ness, -ity, -dom, -ship and -hood.

A derivative is mostly capable of further derivation and is therefore homonymous to a stem. Foolish, for instance, is derived from the stem fool- and is homonymous to the stem foolish- occurring in the words foolishness and foolishly. Inflected words cease to be homonymous to stems. No further derivation is possible from the word form fools, where the stem fool- is followed by the functional affix -s. Inflected words are neither structurally nor functionally equivalent to the morphologically simple words belonging to the same part of speech. Things is different from business functionally, because these two words cannot occur in identical contexts, and structurally, because of the different character of their immediate constituents and different word-forming possibilities.

1 See: Bloch B. and Trager G. Outline of Linguistic Analysis. Baltimore, 1942 P. 84.

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After having devoted special attention to the difference in semantic characteristics of various kinds of morphemes we notice that they are different positionally. A functional affix marks the word boundary, it can only follow the affix of derivation and come last, so that no further derivation is possible for a stem to which a functional affix is added. That is why functional affixes are called by E. Nida the outer formatives as contrasted to the inner formatives which is equivalent to our term derivational affixes.

It might be argued that the outer position of functional affixes is disproved by such examples as the disableds, the unwanteds. It must be noted, however, that in these words -ed is not a functional affix, it receives derivational force so that the disableds is not a form of the verb to disable, but a new word a collective noun.

A word containing no outer formatives is, so to say, open, because it is homonymous to a stem and further derivational affixes may be added to it. Once we add an outer formative, no further derivation is possible. The form may be regarded as closed.

The semantic, functional and positional difference that has already been stated is supported by statistical properties and difference in valency (combining possibilities). Of the three main types of morphemes, namely roots, derivational affixes and functional affixes (formatives), the roots are by far the most numerous. There are many thousand roots in the English language; the derivational affixes, when listed, do not go beyond a few scores. The list given in “Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary” takes up five pages and a half, comprising all the detailed explanations of their origin and meaning, and even then the actual living suffixes are much fewer. As to the functional affixes there are hardly more than ten of them. Regular English verbs, for instance, have only four forms: play, plays, played, playing, as compared to the German verbs which have as many as sixteen.

The valency of these three groups of morphemes is naturally in inverse proportion to their number. Functional affixes can be appended, with a few exceptions, to any element belonging to the part of speech they serve. The regular correlation of singular and plural forms of nouns can serve to illustrate this point. Thus, heart : : hearts; boy : : boys, etc. The relics of archaic forms, such as child : : children, or foreign plurals like criterion : : criteria are very few in comparison with these.

Derivational affixes do not combine so freely and regularly. The suffix -en occurring in golden and leaden cannot be added to the root steel-. Nevertheless, as they serve to mark certain groups of words, their correlations are never isolated and always contain more than two oppositions, e. g. boy : : boyish, child : : childish, book : : bookish, gold : : golden, lead : : leaden, wood : : wooden. The valency of roots is of a very different order and the oppositions may be sometimes isolated. It is for instance difficult to find another pair with the root heart and the same relationship as in heart : : sweetheart.

Knowing the plural functional suffix -s we know how the countable nouns are inflected. The probability of a mistake is not great.

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With derivational affixes the situation is much more intricate. Knowing, for instance, the complete list of affixes of feminisation, i.e. formation of feminine nouns from the stems of masculine ones by adding a characteristic suffix, we shall be able to recognise a new word if we know the root. This knowledge, however, will not enable us to construct words acceptable for English vocabulary, because derivational affixes are attached to their particular stems in a haphazard and unpredictable manner. Why, for instance, is it impossible to call a lady-guest a guestess on the pattern of host : : hostess? Note also: lion : : lioness, tiger : : tigress, but bear : : she-bear, elephant : : she-elephant, wolf : : she-wolf; very often the correlation is assured by suppletion, therefore we have boar : : sow, buck : : doe, bull : : cow, cock : : hen, ram : : ewe.

Similarly in toponymy: the inhabitant of London is called a Londoner, the inhabitant of Moscow is a Muscovite, of Vienna a Viennese, of Athens an Athenian.

On the whole this state of things is more or less common to many languages; but English has stricter constraints in this respect than, for example, Russian; indeed the range of possibilities in English is very narrow. Russian not only possesses a greater number of diminutive affixes but can add many of them to the same stem: мальчик, мальчишка, мальчишечка, мальчонка, мальчуган, мальчугашка. Nothing of the kind is possible for the English noun stem boy. With the noun stem girl the diminutive -ie can be added but not -ette, -let, -kin / -kins. The same holds true even if the corresponding noun stems have much in common: a short lecture is a lecturette but a small picture is never called a picturette. The probability that a given stem will combine with a given affix is thus not easily established.

To sum up: derivational and functional morphemes may happen to be identical in sound form, but they are substantially different in meaning, function, valency, statistical characteristics and structural properties.

§ 5.5 THE VALENCY OF AFFIXES AND STEMS. WORD-BUILDING PATTERNS AND THEIR MEANING

Another essential feature of affixes that should not be overlooked is their combining power or valenсу and the derivational patterns in which they regularly occur.

We have already seen that not all combinations of existing morphemes are actually used. Thus, unhappy, untrue and unattractive are quite regular combinations, while seemingly analogous *unsad, *UN-FALSE, *unpretty do not exist. The possibility of a particular stem taking a particular affix depends on phono-morphological, morphological and semantic factors. The suffix -ance/-ence,1 for instance, occurs only after b, t, d, dz, v, l, r, m, n: disturbance, insistence, independence, but not after s or z: condensation, organisation.

1 These are allomorphs. See § 5.7.

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It is of course impossible to describe the whole system. To make our point clear we shall take adjective-forming suffixes as an example. They are mostly attached to noun stems. They are: ~ed (barbed), -en (golden), -ful (careful), -less (careless), -ly (soldierly), -like (childlike), -y (hearty) and some others. The highly productive suffix -able can be combined with noun stems and verbal stems alike (clubbable, bearable). It is especially frequent in the pattern un- + verbal stem + -able (unbearable). Sometimes it is even attached to phrases in which composition and affixation are simultaneous producing compound-derivatives (unbrushoffable, ungetatable). These characteristics are of great importance both structurally and semantically.

