Мизин Т.О. Курс лекцій з порівняльної лексикології англійської та української мов - файл n1.rtf

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T.O. Mizin

Kyiv - 2005

Мизин Т.О. Курс лекцій з порівняльної лексикології англійської та української мов. Навчальний посібник для студентів III курсу факультету лінгвістики. – Київ,

2005. – с.
Рецензенти: кандидат філологічних наук, доцент Т.А. Мирончук (Міжнародна Академія управління персоналом);

кандидат філологічних наук, доцент І.В. Тіменко (Київський міжнародний університет)
Даний посібник включає лекції, які охоплюють програму курсу порівняльної лексикології англійської та української мов. Розглядаються питання теорії слова та словотвору, семантичної структури слова, фразеології англійської та української мов, етимології, загальної характеристики вокабуляру.

Посібник розрахований на студентів III курсу факультету лінгвістики.
Друкується за рішенням Вченої Ради Київського міжнародного університету.
Lectures in Contrastive Lexicology of the English and Ukrainian Languages are intended for students of English at universities. Lectures are devoted to the following topics: the Morphological and Semantic Structures of Words; Synonyms. Antonyms. Homonyms; Word Combinations and Phraseology in Modern English and Ukrainian Languages; the Etymology of English and Ukrainian Words; General Characteristics of the Vocabulary.

The aim of the lectures is to lead the students to a deeper understanding of the Modern English and Ukrainian lexical systems.

The list of bibliographical references will serve as a guide to those who would like to attain a more complete view of the topics discussed.
1. General problems of the theory of the word.

2. The structure of the word. Types of morphemes and their specific features.

3. Affixation.

4. Conversion.

5. Composition.

6. Shortening.

7. Back-formation.

8. Blending.

9. Gradation.

10. Stress interchange.

11. Sound imitation.
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. Determining the word involves considerable difficulties for the criteria employed in establishing it are of different character and each language presents a separate system with its own patterns of vocabulary items, its specific types of structural units and its own ways of distinguishing them. 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, such as philosophy, 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 considered one-sided by the representatives of all the other domains and criticised for incompleteness,

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).

Many scholars have attempted to define the word as a linguistic phenomenon. Yet none of the definitions can be considered totally satisfactory in all aspects. The definition which is a bit extended but takes into account different aspects and hence can be considered 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.

  1. The Structure of the Word. Types of Morphemes and their Specific Features

If viewed structurally, words appear to be divisible into smaller units which are called morphemes. Like a word a morpheme is an association of a given meaning with a given group of sounds. But unlike a word it is not autonomous. Morphemes occur as constituents of words. But there are quite a lot of words which contain only one morpheme.

The word morpheme is of the Greek origin. Morphe means form, the suffix –eme means the smallest unit.

Morphemes can be divided into two main types: free (those that can occur alone) and bound (those which cannot occur alone).The word wool, for instance, has one free morpheme, the word woolen consists of two morphemes: wool (which is free) and –en (which is bound). The word лісистий consists of the free morpheme ліс and the bound morpheme –ст.

A word has at least one lexical morpheme represented by a root by which we mean the ultimate constituent element which remains after the removal of affixes and it does not admit any further analysis. It is the common element of words within a word-family. It is the primary element of the word, its basic part conveys its fundamental lexical meaning. There are many root-morphemes which can stand alone as words: table, car chair, room. It is one of the specific features of the English language. Free morphemes can be found only among roots. But not all roots are free morphemes. Only productive roots are free.

Unlike roots affixes are usually bound morphemes. According to their function and meaning prefixes and suffixes are divided into derivational and functional. There are several differences between them. 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. Derivational affixes permit the substitution of one word by another without this affix. Functional affixes do not permit such substitution without violating grammar rules. Derivational affixes permit further derivation: teach – teaching – teaching-room. Functional affixes do not permit such derivation. Derivational affixes do not combine freely. Functional affixes combine more or less freely. The suffix

–s can be added practically to any noun to form the plural form.
3. Affixation
Affixation is the creation of a word by modifying its root with an affix. It is a very productive type of word formation.

