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Types of lexical meaning

Any word exists in the language in use; thus it developes the so called contextual meaning, which is a meaning, viewed as a category, which is able to acquire the meaning imposed on the word by the context.

Primary or dictionary/first meaning exists both in the language as a system and in the language in use. It can be emotive meaning and exist in the language as a system. It is materialised as denoting the object. Emotive meaning has references, denoting not a phenomena, but feelings and emotions of the speaker to words [I feel so damned lonely!].

Emotional meaning can be found in language in use only. Emotive meaning of words plays an important role in stylistics while emotional colouring may be regarded as a stage of emotive meaning. Anything having a strong impact on our senses may be considered as having emotive meaning.

Evaluated meaning is used both in the language as a system and in use. Here words are divided by positive, negative and neutral evaluation.

Figurative meaning exists in language in use only. [No help was need]. The word "help" was used in its figurative meaning, substituiting the word "resque".

Nominal meaning is a derivative logical meaning. Such words as Smith, Longfellow, Everest, Black Sea, Thames, Byron are said to have nominal meaning. Most proper names have nominal meanings which may be regarded as homonyms of common nouns with their logical or emotive meanings, as Hope, Browning, Taylor. The nominal meaning will always be secondary to the logical meaning.

The process of development of meaning may go still further. A nominal meaning may assume a logical meaning due to certain external circumstances. The result is that a logical meaning takes its origin in a nominal meaning. Some feature of a person which has made him or her noticeable and which is recognized by the community is made the basis for the new logical meaning. Thus hooligan (a ruffian) is probably derived from the name of a rowdy family, cf. the Irish name Houligan, in a comic song popular about 1885.

Lexical meaning refers the mind to some concrete concept, phenomenon or thing of objective reality, whether real or imaginary. Lexical meaning is thus a means by which a word-form is made to express a definite concept.

Grammatical meaning refers our mind to relations between words or to some forms of words or constructions bearing upon their structural functions in the language-as-a-system. Grammatical meaning can thus be adequately called "structural meaning".

Lexical meaning is a conventional category. Very frequently it does not reflect the properties of the thing or the phenomenon it refers to. However, some meanings are said to be motivated, i.e. they point to some quality or feature of the object. The conventional character of meaning can best be illustrated by the following example. In Russian the word 'бельё' is a general term denoting all kinds of articles made from flax: underwear, household articles, shirts and so on. The origin of the word is белый (white). In English this concept is denoted by the word 'linen', which is the name of the material (Latin linum - flax) from which the articles mentioned were made.


Date: 2015-01-29; view: 2321

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The spoken and the written varieties of the language | General principles of stylistic classification of the English vocabulary
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