Word meaning. Semantic characteristics of English Vocabulary

WORD MEANING. SEMANTIC CHARACTERISTICS OF ENGLISH VOCABULARY

 
Definition of meaning
The structure of meaning, types of meaning
Polysemy
Changes of meaning
Homonymy
Synonymy
Check your understanding
Quiz: Shift of Meaning
Additional reading
Practical tasks and exercises
Keys to practical tasks and exercises

“When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less”

Humpty Dumpty (“Through the Looking Glass” by L. Carroll)

                   Definition of meaning

Meaning is one of the most controversial terms in the theory of language.

Meaning is one of the most important features in a word. Generally speaking, meaning is a component of the word through which a concept is communicated. The complex relations between a symbol (word), concept (thought) and a referent (thing) are traditionally represented by the following triangle:

Fig.3 The referential approach to the description of meaning.

Reference-triangle

 

Here, the «symbol» is the word; thought or reference is concept. The dotted line suggests that there is no immediate relation between word and referent: it is established only through the concept.

The meaning of a word can be also described as a sum of usages of the word.

“The tendency to think of the meaning of a word, e.g. apple, boy, dog or sun, as apart from an actual communication event  is fundamentally a mistake, for once we have isolated a word-form its living context, we no longer possess the insight necessary to appreciate fully its real function.” (Eugene A. Nida. Toward a Science of translating.)

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                   The structure of meaning, types of meaning

 

The inner form of the word (its meaning) is a structure which is called the semantic structure of the word.

There are two big components of meaning:

  • Lexical (individual, unique, correlated with the referent and unchanged in different forms of a word)
  • Grammatical (abstract, common to big classes of words)

e.g. There are two tables in the room. Lexical meaning of ‘tables’ =’ an article of furniture’; grammatical meaning of ‘tables’ = noun, plural, indefinite.

 The borderline between lexical and grammatical is not clear. Sometimes the lexical meaning is changed with the change of grammatical.

e.g. custom (= a practice followed by people of a particular group or region) – Customs (=duties or taxes imposed on imported and, less commonly, exported goods)

The lexical meaning is further analyzed into two components. The first component expresses the conceptual content of the word correlated with the referent (denotative meaning). Denotation is the dictionary (explicit or literal) meaning of a word.

The second component characterizes not so much the referent, as the speaker himself, his attitude, situation etc. (connotative meaning). Connotations may vary according to the experience of individuals.

Denotational meaning is usually described as cultural or emotional association that a word carries.

Synonyms usually have noticeable differences of connotation:

Denotative meaning Connotative meaning
to stare to look steadily, lastingly, in surprise, curiosity (emotive connotation)
to glare to look steadily, lastingly, in anger, rage, fury (emotive connotation)
to gaze to look steadily, lastingly, in tenderness, admiration (emotive connotation)
to glance to look briefly, in passing (manner, intensity)

Connotations are also an important means of conveying personal attitude and point of view:

e.g. “I am firm. You are obstinate. He is a pig-headed fool.” (Bertrand Russel)

The boundary between denotative and connotative components of meaning is vague. Some words have no connotative meaning. A few may have no denotative meaning.

Each denotative meaning of a word is a set of semantic components (semes), the smallest elements of meaning that correspond to the features of the notion of the word expressed.

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                    Polysemy

 Polysemy is the existence of several meanings in a single word. It’s a universal characteristic of all natural languages. English is particularly rich in polysemantic words.

A polysemantic word is a unity of meanings (lexico-semantic variants) correlated with each other and having one or several features in common.

e.g. fail (v)

  1. to be unsuccessful
  2. to make somebody unsuccessful
  3. not to be enough
  4. to become weak
  5. to become bankrupt

____________________

Common meaning= “something unsuccessful”

 

The relations between meanings of a polysemantic word may imply:

  • natural existing relations between objects (implicational relations)

e.g. surprise :1. an unexpected event; 2. the feeling that you have when something unexpected happens.

