e. g. In the case with “-er” we can formulate the rule that derived words in “-er” may have either verbal or noun stems .The suffix “-er” in combination with adjectival or adverbial stems cant produce nouns ( bigger , longer , shorter are not nouns ).
- Any linguistic generalization is to be followed by the very fine process the linguist is required to seek verification of the generalizations that are the result of his inquires . For these aims different methods & procedures are used . They are : contrastive analyses , statistical methods of analyses , immediate constituents analyses , distributional analyses , transformational analyses , componental analyses & method of semantic differentiation .
Contrastive analysis .
Contrastive linguists attempt to find out similarities & differences in both related & non-related languages . Contrastive analysis grew as the result of the practical demands of a language-teaching methodology , where it was empirically shown that the errors which are made by foreign language students can be often traced back to the differences in structure between the target language & the language of the learner . This naturally implies the necessity of a detailed comparison of the structure of a native & a target language . This procedure has been named contrastive analysis . People proceed from the assumption that the categories , elements on the semantic as well as on the syntactic & other levels are valid for both languages .
e. g. Linking verbs can be found in English , French , German , Russian , etc. Linking verbs having the meaning of “change & become” are differently represented in each of the languages . In English , for instance , “ become , come , grow , fall , run , turn “ ; in Russian “ становиться “ are used . The task is to find out which semantic & syntactic features characterize the English set of linking verbs , the Russian linking verb & how they can be compared , how the English word-groups “ grow thin , get angry , fall ill “ correspond to Russian “похудеть , рассердиться , заболеть “.
Contrastive analysis can be carried out at three linguistic levels : phonology , grammar ( morphology & syntax ) & lexis . Contrastive analysis is applied to reveal the features of sameness & difference in the lexical meaning & the semantic structure of correlated words in different languages . It is commonly assumed by non-linguists that all languages have vocabulary systems in which the words themselves differ in sound-form , but refer to reality in the same way . From this assumption it follows that for every word in the mother tongue there is an exact equivalent in the foreign language . It is a belief which is reinforced by the small bilingual dictionary where single-word translation is often used .Language learning cannot be just a matter of substitution a new set of labels for the familiar ones of the mother tongue .It should be born in mind that though the objective reality exists outside human beings & irrespective of the language they speak , every language classifies reality in its own way by means of vocabulary units .
e. g. In English , for example , the word “foot” is used to denote the extremity of the leg . In Russian there is no exact equivalent for “foot”: “стопа” is a little bit smaller than foot , the word “нога” denotes the whole leg including the foot .
Differences in the lexical meaning of correlated words account for the differences of their collocability in different languages .
e. g. Thus , the English adjective “new” & the Russian adjective”новый” when taken in isolation are felt as correlated words : a new dress , New Year . In collocation with other nouns however the Russian adjective cannot be used in the same meaning in which the English word “new” is currently used : new potatoes , new bread , etc.
Contrastive analysis on the level of the grammatical meaning reveals that co-related words in different languages may differ in grammatical characteristics .
e. g. Russians are liable to say “news are good , the money are on the table , her hair are black” because the Russian words “новости , деньги , волосы” have the grammatical meaning of plurality .
Contrastive analysis brings to light the essence of what is usually described as idiomatic English , idiomatic Russian , i. e. the peculiar way in which every language combines & structures in lexical units various concepts to denote extra-linguistic reality .
e. g. A typical Russian word-group used to describe the way somebody performs an action or to state how a person finds himself has the structure that may be represented by the formula “adjective + a finite form of a verb”(он крепко спит , быстро усваивает ). In English we can also use structurally similar word-groups & say “he learns fast/slowly” . The structure of idiomatic word-group in English is different . The structure is “adjective + deverbal noun”. It is really in English to say “he is a heavy smoker , poor learner early riser”.
Statistical analysis .
Statistical linguistics is nowadays generally recognized as the one of the major branches of linguistics . Statistical inquiries have considerable importance because of their relevance to certain problems of communication engineering & information theory . Statistical approach proved essential in the selection of vocabulary items of a foreign language for teaching purposes . Very few people know more than 10% of the words in their mother tongue . It follows that if we do not wish to waste time on committing to memorize vocabulary items which are never likely to be useful to the learner we have to select only lexical units that are commonly used by a native speaker .
Out of approximately 500 000 words listed in Oxford English dictionary the active vocabulary of an educated Englishman comprises no more than 30 000 words & of these 4 000 - 5 000 are presumed to be amplisufficient for the daily needs of an average member of the English speech community. Thus , it is evident that the problem of selection of teaching vocabulary is of vital importance . Statistical techniques have been successfully applied in the analysis of various linguistic phenomena . Different structural types of words , affixes , the vocabularies of great writers & poets & even in the study of some problems of Historical Lexicology .
Statistical regularities can be observed only if the phenomena under analysis are sufficiently numerous . Thus , the first requirement of any statistic investigation is the size of the sample . It is known that comparatively small group of words makes up the bulk of any text . It was found that approximately 1300 1500 most frequent words make up 85% of all words occurring in the text . If however we analyze a sample of 60 words it is hard to predict the number of occurrences of most frequent words .
e. g. If we take the word “room” we can find some meanings of the word : 1) “room”- denoting “space” as in “take less room , not enough room to do smth.”; 2) part of a house as in “sitting-room” ; 3) used in plural = lodgings as in “to get rooms”. Statistical analysis shows that most frequently the word is used in its second meaning 83% of all occurrences of the word in different texts , 12% of all takes its first meaning “space”, & only 2% takes the third meaning of the word .
Immediate constituents analysis .
The theory of Immediate Constituents was originally elaborated as an attempt to determine the ways in which lexical units are relevantly related to one another . It was discovered that combinations of units are usually structured into hierarchial sets of binary constructions .
e. g. In the word-group “ a black dress in severe style “ we do not relate the indefinite article “a” to adjective “black” , “black” to “dress” , “dress” to “in” , “in” to “severe” , “severe” to “style” .We set up a structure which may be represented as “a black dress” & “in severe style”.
Thus , the fundamental aim of immediate constituents analysis is to segment a set of lexical units into two maximally independent sequences & these maximally independent sequences are called immediate constituents . The further segmentation of immediate constituents results in ultimate constituents , which means that further segmentation is impossible for no meaning can be found .
e. g. The ultimate constituents of the phrase given are “a” ,”black” , “dress” , “ in” , “severe” , “style” .
This method of analysis is extremely fruitful in discovering the derivational structure of words .
Distributional analysis .
Distributional analysis in its various forms is commonly used nowadays. By the term “distribution” we understand the occurrence of a lexical unit relative to another lexical units of the same levels : words to words , morpheme to morphemes . In other words , by this term we understand the posi