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1. The notion of ‘grammatical meaning’.

The word combines in its semantic structure two meanings – lexical and grammatical. Lexicalmeaning is the individual meaning of the word (e.g. table). Grammaticalmeaning is the meaning of the whole class or a subclass. For example, the class of nouns has the grammatical meaning of thingness. If we take a noun (table) we may say that it possesses its individual lexical meaning (it corresponds to a definite piece of furniture) and the grammatical meaning of thingness (this is the meaning of the whole class). Besides, the noun ‘table’ has the grammatical meaning of a subclass – countableness. Any verb combines its individual lexical meaning with the grammatical meaning of verbiality – the ability to denote actions or states. An adjective combines its individual lexical meaning with the grammatical meaning of the whole class of adjectives – qualitativeness – the ability to denote qualities. Adverbs possess the grammatical meaning of adverbiality – the ability to denote quality of qualities.

There are some classes of words that are devoid of any lexical meaning and possess the grammatical meaning only. This can be explained by the fact that they have no referents in the objective reality. All function words belong to this group – articles, particles, prepositions, etc.


2. Types of grammatical meaning.


The grammatical meaning may be explicit and implicit. The implicitgrammatical meaning is not expressed formally (e.g. the word table does not contain any hints in its form as to it being inanimate). The explicitgrammatical meaning is always marked morphologically – it has its marker. In the word cats the grammatical meaning of plurality is shown in the form of the noun; cat’s – here the grammatical meaning of possessiveness is shown by the form ‘s; is asked – shows the explicit grammatical meaning of passiveness.

The implicit grammatical meaning may be of two types – general and dependent. The general grammatical meaning is the meaning of the whole word-class, of a part of speech (e.g. nouns – the general grammatical meaning of thingness). The dependent grammatical meaning is the meaning of a subclass within the same part of speech. For instance, any verb possesses the dependent grammatical meaning of transitivity/intransitivity, terminativeness/non-terminativeness, stativeness/non-stativeness; nouns have the dependent grammatical meaning of contableness/uncountableness and animateness/inanimateness. The most important thing about the dependent grammatical meaning is that it influences the realization of grammatical categories restricting them to a subclass. Thus the dependent grammatical meaning of countableness/uncountableness influences the realization of the grammatical category of number as the number category is realized only within the subclass of countable nouns, the grammatical meaning of animateness/inanimateness influences the realization of the grammatical category of case, teminativeness/non-terminativeness - the category of tense, transitivity/intransitivity – the category of voice.










3. Grammatical categories.


Grammatical categories are made up by the unity of identical grammatical meanings that have the same form (e.g. singular::plural). Due to dialectal unity of language and thought, grammatical categories correlate, on the one hand, with the conceptual categories and, on the other hand, with the objective reality. It may be shown with the help of a triangle model:

Conceptual reality Conceptual category



Objective reality Lingual reality Objective category Grammatical category

It follows that we may define grammatical categories as references of the corresponding objective categories. For example, the objective category of time finds its representation in the grammatical category of tense, the objective category of quantityfinds its representation in the grammatical category of number. Those grammatical categories that have references in the objective reality are called referentialgrammatical categories. However, not all of the grammatical categories have references in the objective reality, just a few of them do not correspond to anything in the objective reality. Such categories correlate only with conceptual matters:


Conceptual correlate



Lingual correlate

They are called significationalcategories. To this type belong the categories of mood and degree. Speaking about the grammatical category of mood we can say that it has modality as its conceptual correlate. It can be explained by the fact that it does not refer to anything in the objective reality – it expresses the speaker’s attitude to what he says.


4. The notion of opposition.

Any grammatical category must be represented by at least two grammatical forms (e.g. the grammatical category of number – singular and plural forms). The relation between two grammatical forms differing in meaning and external signs is called opposition –book::books (unmarked member/marked member). All grammatical categories find their realization through oppositions, e.g. the grammatical category of number is realized through the opposition singular::plural.

Taking all the above mentioned into consideration, we may define the grammatical category as the opposition between two mutually exclusive form-classes (a form-class is a set of words with the same explicit grammatical meaning).

Meansof realization of grammatical categories may be synthetic (near – nearer) and analytic (beautiful – more beautiful).


5. Transposition and neutralization of morphological forms.


In the process of communication grammatical categories may undergo the processes of transposition and neutralization.

Transpositionis the use of a linguistic unit in an unusual environment or in the function that is not characteristic of it (He is a lion). In the sentence He is coming tomorrow the paradigmatic meaning of the continuous form is reduced and a new meaning appears – that of a future action. Transposition always results in the neutralization of a paradigmatic meaning. Neutralization is the reduction of the opposition to one of its members : custom :: customs – x :: customs; x :: spectacles.

Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1425

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