Their structural significance is clear if we realise that to describe the system of a given vocabulary one must know the typical patterns on which its words are coined. To achieve this it is necessary not only to know the morphemes of which they consist but also to reveal their recurrent regular combinations and the relationship existing between them. This approach ensures a rigorously linguistic basis for the identification of lexico-grammatical classes within each part of speech. In the English language these classes are little studied so far, although an inquiry into this problem seems very promising.1

It is also worthy of note that from the information theory viewpoint the fact that not every affix is capable of combining with any given stem makes the code more reliable, protects it from noise,2 mistakes, and misunderstanding.

The valency of stems is not therefore unlimited. Noun stems can be followed by the noun-forming suffixes: -age (bondage), -dom (serfdom), -eer/-ier (profiteer, collier), -ess (waitress), -ful (spoonful), -hood (childhood), -ian (physician), -ics (linguistics), -iel-y (daddy), -ing (flooring), -ism (heroism), -ist (violinist), -let (cloudlet), -ship (friendship)-, by the adjective-forming suffixes: -al/-ial (doctoral), -an (African), -ary (revolutionary), -ed (wooded), -ful (hopeful), -ic/-ical (historic, historical), -ish (childish), -like (businesslike), -ly (friendly), -ous/-ious/-eous (spacious), -some (handsome), -y (cloudy)’, verb-forming suffixes: -ate (aerate), -en (hearten), -fy/-ify (speechify), -ise (sympathise).

Verbal stems are almost equal to noun stems in valency. They combine with the following noun-forming suffixes: -age (breakage), -al (betrayal), -ance/-ence (guidance, reference), -ant/-ent (assistant, student), -ee (employee), -er/-or (painter, editor), -ing (uprising), -ion/-tion/-ation (action, information), -ment (government). The adjective-forming suffixes used with verbal stems are: -able/-ible (agreeable, comprehensible), -ive/-sive/-tive (talkative), -some (meddlesome).

Adjective stems furnish a shorter list: -dom (freedom), -ism (realism), -ity/-ty (reality, cruelty), -ness (brightness), -ish (reddish), -ly (firmly), •ate (differentiate), -en (sharpen), -fy/-ify (solidify).

1 See the works by I.V. Arnold, T.M. Belyaeva, S.S. Khidekel, E.S. Koobryakova, O.D. Meshkov, I.K. Arhipov and others.

2 Noise as a term of the theory of information is used to denote any kind of interference with the process of communication.

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The combining possibilities (or valency) are very important semantically because the meaning of the derivative depends not only on the morphemes of which it is composed but also on combinations of stems and affixes that can be contrasted with it. Contrast is to be looked for in the use of the same morpheme in different environment and also in the use of different morphemes in environments otherwise the same.

The difference between the suffixes -ity and -ism, for instance, will become clear if we compare them as combined with identical stems in the following oppositions: formality : : formalism : : humanity : : humanism; reality : : realism. Roughly, the words in -ity mean the quality of being what the corresponding adjective describes, or an instance of this quality. The resulting nouns are countable. The suffix -ism forms nouns naming a disposition to what the adjective describes, or a corresponding type of ideology. Being uncountable they belong to a different lexico-grammatical class.

The similarity on which an opposition is based may consist, for the material under consideration in the present paragraph, in the sameness of suffix. A description of suffixes according to the stem with which they are combined and the lexico-grammatical classes they serve to differentiate may be helpful in the analysis of the meanings they are used to render.

A good example is furnished by the suffix -ish, as a suffix of adjectives. The combining possibilities of the suffix -ish are vast but not unlimited. Boyish and waspish are used, whereas *enemish and *aspish are not. The constraints here are of semantic nature. It is regularly present in the names of nationalities, as for example: British, Irish, Spanish.1 When added to noun stems, it forms adjectives of the type ‘having the nature of with a moderately derogatory colouring: bookish, churlish, monkeyish, sheepish, swinish. Childish has a derogatory twist of meaning, the adjective with a good sense is childlike. A man may be said to behave with a childish petulance, but with a childlike simplicity. Compare also womanly ‘having the qualities befitting a woman’, as in womanly compassion, womanly grace, womanly tact, with the derogatory womanish ‘effeminate’, as in: womanish fears, traitors to love and duty (Coleridge).

With adjective stems the meaning is not derogatory, the adjective renders a moderate degree of the quality named: greenish ‘somewhat green’, stiffish ‘somewhat stiff, thinnish ‘somewhat thin’. The model is especially frequent with colours: blackish, brownish, reddish. A similar but stylistically peculiar meaning is observed in combinations with numeral stems: eightyish, fortyish and the like are equivalent to ‘round about eighty’, ‘round about forty’. E. g.: “What’s she like, Min?” “Sixtyish. Stout. Grey hair. Tweeds. Red face.” (McCrone)

In colloquial speech the suffix -ish is added to words denoting the time of the day: four-o'clockish or more often fourish means ‘round about four o'clock’. E. g.: Robert and I went to a cocktail party at Annette’s. (It was called “drinks at six thirty'ish” the word “cocktail” was going out.) (W. Cooper).

1 But not all nationalities. E. g. Russian, Italian, Chinese, Japanese. 92


The study of correlations of derivatives and stems is also helpful in bringing into relief the meaning of the affix. The lexico-grammatical meaning of the suffix -ness that forms nouns of quality from adjective stems becomes clear from the study of correlations of the derivative and the underlying stem. A few examples picked up at random will be sufficient proof: good : : goodness; kind : : kindness; lonely : : loneliness; ready : : readiness; righteous : : righteousness; slow : : slowness.

