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The English vocabulary as an adaptive system. Neologisms.

Being an adaptive system the vocabulary is constantly adjusting itself to the changing requirements and conditions of human communication and cultural and other needs. This process of self-regulation of the lexical system is a result of overcoming contradictions between the state of the system and the demands it hasto meet. The speaker chooses from the existing stock of words such words that in his option can adequately express his thought and feeling. Failing to find the expression he needs, he coins a new one. It is important to stress that the development is not confined to coining new words on the existing patterns but in adapting the very structure of the system to its changing functions.

The concept of adaptive system permits us to study language as a constantly developing but systematic whole. The adaptive system approach gives a more adequate account of the systematic phenomena of a vocabulary by explaining more facts about the functioning of words and providing more relevant generalizations, because we can take into account the influence of extra-linguistic reality. The study of the vocabulary as an adaptive system reveals the pragmatic essence of the communication process, i.e. the way language is used to influence the addressee.

The adaptive system approach to vocabulary is still in its infancy, but it is already possible to give an interim estimate of its significance. The process may be observed by its results, that is by studying new words or neologisms. New notions constantly come into being, requiring new words to name them. New words and expressions or neologisms are created for new things irrespective of their scale of importance. They may be all important and concern some social relationships such as a new form of state (People's Republic), or the thing may be quite insignificant and short-lived, like fashions in dancing, clothing, hairdo or footwear (rollneck). In every case either the old words are appropriately changed in meaning or new words are borrowed, or more often coined out of the existing language material either according to the patterns and ways already productive in the language at a given stage of its development or creating new ones.

Thus, a neologism is a newly coined word or phrase or a new meaning for an existing word, or a word borrowed from another language.

The intense development of science and industry has called forth the invention and introduction of an immense number of new words and changed the meaning of old ones, e.g. aerobics, black hole, computer, super-market and so on.

For a reliable mass of evidence on the new English vocabulary the reader is referred to lexicographic sources. New additions to the English vocabulary are collected in addenda to explanatory dictionaries and in special dictionaries of new words.

The majority of linguists nowadays agree that the vocabulary should be studied as a system. Our present state of knowledge is however, insufficient to present the whole of the vocabulary as one articulated system, so we deal with it as if it were a set of interrelated systems.

By a lexico-grammatical group we understand a class of words which have a common lexico-grammatical meaning, common paradigm, the same substituting elements and possible characteristic set of suffixes rendering the lexico-grammatical meaning. These groups are subsets of the parts of speech, several lexico-grammatical groups constitute one part of speech. Thus English nouns are subdivided approximately into the following lexico-grammatical groups: personalnames, animal names, collective names (for people), collective names (for animals), abstract nouns, material nouns, object nouns, proper names for people, toponymic names.

Another traditional lexicological grouping is known as word-families in which the words are grouped according to the root-morpheme, for example: dog, doggish, doglike, dogg, to dog, dogged, doggedly, doggedness, dog-days, dog-biscuit, dog­cart, etc.

19. The concept of polarity of meaning. Antonyms. Morphological classification of antonyms: absolute or root antonyms and derivational antonyms. Semantic classification of antonyms: antonyms proper, complementaries, conversives. The theory' of the semantic field. Common semantic denominator. Thematic or ideographic groups. Common contextual associations.

Antonyms are words belonging to the same part of speech different in sound, and characterized by semantic polarity of their denotational meaning. According to the character of semantic opposition antonyms are subdivided into antonyms proper, complete and conversitives. The semantic polarity in antonyms proper is relative, the opposition is gradual, it may embrace several elements characterized by different degrees of the same property. They always imply comparison. Large and little or small denote polar degrees of the same notion, i.e. size.

Complementaries are words characterized only by a binary opposition which may have only two members; the denial of one member of the opposition implies the assertion of the other, e.g. not male means female.

Conversives are words which denote one and the same referent as viewed from different points of view, that of the subject and that of the object, e.g. buy-sell, give - receive.

Morphologically antonyms are subdivided into root (absolute) antonyms (good - bad) and derivational antonyms (apper - disapper).


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1167

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