V. Strong feeling, passion, enthusiasm; e. g. a speech lacking fire.
The above scheme suggests that meaning I dominates over the other meanings conveying the concept in the most general way whereas meanings II—V are associated with special circumstances, aspects.
Meaning I (generally referred to as the main meaning) presents the centre of the semantic structure of the word holding it together. Meanings II—V are called secondary meanings.
Another example is the semantic analysis of the noun bar:
I. Any kind of barrier to prevent people from passing.
II. The profession of barrister, law e. g. go to the Bar read for the Âar.
III. (In a public house or hotel) a counter or room where drinks are served; e. g. They went to the bar for a drink.
Meanings II and III have no logical links with one another whereas each separately is easily associated with meaning I: meaning II through the traditional barrier dividing a court-room into two parts; meaning III through the counter serving as a kind of barrier between the customers of a pub and the barman.
Some semantic structures are arranged on a different principle.
I. Uninteresting, monotonous, boring; e. g. a dull book, a dull film.
II. II. Slow in understanding, stupid; e. g. a dull student.
III. III. Not clear or bright; e. g. dull weather, a dull day, a dull colour.
IV. IV. Not loud or distinct; e. g. a dull sound.
V. V. Not sharp; e. g. a dull knife.
VI. VI. Not active; e. g. Trade is dull.
VII. VII. Seeing badly; e. g. dull eyes (arch.).
VIII. VIII, Hearing badly; e. g. dull ears (arch.),
The meanings have something in common. That is the implication of deficiency, be it of colour (m.III), wits (m. II), interest (m. I), sharpness (m. V), etc.
The implication of insufficient quality, of something lacking, can be clearly distinguished in each separate meaning. In fact, each meaning definition in the given scheme can be subjected to a transformational operation to prove the point.
I. Uninteresting -----> deficient in interest or excitement.
II. Stupid ------------------> deficient in intellect.
III. Not bright ---------- > deficient in light or colour.
IV. Not loud --------- > deficient in sound.
V. Not sharp----------- > deficient in sharpness.
VI. Not active -----------> deficient in activity.
VII. Seeing badly----------- > deficient in eyesight.
VIII. Hearing badly ------------> deficient in hearing.
The transformed scheme of the semantic structure of dull clearly shows that the centre holding together the complex semantic structure of this word is not one of the meanings but a certain component that can be easily singled out within each separate meaning. So the semantic structure of the word is "divisible". Each separate meaning can be the subject to structural analysis in which it may be represented as sets of semantic components. In terms of componential analysis, the meaning of a word is defined as a set of elements of meaning which are not part of the vocabulary of the language itself, but rather theoretical elements.
The scheme of the semantic structure of dull shows that the semantic structure of a word is not a mere system of meanings, for each separate meaning is subject to further subdivision and possesses an inner structure of its own. Therefore, the semantic structure of a word should be investigated at both these levels: a) of different meanings, b) of semantic components within each separate meaning. For a monosemantic word (i. e. a word with one meaning) the first level is naturally excluded.