The suffixes -ion (and its allomorphs -sion and -tion) and -or are noun-forming suffixes combined with verbal stems. The opposition between them serves to distinguish between two subclasses of nouns: abstract nouns and agent nouns, e. g. accumulation : : accumulator; action : : actor; election : : elector; liberation : : liberator; oppression : : oppressor; vibration : : vibrator, etc. The abstract noun in this case may mean action, state or result of action remaining within the same subclass. Thus, cultivation denotes the process of cultivating (most often of cultivating the soil) and the state of being cultivated. Things may be somewhat different with the suffix -or, because a cultivator is ‘a person who cultivates1 and ‘a machine for breaking up ground, loosening the earth round growing plants and destroying weeds’. Thus two different subclasses are involved: one of animate beings, the other of inanimate things. They differ not only semantically but grammatically too; there exists a regular opposition between animate and inanimate nouns in English: the first group is substituted by he or she, and the second by the pronoun it. In derivation this opposition of animate personal nouns to all other nouns is in some cases sustained by such suffixes as -ard/-art (braggart), -ist (novelist) and a few others, but most often neutralised. The term neutralisation may be defined as a temporary suspension of an otherwise functioning opposition. Neutralisation, as in the word cultivator, is also observed with such suffixes as -ant, -er that also occur in agent nouns, both animate and inanimate. Cf. accountant ‘a person who keeps accounts’ and coolant ‘a cooling substance’; fitter ‘mechanic who fits up all kinds of metalwork’ and shutter (in photography) ‘a device regulating the exposure to light of a plate of film’; runner ‘a messenger’ and ‘a blade of a skate’.

Structural observations such as these show that an analysis of suffixes in the light of their valency and the lexico-grammatical subclasses that they serve to differentiate may be useful in the analysis of their semantic properties. The notions of opposition, correlation and neutralisation introduced into linguistics by N. Trubetzkoy prove relevant and helpful in morphological analysis as well.

The term word-building or derivational pattern is used to denote a meaningful combination of stems and affixes that occur regularly enough to indicate the part of speech, the lexico-semantic category and semantic peculiarities common to most words with this particular arrangement of morphemes.1 Every type of word-building (affixation, composition, conversion, compositional derivation, shortening, etc.) as well as every part of speech have a characteristic set of

1 See also: Ginzburg R.S. et al. A Course in Modern English Lexicology. P. 103.

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patterns. Some of these, especially those with the derivational suffix -ish, have already been described within this paragraph. It is also clear from the previous description that the grouping of patterns is possible according to the type of stem, according to the affix or starting with some semantic grouping.1

The grouping of patterns, their description and study may be based on the same principle of explanatory transformations that we have used for componential analysis in Chapter 3 (see §3.6).

Let us turn again to affixation and see how the dictionary defines words with the prefix un-:

unaccented a without an accent or stress

unbolt v to remove the bolt of, to unlock

unconcern n lack of concern

undo v to reverse the effect of doing

unfailing a not failing, constant

These few examples show that the negative prefix un- may be used in the following patterns:

I. un- + an adjective stem un- + Part. I stem un- + Part. II stem

}

with the meaning ‘not’, ‘without’, ‘the opposite of'

II. un- + a verbal stem with the meaning of ‘to reverse the action as

the effect of...'

III. un- + a verbal stem which is derived from a noun stem with the

reversative meaning ‘to release from'

IV. un- + a noun stem shows the lack of the quality denoted

The examples for pattern I are: uncertain, unfair, unbelievable, unconscious, unbalanced, unknown, unborn, unbecoming’, for pattern II: unbend, unbind, unpack, unwrap; for pattern III: unhook, unpack, unlock, unearth.

With noun stems (pattern IV) un- is used very rarely. E. g. unpeople ‘people lacking the semblance of humanity’, unperson ‘a public figure who has lost his influence’.

These cases of semantic overlapping show that the meaning or rather the variety of meanings of each derivational affix can be established only when we collect many cases of its use and then observe its functioning within the structure of the word-building patterns deduced from the examples collected. It would be also wrong to say that there exists a definite meaning associated with this or that pattern, as they are often polysemantic, and the affixes homonymous. This may be also seen from the following examples. A very productive pattern is out-+ V = Vt. The meaning is ‘to do something faster, better, longer than somebody or something’. E. g. outdo, out-grow, out-live, outnumber,

1 As for instance, a numeral stem + -ish with ages has the meaning ‘approximately so many years old’: fiftyish, sixtyish, seventyish, and has a colloquial connotation.

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outplay. The number of possible combinations is practically unlimited. The spelling, whether hyphenated, solid or separate is in many cases optional. When formed not on verbs but on names of persons it means ‘to surpass this person in something that is known as his special property’. The classical example is “to out-Herod Herod” (Shakespeare) ‘to outdo sb in cruelty’.1

On the other hand, the same formal pattern out-+V may occur with the locative out- and produce nouns, such as outbreak or outburst. The second element here is actually a deverbal noun of action.

The above examples do not exhaust the possibilities of patterns with out- as their first element. Out- may be used with verbal stems and their derivatives (outstanding), with substantives (outfield), with adjectives (outbound) and adverbs (outright).

The more productive an affix is the more probable the existence alongside the usual pattern of some semantic variation. Thus, -ee is freely added to verbal stems to form nouns meaning ‘One who is V-ed’, as addressee, divorcee, employee, evacuee, examinee, often paralleling agent nouns in -er, as employer, examiner. Sometimes, however, it is added to intransitive verbs; in these cases the pattern V+-ee means ‘One who V-s’ or ‘One who has V-ed’, as in escapee, retiree. In the case of bargee ‘a man in charge of a barge’ the stem is a noun.

