Home Random Page




1. The morpheme, types of morphemes.

2. The grammatical meaning, its comparison with the lexical meaning. Paradigmatic and syntagmatic meanings of a grammatical form.

3. The grammatical form, types of form building in English.

4. The grammatical category, types of grammatical categories. The opposition as the basis of the grammatical category and the method of its analysis. Neutralization and transposition as two syntagmatic processes which take place in the oppositions.

5. The functional semantic category and its structure. The role of functional-semantic approach to the analysis of lingual facts.

1 .Traditionally grammar is divided into two parts: morphology(the grammar of words) and syntax(the grammar of the sentence). The role of these parts in the grammatical structure of different languages is different and depends on the type of a language. In highly inflectional languages like Russian the syntactic role of the word in the sentence is manifested primarily by the grammatical form of the word and therefore morphology plays a very important role in the expression of grammatical meanings of words and their role in the sentence, therefore the word order is comparatively free. In isolating languages like Chinese the syntactic role of a word is manifested not by its grammatical form, but by its position in the sentence and therefore the word order is fixed. English has the features of both inflectional and isolating languages: words do have grammatical markers of their syntactic role in the sentence (e.g. / saw him}, but these markers are very few and in most cases the syntactic role of a word in the sentence is manifested by its position rather than by its grammatical form (e.g. A hunter caught a bear), and therefore the word order in the sentence is fixed.

The central notion of morphology is the morpheme.There exist several definitions .of the morpheme. The Russian scholar I.A.Beaudoin de Courtenay defined the morpheme as the smallest meaningful part of the word and this understanding of the morpheme is shared by many scholars. Leonard Bloomfield defined the morpheme as the minimum linguistic form. This definition fits very well into the context of descriptive linguistics with its emphasis on the form rather than the meaning, yet it does not reveal the difference between a morpheme and a one-root word.

A much wider understanding of the morpheme is presented in the works of the French scholar J. Vendryes. He divided all the units of the language, irrespective of their level belonging, into two large groups: units which express notions and units which express relations between notions. The first group was

called semantemes and the second - the morphemes. In his classification the class of morphemes included all the functional means of the language: word-and form-building morphemes, function words, prosodic means [Ban^pHec 1937, 76-77]. In his classification root morphemes were referred to the class of semantemes which invariably blurs the difference between the word as an autonomous unit and the root morpheme as apart of a word.

Thus the interpretation of the morpheme given by Beaudoin de Courtenay appears to be most satisfactory as it shows both the function of the morpheme (it expresses meaning) and" its difference from the word (it is a part of a word). Morphemes are prefabs for building words and grammatical forms of words but unlike words they are not autonomous. Another important point of difference between a word and a morpheme lies in the sphere of meaning. Morphemes are meaningful units of the language, but their meanings are very specific and differ from the meanings of a word. The meanings of grammatical and lexico-grammatical morphemes are usually more abstract and wider than the meanings of a word. The meaning of a root morpheme also differs from that of a word. Words, being autonomous units,name objects of reality or objects of our thought. The meaning of words is thus conceptual, they are related to concepts (for more detail see: CojiHijeB 1977, 256). The morphemes are not autonomous and the meaning of root morphemes is best described as associative: it evokes in our mind associations with the words having the given root morpheme and with different concepts expressed by these words, yet these concepts are not expressed by the morpheme itself, but by the words built with this or that morpheme. For example, when we look at the morpheme - friend, it evokes associations with many concepts and, consequently, many words that are built with the help of this morpheme, such as a friend, friendship, to befriend, friendly. Unlike the morpheme -friend, the word friend evokes in our minds the concept of a friend (which, by the way, may be different in different cultures).'However, as we shall later on see, Beaudoin de Courtenay's definition of the morpheme does not include one type of morphemes which is important for analytical languages like English. This is the so-called discontinuous morpheme which consists of an auxiliary element and a suffixational morpheme and which is used to build analytical forms of a word, e.g. be - ing (is doing), have - ed (have disappeared). For this reason we consider it possible to stretch the definition of the morpheme a little bit and define it as the smallest meaningful unit of the language (not a part of the word), which as it appears may be larger than a word in the case of analytical forms of words.

