Тлумачний словник

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1. Word meaning.

2. Types of meaning.

3. Meaning and motivation.

Any word contains two parts: its form and its meaning.

The notion of meaning, the essence of meaning.

At the beginning of 19th century two scholars wrote a book called “The Meaning of Meaning” where they gave a hundred definitions of the word ‘meaning’. Over a hundred years ago a French linguist Michael Breal introduced a new term to name a new discipline – Semantics/ Semantics is the science which studies all the problems of meaning (really interesting in Cognitive Linguistics). The roots of the word are Greek – ‘sema’ = ‘sign’. Since that time the term Semantics has been used to name both the content of words and the study of meaning.

Another term was introduced later on – Semasiology. Semasiology denotes the branch of Lexicology dealing with lexical meanings and their types. Semasiology gained it’s place alongside Phonetics and Morphology. The history of this discipline is rather interesting – Semasiology has seen years of neglect because at some stages of linguistics the problem of meaning was disregarded. The reason for this was simple – the notional meaning seemed to be too complicated to study. There are 44 phonemes in the English language, a quite limited number of morphemes, with a more-or-less stable meaning. Meaning seems vague, unstable, and extremely hard to define and systemize. Semasiology began to emerge as a systematic study of meaning only began in the 1930’s, so it is less then a hundred years old.

The subject matter of Semasiology or Semantics is the process of naming, the structure of lexical meaning, and the role of meaning in the cognition of reality.

Meaning is defined as the reflection of a fact of reality in a language sign. It means a fact of reality becomes a fact of language due to regular association with a definite linguistic expression. We observe a fact of reality, and then we give it a name (‘love’, for instance).

The types of meaning.

Meaning is a very complex category. There are several distinguishable types of meaning, because there are several facts in our every day life: objects and ideas; relations of these objects (time, location, and so on). Due to this it is possible to distinguish two basic types of meaning:

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1. Lexical meaning (ideas and objects) – the reflection of a concept of an idea, object, phenomena and so word in the form of a word. (концепт – то что у нас в голове / представление об этом объекте)

2. Grammatical meanings – the reflection of relations of objects in the form of words. Each word in speech bears some grammatical meaning.

Ex: 1. Children sang songs. (grammatical and lexical meanings)

2. Waggles ogles giggles. (only grammatical meaning) (Kuzdra)

The Lexical meaning – complex phenomena, parts of components:

1. the conceptual

2. denotative meaning

3. the connotative

The ability of a word to refer to an object or reality is called denotative. (=referential, nominative).

Ex: woman – human being, living, adult, female.

The ability of a word to signify and generalized concept is called the significative meaning (= conceptual, notional).

The referential (denotative) meaning aroses while a significative meaning aroses a general notion of a class of the object.

The 3d type is related to our ability to evaluate object in the process of naming. In our mind we creating a certain attitude to a given object (connotative meaning – the ability of a word to ……… attitudes and evaluation).

The connotative meaning is usually subdivided into some types:

1. the stylistic meaning is observed in the words belonging to particular context of use:

- official

- colloquial

- popular

- evaluative.

In the English language there are a lot of words which belongs to:

- poetry

- science.

On this basis all the words stylistically ……. (neutral vocabulary – which could be used in any context).

The effective type of the connotative meaning

positive and negative connotation

The majority scholars signed out 3 types of lexical meanings:

- denotative

- significative

- connotative

But there are different interpretations of each meaning and different approaches to that meanings.

Disputable questions:

1. the relation bwn significance meaning relating to common sense knowledge of things and the notional meaning corresponding to the scientific scope of knowledge.

NB conceptual – понятийное

2. the existence of the significant meaning with all the words of the language.

(problem of proper names)

3. the existence of words with the connotative meaning only. Especial problem concerns of co-called national or ethnic meaning of the words.


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