It may also happen that due to the homonymy of affixes words that look like antonyms are in fact synonyms. A good example is analysed by V.K. Tarasova. The adjectives inflammable and flammable are not antonyms as might be supposed from their morphological appearance (cf. informal : : formal, inhospitable : : hospitable) but synonyms, because inflammable is ‘easily set on fire’. They are also interchangeable in non-technical texts. Inflammable may be used figuratively as ‘easily excited’. Flammable is preferred in technical writing.

The fact is that there are two prefixes in-. One is a negative prefix and the other may indicate an inward motion, an intensive action or as in the case of inflame, inflammable and inflammation have a causative function.2

It is impossible to draw a sharp line between the elements of form expressing only lexical and those expressing only grammatical meaning and the difficulty is not solved by introducing alongside the term motivation the term word-formation meaning.

To sum up: the word-building pattern is a structural and semantic formula more or less regularly reproduced, it reveals the morphological motivation of the word, the grammatical part-of-speech meaning and in most cases helps to refer the word to some lexico-grammatical class, the components of the lexical meaning are mostly supplied by the stem.

1 Herod — the ruler of Judea, at the time of Christ’s birth was noted for his despotic nature and cruelty.

2 V.K. Tarasova studies the possibilities of this homonymy of the word inflammable when she comments on the poem by Ogden Nash entitled “Philology, Etymology, You Owe Me an Apology”.

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§ 5.6 CLASSIFICATION OF AFFIXES

Depending on the purpose of research, various classifications of suffixes have been used and suggested. Suffixes have been classified according to their origin, parts of speech they served to form, their frequency, productivity and other characteristics.

Within the parts of speech suffixes have been classified semantically according to lexico-grammatical groups and semantic fields, and last but not least, according to the types of stems they are added to.

In conformity with our primarily synchronic approach it seems convenient to begin with the classification according to the part of speech in which the most frequent suffixes of present-day English occur. They will be listed together with words illustrating their possible semantic force.1

Noun-forming suffixes:

-age (bondage, breakage, mileage, vicarage); -ance/-ence2 (assistance, reference); -ant/-ent (disinfectant, student); -dom (kingdom, freedom, officialdom); -ее (employee); -eer (profiteer); -er (writer, type-writer); -ess (actress, lioness); -hood (manhood); -ing (building, meaning, washing); -ion/-sion/-tion/-ation (rebellion, tension, creation, explanation); -ism/-icism (heroism, criticism); -ist (novelist, communist); -ment (government, nourishment); -ness (tenderness); -ship (friendship); -(i)ty (sonority).

Adjective-forming suffixes:

-able/-ible/-uble (unbearable, audible, soluble); -al (formal); -ic (poetic); -ical (ethical); -ant/-ent (repentant, dependent); -ary (revolutionary); -ate/-ete (accurate, complete); -ed/-d (wooded); -ful (delightful); -an/-ian (African, Australian); -ish (Irish, reddish, childish); -ive (active); -less (useless); -like (lifelike); -ly (manly); -ous/-ious (tremendous, curious); -some (tiresome); -y (cloudy, dressy).

Numeral-forming suffixes: -fold (twofold); -teen (fourteen); -th (seventh); -ty (sixty).

Verb-forming suffixes:

-ate (facilitate); -er (glimmer); -en (shorten); -fy/-ify (terrify, speechify, solidify); -ise/-ize (equalise); -ish (establish).

Adverb-forming suffixes: -ly (coldly); -ward/-wards (upward, northwards); -wise (likewise).

If we change our approach and become interested in the lexico-grammatical meaning the suffixes serve to signalise, we obtain within each part of speech more detailed lexico-grammatical classes or subclasses.

1 It should be noted that diachronic approach would view the problem of morphological analysis differently, for example, in the word complete they would look for the traces of the Latin complet-us.

2 Between forms the sign / denotes allomorphs. See § 5.7.

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Taking up nouns we can subdivide them into proper and common nouns. Among common nouns we shall distinguish personal names, names of other animate beings, collective nouns, falling into several minor groups, material nouns, abstract nouns and names of things.

Abstract nouns are signalled by the following suffixes: -age, -ance/ -ence, -ancy/-ency, -dom, -hood, -ing, -ion/-tion/-ation, -ism, -ment, -ness, -ship, -th, -ty.1

Personal nouns that are emotionally neutral occur with the following suffixes: -an {grammarian), -ant/-ent (servant, student), -arian (vegetarian), -ее (examinee), -er (porter), -ician (musician), -ist (linguist), -ite (sybarite), -or (inspector), and a few others.

Feminine suffixes may be classed as a subgroup of personal noun suffixes. These are few and not frequent: -ess (actress), -ine (heroine), -rix (testatrix), -ette (cosmonette).

The above classification should be accepted with caution. It is true that in a polysemantic word at least one of the variants will show the class meaning signalled by the affix. There may be other variants, however, whose different meaning will be signalled by a difference in distribution, and these will belong to some other lexico-grammatical class. Cf. settlement, translation denoting a process and its result, or beauty which, when denoting qualities that give pleasure to the eye or to the mind, is an abstract noun, but occurs also as a personal noun denoting a beautiful woman. The word witness is more often used in its several personal meanings than (in accordance with its suffix) as an abstract noun meaning ‘evidence’ or ‘testimony’. The coincidence of two classes in the semantic structure of some words may be almost regular. Collectivity, for instance, may be signalled by such suffixes as -dom, -ery-, -hood, -ship. It must be borne in mind, however, that words with these suffixes are polysemantic and show a regular correlation of the abstract noun denoting state and a collective noun denoting a group of persons of whom this state is characteristic, сf. knighthood.

Alongside with adding some lexico-grammatical meaning to the stem, certain suffixes charge it with emotional force. They may be derogatory: -ard (drunkard), -ling (underling); -ster (gangster), -ton (simpleton), These seem to be more numerous in English than the suffixes of endearment.