Like the phoneme, the morpheme is always an abstraction and presents a sum of its variants which are called allomorphs. Let us take the morpheme of the plural of English nouns. It is represented by a number of allomorphs: - z (boys), -s (cats), -iz (classes), -en (oxen), -ren (children), 0 (bison), - ae (antennae), - a (sanatoria), -it (radii) etc. Some of the allomorphs are phonetically conditioned, i.e. depend on the position in the word, some are historically conditioned and are the result of the language evolution or borrowings (words were borrowe together with their form-building suffixes).

Morphemes can be classified according to several principles, such as: 1) position in the word; 2) function; 3) material form; 4) distribution.

According to their position in the word morphemes are subdivided into central, or root morphemes and peripheral, or affixational morphemes. Root morphemes are usually described as free (they are more autonomous than affixational) and affixational morphemes are referred to as bound.

According to their function morphemes fall into two classes: notional and functional morphemes. Notional morphemes serve as carriers of the material part of the lexical meaning of a word, and functional morphemes change either the lexical meaning of a word (derivational, or word-building morphemes) or the grammatical meaning (form-building, or inflectional morphemes). Thus, if we take the word postimpressionists, we can see all types of morphemes in it: post-impress-ion-ist-s, impress is a root morpheme, post-, -ion and -ist are derivational morphemes and -s is an inflectional morpheme.

The borderline between the notional and the functional morphemes is not rigid and* they can change their status in the course of time. Some of the word-building suffixes, such as -dom, and -hood developed from root morphemes. Such processes are going on in the present-day English too. The function of the morpheme -man in such words as a seaman and a policeman can be compared to the function of the derivational morpheme - or/er in the words sailor and officer. The .unit -man functions like a suffix which makes possible such phrases as a female policeman.

Usually morphemes evolutionize from notional to functional, but the opposite direction is also possible and it can be observed in the case of the derivational suffix -teen which acquires the status of a notional morpheme in such words and phrases as a teenager, teen problems, teen tunes, teen fashion etc. Occasionally suffixes are used as notional words for expressive purposes. E.g. "You shouldn Y be against York, you should be against the French. Their colonialism ". "Isms andocracies. Give me facts " (G. Greene).

According to the material form of expressing meaning morphemes can be positive and zero. A zero morpheme can be defined as a meaningful absence of a morpheme. A meaning is manifested by an absence of a formal marker which becomes obvious only in an opposition, as in a cloud :: clouds, where -s is the marker of plurality, and -0 is the marker of singularity. Describing the essence of a zero morpheme, J. Vendryes aptly compared it with a pause in music which can be as meaningful as the music it interrupts [BaHflpnec 1937, 81].

According to distribution, or linear characteristics morphemes are subdivided into continuous and discontinuous. A continuous morpheme is the

one which is not interrupted by other elements, whereas a discontinuous morpheme consists of two. parts: an auxiliary element and a suffix with a root morpheme in-between, e.g. has translat-ed, or will be do-ing. The recognition of a discontinuous morpheme makes it necessary, as we have already mentioned, to slightly modify the definition of the morpheme and consider it as the smallest meaningful unit of the language, 'which in case of analytical forms may exceed the boundaries of a word.

2. Another basic notion of grammar is that of a grammatical meaning. Grammatical meaning(further referred to as GM) is a general abstract meaning which unites classes of forms or words and finds its expression through formal markers thus placing a linguistic unit in a grammatical category or a grammatical class of words (a part of speech).Its essential features are best revealed when it is compared to the lexical meaning. Let's compare grammatical and lexical meanings. The difference between these two types of meanings can be summarized according to the following parameters: 1) the degree of abstraction; 2) the function in the language; 3) the degree of autonomy; 4) an obligatory/nonobligatory character.

Grammatical meanings are more general and abstract whereas lexical meanings are usually more concrete and specific. Compare the grammatical meaning of past expressed by the grammatical form of the verb and by different lexical means: He fell down and broke his leg (ten minutes ago, last week, and three years ago etc.). In the process of real communication the grammatical expression of the time of action by the speaker may appear to be not sufficient for the hearer from the informative point of view and needs specification by lexical means. For example, if your friend tells you that he is leaving today and you want to see him off you need to know the exact time, because the grammatical expression of futurity is not sufficient and you ask: "At what time today?". Compare also the meaning of thingness, or substance which constitutes the general grammatical meaning of nouns and unites them into a class of words with concrete meanings of nouns inhabiting this class (an atom, a universe, a smile, a country, an idea etc.).