  • those not based on naturally existing relations but on some common features (classification relations)

e.g. coat 1. a type of clothes; 2. covering

Polysemy exists only in language; in speech a polysemantic word is used in one of its meanings. When two or more meanings are clear form the contexts we deal with the pun (a play of words).

e.g. One day a very worried-looking man knocked at Mrs Brown’s door.

“I’m terribly sorry”, he said. “I’ve run over your cat. I’d like to replace it”.

“All right”, said Mrs Brown doubtfully. “But can you catch mice?”

The polysemantic word “replace” has two meanings realized in this joke: 1) to act instead of another person or thing; 2) to put someone or something new in the place someone or something that is broken or damaged

Meanings of polysemantic words may be characterized from different points:

  • Stylistic: meanings stylistically neutral and stylistically marked.

E.g. high  adj.

a. Indicating excitement or euphoria: high spirits (this meaning is stylistically neutral)

b. (Slang) Intoxicated by or as if by alcohol or a drug, such as cocaine or marijuana. (this meaning is stylistically marked)

  • Diachronic: archaic (obsolete) meanings and present meanings.
  • Synchronic: meanings direct and figurative; concrete and abstract, primary and secondary, narrow and broad, general and particular etc.

Translation tips

Most words in English are polysemantic. Such words may have several equivalents in Russian which are totally different words.

When you are translating a polysemantic word, first, find its meaning, and then find the relevant variation equivalent in Russian on the basis of the context.

e.g. This can hardly be treated as a free article. You’ll have to include the funds for the customs clearing.

Article сущ.

1)

а) общ. предмет, вещь; товар

б) торг. артикул (тип изделия, товара, а также его цифровое или буквенное обозначение)

2) СМИ статья (в печатном издании)

3) эк., юр. статья, пункт, параграф, клаузула (отдельная рубрика в законе, контракте, завещании или ином документе)

4) мн., эк., юр. договор, соглашение

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Changes of meaning

 

  • The causes of the meaning changes may be non-linguistic (extra-linguistic, due to changes in life, culture etc.) and linguistic (due to reasons within the language).

The types of semantic changes:

The development of a new meaning is usually logically (involves the relations between the scope and content of the notions expressed by different meanings, primary and secondary) and psychologically-based (involves different types of associative links between notions).

Psychologically based are the processes of transference of meaning:

Transference based on Resemblance (Similarity) – Linguistic metaphor (hidden comparison)

Similarity:

  • of form: eye of a needle
  • of function: head of the school
  • position: head of a procession
  • of manner: to take a hint
  • of colour: orange

Most common types of metaphor:

  • A concretive metaphor employs a concrete term to refer to an abstract thing: e.g. the burden of responsibility
  • Antropormorphic metaphor ascribes human characteristics to nonhuman things: a leg of the table, the heart of the matter
  • Zoormorphic (animalistic) metaphors are animal metaphors that present human personality: a swine (a dishonest, brutal person), a goose (a silly person), a dove (a gentle, innocent person), a hawk (a person who favors military force or action in order to carry out foreign policy), a cat (a woman who is regarded as spiteful), a hen (a fussy or nosy old woman)

Another particular type of metaphor is antonomasia (comparison with a well-known character or historic figure)

e.g. He is a real Don Juan.

The reverse process— a substitution of any epithet or phrase for a proper name, e.g. «The King of Pop» for Michael Jackson—is also called antonomasia but presents a kind of metonymy.

Transference based of Contiguity – Linguistic Metonymy (real connections)

Relations:

  • between container and content: cash (from Old French ‘casse,’ money box)
  • b/n things and their place of origin: china, champaign
  • b/n the part and the whole: town (from Old English tūn, enclosed place, village)
  • b/n organs and their function: a good ear for music
  • b/n material and things made of it: glass, copper, china
  • b/n a symbol and the thing symbolized: Pentagon
  • b/n cause and consequence: fear (the Old English word used to denot «calamity, disaster, unexpected attack»)