Emotionally coloured diminutive suffixes rendering also endearment differ from the derogatory suffixes in that they are used to name not only persons but things as well. This point may be illustrated by the suffix -y/-ie/-ey (auntie, cabbie (cabman), daddy), but also: hanky (handkerchief), nightie (night-gown). Other suffixes that express smallness are -kin/-kins (mannikin); -let (booklet); -ock (hillock); -ette (kitchenette).

The connotation (see p. 47ff) of some diminutive suffixes is not one of endearment but of some outlandish elegance and novelty, particularly in the case of the borrowed suffix -ette (kitchenette, launderette, lecturette, maisonette, etc.).

1 See examples on p. 96. 7

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Derivational morphemes affixed before the stem are called prefixes. Prefixes modify the lexical meaning of the stem, but in so doing they seldom affect its basic lexico-grammatical component. Therefore both the simple word and its prefixed derivative mostly belong to the same part of speech. The prefix mis-, for instance, when added to verbs, conveys the meaning ‘wrongly’, ‘badly’, ‘unfavourably’; it does not suggest any other part of speech but the verb. Compare the following oppositions: behave : : misbehave, calculate : : miscalculate, inform : : misinform, lead : : mislead, pronounce : : mispronounce. The above oppositions are strictly proportional semantically, i.e. the same relationship between elements holds throughout the series. There may be other cases where the semantic relationship is slightly different but the general lexico-grammatical meaning remains, cf. giving : : misgiving ‘foreboding’ or ‘suspicion’; take : : mistake and trust : : mistrust.

The semantic effect of a prefix may be termed adverbial because it modifies the idea suggested by the stem for manner, time, place, degree and so on. A few examples will prove the point. It has been already shown that the prefix mis- is equivalent to the adverbs wrongly and badly, therefore by expressing evaluation it modifies the corresponding verbs for manner.1 The prefixes pre- and post- refer to time and order, e. g. historic :: pre-historic, pay :: prepay, view :: preview. The last word means ‘to view a film or a play before it is submitted to the general public’. Compare also: graduate :: postgraduate (about the course of study carried on after graduation), Impressionism :: Post-impressionism. The latter is so called because it came after Impressionism as a reaction against it. The prefixes in-, a-, ab-, super-, sub-, trans- modify the stem for place, e. g. income, abduct ‘to carry away’, subway, transatlantic. Several prefixes serve to modify the meaning of the stem for degree and size. The examples are out-, over- and under-. The prefix out- has already been described (see p. 95). Compare also the modification for degree in such verbs as overfeed and undernourish, subordinate.

The group of negative prefixes is so numerous that some scholars even find it convenient to classify prefixes into negative and non-negative ones. The negative ones are: de-, dis-, in-/im-/il-/ir-, поп-, ип-. Part of this group has been also more accurately classified as prefixes giving negative, reverse or opposite meaning.2

The prefix de- occurs in many neologisms, such as decentralise, decontaminate ‘remove contamination from the area or the clothes’, denazify, etc.

The general idea of negation is expressed by dis-; it may mean ‘not’, and be simply negative or ‘the reverse of, ‘asunder’, ‘away’, ‘apart’ and then it is called reversative. Cf. agree : : disagree ‘not to agree’ appear : : disappear (disappear is the reverse of appear), appoint : : dis-. appoint ‘to undo the appointment and thus frustrate the expectation’, disgorge ‘eject as from the throat’, dishouse ‘throw out, evict’. /n-/

1 R. Quirk rails it a pejorative prefix. (See: Quirk R. et al. A Grammar of Contemporary English. P. 384.)

2 See: Vesnik D. and Khidekel S. Exercises in Modern English Word-building. M., 1964.

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im-/ir-/il have already been discussed, so there is no necessity to dwell upon them. Non- is often used in abstract verbal nouns such as noninterference, nonsense or non-resistance, and participles or former participles like non-commissioned (about an officer in the army below the rank of a commissioned officer), non-combatant (about any one who is connected with the army but is there for some purpose other than fighting, as, for instance, an army surgeon.)

Non- used to be restricted to simple unemphatic negation. Beginning with the sixties non- indicates not so much the opposite of something but rather that something is not real or worthy of the name. E. g. non-book is a book published to be purchased rather than to be read, non-thing something insignificant and meaningless.

The most frequent by far is the prefix un-; it should be noted that it may convey two different meanings, namely:

  1.  Simple negation, when attached to adjective stems or to participles: happy : : unhappy, kind : : unkind, even : : uneven. It is immaterial whether the stem is native or borrowed, as the suffix un- readily combines with both groups. For instance, uncommon, unimportant, etc. are hybrids.
  2.  The meaning is reversative when un- is used with verbal stems. In that case it shows action contrary to that of the simple word: bind : : unbind, do : : undo, mask : : unmask, pack : : unpack.

A very frequent prefix with a great combining power is re- denoting repetition of the action expressed by the stem. It may be prefixed to almost any verb or verbal noun: rearrange v, recast v ‘put into new shape’, reinstate v ‘to place again in a former position’, refitment n ‘repairs and renewal’, remarriage n, etc. There are, it must be remembered, some constraints. Thus, while reassembled or revisited are usual, rereceived or reseen do not occur at all.

The meaning of a prefix is not so completely fused with the meaning of the primary stem as is the case with suffixes, but retains a certain degree of semantic independence.

It will be noted that among the above examples verbs predominate. This is accounted for by the fact that prefixation in English is chiefly characteristic of verbs and words with deverbal stems.

The majority of prefixes affect only the lexical meaning of words but there are three important cases where prefixes serve to form words belonging to different parts of speech as compared with the original word.

These are in the first place the verb-forming prefixes be- and en-, which combine functional meaning with a certain variety of lexical meanings.1 Be- forms transitive verbs with adjective, verb and noun stems and changes intransitive verbs into transitive ones. Examples are: belittle v ‘to make little’, benumb v ‘to make numb’, befriend v ‘to treat

1 Historically be- is a weakened form of the preposition and adverb by, the original meaning was ‘about’. The prefix en-/em-, originally Latin, is the doublet of the prefix in-/im-; it penetrated into English through French. Many English words in which this prefix is quite readily distinguished were formed not on English soil but borrowed as derivatives, as was the case with the verb enlarge<OFr enlargier.