The typological analysis of grammatical meanings reveals that they reflect not the fragments of reality (which is done by lexical meanings) but rather the structure of such fragments. As L.Talmy points out, in the cognitive representation of our experience grammatical characteristics constitute a conceptual frame, the skeleton, or the scaffold for the conceptual material, which finds lexical expression [TajiMH 1999, 92-93]. From the above examples we can see how grammatical meanings of time as more abstract and general are specified by lexical means and due to this the expression of time becomes more concrete and specific.

However, the opposition between grammatical and lexical meanings based on the degree of their abstraction is not absolute. Grammatical meanings

need to be named and there are special words in the language which serve to name grammatical meanings and these words are as abstract in their meanings as the grammatical meanings they name. These are such words as thing, do, quality, number etc. They serve to name grammatical meanings and various concepts and they are called metalexical units [KnopHHa 1995].

Grammatical and lexical meanings differ in their functions and, consequently, in the degree of their autonomy. Lexical meanings constitute the contents of our thought whereas grammatical meanings arrange our thought. According to L.Talmy, the function of the lexical system of the language is to represent the conceptual contentsand the function of the grammatical system is to represent the conceptual structure,i.e. the arrangement of concepts [Op. cit, 106]:

As lexical,and grammatical meanings differ in their functions they differ in the degree of their autonomy. Lexical meanings are autonomous whereas grammatical meanings are not autonomous and they find their expression only in combination with lexical meanings. The much quoted examples like fjiokox Kysdpa uimeKO 6ydnanyjia 6oKpa u Kydpsmum doKpenKO. (JI.B. LU,ep6a) or Woggles ugged Diggles (Ch. Fries} which illustrate the relative independence of grammatical .meanings" from lexical ones are just interesting linguistic experiments but not examples of natural utterances that occur in real communication.

The lexicon of the language presents an open system: new words are coined daily and the number of lexical meanings is unlimited. The grammar of the language presents a closed system and the number of grammatical meanings is always, limited. This is conditioned by the fact that language appears to be very particular about choosing concepts for the basis of grammatical and lexical meanings. Meaning, according to E.S.Kubryakova is a concept "grasped" by a linguistic sign [KpaxKHH cjioBapt, KorHHTHBHtix TepMHHOB 1996, 92]. Any concept can be represented lexically, whereas the number of concepts which find a grammatical expression in a language is always limited. Most of these concepts are universal and all of them are very general and abstract. Thus such concepts as time and number find a grammatical expression in many languages whereas such concepts as colour or size find only a lexical expression. One and the same concept may find both a grammatical and a lexical representation in the language. In such cases the grammatical representation is always more general and the lexical is more concrete. E.g., the concept of number is presented in the language both grammatically and lexically. The grammatical number is presented by a grammatical category of number which differentiates only between the singular and the plural (also between singular and dual in some languages) whereas the exact number is presented lexically by numerals.

Being limited in their number grammatical meanings have a regular and an obligatory character in the language. We cannot use a notional word without expressing its grammatical meaning/meanings. For example, when we say: It has been raining for hours, the verb rain expresses one lexical meaning and seven grammatical meanings (person, number, tense, aspect, time correlation, voice, and mood). However, grammatical meanings are not always explicitly expressed in the language, they may be implicit. For example, in the sentence We have three questions to discuss today the grammatical meaning of obligation in the Infinitive is not explicit, but implicit, but we can explicate it by paraphrasing the sentence: We have three questions that mustbe discussed today.

Being essentially different lexical and grammatical meanings come into contact in the process of the language functioning and the relations between these meanings are characterized by constant interaction. Let us consider some cases of this interaction. One and the same concept may find a grammatical and a lexical expression in the language, i.e. may serve as the basis for a grammatical and a lexical meaning. For example, the concept of time can be expressed by grammatical forms of the verb and also by numerous adverbs and adverbial phrases denoting points of time or periods of time. When grammatical and lexical means of time expression are used in the sentence, the grammatical form expresses time in the most general way whereas the lexical means carry out either a specifying or a modifying function in relation to the grammatical expression of time. Compare:

1)7 -will see him tomorrow (next week, in a couple of days, next month) -the lexical expressions of time specify the grammatical meaning of futurity locating the future action more precisely on the time axis;

2) / am leaving for Moscow tomorrow (next week, in a couple of days) -the lexical expression of time modifies the grammatical meaning of present, and as a result of this modification the grammatical form exposes its secondary grammatical meaning - an action planned for the near future.