Amelioration (elevation) and Pejoration (degradation) of meaning

Pejoration (degradation, deterioration) means that a lexeme develops a negative connotation of disapproval, e.g. villain (OE  a farm servant)

Amelioration (elevation) means that a lexeme develops a positive sense of approval, e.g. queen (OE a common woman), lean (obsolete meaning – emaciated, very thin especially from hunger; now – athletic, slim and good looking)

 Logically based are the processes of modification of meaning:

 Generalization (widening) and specialization (narrowing) of meaning

Generalization (extension, widening) means that a lexeme widens its meaning.

e.g. rival (OE ‘one who uses a stream in common with another’)

Specialization (narrowing) means that a lexeme becomes more specialized in meaning, e.g. deer (OE animal)

cunning (OE clever, knowing)

Irony is the humorous or mildly sarcastic use of words to imply the opposite of what they normally mean

Nice of you!

Other processes:

  Hyperbole (overstatement) and litotes (understatement)

Thousand thanks.

It’s not bad.

Euphemism is a substitute for rough or taboo words

For goodness (=God’s) sake!

juicy (=drunken)

Euphemism is also often employed in an attempt to make polite reference to physical or psychological disability

e.g. lame → crippled → handicapped → disabled → physically challenged → differently abled

Techniques for Creating Euphemism

  • Using abbreviations e.g. B.O. (body odor), W.C. (toilet) etc.
  • Using foreign words to replace an impolite expression e.g. faux (fake), or faux pas (foolish error) etc.
  • Using abstractions or words with general meaning e.g. before I go (before I die).
  • Using indirect expressions to replace direct ones which may sound offensive e.g. rear-end, unmentionables etc.
  • Using longer or sophisticated words or phrases (usually bookish or literary ones) to mask unpleasant words e.g. flatulence for farting, perspiration for sweat, mentally challenged for stupid etc.
  • Using technical terms to reduce the rudeness exhibited by words e.g. gluteus maximus.
  • Deliberately mispronouncing an offensive word to reduce its severity e.g. darn (a common substitute for «damn») etc.

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Homonymy

Homonyms are two or more words identical in sound and/or spelling but different in meaning and distribution

e.g. This porter is very fond of porter.

In English homonymy is very widely spread.

Types of homonyms

Homographs have identical spelling, different pronunciation.

e.g. lead [li:d] To show the way to by going in advance

 lead [led] metallic element Pb

Homophones have identical pronunciation but different spelling.

bare-bear

Homonyms proper have both identical spelling and pronunciation

Classification of homonyms based on the difference in meaning

Lexical homonyms have different lexical meaning but the same grammatical meaning.

plot (noun, a small piece of land) – plot (noun, a secret plan to achieve some purpose)

Grammatical homonyms have same lexical meaning but different grammatical meaning.

set-set-set (infinitive, past tense, past participle)

Lexico-grammatical homonyms have different lexical and grammatical meanings

seal(n) – seal (v)

Sources of homonymy

Split of polysemy.

When one basic meaning of a polysemantic word is lost, a word splits into several ones with unrelated meanings.

e.g. board

i. a long wide flat relatively thin piece of sawn timber

ii. a smaller flat piece of rigid material for a specific purpose: ironing board   

iii. (Archaic. a table, esp. one used for eating at, and esp. when laden with food)

iv. a person’s food or meals, provided regularly for money

v. a group of people who officially administer a company, trust

Historical phonetic changes (e.g. vowel shift)

e.g. night (OE niht) – knight (cniht) – these words used to have different spelling and pronunciation.