In conformity with the division of derivational affixes into suffixes and prefixes affixation is subdivided into suffixation and prefixation.

A careful study of a great many suffixal and prefixal derivatives has revealed an essential difference between them.

First of all in modern English suffixation is characteristic of noun and adjective formation. Prefixation 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.

In a suffixal derivative 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, as a general rule, more independent semantically.

e.g.: writing – the act of one who writes; the ability to write;

to rewrite – to write again.

In the English language there prevails either suffixation or prefixation, in the Ukrainian language they can be used in the same word.

English suffixes usually transfer a word from one part of speech into another, Ukrainian affixes never do it.


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).

But usually prefixes do not change a part of speech.

The Source of Prefixes

Prefixes originated from notional words, which in the course of time lost their independent meanings and became prefixes.

e.g.: re (Lat. Adv.) – once again or back;

under (OE Adv., Prep.) - under;

fore (OE Adv., Prep) – foresee.

Nowadays this process continues. In Modern English there exist the so-called semi-prefixes - words which are losing their meanings.

e.g.: stone-blind, stone-deaf, ill-tempered, ill-fated.

The Classification of Prefixes

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-, роз-, пере-.

e.g.: lock – unlock, regard – disregard, consider – reconsider, єднати – роз’єднати, писати – переписати.

In the Ukrainian language the most productive is the prefix не-, which is used to form adjectives and nouns, but never verbs: нелегкий, невільний. A very productive prefix is the prefix без-: безпомічний. In the English language this prefix corresponds to the suffix –less: defenceless. The prefixes де-, дис-, а- are used as parts of borrowed words and they are unproductive: децентралізація, дисбаланс, асиметричний.

Prefixes denoting space and time relations: fore-, pre-, post-, over-, super-, до-, перед-, над-, під-, пере-, після-.

e.g.: tell – foretell, war – prewar, war – postwar, spread – overspread, structure – superstructure, історичний – доісторичний, воєнний – післявоєнний, водний – підводний.

Prefixes can be international:

Some prefixes can have a semantic identity only (but no linguistic similarity):

There can be semantically alien prefixes pertaining to one of the contrasted languages:

A specifically Ukrainian phenomenon is the usage of the prefix по- (попоїсти).


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. There are suffixes, however, which do not shift words from one part of speech into another. 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:

In the Ukrainian language these are the following suffixes:

Adjective-forming suffixes:

In the Ukrainian language these are the following suffixes:

Some suffixes are homonymous. For example, the suffix ful- can form adjectives and nouns: careful (Adj) – handful (N).

In the Ukrainian language (but not in English) diminutive suffixes are often used:

-ньк (малесенький), -чк (дівчатко), -ець(вітерець).

Numeral-forming suffixes:

Pronoun-forming suffixes:

Verb-forming suffixes:

In the Ukrainian language these are the suffixes: (ув)ати-, ити-(сушити, головувати).

Adverb—forming suffixes:

-ly is productive.

In the Ukrainian language that is the suffix о-: високо, широко.

From the point of view of semantics suffixes can be classified in the following way:

  1. Agent suffixes:

  1. Suffixes denoting abstract notions:

  1. Evaluative suffixes:

All Ukrainian diminutive suffixes are productive. In English only –ie/ey, -ette are productive.

  1. Gender/sex expressing suffixes.

In the Ukrainian language they can express masculine gender:

- -ар/яр (лікар, школяр);

- -ист/іст (бандурист);

- -ій (водій);

- -ант/ент (студент).

Feminine gender can be expressed by means of the following suffixes:

Neuter gender is expressed by means of:

English gender suffixes are only sex expressing: actor – actress.

  1. International suffixes:

In both languages there are semi-affixes. In English these are the elements:

loadsa-, friendly, -something.

In Ukrainian the semi-suffixes are: повно-, ново-, само-, авто-, -вод, -воз (повноправно, автопілот, водовоз, тепловоз).