There are two phenomena in the language that are directly the results of the interaction between grammatical and lexical meanings. They are lexicalization of a grammatical form and grammaticalization of a word.

In the process of lexicalizationa grammatical form acquires a new lexical meaning and as a result of it may change its status and become a lexical unit, i.e. a word;, For example, the plural form of the noun 'arm' in English acquired, through the process of metonymic transference, a new lexical meaning weapon (arms that hold a weapon weapon ) and the plural form arms split from the paradigm of the noun arm and became an autonomous word, i.e. the grammatical was form lexicalized. But the 'etymological memory' of the noun arms retains this connection with the 'mother lexeme'. Probably, it was this connection that was masterfully exploited by Ernest Hemingway in the title of

his famous novel 'Farewell to Arms'. The plot of the novel allows us to interpret the meaning of arms in both ways, because the central character of the novel says farewell both to the weapon (as he comes to hate the war and deserts from the front) and to the arms that embraced him as his beloved dies in the end of the" novel. This deliberate ambiguity is lost in the translation of the title into Russian.

In the process of grammaticalizationa word loses its lexical meaning and, consequently, the status of a notional word and becomes an auxiliary word that carries only a grammatical meaning. Grammaticalization is usually a very long process which may take years or centuries. That was how analytical forms of the verb were crystallized in the English language. The process of grammaticalization is not only history but the present day of the English language as well. At present there exist forms which can be treated as half analytical. A good example of such forms is the combination to be going. If we analyze the function of this combination in such a sentence as This isn 't going to be an easy evening for me we may conclude that the phrase to be going has lost its lexical meaning of intention (because it combines with the subject denoting an inanimate object) and expresses pure futurity, therefore the combination to be going - to Infmay be treated as half-analytical.

Following the ideas of F. de Saussure linguists differentiate between two types of relations in the language: paradigmatic (de Saussure referred to them as associative) and syntagmatic. Roughly speaking, by paradigmatic we mean the relations that exist between lingual units in the system of language and by syntagmatic — the relations established between the linguistic units in the process of the language functioning, i.e. in speech. Correspondingly, grammatical theory differentiates between paradigmatic and syntagmatic meanings of a grammatical form. The paradigmatic meaning is the primary, invariant, context-independent meaning of a grammatical form. Syntagmatic meanings are secondary, variant, context-dependent meanings.To illustrate the difference between these two types of meanings let us take the form Present Continuous. Its paradigmatic meaning is "limited duration", it denotes an action taking place at the present moment and directly perceived by the observer, e.g. He is talking to someone over the phone. In various contextual conditions this primary meaning of Present Continuous may undergo various modifications and express a number of syntagmatic meanings, such as:

- an action planned for the near future, e.g. I am leaving tomorrow morning;

- a permanent action characteristic of a person, e.g. She is always gossiping;

- a temporary characteristic or a state, e.g. You are being rude;

- a certain degree of tentativeness, e.g. I am hoping I'll manage.

In teaching the use of grammatical forms it is advisable to start with the paradigmatic .meaning and then introduce the syntagmatic meanings in appropriate contexts.

3. The grammatical meaning finds its expression in a grammatical form which is a means of expressing a grammatical meaning.There are several types of form-building in English. The main subdivision of form-building types is into synthetical and analytical. In a synthetical type a grammatical meaning is expressed within a word, in an analytical type a grammatical meaning is expressed with the help of auxiliary words (plus suffixes). The synthetical types of form-building in English include affixation (reads, shown, books, theirs etc.), sound interchange (take - took, shine - shone) and suppletivity (go - went, be -was, good - better - best}. .The only productive type in the present-day English is affixation, but the other two types are no less important, if only because they occur in words which are most frequently used. The analytical type of formbuilding occupies a very important place in the grammatical structure of English as the language has evolutionized from being mainly synthetical to becoming more and more analytical, and analytical tendencies in the present day English are very strong. There exist the so-called half-analytical structures (e.g. be 'going - to Inf. mentioned above) and the analytical tendencies find their reflection in many spheres of the language. Thus, the habit of expressing lexical and grammatical meanings separately finds its reflection in the fact that very often speakers of English express adverbial meanings not with the help of adverbs but with the help of adverbial phrases Adj. - way where the component way serves as a marker of the adverbial meaning, i.e. fulfils the function of an adverbializer, e.g. Let's do it (in) a different way. Such structures are sometimes referred to as analytical adverbs.

