e. g. In the sentence
The boy__________ home .
the missing word is easily identified as a verb . It may be “came , ran , went , goes” , but not as an adverb or a noun , or an adjective .
Thus , we see that the component of meaning that is distributionally identified is actually the part-of-speech meaning . It is also observed that in a number of cases words have different lexical meanings in different distributional patterns .
e. g. The verb “to treat” has different lexical meanings in “to treat smbd kindly” & “to treat smbd to ice-cream” .
The interdependence of distribution & meaning can be also observed at the level of word-groups .
e. g. It is only the distribution of completely identical lexical units but arranged on the reverse that differentiates the meaning water tap & tap water .
Transformational analysis .
Transformational analysis in lexicological investigations may be defined as repatterning ( representing , reorganization ) of various distributional structures in order to discover difference or sameness of meaning of practically identical distributional patterns . As distributional patterns are in a number of cases polysemantic transformational procedures are of help not only in the analysis of semantic sameness / difference of the lexical units but also in the analysis of the factors that account for their polysemy . Word-groups of identical distributional structure when repatterned show that the semantic relations between words & consequently the meaning may be different .e. g. A pattern “possessive pronoun ”+”noun”(his car , his failure , his arrest, his kindness ). According to transformational analysis the meaning of each word-group may be represented as : he has a car , he failed , he was arrested , he is kind. In each of the cases different meaning is revealed : possession , action , passive action , quality .The rules of transformation are rather strict & shouldnt be identified with paraphrasing in the usual sense of the term .There are many restrictions both on syntactic & lexical levels . These are :
- Permutation the repatterning on condition that the basic subordinative relationships between words & word-stems of the lexical units are not changed .e. g. “His work is excellent “ may be transformed into “ his excellent work , the excellence of his work , he works excellently “.In the example given the relationships between lexical units & the stems of the notional words are essentially the same .
- Replacement the substitution of a component of the distributional structure by a member of a certain strictly defined set of lexical units .e. g. Replacement of a notional verb by an auxiliary or link verb (he will make a bad mistake & he will make a good teacher ). The sentences have identical distributional structure but only in the second one the verb “to make “ can be substituted by “ become “ or “ be “ . The fact of impossibility of identical transformations of distributionally identical structures is a formal proof of the difference in their meaning .
- Addition ( or expansion ) may be illustrated by the application of the procedure of addition to the classification of adjectives into two groups- adjectives denoting inherent & non-inherent qualities .
e. g. John is happy .
John is tall .
We add a word-group “ in Moscow “. We shall see that “ John is happy in Moscow .” has meaning while the second one is senseless . That is accounted by the difference in the meaning of adjectives denoting inherent (tall) & non-inherent(happy) qualities .
- Deletion a procedure which shows whether one of the words semantically subordinated to the other . e. g. The word-group “red flowers” may be deleted & transformed into “flowers” without making the sentence senseless : I like red flowers or I like flowers . The other word-group “red tape “ cant be deleted & transformed either into “ I hate tape “ or “I hate red “ because in both transformed sentences the meaning of the phrase “red tape” means “bureaucracy” & it cant be divided into two parts .
Componental analysis .
In this analysis linguists proceed from the assumption that the smallest units of meaning are sememes or semes . e. g. In the lexical item “woman” several sememes may be singled out , such as human , not an animal , female , adult . The analysis of the word “girl” will show the following sememes : human , female , young . The last component of the two words differentiates them & makes impossible to mix up the words in the process of communication . It is classical form of revealing the work of componental analysis to apply them to the so called closed systems of vocabulary , for example , colour terms . The analysis as a rule was formalized only as far as the symbolic representation of meaning components it is concerned with .Each sememe in the terms of colours acquires or is given a certain letter ( A , B , C , D … ) & the meaning of the terms may be given in a formalized form . e. g. Red & scarlet will differ only in one component & that is intensity of colour & by the letter it may be illustrated as
A B C
A B C Under the letter C the intensity is meant .
The formalized representation of meaning helps to find out different semantic components which influence collocability of words (during the day but not during the stairs, down the stairs but not down the day ).
Componental analysis is practically always combined with transformational procedures or statistical analysis .The combination makes it possible to find out which of the meanings should be represented first of all in the dictionaries of different types & how the words should be combined in order to make your speech sensible .
Method of semantic differential .
A word has not only one meaning & even one word usually implies some additional information which differentiates one word from another .
e. g. to like , to love , to adore , to warship . All the words denote positive feelings , characteristic of a human being . But each of them gives additional information on the so-called strength of feeling .
This is the connotational aspect which was singled out by the semantic differential the method which was worked out by a group of American psycholinguists . Their technique requires the subjects to judge a series of concepts with respect to a set of antonymic adjective scale .
e. g. A horse can be :
The meaning of the divisions is that each of the quality may be gradated representing extremely good , very good , neither good nor bad ,slightly bad , extremely bad & these grades can be marked by a plus .And the horse may be very good , not bad , etc .
The revealed gradations showing some portion of quality helps to singled out such words which are usually referred to as neutral, expressive , archaic & new words proper neologisms . All the methods of analysis are applied in one & the same sphere of investigation . If you are interested in meaning you shouldnt pay much attention to the structure , if you are interested in collocation of words you shouldnt pay much attention what parts of words represent the distributional structure . The combination of different methods of analysis helps to classify the vocabulary as a whole & each lexical unit taken separately . It should be said that practically no procedures function independently & separately from each other . It is only for study aims that we separate one procedure from another . In fact , being a two-faced unit a lexical item provides to be an indivisible unit of form & content . That is why you cannot investigate one side of the item paying no attention to the other one .
Semasiology . Lexical
meaning & its aspects .
Semasiology (or semantics ) is a branch of linguistics which studies meaning . Semasiology is singled out as an independent branch of lexicology alongside word-formation , etymology , phraseology & lexicography . And at the same time it is often referred to as the