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like a friend’, becloud v (bedew v, befoam v) ‘to cover with clouds (with dew or with foam)’, bemadam v ‘to call madam’, besiege v ‘to lay siege on’. Sometimes the lexical meanings are very different; compare, for instance, bejewel v ‘to deck with jewels’ and behead v which has the meaning of ‘to cut the head from’. There are on the whole about six semantic verb-forming varieties and one that makes adjectives from noun stems following the pattern be- + noun stem + -ed, as in benighted, bespectacled, etc. The pattern is often connected with a contemptuous emotional colouring.

The prefix en-/em- is now used to form verbs from noun stems with the meaning ‘put (the object) into, or on, something’, as in embed, engulf, encamp, and also to form verbs with adjective and noun stems with the meaning ‘to bring into such condition or state’, as in enable v, enslave v, encash v. Sometimes the prefix en-/em- has an intensifying function, cf. enclasp.

The prefix a- is the characteristic feature of the words belonging to statives: aboard, afraid, asleep, awake, etc.

1 As a prefix forming the words of the category of state a- represents: (1) OE preposition on, as abed, aboard, afoot; (2) OE preposition of, from, as in anew, (3) OE prefixes ge- and y- as in aware.

This prefix has several homonymous morphemes which modify only the lexical meaning of the stem, cf. arise v, amoral a.

The prefixes pre-, post-, non-, anti-, and some other Romanic and Greek prefixes very productive in present-day English serve to form adjectives retaining at the same time a very clear-cut lexical meaning, e. g. anti-war, pre-war, post-war, non-party, etc.

From the point of view of etymology affixes are subdivided into two main classes: the native affixes and the borrowed affixes. By native affixes we shall mean those that existed in English in the Old English period or were formed from Old English words. The latter category needs some explanation. The changes a morpheme undergoes in the course of language history may be of very different kinds. A bound form, for instance, may be developed from a free one. This is precisely the case with such English suffixes as -dom, -hood, -lock, -ful, -less, -like, -ship, e. g. ModE -dom < OE dom ‘fate’, ‘power’, cf. ModE doom. The suffix -hood that we see in childhood, boyhood is derived from OE had ‘state’. The OE lac was also a suffix denoting state. The process may be summarised as follows: first lac formed the second element of compound words, then it became a suffix and lastly was so fused with the stem as to become a dead suffix in wedlock. The nouns freedom, wisdom, etc. were originally compound words.

The most important native suffixes are: -d, -dom, -ed, -en, -fold, -ful, -hood, -ing, -ish, -less, -let, -like, -lock, -ly, -ness, -oc, -red, -ship, -some, -teen, -th, -ward, -wise, -y.

The suffixes of foreign origin are classified according to their source into Latin (-able/-ible, -ant/-ent), French (-age, -ance/-ence, -ancy/-ency, -ard, -ate, -sy), Greek (-ist, -ism, -ite), etc.

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The term borrowed affixes is not very exact as affixes are never borrowed as such, but only as parts of loan words. To enter the morphological system of the English language a borrowed affix has to satisfy certain conditions. The borrowing of the affixes is possible only if the number of words containing this affix is considerable, if its meaning and function are definite and clear enough, and also if its structural pattern corresponds to the structural patterns already existing in the language.

If these conditions are fulfilled, the foreign affix may even become productive and combine with native stems or borrowed stems within the system of English vocabulary like -able < Lat -abilis in such words as laughable or unforgettable and unforgivable. The English words balustrade, brigade, cascade are borrowed from French. On the analogy with these in the English language itself such words as blockade are coined.

It should be noted that many of the borrowed affixes are international and occur not only in English but in several other European languages as well.

§ 5.7 ALLOMORPHS

The combining form allo- from Greek allos ‘other’ is used in linguistic terminology to denote elements of a group whose members together constitute a structural unit of the language (allophones, allomorphs). Thus, for example, -ion/-sion/-tion/-ation in §5.6. are the positional variants of the same suffix. To show this they are here taken together and separated by the sign /. They do not differ in meaning or function but show a slight difference in sound form depending on the final phoneme of the preceding stem. They are considered as variants of one and the same morpheme and called its allomorphs. Descriptive linguistics deals with the regularities in the distributional relations among the features and elements of speech, i.e. their occurrence relatively to each other within utterances. The approach to the problem is consequently based on the principles of distributional analysis.

An allomorph is defined as a positional variant of a morpheme occurring in a specific environment and so characterised by complementary distribution. Complementary distribution is said to take place when two linguistic variants cannot appear in the same environment. Thus, stems ending in consonants take as a rule -ation (liberation); stems ending in pt, however, take -tion (corruption) and the final t becomes fused with the suffix.

Different morphemes are characterised by contrastive distribution, i.e. if they occur in the same environment they signal different meanings. The suffixes -able and -ed, for instance, are different morphemes, not allomorphs, because adjectives in -able mean ‘capable of being’: measurable ‘capable of being measured’, whereas -ed as a suffix of adjectives has a resultant force: measured ‘marked by due proportion’, as the measured beauty of classical Greek art; hence also ‘rhythmical’ and ‘regular in movement’, as in the measured form of verse, the measured tread.

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In some cases the difference is not very clear-cut: -ic and -ical, for example, are two different affixes, the first a simple one, the second a group affix; they are said to be characterised by contrastive distribution. But many adjectives have both the -ic and -ical form, often without a distinction in meaning. COD points out that the suffix -ical shows a vaguer connection with what is indicated by the stem: a comic paper but a comical story. However, the distinction between them is not very sharp.

Allomorphs will also occur among prefixes. Their form then depends on the initials of the stem with which they will assimilate. A prefix such as im- occurs before bilabials (impossible), its allomorph ir- before r (irregular), il- before l (illegal). It is in- before all other consonants and vowels (indirect, inability).

