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Zimich Evgenia Vladimirovna LEXICOLOGY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE Prezentacii.com
LECTURE 2 THE STRUCTURE OF WORDS AND WORD-BUILDING (Part 1) 1. General problems of the theory of the word. 2. The structure of the word. Types of morphemes and their specific features. 3. Affixation. Prezentacii.com
1. General Problems of the Theory of the Word. The Definition of the Word.
The problems associated with the definition of the word have always been most complex and remain disputable. The matter is that the 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 a certain arrangement of morphemes.
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 some other sciences that have to deal with language and speech.
The definition of the word from the point of view of philosophy: Words are not mere sounds but names of matter (T. Hobbes).
The definition of the word from the point of view of physiology: A word is a universal signal that can substitute any other signal from the environment in evoking a response in a human organism (I. Pavlov).
The definition of the word from the point of view of Machine Mathematical Linguistics: A word is a sequence of graphemes between two blanks.
The definition of the word from the point of view of syntax: A word is a minimum sentence (H. Sweet). A word is a minimum free form (L. Bloomfield).
The definition of the word from the point of view of semantics: Words are meaningful units (S. Ullmann).
The definition of the word from the point of view of syntax and semantics: A word is one of the smallest completely satisfying bits of isolated units into which the sentence resolves itself (E. Sapir).
The definition of the word from the point of view of semantics and phonology: A word is an articulate sound- symbol in its aspect of denoting something which is spoken about (A. Gardiner).
The definition of the word from the point of view of semantics, phonology and grammar: A word is the association of a given meaning with a given group of sounds susceptible to a given grammatical employment (A. Meillet).
Yet none of the definitions can be considered totally satisfactory in all aspects. Optimal is the definition of the word given be I. Arnold: The word is a speech unit used for the purposes of human communication, materially representing a group of sounds, possessing a meaning, susceptible to grammatical employment and characterised by formal and semantic unity.
2. The Structure of the Word. Types of Morphemes and their Specific Features
Words appear to be divisible into smaller units which are called morphemes which is an association of a given meaning with a given group of sounds. Morphemes occur as constituents of words.
Morphemes The word wool has one free morpheme, the word woolen consists of two morphemes: wool (which is free) and –en (which is bound). Free (those that can occur alone) Bound (those which cannot occur alone)
Unlike roots affixes are usually bound morphemes. According to their function and meaning prefixes and suffixes are divided into Derivational affixes are those by means of which new words are formed: to teach – a teacher. Functional are those by means of which new forms of words are formed: teach – teaches.
Affixation is the creation of a word by modifying its root with an affix. It is a very productive type of word formation.
Affixation Suffixation which is characteristic of noun and adjective formation. Prefixation which is typical of verb formation.
Prefixes modify the lexical meaning of stems to which they are added. A prefixal derivative usually joins the part of speech the unprefixed word belongs to. e.g.: definite – indefinite; convenient – inconvenient.
The suffix does not only modify the lexical meaning of the stem it is affixed to, but the word itself is usually transferred to another part of speech. e.g.: care (N) – careless (A), good (A) – goodness (N).
A suffix closely knit together with a stem forms a fusion retaining less of its independence than a prefix which is more independent semantically. e.g.: writing – the act of one who writes; the ability to write; to rewrite – to write again.
Prefixation Derivational morphemes affixed before the stem are called prefixes. They modify the lexical meaning of the stem, but in doing so they seldom affect its basic lexico- grammatical component. Unlike suffixation, which is usually bound up with a paradigm of a certain part of speech, prefixation is considered to be neutral in this respect. The only exceptions are the prefixes be-, en-, a-, pre-, post.
e.g.: little (A) – belittle (V); friend (N) – befriend (V); able (A) – enable (V); courage (N) – encourage (V); sleep (N) – asleep (word of the category of state); foot (N) – afoot (Adv); war (N) – prewar (A) ; war (N) – postwar (A).
Prefixes can be classified from the point of view of their meanings. Among them we can single out prefixes of the negative meaning: un-, in-, dis-, mis-. e.g.: comfortable – uncomfortable, convenient – inconvenient, satisfied – dissatisfied, understand – misunderstand.
Prefixes denoting reversal or repetition of an action: un-, dis-, re-. e.g.: lock – unlock, regard – disregard, consider – reconsider.
Prefixes denoting space and time relations: fore-, pre-, post-, over-, super-. e.g.: tell – foretell, war – prewar, war – postwar, spread – overspread, structure – superstructure.
Prefixes can be international: Anti-/анти- (antifascist, антифашист); Counter-/контр (countermarch, контрмарш); sub-/суб (submarine, субмарина).
Some prefixes can have a semantic identity only (but no linguistic similarity): foresee – предвидеть; extranatural – надприродний.
There can be semantically alien prefixes pertaining to one of the contrasted languages: de- (decamp); mis- (misstate).
Suffixation is the formation of words with the help of suffixes. Suffixes usually modify the lexical meaning of stems and transfer words to a different part of speech.
A suffix of this kind usually transfers a word into a different semantic group. e.g.: A concrete noun becomes an abstract one: child – childhood.
Suffixes can be classified according to their ability to form a new part of speech, to their origin, productivity. Noun-forming suffixes: -er (teacher, worker), -ing (living, reading); -ness (kindness, tenderness). These suffixes are productive. -age (voyage, courage); -ard (coward, drunkard); -ment (agreement, employment); -th (strength, length). These suffixes are non-productive.
Some suffixes are homonymous. For example, the suffix ful- can form adjectives and nouns: careful (Adj) – handful (N).
Numeral-forming suffixes: -teen (thirteen, fifteen); -ty (sixty, seventy); -th (seventh, eighth). These are non-productive suffixes.
Pronoun-forming suffixes: -s (ours, yours). The suffix is non- productive.
Verb-forming suffixes: - ate (complicate, navigate); - en (darken, strengthen); - fy (signify, simplify); - ute (attribute, execute). These suffixes are non- productive.
Adverb-forming suffixes: - ly (quickly, lately); - long (sidelong, headlong); - ward(s) forward, toward(s); -ways, wise (clockwise, otherwise, crabways). Of all these suffixes only the suffix -ly is productive.
From the point of view of semantics suffixes can be classified in the following way: Agent suffixes: -ist/ -іст/-ист (journalist, артист) ; ier-/-yer/ -ир (cashier, бригадир).