05 English vocabulary as a system
1. Seminars in English lexicology. By Mednikova, pp. 51-53. 2. A course in Modern English lexicology. By Ginzburg R. and others. 3. The English Word. By Arnold I.V. pp. 199-213.
Some foreign scholars claim that in contrast to Grammar, the vocabulary of a language is not systematic, but chaotic. In Russian linguistics lexicology exists as an independent discipline, as a part of the curriculum in our Universities. Russian lexicologists have worked out a comprehensive review of different types of word-groupings suggested in modern linguistics, both in the country and abroad. A short survey of formal and semantic types of groupings with a word-stock will help you in obtaining an idea of the lexical system in general. One of the earliest and most obvious non-semantic grouping is the alphabetical organization of the word-stock, which is represented in most dictionaries. It is of great practical value in the search for the necessary word, but its theoretical value is almost null, because no other property of the word can be predicted from the letter or letters the word begins with. Morphological groupings.
On the morphological level words are divided into four groups according to their morphological structure: 1) root or morpheme words (dog, hand);
2) derivatives, which contain no less than two morphemes (dogged (ynpямый), doggedly; handy, handful); 3) compound words consisting of not less than two free morphemes (dog-cheap-"very cheap", dog-days - "hottest part of the year"; handbook, handball) 4) compound derivatives (dog-legged - "crooked or bent like a dog's hind leg", left-handed). This grouping is considered to be the basis for lexicology. Another type of traditional lexicological grouping as known as word-families such as: hand, handy, handicraft, handbag, handball, handful, hand-made,handsome, etc. A very important type of non-semantic grouping for isolated lexical units is based on a statistical analysis of their frequency. Frequency counts carried out for practical purposes of lexicology, language teaching and shorthand show important correlations between quantative and qualitative characteristics of lexical units, the most frequent words being polysemantic and stylistically neutral. The frequency analysis singles out two classes: 1) notional words;
2) form (or functional) words.
Notional words constitute the bulk of the existing word-stock, according to the recent counts given for the first 1000 most frequently occurring words they make up 93% of the total number. All notional lexical units are traditionally subdivided into parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs. Nouns numerically make the largest class - about 39% of all notional words; verbs come second - 25% of words; they are followed by adjectives - 17% and adverbs - 12%. Form or functional words - the remaining 7% of the total vocabulary - are prepositions, articles, conjunctions, which primarily denote various relations between notional words. Their grammatical meaning dominates over their lexical meaning. They make a specific group of about 150 units. Lexico-grammatical grouping.
By a lexico-grammatical group we understand a class of words which have a common lexico-grammatical meaning, a common paradigm, the same substituting elements and possibly a characteristic set of suffixes rendering the lexico-grammatical meaning. Lexico-grammatical groups should not be confused with parts of speech. For instance, audience and honesty belong to the same part of speech but to different lexico-grammatical groups because their lexico-grammatical meaning is different. Common Denominator of Meaning, Semantic Fields.
Words may also be classified according to the concepts underlying their meaning. This classification is closely connected with the theory of semantic fields. By the term "semantic fields" we understand...
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