4. Conversion

Conversion (zero derivation, root formation, functional change) is the process of coining a new word in a different part of speech and with different distribution characteristics but without adding any derivative element, so that the basic form of the original and the basic form of derived words are homonymous. This phenomenon can be illustrated by the following cases: work – to work, love – to love, water – to water.

If we regard these words from the angle of their morphemic structure, we see that they are root words. On the derivational level, however, one of them should be referred to a derived word, as having the same root morpheme they belong to different parts of speech. Consequently the question arises here: “What serves as the word-building means in such cases?” It would appear that the noun is formed from the verb (or vice versa) without any morphological change, but if we probe deeper into the matter, we inevitably come to the conclusion that the two words differ only in the paradigm. Thus, it is the paradigm that is used as a word-building means. Hence, we can define conversion as the formation of a new word through changes in its paradigm.

The change of the paradigm is the only word-building means of conversion. As the paradigm is a morphological category, conversion can be described as a morphological way of forming words.

As a type of word-formation conversion exists in many languages. What is specific for the English vocabulary is not its mere presence, but its intense development.

The main reason for the widespread development of conversion in present-day English is no doubt the absence of morphological elements serving as classifying signals, or, in other words, of formal signs marking the part of speech to which the word belongs. The fact that the sound pattern does not show to what part of speech the word belongs may be illustrated by the word back. It may be a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb.

Many affixes are homonymous and therefore the general sound pattern does not contain any information as to the possible part of speech.

e.g.: maiden (N), darken (V), woollen (A), often (Adv).

O. Jesperson points out that the causes that made conversion so widely spread are to be approached diachronically. The noun and verb have become identical in form firstly as a result of the loss of endings. More rarely it is the prefix that is lost (mind < gemynd). When endings had disappeared phonetical development resulted in the merging of sound forms for both elements of these pairs.

e.g.: OE carian (verb) and caru (noun) merged into care (verb, noun); OE drinkan (verb) and drinca, drinc (noun) merged into drink (verb, noun).

A similar homonymy resulted in the borrowing from French of pairs of words of the same root but belonging in French to different parts of speech. These words lost their affixes and became phonetically identical in the process of assimilation.

Prof. A. Smirnitsky is of the opinion that on a synchronic level there is no difference in correlation between such cases as listed above, i.e. words originally differentiated by affixes and later becoming homonymous after the loss of endings (sleep – noun :: sleep – verb) and those formed by conversion (pencil – noun :: pencil – verb).

Prof. I. Arnold is of the opinion that prof. Smirnitsky is mistaken. His mistake is in the wish to call both cases conversion, which is illogical if he, or any of his followers, accepts the definition of conversion as a word-building process which implies the diachronistic approach. Prof. I. Arnold states that synchronically both types sleep (noun) – sleep (verb) and pencil (noun) – pencil (verb) must be treated together as cases of patterned homonymy. But it is essential to differentiate the cases of conversion and treat them separately when the study is diachronistic.

Conversion has been the subject of a great many discussions since 1891 when

H. Sweet first used the term in his New English Grammar. Various opinions have been expressed on the nature and character of conversion in the English language and different conceptions have been put forward.

The treatment of conversion as a morphological way of forming words was suggested by A.I. Smirnitsky and accepted by R.Z. Ginzburg, S.S. Khidekel,

G.Y. Knyazeva, A.A. Sankin.

Other linguists sharing, on the whole, the conception of conversion as a morphological way of forming words disagree, however, as to what serves here as a word-building means. Some of them define conversion as a non-affixal way of forming words pointing out that its characteristic feature is that a certain stem is used for the formation of a categorically different word without a derivational affix being added

(I.R. Galperin, Y.B. Cherkasskaya).

Others hold the view that conversion is the formation of new words with the help of a zero-morpheme (H. Marchand).

There is also a point of view on conversion as a morphological-syntactic word-building means (Y.A. Zhluktenko), for it involves, as the linguists sharing this conception maintain, both a change of the paradigm and of the syntactic function of the word.

e.g.: I need some paper for my room : He is papering his room.

