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Characteristics of the Word as the Basic Unit of Language.

Lexicology as a Branch of Linguistics.


Lexicology is a branch of linguistics dealing with a systematic description and study of the vocabulary of the language as regards its origin, development, meaning and current use. The term is composed of 2 words of Greek origin: lexis - word + logos – word’s discourse. So L is a word about words, or the science of a word. L is concerned not only with words because the study of the structure of words implies references to morphemes which make up words.


General L is concerned with specific features of any language and special studies a vocabulary of a given language. Contrastive compares two or more languages and reveals their similarities and disimilarities. Historicaldeals with evolution, changes in the vocabulary in the course of time. Sinchronic deals with the modern state of lexicology.


L has close ties with other branches of linguistics as they also take into account words in one way or another approaching them from different angles.l and phonetics: phonetics is also concerned with the study of the word, with the sound-form of the word. l and grammar:even isolated words in a dictionary bear a definite relation to the grammatical system of the language because they belong to some part of speech and conform to some lexico-grammatical characteristics of the word class to which they belong. history of a language:investigates the changes and the development of the vocabulary of a language. l and stylistics:studies many problems treated in l. (problems of meaning, synonymy, differentiation of vocabulary according to the sphere of communication and some other issues).sociolinguistics: investigates the social causes of the changes in the vocabulary of a language. The word-stock of a language reacts to changes in social life. The intense development of science and technology, w hich is a social factor, has given birth to a great number of new words: CD-ROM ,e-mail ,SMS.


Modern English lexicology investigates the problems of word structure and word formation; it also investigates the word structure of English, the classification of vocabulary units, replenishment3 of the vocabulary; the relations between different lexical layers4 of the English vocabulary and some other.


Characteristics of the Word as the Basic Unit of Language.

The word may be described as the basic unit of language. Uniting meaning and form, it is composed of one or more morphemes, each consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation.
Within the scope of linguistics the word has been defined syntactically, semantically, phonologically and by combining various approaches.
It has been syntactically defined for instance as “the minimum sentence” by H. Sweet and much later be said to be, to a certain degree, equivalent to Sweet’s, as practically it amounts to the same thing: free forms are later defined as “forms which occur as sentences”.
E. Sapir takes into consideration the syntactic and semantic aspects when he calls the word “one of the smallest completely satisfying bits of isolated ‘meaning’,
1. Indivisibility
It cannot be cut into without a disturbance of meaning, one or two other or both of the several parts remaining as a helpless waif on our hands”. The essence of indivisibility will be clear from a comparison of the article a and the prefix a- in a lion and alive. A lion is a word-group because we can separate its elements and insert other words between them: a living lion, a dead lion. Alive is a word: it is indivisible, i.e. structurally impermeable: nothing can be inserted between its elements.
2. “Positional mobility” and “un interrupt abili ty”. – Ability of a word to change its position, its place in a sentence (They suddenly come out of a very nice house. Suddenly they come out of a very nice house).
3. Isolatability – ability of a word to function alone, to form sentence (Out!)
The word is the fundamental unit of language. It is a dialectical unity of form and content.


So, a word is the smallest significant unit of a given language capable of functioning alone and characterised by positional mobility within a sentence, morphological uninterruptability and semantic integrity. All these criteria are necessary because they permit us to create a basis for the oppositions between the word and the phrase, the word and the phoneme, and the word and the morpheme. The word is the fundamental unit of language. It is a dialectical unity of form and content. Its content or meaning is not identical to notion, but it may reflect human notions, and in this sense may be considered as the form of their existence. The acoustic aspect of the word serves to name objects of reality, not to reflect them. In this sense the word may be regarded as a sign.



Date: 2016-03-03; view: 6700

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Ar dtús, cuirfeam síos gach ainm d'á raibhe ar Éirinn riamh. | Suffixation in English. Classification of Suffixes.
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