4. We stated above that grammar provides a conceptual structure for arranging our experience. This is done through the process known as categorization, which is a way of.organizing our experience and presenting it in an orderly way, in a system. Grammatical meanings and grammatical forms are not piled chaotically in the language but are arranged into grammatical categories which present a unity of grammatical form and grammatical meaning. M.Y. Blokh defines the grammatical category as "a system of expressing a generalized grammatical meaning by means of paradigmatic correlation of grammatical forms"[Blokh 1983, 28].

The forms united into a grammatical category possess a common general meaning that gives a name to the category and each form possesses its own specific meaning that presents a specification of the general meaning and differentiates the form from the other form/forms within the category. E.g., the forms lives - lived - will live are united on the basis of the common general grammatical meaning of tense and constitute the grammatical category of tense.

Within this category each form has its own specific meaning of tense: present, past and future.

As language is a specific reflection of objective reality perceived and conceptualizedoby the human mind and the grammatical system of language provides a conceptual structure for categorizing our experience, most of the grammatical categories express different relations between phenomena of reality reflected in our minds in the form of concepts and therefore they are conceptual in their nature. For example, the grammatical category of tense presents 'a specific lingual expression of objective (ontological) time, the grammatical category of case presents various relations between the action and its participants, the grammatical category of number in nouns reflects the quantitative relations between homogeneous objects of reality, the grammatical category of mood presents the relations between the action and reality as they are presented by the speaker etc. Such grammatical categories may also be called inherent. Conceptual grammatical categories are universal, they exist in most of the languages though their volume and their scope may vary considerably in various languages. The grammatical category of number is the most universal grammatical category, all speech communities have linguistic means of encoding number, though these means differ greatly in different languages. The complexity of conceptual grammatical categories is determined by the importance of the underlying concept in the culture of the nation (compare, for instance, the grammatical category of tense in English where it has a very developed system of tenses and in Burmese where time has no grammatical expression at all [Comrie 1985, viii, 48]).

Apart from these, there are grammatical categories that have a formal character and reflect not the relations between phenomena of reality but the grammatical features of a particular language and those categories differ from language to language. Let us compare the grammatical categories of number in nouns and in verbs. In nouns this category expresses the quantitative relations between homogeneous objects of reality and therefore it is conceptual in its nature, and in verbs it has a formal and reflected character - it is imposed on the verb by the grammatical rule of concord (agreement) between the subject and the predicate in the structure of the sentence. The verb acquires number characteristics only within the structure of the sentence whereas nouns may have number characteristics outside the sentential structure, which proves the reflected character of this category in the verb. Such are also the grammatical categories of number, gender and case of adjectives in the Russian language; they are imposed on the adjective by the rule of agreement between the head noun and the attribute to it.

In the process of the language functioning different grammatical categories come into contact within the sentence and the relations between them are characterized by various forms of interaction. The meanings of language


units expressed in the sentence always present the result of interaction between several grammatical categories as well as the interaction between the grammatical and lexical meanings in the sentence and various types of contexts, both linguistic and extralinguistic. As it has been justly stated, the so called 'pure' grammatical meanings, free from intercategorial interaction are nonexistent [MexcKaxeropHajibHbie cbssh b rpaMMaxuKe 1996, 3].

