The Subject-Matter of the Contrastive Lexicology of English and Ukrainian

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Chapter 1.
The subject-matter of the contrastive lexicology of English and Ukrainian 1. Fundamentals
1.1. Object of lexicology.
1.2. Subdivisions of lexicology.
2. Tasks of contrastive lexicology. Its theoretical and
practical value.

The gift of language is the single human trait that marks us all genetically from the rest of life . Lewis Thomas. The Lives of a Cell.

Language is many things - a system of communication, a medium for thought, a vehicle for literary expression, a social institution, a catalyst for nation building. All human beings normally speak at least one language and it is hard to imagine significant social, intellectual or artistic activity taking place in its absence. The scope and diversity of human thought and experience place great demand on language. One of the most fundamental claims of modern linguistic analysis is that all languages have some common features. This can be verified by considering a few simple facts. Since all the languages are spoken, they must have phonetic and phonological systems; since they all have words and sentences, they must have a lexical and a grammatical system; and since these words and sentences have systematic meanings, there obviously must be semantic principles as well. All languages have means that enable their speakers to express any proposition that the human mind can produce. In terms of this criterion all languages are absolutely equal as instruments of communication and thought. The principal task of this book is limited to the study of similarities and differences in the lexical systems of English and Ukrainian. Lexical units are considered to be main structural elements of utterances possessing specific structure of their own. This task belongs to the field of contrastive linguistics or more precisely contrastive lexicology. Lexicology ( λεξιχόυ - словесний, словниковий, λόγος- вчення). as a separate branch of linguistics is concerned with the sign nature, meaning and use of words and word combinations, raises some important questions about the interpretation and evaluation of the vocabulary of a language. Deep treatment of theory and methods in lexicology can be found in books by O.S.Akhmanova [Ахманова 1957], V.N.Yartseva [Ярцева 1967], A.A.Ufimtseva [Уфимцева 1962,1968,1980,1986], I.V.Arnold [Аrnold 1973], N.N.Amosova [Амосова 1956], G.A.Zhluktenko, R.S.Ginzburg et al [Ginzburg 1956], K.T.Barantsev, F.S.Batsevich [Бацевич 1993, 1997], A.I.Smirnitskyy [Смирницкий 1956], M.A. Zhovtobriuh et al.[Сучасна укр. літ. мова 1973] that are considered classical. Western European or American linguists though aknowledge lexicological studies commonly include them in books on grammar:p[ppp “The study of words is the business of lexicology, but the regularities in their formation are similar in kind to the regularities of grammar and are closely connected to them” [Comprehensive Grammar 1985, p.11]. We share the opinion of most Ukrainian linguists that lexicology is a separate subdivision of the language studies with lexical system as the object of its investigation. In Ukrainian linguistic tradition lexicology can be specified as historical lexicology studying regularities of the formation, development and enrichment of language vocabulary from ancient times and descriptive lexicology studying the lexical composition of modern languages [Плющ 1994, с.115; Жовтобрюх, с. 19; Сучасна укр. літ. мова 1973, с. 5]. It is a well-established fact that the vocabularies of all languages are constantly changing. Some of these changes are relatively minor and occur very quickly (for example, the addition of new words such as spin doctor, yuppie, chunnel, internet, yobbocracy, able-bodism, grunge,...
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