Historical process of leveling of endings resulted in the loss of many grammatical inflections.

e.g. love (n) OE lufu – love (v) OE lufian

Process of conversion, when a new word is formed by changing the category of part of speech of an existing word with each morphemic shape remaining unchanged.

e.g. top (n) – to top (v)

Chance coincidence of borrowings

bank (Italian banca- moneychanger’s shop) – bank (Danish banke –hill) – bank (OE banc – bench)

  Paronyms are false homonyms; words, containing the same root or stem.

e.g. humane – human

conscious – conscience

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Additional reading: Words are fun: Homophones by Pablo Stanly

 

 

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Synonymy

Synonyms are the words of the same category of parts of speech conveying the same concept but differing either in shades of meaning or in stylistic characteristics.

e.g. to surprise – to astonish – to amaze – to astound (different connotation of intensity)

Synonyms form synonymic series, where one word is a synonymic dominant (it has the most broad meaning, extensive combinability and no connotations)

e.g. leave— depart- quit- retire- clear out

Classification of synonyms

Synonyms full and partial

e.g. convince —  to make (someone) agree, understand, or realize the truth

persuade – 1) —  to make (someone) agree, understand; 2) to induce, urge, or prevail upon successfully

These polysemantic words are partial synonyms as they coincide only in some of their meanings.

Synonyms with identical combinability and different combinability

e.g. wage – carry on

wage struggle – carry on struggle

wage a campaign – carry on a campaign

But: wage war (not carry on war)

False synonyms belong to different word classes or semantic fields or possess different sets of semantic features.

e.g. famous – notorious
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CHECK YOUR UNDERSTANDING

Finish the sentence: “According to the referential approach, the meaning of a word is a complicated system between a symbol, and concept and… .”

Show answer »

“… the referent.”

Which component of meaning is unique, individual and correlated with the referent?

Show answer »

Lexical

Which component of meaning is abstract and common to big classes of words?

Show answer »

Grammatical

Which component of meaning directly or specifically expresses the meaning of a word?

Show answer »

Denotative

Which component of meaning refers to associations connected to a certain word or emotional suggestions related to a word?

Show answer »

Connotative

What is the smallest component of meaning, referring to a single characteristics?

Show answer »

Seme

The existence of several meanings in a single word is called…

Show answer »

Polysemy.

The transference of meaning based on similarity of two objects is called…

Show answer »

Linguistic metaphor.

The metaphor which refers to the human body or the part of it or the function of it is called…

Show answer »

Anthropomorphic metaphor.

The use of animal names do describe human personality characteristics is called…

Show answer »

Zoormorphic metaphor.

The transference of meaning based on close associations or connections of two objects is called…

Show answer »

Metonymy

The process when the meaning of a word improves or becomes elevated is called…

Show answer »

Amelioration/elevation of meaning

The process when the meaning of a word is worsened or downgraded is called…

Show answer »

Pejoration/degradation of meaning

When a word starts to have broader meaning or application, this process is called…

Show answer »

Generalisation of meaning

When a word with a general meaning is started to be applied to something more specific, this proccess is called…

Show answer »

Narrowing of meaning.

The use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning is called…

Show answer »

Irony.

The use of a neutral or vague expression for one that may be offensive or unpleasant is called…

Show answer »

Euphemism

Two words identical in pronunciation and/or spelling are called…

Show answer »

Homonyms

The words of the same category of parts of speech conveying the same concept but differing either in shades of meaning or in stylistic characteristics are called…

Show answer »

Synonyms

 

QUIZ: Shift of meaning: metaphor, metonymy, euphemism

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Additional reading

 