Linguistics has traditionally studied the interaction between such 'neighbourly' categories as tense and aspect, tense and mood which are very close conceptually and formally,,being syncretically expressed in a verb form. But it is not only these categories that come into interaction in the process of speech production. Observation of these processes reveals the interaction not only between the categories of one part of speech but the interaction between the categories of different parts of speech as well as between the morphological and syntactic categories. E.g., the categories of tense and order interact with the category of defmiteness/indefmiteness. The use of the adverb then in the text and the Past Indefinite form are usually correlated with the use of the definite article in the subject position, e.g. Then the man decided to try again. Such a type of interaction between grammatical categories can be called harmonization. The categories of defmiteness/indefmiteness interact with the communicative perspective of the sentence: the definite article is usually used with nouns in the thematic position and the indefinite - with nouns in the rhematic position. Another type of interaction is observed in the cases when a grammatical form of one category expresses a grammatical meaning of another category. For example, in sentences with Oblique moods which have no tense forms, the forms of the time correlation category express temporal relations: If he were here now he would help us (present) -If he had been here yesterday he would have helped us (past).

We stated above that a grammatical category is constituted on the basis of contrastive grammatical •forms which share a certain grammatical meaning correlated to some general concept (time, number etc) and differ in more concrete meanings within the scope of the same concept. Such contrastive grammatical forms are called oppositionsand all grammatical categories are based on oppositions. The method of oppositional analysis was introduced by N. Trubetskoy who applied it to the study of phonemes. Now the method of oppositional analysis is widely used in lexicology and grammar.

As we know from N. Trubetskoy's theory oppositions may differ according to the number of their members and according to the character of relations between the members. According to the number of their members oppositions can be binary, ternary, quarternary and polynominal. According to the character of relations between their members oppositions are subdivided into privative, equipollent and gradual. The members of a privative opposition are characterized by the presence or absence of one and the same feature (+A:: -A). The member that possesses the feature of the opposition is called the strong, or the marked member and the other member is referred to as the weak, or the unmarked one.

The strong member is marked both formally, by a grammatical morpheme, and semantically, by a clearly defined grammatical meaning. The weak member usually has a zero grammatical morpheme and its meaning is best defined negatively, e.g. non-passive, non-plural etc. The members of an equipollent opposition are contrasted on the basis of different features (A::B::C::D); a gradual opposition unites members with a different degree of

1 ^ O ___ ^""^

the same feature (A ::A ::A etc.). The majority of oppositions in grammar are
binary privative, but equipollent oppositions also exist in grammar, e.g. the
opposition between parts of speech. Gradual oppositions are differentiated on
the phonological level. Such is the opposition between the English vowel
phonemes contrasted on the basis of the degree of openness: closed :: half-open
:: open. . .

On the syntagmatic level when grammatical meanings start interacting with lexical meanings and various types of contexts oppositions undergo two very important processes: neutralizationand transposition.In certain contextual conditions an opposition can be reduced to one member, namely to the weak one which is used in the position of the strong member. This becomes possible when the meaning of the strong member is expressed by some element of context which makes the grammatical expression of the same meaning unnecessary. This syntagmatic process is called neutralizationand the elements of context that make neutralization possible are referred to as neutralizers.Let us have a few examples of neutralization.

1) She was very happy while the fortnight lasted (R. Kipling).

The Past Indefinite form is used instead of the Past Continuous. This is possible because the meaning of duration is expressed lexically by the conjunction while which serves as neutralizer, and duration is also present in the lexical meaning and the aspective character of the verb last. These factors make the grammatical expression of duration redundant.

2) Well before he arrived he knew he had not wasted the journey


The Past Non-perfect form is used instead of the Perfect form because the meaning of priority is expressed by the conjunction before. Neutralization reveals one of the most essential principles of the language organization — the principle of economy. It is stylistically unmarked and does not add to the stylistic potential of the language.

The process of transpositionconsists in the use of the strong member of a privative opposition or any member of an equipollent opposition in the sphere of the other member. Unlike neutralization, transposition is always (though to a different'degree) marked stylistically as the transposed member expresses a

secondary, figurative meaning. As for the primary meaning of the grammatical form, it does not disappear completely but is shifted to the background of the semantic structure of the grammatical form. It is this interplay of meanings that creates the so .called 'effect of transposition' [Blokh 1986, 94 - 95]. This is why transpositions are usually referred to as grammatical metaphors. Like lexical metaphors grammatical metaphors may have a different degree of expressiveness: some have become regular and trite and some are still perceived as fresh and expressive. A typical example of transposition in grammar is the so-called 'dramatic present', i.e. the use of the Present tense in the past-time context which creates the impression of the reader being an immediate observer of the events described, e.g.

