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IV. The shooting of guns, etc.; e. g. to open (cease) fire.



The branch of linguistics concerned with the meaning of words and word equivalents is called semasiology. The name comes from the Greek sēmasiā ‘signification’ (from sēma ‘sign’ sēmantikos ‘significant’ and logos ‘learning’).

The main objects of semasiology are as follows: semantic development of words, its causes and classification, types of lexical meaning, polysemy and semantic structure of words, semantic grouping and connections in the vocabulary system, i.e. synonyms, antonyms, terminological systems, etc.

The definition of lexical meaning has been attempted more than once in accordance with the main principles of different linguistic schools.

F. de Saussure considers meaning to be the relation between the object or notion named, and the name itself .

Bloomfieldian defines the meaning as the situation in which the word is uttered.

In our country the definitions of meaning given by various authors, though different in detail, agree in the basic principle: they all point out that lexical meaning is the realisation of concept or emotion by means of a definite language system.

The modern approach to semantics is based on on the assuptions that the inner form of the word (its meaning) presents a structure which is called the semantic structure of thw words.




It is generally known that most words convey several concepts and thus possess the corresponding number of meanings. A word having several meanings is called polysemantic, and the ability of words to have more than one meaning is described by the term polysemy.

Most English words are polysemantic. It should be noted that the wealth of expressive resources of a language largely depends on the degree to which polysemy has developed in the language. A well-developed polysemy is not a drawback but a great advantage in a language. On the other hand, it should be pointed out that the number of sound combinations that human speech organs can produce is limited. Therefore at a certain stage of language development the production of new words by morphological means becomes limited, and polysemy becomes increasingly important in providing the means for enriching the vocabulary. From this, it should be clear that the process of enriching the vocabulary does not consist merely in adding new words to it, but, also, in the constant development of polysemy.

When analysing the semantic structure of a polysemantic word, it is necessary to distinguish between two levels of analysis. On the first level, the semantic structure of a word is treated as a system of meanings.

For example, the 1 semantic structure of the noun fire could be presented by this scheme (only the most frequent meanings are given):

Fire, n.

I. Flame

II. An instance of destructive burning; e. g. a forest fire.

III. Burning material in a stove, fireplace, etc.; e. g. There is a fire in the next room.

A camp fire.

IV. The shooting of guns, etc.; e. g. to open (cease) fire.

Date: 2016-04-22; view: 861

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III. Lexical Meaning and Concept | V. Strong feeling, passion, enthusiasm; e. g. a speech lacking fire.
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