Definition of meaning, structure of meaning, types of meaning. Polysemy.
  • Антрушина Г. Б. и др. Лексикология английского языка. М., 1999 and other editions – CHAPTER 7 What is ‘meaning’? Polysemy. Semantic structure of the word. 
  • Арнольд И.В. Лексикология английского языка. М., 1973; Флинта, Наука, 2012 and other editions – Chapter 3. Lexical Meaning and Semantic Structure of English Words 
  • D.Crystal. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge University Press, 1995 and other editions – Part II English Vocabulary. 12 Lexical dimensions
 Changes of meaning
  • Антрушина Г. Б. и др. Лексикология английского языка. М., 1999 and other editions – CHAPTERS 8. How words develop new meanings 
  • Арнольд И.В. Лексикология английского языка. М., 1973; Флинта, Наука, 2012 and other editions – Chapter 4. Semantic change 
  • D.Crystal. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge University Press, 1995 and other editions – Part II English Vocabulary. 10 Etymology. Semantic change.
Homonymy 
  • Антрушина Г. Б. и др. Лексикология английского языка. М., 1999 and other editions – CHAPTER 9. Homonyms: words of the same form 
  • Арнольд И.В. Лексикология английского языка. М., 1973; Флинта, Наука, 2012 and other editions – Chapter 10. Homonyms. Synonyms. Antonyms. 
Synonymy
  • Антрушина Г. Б. и др. Лексикология английского языка. М., 1999 and other editions – CHAPTER 10. Synonyms: Are their meanings the same or different? CHAPTER 11. Synonyms (continued). Euphemisms. 
  • Арнольд И. Лексикология английского языка. М., 1973; Флинта, Наука, 2012 and other editions – Chapter 10. Homonyms. Synonyms. Antonyms. 
  • D.Crystal. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge University Press, 1995 and other editions – Part II English Vocabulary. 11. The structure of the lexicon. Synonyms. 12 Lexical dimensions. Synonyms. Antonyms. 

                   THE PROBLEMS OF A WORD MEANING: PRACTICAL TASKS AND EXERCISES

 

THE STRUCTURE OF MEANING, TYPES OF MEANING

Exercise 1

Define lexical and grammatical meanings of the underlined words in the following text.

An Austrian town is to open a James Bond museum to mark its brief appearance in Quantum of Solace. Local government (1) officials (2) say the museum will open in Bregenz on March 20 to celebrate the (3) location’s links with 007. The museum (4) will feature props from shooting and pictures and fact sheets for (5) visitors.

Example:

(1) officials

Lexical meaning: ‘one who holds an office or position’.

Grammatical meaning: a noun, plural number

 

Exercise 2

Define the meaning of the polysemantic word in the following contexts:

rough

  1. Grace made her way slowly across the rough ground. uneven, not smooth_____
  2. The sea was rough and no swimming allowed.
  3. Rugby’s a rough game at the best of times.
  4. It was quite a rough part of our town.
  5. All women have a rough time in our society.
  6. The virus won’t go away and the lad is still feeling a bit rough.
  7. We were only able to make a rough estimate of how much fuel would be required.
  8. I’ve got a rough idea of what he looks like.
  9. The bench had a rough wooden table in front of it.

 

Exercise 3.  Provide suitable context (example of usage) for each meaning of the polysemantic word SMART

smart

  1. astute, as in business;

This magazine is for smart young professionals who want to better know the tendencies in the market.

  1. clever or bright, quick, witty, and often impertinent in speech:
  2. fashionable; chic; socially elegant
  3. well-kept; neat; trim in appearance
  4. vigorous or brisk

 

Exercise 4

Define which of the meanings of polysemantic words and expressions below are:

a)    general (wide)

b)    special (narrow)

c)     direct

d)    figurative

 

soup            (noun)

1   liquid food made by boiling meat, fish, or vegetables in water.…home-made chicken soup.

2   soup 

If you say that someone is in the soup, you mean they are in trouble. (INFORMAL, JOURNALISM)

She has a knack of landing herself right in the soup.

  

cite (verb)[citing, cited]

1. to quote or refer to (a passage, book, or author)

2. to summon to appear before a court of law

 

 CHANGE OF WORD MEANING

 

    Exercise 5.

Explain the logical associations in the following groups of meaning for the same words. Define the type of transference which has taken place.

1)    the wing of a bird — the wing of a building; e.g. metaphor (similarity of form)

2)    the eye of a man — the eye of a needle;

3)    the hand of a child — the hand of a clock;

4)    the heart of a man — the heart of the matter;

5)    the bridge across the river — the bridge of the nose;

6)    the tongue of a person — the tongue of a bell

7)    green grass — green years;

8)    black shoes — black despair;

9)    nickel (metal) — a nickel (coin) ;

10)                      Ford (proper name) — a Ford (car);

11)                      Damaskus (town in Syria) — damask.

