Polysemy comes from Neo-Latin polysemia, which comes from Greek polusemous [poly- (many) + sema (sign)] giving us a linguistic term, "having many meanings" or multiple meanings. Most of lex. items in English are polysemantic.
- family - She lost both of her parents.
- parent - Envy is the parent of all evils.
My family comes from Scotland.
The cat family includes lions & tigers. (семейство кошачьих) A family of languages, etc.
There are monosemantic words:
Ex.: a lorry, a loudspeaker
Different meanings of one & the same word are closely interrelated. Polysemy is a result of:
1. Shifts in application (сдвиг в употреблении) Ex.: adj. red: red ink (is really red), red hair, red deer, red cabbage, red Indian 2. Specialization: Ex.: partner
Basic meaning; a type of relationship between 2 or more people. - business partner
- marriage partner
- partner in crime
3. Metaphorical extension (a fundamental feature of any language) Ex.: leaf of a tree – leaf of a book, hands of a person – hands of a clock
Polysemy has been complicated by the tendency of words to pick up the meanings from other dialects, languages & slang. Ex.: executive
BrE – one who acts under the direction of somebody – исполнитель AmE – a manager
now: AmE meaning is more widely used.
New & old meanings become interrelated, form a hierarchy. They have some common semantic features, which preserve the integrity of the word. First, we have count/mass alternations for nouns, which can serve several functions:
a. The lamb is running in the field.
b. John ate lamb for breakfast.
(14) Object/Stuff an object is made up:
a. There is an apple on the table.
b. There is apple in the salad.
a. There was cheese on the table.
b. Three cheeses were served.
a. The restaurant served beer, and so
b. we ordered three beers.
(17) a. Mary watered the fig in the...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document