Besides, there is also a purely syntactic approach commonly known as a functional approach to conversion. In Great Britain and the United States of America linguists are inclined to regard conversion as a kind of functional change. They define conversion as a shift from one part of speech to another contending that in modern English a word may function as two different parts of speech at the same time.

The two categories of parts of speech especially affected by conversion are the noun and the verb. Verbs made from nouns are the most numerous among the words produced by conversion.

e.g.: to hand, to face, to nose, to dog, to blackmail.

Nouns are frequently made from verbs: catch, cut, walk, move, go.

Verbs can also be made from adjectives: to pale, to yellow, to cool.

A word made by conversion has a different meaning from that of the word from which it was made though the two meanings can be associated. There are certain regularities in these associations which can be roughly classified. In the group of verbs made from nouns some regular semantic associations are the following:

- A noun is a name of a tool – a verb denotes an action performed by the tool: to knife, to brush.

- A noun is a name of an animal – a verb denotes an action or aspect of behaviour typical of the animal: monkey – to monkey, snake – to snake. Yet, to fish does not mean to behave like a fish but to try to catch fish.

- A noun denotes a part of a human body – a verb denotes an action performed by it : hand – to hand, shoulder – to shoulder. However, to face does not imply doing something by or even with one’s face but turning it in a certain direction.

- A noun is a name of some profession or occupation – a verb denotes an activity typical of it : a butcher – to butcher, a father – to father.

- A noun is a name of a place – a verb denotes the process of occupying this place or putting something into it: a bed – to bed, a corner – to corner.

- A noun is the name of a container – a verb denotes an act of putting something within the container: a can – to can, a bottle – to bottle.

- A noun is the name of a meal – a verb denotes the process of taking it: supper – to supper, lunch – to lunch.

The suggested groups do not include all the great variety of verbs made from nouns by conversion. They just represent the most obvious cases and illustrate the great variety of semantic interrelations within the so-called converted pairs and the complex nature of the logical associations which underlie them.

In actual fact, these associations are more complex and sometimes even perplexing.

Types of Conversion

Partial conversion is a kind of a double process when first a noun is formed by conversion from a verbal stem and next this noun is combined with such verbs as to give, to make, to take to form a separate phrase: to have a look, to take a swim, to give a whistle.

There is a great number of idiomatic prepositional phrases as well: to be in the know, in the long run, to get into a scrape. Sometimes the elements of these expressions have a fixed grammatical form, as, for example, where the noun is always plural: It gives me the creeps (jumps). In other cases the grammatical forms are free to change.

Reconversion is the phenomenon when one of the meanings of the converted word is a source for a new meaning of the same stem: cable (металевий провідник) – to cable (телеграфувати) – cable(телеграма); help(допомога) – to help (допомагати пригощати) – help (порція їжі), deal (кількість) – to deal (роздавати) – deal (роздача карт).

Substantivation can also be considered as a type of conversion. Complete substantivation is a kind of substantivation when the whole paradigm of a noun is acquired: a private - the private – privates – the privates. Alongside with complete substantivation there exists partial substantivation when a feature or several features of a paradigm of a noun are acquired: the rich. Besides the substantivized adjectives denoting human beings there is a considerable group of abstract nouns: the Singular, the Present. It is thus evident that substantivation has been the object of much controversy. Those who do not accept substantivation of adjectives as a type of conversion consider conversion as a process limited to the formation of verbs from nouns and nouns from verbs. But this point of view is far from being universally accepted.

Conversion is not characteristic of the Ukrainian language. The only type of conversion that can be found there is substantivation: молодий, хворий.
5 Composition
Composition can be defined as the formation of a lexical unit out of two or more stems, usually the first differentiating, modifying or qualifying and the second identifying. The last element expresses a general meaning, whereas the prefixed element renders it less generally. Any compound word has at least two semantic centres but they are never equal in their semantic value. Thus a compound word is characterised by both structural and semantic unity. It makes them function in a sentence as a separate lexical unit.

