Chapter 1 and 2 of en- Lexicology

By Yolanda Scott,2014-12-19 13:00
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Chapter 1 and 2 of en- Lexicology

    An Introduction to Modern English Lexicology 1?About this course


     An Introduction to Modern English Lexicology (张韵斐?周锡卿?2004?


     2. Aims to---

     Offer an insight into the origin and development of the English vocabulary. Discuss the problems of word-structure and word formation in English. Study the use of English words, phrases and idioms, choose the right words to

    use in a given context.

     Help to summarize what has been learned and acquire a systematic knowledge of English vocabulary to improve the ability to enlarge the vocabulary 3. How to study the course:

    Preview and review.

    Do the exercises assigned by the teacher.

    Memorize and understand the important terms.

    Be alert all the time for your final thesis.

    4. Ways of Marking

    Classroom performance 20%

    Homework or quiz 20%

    Attendance 10 %

    Final examination 50%

    5. Our goal

    Have a general understanding of lexicology.

    Grasp the basic terms in the field of lexicology.

    Gradually study lexicology by yourselves, esp. for the thesis and MA exam.

    Chapter One ---A General Survey of English Vocabulary

     1. Three basic concepts

    What is word ?

    1) a fundamental unit of speech;

    2) a minimum free form;

    3) a unity of sound and meaning

    4) having a syntactic function


    词?今指语言组织中的基础单位?能独立运用, 具有声音、意义和语法功能。



For example

     The young man left quietly.

    phonetic symbol: [ jΛŋ ]

    word class: adjective

    Meaning: not far advanced in life, growth, development…

    What is Vocabulary ?


     lexicon (Gk) + logie (French)

     wordbook study or science of

    or vocabulary

    2. The connection of lexicology with other branches of linguistics With phonetics:

     Without sound there is no word because every word is a unity of sound and meaning.

    With grammar:

     The vocabulary of a language assumes tremendous importance when it comes under the control of grammar, which is concerned with the modification in form of words and the combination of words into sentences.

    With stylistics:

    lexicology studies stylistic variants on the basis of meanings of words and their changes: synonyms, antonyms, figures of speech, etc.

    User may use different varieties for different purposes, different situations, in conversation with different people, to produce different effects.

The same subject matter can be expressed in different styles. e.g.

    My beloved parent has joined the great majority. (Literary)

    My dear father has passed away. (Euphemistic)

    My father has died. (Neutral)

    My dad has popped off. (Colloquial)

    My old man has gone west. (Slang)

3. Two approaches to the study of English lexicology

    They are synchronic and diachronic.

    Synchronic means describing a language as it exists at one point of time. Diachronic means concerned with the historical development of a language. It is an approach to the study of the changes in a language that took place over a period of time.



    1) Words like January, March

    Synchronically, they are simply English words, the names of the first, third

    month of the year.

    Diachronically, they are borrowed words. They are derived from Latin.

     Latin-----Old French----Middle English

     Martius---------March---------- March

    Januarius (Roman god of gates and doors)

2) Words like eventful, talkative

    Synchronically, they are derivatives, derived from event and talk. Diachronically, they are hybrids, made of two parts, each from a different


    Event is a Latin root, -ful is an old English suffix. Talk is an old English root, -ative is a Latin suffix.

To sum up, nowadays language teachers as well as English lexicology teachers

    pay close attention to the synchronic approach to the study of the English vocabulary.

     They describe

    what the English vocabulary is like

    how it came to be that way.

4. The development of English vocabulary

     1) Historical development

     2) Growth of the English vocabulary

    An Overview of English Vocabulary in Historical Perspective

     Historical development

    Begin with the conquest of the British Isles by Angles, Saxons and the Jutes from

    about 450 AD.

    The three periods

    ;The Old English (OE)

    ;The Middle English (ME)

    ;The Modern English { the early Modern E

     the late Modern E

1. Old English (AS) (449---1100) Beowulf 《贝奥武甫》


    The Introduction of Christianity into England Adopt a lot words from Latin mainly about religion, like candle, nun, priest, pope, temple, altar, etc.