Two or more sound forms of a stem existing under conditions of complementary distribution may also be regarded as allomorphs, as, for instance, in long a : : length n, excite v : : excitation n.

In American descriptive linguistics allomorphs are treated on a purely semantic basis, so that not only [ız] in dishes, [z] in dreams and [s] in books, which are allomorphs in the sense given above, but also formally unrelated [n] in oxen, the vowel modification in tooth : : teeth and zero suffix in many sheep, are considered to be allomorphs of the same morpheme on the strength of the sameness of their grammatical meaning. This surely needs some serious re-thinking, as within that kind of approach morphemes cease to be linguistic units combining the two fundamental aspects of form and meaning and become pure abstractions. The very term morpheme (from the Greek morphē ‘form’) turns into a misnomer, because all connection with form is lost.

Allomorphs therefore are as we have shown, phonetically conditioned positional variants of the same derivational or functional morpheme (suffix, root or prefix) identical in meaning and function and differing in sound only insomuch, as their complementary distribution produces various phonetic assimilation effects.

§ 5.8 BOUNDARY CASES BETWEEN DERIVATION, INFLECTION AND COMPOSITION

It will be helpful now to remember what has been said in the first chapter about the vocabulary being a constantly changing adaptive system, the subsets of which have blurred boundaries.

There are cases, indeed, where it is very difficult to draw a hard and fast line between roots and affixes on the one hand, and derivational affixes and inflectional formatives on the other. The distinction between these has caused much discussion and is no easy matter altogether.

There are a few roots in English which have developed great combining ability in the position of the second element of a word and a very general meaning similar to that of an affix. These are semi-affixes treated at length in Chapter 6.1 They receive this name because semantically, functionally, structurally and statistically they behave more like affixes than like roots. Their meaning is as general. They determine the lexico-grammatical class the word belongs to. Cf. sailor : : seaman, where -or is a suffix, and functionally similar, -man is a semi-affix.

1 On the subject of semi-affixes see p.p. 116-118. 102


Another specific group is formed by the adverb-forming suffix -ly, following adjective stems, and the noun-forming suffixes -ing, -ness, -er, and by -ed added to a combination of two stems: faint-hearted, long-legged. By their almost unlimited combining possibilities (high valency) and the almost complete fusion of lexical and lexico-grammatical meaning they resemble inflectional formatives. The derivation with these suffixes is so regular and the meaning and function of the derivatives so obvious that such derivatives are very often considered not worth an entry in the dictionary and therefore omitted as self-evident. Almost every adjective stem can produce an adverb with the help of -ly, and an abstract noun by taking up the suffix -ness. Every verbal stem can produce the name of the doer by adding -er, and the name of the process or its result by adding -ing. A suffix approaching those in productivity is -ish denoting a moderate degree of the quality named in the stem. Therefore these words are explained in dictionaries by referring the reader to the underlying stem. For example, in “The Concise Oxford Dictionary” we read: “womanliness the quality of being womanly; womanised a or past participle in senses of the verb; womanishly in a womanish manner; womanishness the quality or state of being womanish”.

These affixes are remarkable for their high valency also in the formation of compound derivatives corresponding to free phrases. Examples are: every day : : everydayness.

Other borderline cases also present considerable difficulties for classification. It is indeed not easy to draw the line between derivatives and compound words or between derivatives and root words. Such morphemes expressing relationships in space and time as after-, in-,1 off-, on-, out-, over-, under-, with- and the like which may occur as free forms have a combining power at least equal and sometimes even superior to that of the affixes. Their function and meaning as well as their position are exactly similar to those characteristic of prefixes. They modify the respective stems for time, place or manner exactly as prefixes do. They also are similar to prefixes in their statistical properties of frequency. And yet prefixes are bound forms by definition, whereas these forms are free. This accounts for the different treatment they receive in different dictionaries. Thus, Chambers’s Dictionary considers aftergrowth a derivation with the prefix after-, while similar formations like afternoon, afterglow or afterthought are classified as compound nouns. Webster’s Dictionary does not consider after- as a prefix at all. COD alongside with the preposition and the adverb on gives a prefix on- with the examples: oncoming, onflow, onlooker, whereas in Chambers’s Dictionary oncome is treated as a compound.

The other difficulty concerns borrowed morphemes that were never active as prefixes in English but are recognised as such on the analogy with other words also borrowed from the same source. A strong protest against this interpretation was expressed by N.N.Amosova. In her

1 Not to be mixed with the bound form in-/im-/il-/ir- expressing negation.

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opinion there is a very considerable confusion in English linguistic literature concerning the problem of the part played by foreign affixes in English word-building. This author lays particular stress on the distinction between morphemes that can be separated from the rest of the stem and those that cannot. Among the latter she mentions the following prefixes listed by H. Sweet: amphi-, ana-, apo-, cata-, exo-, en-, hypo-, meta-, sina- (Greek) and ab-, ad-, amb- (Latin). The list is rather a mixed one. Thus, amphi- is even productive in terminology and is with good reason considered by dictionaries a combining form. Ana- in such words as anachronism, anagram, anaphora is easily distinguished, because the words readily lend themselves for analysis into immediate constituents. The prefix ad- derived from Latin differs very much from these two, being in fact quite a cluster of allomorphs assimilated with the first sound of the stem: ad-/ac-/af-/ag-/al-/ap-/as-/at-/. E. g. adapt, accumulation, affirm, aggravation, etc.

On the synchronic level this differentiation suggested by N.N. Amosova is irrelevant and the principle of analysis into immediate constituents depends only on the existence of other similar cases as it was shown in § 5.3 for the suffixes.

§ 5.9 COMBINING FORMS

It has already been mentioned in the beginning of this chapter that there exist linguistic forms which in modern languages are used as bound forms although in Greek and Latin from which they are borrowed they functioned as independent words.