 

Exercise 6

Define in which sentences the underlined words are used in the metaphorical or metonymical shifted meaning.

 1)    I went to kick the ball and I completely missed it.

2)    I immediately regretted having said this.  I could have kicked myself

3)    He stirred his coffee with a spoon.

4)    She likes her tea with two spoons of sugar.

5)    Some sharks have very sharp teeth and may attack people.

6)    Beware the sharks when you are making up your mind how to invest.

7)    He fumbled with the buttons at the neck.

8)    He fumbled his lines, not knowing what he was going to say.

 

Exercise 7

Antonomasia.

The following are names of characters in popular fiction. They are so well-known (even by those who have never read or even heard of the original work) that they are often used in ordinary conversation. Put each on in its correct place in the sentences below.

 

Walter Mitty

Big Brother

Jekyll and HydeRip

Van Winkle

Little Lord Fauntleroy

Sherlock Holmes

Tarzan

Cinderella

 

1)    He’s a strange person. Usually he’s very pleasant and reasonable, but there are times when he gets very bad-tempered and almost violent. He’s got a ___________ personality.

2)    How on earth did you guess his nationality, occupation and all those other things about him just from his appearance? You’re a proper ___________ .

3)    I don’t like this new government proposal to put details of everyone’s private life on computers. I cant see it will mean greater efficiency and all that, but, well, it’s a bit like ___________, isn’t it?

4)    I think the neighbour’s kids should be allowed a bit of freedom to wear what they like and get dirty having fun, not make to look like ___________ .

5)    She’s really exploited by her family. They make her do everything for them, cook, clean… She’s a sort of ___________ .

6)    He’s a body-builder and weight-lifter. Have you seen him in a swimsuit? He looks like ___________ .

7)    He sounds very impressive when he talks about his adventures and achievements, but it’s all fantasy. He’s a ___________ character.

8)    Come on, ___________, wake up! It’s nearly lunch-time.

 

SYNONYMY

Exercise 8.

Work with your dictionary and explain why the following synonyms are partial. Give the meanings in which they coincide.

a)     tongue – language

b)    dear – expensive

c)     ripe — mature

Exercise 9

Prove that the following synonyms have different combinability

a)     sick – ill

b)    living/live – alive

c)     all-every

Exercise 10

The following polysemantic words enter different synonymic series. Build these series according to the common meaning that they share. Define the synonymic dominant.

  1. be
  2. remain
  3. persist
  4. rest
  5. stay
  6. stay on

 

Meaning and usage

1)    e.g. stay the same; remain in a certain state  stay, remain, rest, be

2)    continue in a place, position, or situation ………………………

3)    be left; of persons, questions, problems, results, evidence, etc. ……………………

4)    stay behind …………………………

 

Now study the difference between the synonyms STAY and REMAIN.

 

remain — stay

Remain and stay are often used with the same meaning. Remain is more formal than stay.

To remain or stay in a particular state means to continue to be in that state.Oliver remained silent.

I stayed awake.

If you remain or stay in a place, you do not leave it.

Fewer women these days stay at home to look after their children.

If something still exists, you can say that it remains. You do not say that it `stays’.

Even today remnants of this practice remain.

If you stay in a town, hotel, or house, you live there for a short time.

She was staying in the same hotel as I was.

You do not use remain with this meaning.

 

Exercise 11

Define, whether STAY and REMAIN are:

  1. full or partial synonyms;
  2. synonyms with identical or different combinability

 

Exercise 12

Choose the right word (STAY or REMAIN); sometimes either can be used. Be careful to use the correct grammar form of the word.

1)    I have done three exercises and two ….

2)    The place was so nice that we decided to … there all summer.

3)    Few leaves … on the trees and they are not green any longer.

4)    I was allowed to … at home.

5)    He was cut off from what … of his family.

6)    How long can you … in Brussels?

 

 

HOMONYMY

Exercise 13

Read the sentences aloud and translate them. Find homonyms and define their type.