Then I heard this chap talking to me. Very sombre. Immaculate English. Christ, I thought, new guests at' this hour. 'Some things are necessary evils, Mr.Barley. Some things are more evil than necessary', he says. He's quoting me from lunch. Part of my world-shaking lecture on peace. I don 'fknow who I was quoting. Then J take a closer look around and make out this nine-foot-tall bearded vulture hovering over me, clutching a bottle of vodka, hair flipping round his face in the breeze (J. le Carre).

It is noteworthy that in the process of transposition it is not the direction (which member of the transposition is used instead of which) that matters but the effect created. Let us turn to the following example:

/ went into the biggest shop on the main street. Mama always shopped there (E. O'Brien).

From the previous context we already know that the girl's mother is dead. In accordance with the rules of grammar the Past Perfect form seems to be more appropriate here. The deliberate use of the non-perfect form, i.e. the weak member of the opposition carries out a very important stylistic function: its use suggests that the girl will not think of her mother as dead, the mother remains alive in 'the girl's mind. For this reason this unconventional use of Past Indefinite should be treated as a case of transposition.

The study of transpositions in grammar takes us on a very exciting journey into the world of expressive grammar and helps us to discover the creative potential of grammar. Mark Garner writes: "The very best grammars of every age have been concerned with aiding people to use English creatively: to exploit the language's resources to their maximum for clear, fresh and elegant expression [Garner 1989, 3]. The use of transpositions is one of the means of using the language creatively.

5. There are two ways of analyzing language facts: from form to meaning, often referred to as formal, semasiological and it has been traditionally used in linguistic descriptions. This way is related to how we perceive speech, i.e. to the grammar of the listener. The opposite way of analyzing language facts is from meaning to form and it is related to how we produce speech, i.e. to the grammar of the speaker. It is referred to as functional, or onomasiological.

If we start analyzing lingual facts in the direction from meaning to form we shall see that one and the same semantic contents or concept can be expressed by units of different linguistic levels. For example, the meaning of time can be expressed by the following means:

- the grammatical forms constituting the grammatical category of tense, e.g. Aspect lived, lives and will live - an epigraph to a software program for American learners of Russian on the use of aspect forms of the Russian verb.

- numerous nouns denoting various stretches of time and points in time: millennium, epoch, century, year, month, week, day, season, hour, second etc; Besides standard means of measuring time speakers of the language often use various nouns, denoting activities related to time ( e.g. after the lesson, before dinner etc.) as well as other nouns used by the speakers as occasional landmarks in time. These landmarks of time may be very unusual, they reveal the speaker's individual perception of time as well as the ability to use the language creatively. Such uses are usually the results of metonymical transference: the name of an object associated with a certain activity or state taking place within a certain -period of time or at a certain point in time is used by the speaker as a measure of time, e.g.

1. When I was a young man - two wives ago, 250 OOP cigarettes ago,

3 OOP quarts of booze ago ... (K. Vonnegut).

2. He put on an apron and began to peel. One potato later, Sheila mentioned: "Evelyn called (E.Segal).

3. A thousand doors ago, when I was a lonely kid... (A. Sexton);

- adjectives and adverbs with different temporal meanings: present, past, future, last, previous, forthcoming, former, latest, now, then, yesterday etc;

conjunctions and prepositions denoting temporal relations: when, after, before, while, in, through etc.;

- syntactic phrases with temporal meanings, e.g. his would-be mother in law; In Russian the meaning of the Present in the link verb "6wwb" is manifested by the ellipsis of the verb, i.e. syntactically, e.g. oh - eenuKuu OK.mep\

- word-building prefixes with temporal meanings: pre- (prewar), post- (the post communism era), after- (an aftereffect), ex (an ex-friend, an ex- husband).

As we can see from the list, the concept of time can be expressed by the word-building, morphological, lexical and syntactic means of the language. All these means can be organized into a certain system. Such systems of heterogeneous means of the language constituted on the basis of common semantic contents or a common semantic function are called functional-semantic categories.