Compound words are unusually graphic. They often come into existence by popular demand. They are formed simply by combining two words that are in current usage. There are three types of compound words:

- Compound words with the solid representation: spacecraft, hardtop, землевласник.

- Hyphenated compound words: sit-in, freeze-dry, диван-ліжко.

- Compound words represented by a phrase: cold war, free flight.

Compound words can be further classified: from the functional point of view, from the point of view of the way the components of the compounds are linked together, from the point of view of different ways of composition.

Functionally compounds are viewed as words belonging to different parts of speech. The bulk of modern English compounds belong to nouns and adjectives: hot-dog, slow-coach, worldold. Adverbs and connectives are represented by an insignificant number of words: outside. Composition in verbs is not productive either: to rough-house, to backbite.

In the English language compound words can be graded according to frequency in the following way: nouns – adjectives – verbs. In the Ukrainian language the scheme will be the following; adjectives – nouns – verbs.

According to the type of relationship between the components compound words can be coordinative and subordinative.

Coordinative are the compounds in which neither of the components dominates the other, both are structurally and semantically independent: secretary-stenographer, actor-manager, лікар-кардіолог. The constituent stems belong to the same part of speech. They are divided into three groups: additive, reduplicative and those formed by joining the phonetically variated rhythmic forms.

Additive compounds denote a person or an object that is two things at the same time: actor-manager is an actor and a manager at the same time. Лікар-кардіолог is лікар and кардіолог at the same time.

Reduplicative compounds are the result of the repetition of the same stem: fifty-fifty, tick-tick. Such words in the Ukrainian language are not considered to be compounds.

Compounds which are formed by joining the phonetically variated rhythmic forms of the same stem are: drip-drop, ding-dong, helter-skelter.

Coordinative compounds of the last two groups are mostly restricted to the colloquial layer and are characterised by a heavy emotive charge.

Subordinative compounds are the words in which the components are not equal either semantically or structurally. The second component is the structural centre, the grammatically dominant part of the word, which imparts its part-of-speech meaning to the whole word: stone-deaf, age-long, wrist-watch, baby-sitter, миротворець, самозахист.

According to the order of components subordinative compounds are divided into syntactic and asyntactic.

Syntactic are the words the components of which are placed in the order of words in free phrases: bluebell, slow-coach, know-nothing.

Asyntactic are the words whose stems are not placed in the order that resembles the order of words in a free phrase: red-hot, tear-stained, oil-rich.

According to the degree of motivation compound words can be motivated, partially motivated and non-motivated.

Motivated compounds are those whose meanings are the sum of meanings of their components: blackboard, classroom. Partially motivated compounds are those in which one of the components has changed its meaning: chatter-box, lady-killer. Non-motivated compounds are those in which neither of the elements preserves its meaning: ladybird, tallboy.

Structurally compounds can be classified into neutral, morphological and syntactic.

Neutral compounds that are formed without any linking elements are called simple neutral: sun-flower, shop-window, лікар-терапевт, місто-побратим. Neutral-derived compounds are formed by means of some affix: blue-eyed, new-comer. Neutral contracted compounds are those in which one of the parts is contracted: TV-set, V-day. Morphological compounds are formed by means of some linking element: Anglo-Saxon, spokesman, handicraft, жовтоблакитний, доброзичливий. Syntactic compounds are formed from segments of speech: Jack-of-all-trades, pick-me-up, go-between, Jack-in-the-box, stay-at-home, не сьогодні-завтра.

It should be mentioned that among compound words the group of bahuvrihi is pointed out. The term bahuvrihi is borrowed from the grammarians of ancient India. Its literal meaning is “much-riced”. These are the compounds consisting of A+N stems and naming a thing metonymically: Big wig, green-horn, lazy-bones одчайдух, жовтобрюх. Semantically the bahuvrihi are almost invariably characterised by a depreciative, ironical, emotional tone.

In the English language there are many words which were compounds though just now they are not treated as such: window (vind + auga), daisy (day’s eye), always (all+way+s), woman (wif+man), breakfast (break+fast). Such compounds are called hidden or disguised.

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