1. Excuse my going first, I’ll lead the way.  2. Lead is heavier that iron.  3. He tears up all letters. 4. Her eyes filled with tears.  5. InEngland the heir to the throne is referred to as the Prince of Wales. 6. Let’s go out and have some fresh air.  7. It is not customary to shake hands in England. If the hostess or the host offers a hand, take it; a bow is sufficient for the rest. 8. The girl had a bow of red ribbon in her hair.  9. He took a suite at the hotel. 10. No sweet without some sweat.  11. What will you have for dessert?  12. The sailors did not desert the ship. 13. InEngland monarchs reign but do not rule. 14. The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.

 

Exercise 14

Find pairs of homonyms whose meaning is given below:

  1. What word means weapons and are also parts of the body?
  2. What word means to get down from and also means to be on fire?
  3. What word is a group of musicians and also describes a thin strip for binding?
  4. What word describes a round object and is also a formal dance?
  5. What word describes the sound a dog makes, tree covering and also a sailboat?
  6. What word means the land along a river, the place where financial transactions take place and also means a row of things?
  7. What word is a large animal, and also means to support or carry?
  8. What word means to hit hard and also means to send out a stream of air?
  9. What word means good quality and is also the money paid as punishment?
  10. What word means solid or hard and also is a business or company?

More difficult words and not only homographs:

e.g. ungenerous/ a facial expression – mean/mien

  1. a bucket/ almost colorless
  2. a male child/ a circular object thrown to a drowning man
  3. time to go to sleep/ a noble soldier on horseback
  4. a story/ the movable growth at the back of the animal
  5. a low voice/ foundation
  6. to inter/ a small fruit
  7. an oriental country/ a large bird
  8. honest/ the price a passenger pays
  9. a very big mammal that lives in the sea/ to cry out
  10. a manner of walking/ it closes an opening in the wall or fence
  11. loss or wrong use/ the narrow part of a human body
  12. a person who inherits somebody’s property/ the space above the ground
  13. a liquid substance giving flavour to food/ a place from which something comes
  14. a kind of fruit/ two
  15. head of the town council/ a female horse


Keys

THE STRUCTURE OF MEANING, TYPES OF MEANING

Exercise 1

(2) say

Lexical meaning: to speak, pronounce

Grammatical meaning: a finite verb, plural, third person, Present Simple

(3) location’s

Lexical meaning: a site or position

Grammatical meaning: a noun, singular, possessive

(4) will feature

Lexical meaning: to give prominence to

Grammatical meaning: a finite verb, future simple.

(5) visitors

Lexical meaning: a person who visits

Grammatical meaning:  a noun, plural number

 

Exercise 2

2. turbulent

3. acting with or characterized by violence

4. shaggy

5. difficult

6. difficult or unpleasant

7. approximate or tentative

8.  not elaborated, perfected, or corrected; unpolished

 

Exercise 3

Sample variants

2. He thinks he is smarter than me.

3. We spent the night in the smart club.

4. He is smart and well groomed but not good-looking.

5. He moved with smart steps.

 

Exercise 4

soup

1   General, direct meaning

2   Figurative meaning

 

cite (verb)

[citing, cited]

1. General, direct meaning

2. Special meaning (term)

 

CHANGE OF WORD MEANING

Exercise 5

2)    metaphor (similarity of form)

3)    metaphor (similarity of form)

4)    metaphor (similarity of function)

5)    metaphor (similarity of form, function)

6)    metaphor (similarity of form, function)

7)    metaphor (similarity of quality, age)

8)    metaphor (complex associations based on synaesthesia)

9)    metonymy (material/thing made of material)

10)                      metonymy (producer/thing produced)

11)                      metonymy (place of origin/thing)

 

Exercise 6

Define in which sentences the underlined words are used in the metaphorical or metonymical shifted meaning.

1)    I went to kick the ball and I completely missed it . (direct)

2)    I immediately regretted having said this.  I could have kicked myself. (metaphorical = annoyed that you got something wrong).