The theory of functional-semantic categories (further on referred to as FSC) goes back to the ideas of the Danish scholar Otto Jespersen and the Russian linguist I.I. Meschaninov who wrote about conceptual (notional) categories which belong to the domain of thought and find their expression in language. Unlike notional categories, the functional-semantic categories belong to the domain of the language, they are built on the basis of linguistic semantics, which is certainly connected to thought, yet it forms a domain of its own. This differentiation became possible only after linguists came to recognize the existence- of other types of thinking side by side with verbal thinking. From this recognition it follows that language has a semantic contents of its own which is inalienable from a linguistic form and lies at the basis of the 'language picture of the world'. The ideas of functional-semantic categories (or fields) were developed by E.V. Guliga and E.I. Shendels on the material of the German language, A.V. Bondarko and his school on the material of the Russian language, J.N. Vlasova and the Rostov-on-the-Don linguistic school on the material of the English language. B.Russel did not study especially the problem of functional-semantic categories, but he made a very important remark underlying the semantic proximity of language units that belong to different levels. He stresses the idea that though before is a preposition and to precede is a verb, semantically they are very close [Pacceji 1999, 41]. This remark appears to be very important as it gives ground for systematization of different lingual units which are semantically (and conceptually) close.

Functional-semantic categories have a field structure, i.e. they have a centre and a periphery. The centre of a FSC is taken up by a grammatical category or a grammatical class of words that express the given semantic contents in the most specialized and clear-cut way. The other components of a FSC occupy the periphery at a different distance from the centre. Their position in the periphery is determined by two factors: 1) how frequently they are used to express the given semantic .contents; 2) how clearly they express it.

Functional-semantic categories form a semantic continuum very similar to the conceptual continuum. It means that the borderlines between different FSCs are not rigid and clear-cut but rather fuzzy. Peripheral zones of different FSCs overlap and their units share the features of two or more overlapping categories. Let's consider the following examples:

1) /'// arrange it if it is arrangeable (H. Wouk).

The'adjective arrangeable is characterized by a syncretic grammatical semantics. Being a representative of the class of adjectives, it expresses the meaning of quality, but the suffix -able adds to this meaning two more grammatical meanings: the meaning of modality and the meaning of passivity which can be explicated by means of paraphrasing the sentence: I'll arrange it if it can be arranged. The presence of these meanings in the semantics of the

adjective arrangeable proves that it actually belongs to three overlapping FSCs: quality, modality and voice.

2) Her eyes were so forger-me-not blue (D.H. Lawrence)

The noun forget-me not expresses the meanings of intensity (very blue) and also the meaning of comparison (as blue as a forget-me-not) which means that it belongs to the peripheries of two FSCs: intensity and comparison.

The relations between the central and peripheral components within a FSC can be of different kinds. Peripheral elements can specify or modify the meanings expressed by central components as we observe in the case of temporal relations expressed by grammatical forms of the verb and lexical expressions of time. Peripheral elements may be synonymous to central (in such case.s we deal with a cross-level synonymy), e.g. He used to be my friend. He is my former friend. He is my ex-friend. He is my once-friend. The choice for using the most adequate means for rendering the identical semantic contents is determined by various structural and pragmatic factors: the position of the lingual unit in the structure of the sentence and the text, the desire of the speaker to make the statement more expressive (compare: She was very beautiful She was heart-stoppingly beautiful).

The theory of functional-semantic categories and the systematization of lingual facts in the form of functional-semantic field have a great theoretical value. It actually helps to understand the choices the speakers of a language have to make in the process of verbalizing their thoughts and the factors determining their choices. And the ability to make conscious choices refers to one of the most important cognitive abilities. The functional-semantic approach forms the basis for developing the grammar of the speaker (as examples of such grammar see: [HopMan 1994; KapayjioB 1999]). It also has a practical significance for learning foreign languages: it supplies the learners with a variety of means for expressing identical semantic contents and as well the ability to choose the most appropriate means in each case. Yet it is necessary to remember that the functional approach should not ignore the formal approach completely, because the knowledge of form is just important for language competence in a foreign language as well as in a native language. According to OJespersen, an exhaustive grammatical description of a language system is possible only on the basis of a two-ways approach: from form to function and from function to form [Ecnepcen 1958, 39].


Date: 2015-01-12; view: 6118

<== previous page | next page ==>
doclecture.net - lectures - 2014-2021 year. Copyright infringement or personal data (0.012 sec.)