The question at once arises whether being bound forms, they should be treated like affixes and be referred to the set of derivatives, or whether they are nearer to the elements of compounds, because in languages from which they come they had the status of words. In fact we have a fuzzy set whose elements overlap with the set of affixes on the one hand and with that of words on the other. Different lexicographers have treated them differently but now it is almost universally recognised that they constitute a specific type of linguistic units.

Combining forms are particularly frequent in the specialised vocabularies of arts and sciences. They have long become familiar in the international scientific terminology. Many of them attain widespread currency in everyday language.

To illustrate the basic meaning and productivity of these forms we give below a short list of Greek words most frequently used in producing combining forms together with words containing them.

Astron ‘star’ — astronomy, autos ‘self’ — automatic; bios ‘life’ — biology, electron ‘amber’ — electronics;1 ge ‘earth’ — geology, graph-ein ‘to write’ — typography, hydor ‘water’ —hydroelectric; logos ‘speech’ — physiology, oikos ‘house’, ‘habitat’ — 1) economics, 2) ecological system’, philein ‘love’ —philology, phone ‘sound’, ‘voice’ — telephone;

1 Electricity was first observed in amber. 104


photos ‘light’ — photograph; skopein ‘to view’  microscope; tēle ‘far’ telescope.

It is obvious from the above list that combining forms mostly occur together with other combining forms and not with native roots. Lexicological analysis meets with difficulties here if we try to separate diachronic and synchronic approach and distinguish between the words that came into English as borrowings and those coined on this model on the English soil. From the synchronic point of view, which coincides with that of an educated English speaking person, it is immaterial whether the morphological motivation one recognises in the word аиtopilot originated in modern times or is due to its remote ancestry in Latin and Greek. One possible criterion is that the word in question could not have existed in Greek or Latin for the simple reason that the thing it names was invented, discovered or developed only much later.

Almost all of the above examples are international words, each entering a considerable word-family. A few of these word-families we shall now describe though briefly, in order to give an idea of the rich possibilities this source of word-building provides.

Auto- comes from the Greek word autos ‘self’ and like bio-, eco-, hydro- and many others is mostly used initially. One of the first English words containing this element was automaton borrowed from late Latin in the 16th century. OED dates the corresponding adjective automatic as appearing in 1586.

The word autograph belonging to this word-family is a good example of how combining forms originate. It was borrowed from French in the 17th century. Its etymology is: Fr autograph<late Latin autographum <Gr autographos ‘that which is written in one’s own handwriting’. Hence in the 19th century the verb — ‘to write with one’s own hand’, ‘to give an autograph’. Thus the word autograph provides one of the patterns so well established in English that they are freely segmented providing material for new combinations.

In English as well as in Russian and other languages word coining with the form auto- is especially intense in the 19th century and goes on in the 20th. Cf. autobiography, autodiagnosis, autonomy, autogenic (training).

There are also many technical terms beginning with auto- and denoting devices, machines and systems, the chief basis of nomination being ‘self-acting’, ‘automatic’. E. g. autopilot, autoloader, auto-starter or auto-changer ‘apparatus on a record-player for changing the records’.

The word automobile was coined not in the English but in the French language and borrowed from French. The word itself is more often used in America, in Britain they prefer its synonym motor-car or simply car, it proved productive in giving a new homonym a free-standing word auto, a clipping of the word automobile. This in its turn produces such compounds as: autobus, autocross ‘an automobile competition’, auto-drome. It is thus possible for a combining form to be homonymous to words. One might also consider such pairs as auto- and auto or -graph and graph as doublets (see § 13.3) because of their common origin.

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The Greek word bios ‘life’, long known to us in the internationalism biography, helps to name many branches of learning dealing with living organisms: bio-astronautics, biochemistry, bio-ecology, biology, bionics, biophysics. Of these bio-astronautics, bio-ecology and bionics are the newest, and therefore need explanation. Bio-astronautics (note also the combining forms astro- and -naut-) is the study of man’s physical capabilities and needs, and the means of meeting those in outer space. Bio-ecology is also an interesting example because the third combining form is so often used in naming branches of study. Cf. geology, lexicology, philology, phonology. The form eco- is also very interesting. This is again a case of doublets. One of these is found in economics, economist, economise, etc. The other, connoting environment, receives now the meaning of ‘dealing with ecology’. The general concern over the growing pollution of the environment gave rise to many new words with this element: eco-climate, eco-activist, eco-type, eco-catastrophe, eco-development ‘development which balances economic and ecological factors’. Bionics is a new science, its name is formed by bio-+-onics. Now -onics is not a combining form properly speaking but what the Barnhart Dictionary of New English calls abstracted form which is defined as the use of a part of the word in what seems to be the meaning it contributes. The term here is well motivated, because bionics is the study of how man and other living beings perform certain tasks and solve certain problems, and the application of the findings to the design of computers and other electronic equipment.

The combining form geo- not only produced many scientific terms in the 19th century but had been productive much earlier: geodesy and geography come down from the 16th century, geometry was known in the 14th century and geology in the 18th.

In describing words containing the forms auto-, bio-, and geo- we have already come across the form graph meaning ‘something written’. One can also quote some other familiar examples: hydrography, phonograph, photograph, telegraph.

Words beginning with hydro- are also quite familiar to everybody: hydrodynamic, hydroelectric, hydromechanic, hydroponic, hydrotherapeutic.

§ 5.10 HYBRIDS

Words that are made up of elements derived from two or more different languages are called hybrids. English contains thousands of hybrid words, the vast majority of which show various combinations of morphemes coming from Latin, French and Greek and those of native origin.

Thus, readable has an English root and a suffix that is derived from the Latin -abilis and borrowed through French. Moreover, it is not an isolated case, but rather an established pattern that could be represented as English stem+-able. Cf. answerable, eatable, likable, usable. Its variant with the native negative prefix un- is also worthy of note: un-