3)    He stirred his coffee with a spoon. (direct)

4)    She likes her tea with two spoons of sugar. (metonimical = measure)

5)    Some sharks have very sharp teeth and may attack people. (direct)

6)    Beware the sharks when you are making up your mind how to invest (metaphorical = people, who treat other people out of their money).

7)    He fumbled with the buttons at the neck. (direct)

8)    He fumbled his lines, not knowing what he was going to say. (metaphorical = speak in a clumsy and unclear way)

 

Exercise 7

1)    Jeckyll and Hyde

2)    Sherlock Holmes

3)    Big Brother

4)    Little Lord Fauntleroy

5)    Cinderella

6)    Tarzan

7)    Walter Mitty

8)    Rip Van Winkle

 

SYNONYMY

Exercise 8.

a)    tongue—language. If you have a look in a dictionary, you will see that these two words have only one meaning in common: 1) a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people of the same community or nation, e.g. mother/native tongue, native language etc.

b)    dear—expensive. Common meaning: sold for a high price, precious

c)     ripe—mature. Common meaning: characterized by full development of body or mind

 

Exercise 9

a) sick — ill

Ill and sick are both used to say that someone has a disease or some other problem with their health.         e.g. Davis is ill. A sick child.

In British English ill is used only after a link verb and is not used before a noun.

Your uncle is very sick.

b) Alive is never used in front of a noun. Instead living to talk about people, or live to talk about animals.

I have no living relatives.

There are many problems in transporting live animals.

c) You can often use every or all with the same meaning. For example, `Every dog should be registered’ means the same as `All dogs should be registered’.

However, every is followed by the singular form of a noun, whereas all is followed by the plural form.

 

Exercise 10

1. stay, remain, rest, be

usage: stay the same; remain in a certain state; «The dress remained wet after repeated attempts to dry it»; «rest assured»; «stay alone»; «He remained unmoved by her tears»; «The bad weather continued for another week»

2. stay, stay on, continue, remain, be

usage: continue in a place, position, or situation; «After graduation, she stayed on in Cambridge as a student adviser»; «Stay with me, please»; «despite student protests, he remained Dean for another year»; «She continued as deputy mayor for another year»

3. remain, be

usage: be left; of persons, questions, problems, results, evidence, etc.; «There remains the question of who pulled the trigger»; «Carter remains the only President in recent history under whose Presidency the U.S. did not fight a war»

4. persist, remain, stay

usage: stay behind; «The smell stayed in the room»; «The hostility remained long after they made up»

 

Exercise 11

Define, whether STAY and REMAIN are:

  1. partial synonyms: only some of their meanings coincide
  2. different combinability: ‘remain’ cannot be used in expressions stay in the hotel/city

 

Exercise 12

Choose the right word (STAY or REMAIN); sometimes either can be used. Be careful to use the correct grammar form of the word.

 

1)    I have done three exercises and two remain.

2)    The place was so nice that we decided to stay/remain there all summer.

3)    Few leaves remained on the trees and they are not green any longer.

4)    I was allowed to remain/stay at home.

5)    He was cut off from what remained of his family.

6)    How long can you stay in Brussels?

 

HOMONYMY

Exercise 13

1,2 lead/lead (homographs)

3,4 tears/ tears (homographs)

5,6  heir/air (homophones)

7,8 bow/bow (homographs)

9, 10 suite/sweet (homophones)

11,12 dessert/desert (homophones)

13,14 reign/rain (homophones)

 

Exercise 14

  1. arms
  2. alight
  3. band
  4. ball
  5. bark
  6. bank
  7. bear
  8. blow
  9. fine
  10. firm
  11. pail/pale
  12. boy/buoy
  13. night/knight
  14. tale/tail
  15. bass/base
  16. bury/berry
  17. Turkey/turkey
  18. fair/fare
  19. whale/wail
  20. gait/gate
  21. waste/waist
  22. heir/air
  23. sauce/source
  24. pear/pair
  25. mayor/mare

 

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