2. Middle English (1100--- 1500)

    ? The Canterbury Tales

     《坎特伯雷故事集》 (1385)

    A knight ther was, and that a worthy man, That fro the tyme that he first bigan To ryden out, he loved chivalrye,

    Trouthe and honour, fredom and courteisye.

     -----The Canterbury Tales

    ;Have a strong influence of French following the Norman Conquest in 1066.

    Law and governmental administration: judge, government, parliament, jury

    Military affairs: victory, conquer, sergeant

    Food: beef, mutton, pork, dinner

    Literature: chapter, poet, prose

3. Modern E (1500--- the present)

    1) Early Modern English (1500- 1800) William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

    ththThe Renaissance (14 -16 Century)

    ththThe Great Vowel Shift (15 -18 C )

    ;Latin: chemist, function, scientific, education, precise ;Greek: drama, comedy, tragedy, lexicon

    2) Late-Modern English (1800-Present)

    th? The Industrial Revolutions ( 18 Century)

    ? The rise of the British Empire and the growth of global trade

Words from European languages:

    ;French: café, attaché(外交随员), chargé d’affairs;临时代办~

    ;Spanish: vanilla;香草~, cigar

    ;Italian: concert, piano, soprano;女高音~

    ;Russian: vodka, ruble;卢布~, tsar


    English also adopted works from non-European languages, such as ;boomerang (回飞镖), kangaroo ;袋鼠~<(Australian)

    ;gorilla ;大猩猩~, zebra;斑马~ <(African)

    ;loquat;枇杷~, yamen;衙门~ <(Chinese or its dialect)

    ;kimono (和服), tycoon;大亨~, <( Japanese)

    ;As summed up in the Encyclopedia Americana: “…the English language has

    vast debts.

    ; In any dictionary some 80% of the entries are borrowed. The majority are likely to come from Latin, and of those more than half will come through French. A considerable number will derive directly or indirectly from Greek.

5. Characteristics of English vocabulary:

    ;rich (very productive in supply)

    ;heterogeneous (consisting of elements of different nature) ;copious (large in number)

1) The rapid growth of present-day

    English vocabulary (especially after WW?) and its causes

    ;The main reasons for the frequent appearance of neologisms are

     1) Marked progress of science and technology;

     2) Socio-economic, political and cultural changes

     The influence of other cultures and languages. 2) Marked progress of science and technology

    Words used in connection with the nuclear bomb: chain reaction, clean

    bomb, and medium-range ballistic missiles

    (clean bomb: an atom bomb leaving little radioactive contamination )

    Words about achievements in science and engineering in the exploration of space : count down (倒计数), space suit, capsule (太空舱), spaceman

     Words about computer science

    software, hardware, input, output, data base, program; memory;存储~, monitor

    ;显示屏~, to progress; globoboss;?~; home page;主页~; mouse potato;电

    ; netizen, Webmaster;网站管理员~; Web page(网页); Web rage(网络无名脑迷~

    )?cyberspace;网络空间~; emoticon;表情符号~; netiquette;网络礼节~.

    Shortenings in email: u (you), y (why), afaik (as far as I know), atm (at the moment), hhoj (ha-ha only joke), imho(in my humble opinion), brb(be right back), btw (by the way), c (see), cul (see you later), f2f (face to face), oic (Oh I see), ttyl

    (talk to you later), ASAP (as soon as possible).


Socio-economic, political and cultural changes

    Socio-economic changes:

     hire purchase, credit card, pressure cooker, microwave oven,

    ), acid head/ , LSD (迷幻药;使用迷幻药的人瘾君子~

     Homophile;关心同性恋者权利的?同性恋的~, gay;同性恋的~

     Political changes

    sit-in, swim-in, teach-in;

    Ms, chairperson, spokeswoman, saleswoman, male chauvinism; black power;美国黑色权利~, black studies;黑人学~,

     Cultural changes

    open university;开放大学?电视大学~, call-in;电视电台现场接听电话~,

    discotheque, surf-riding;汽艇拉动水撬运动~, skydiving


The influence of other cultures and languages.

    ombudsman (A govenment appointee who investigates complaints by private persons against the govenrment 调查官员舞弊情况的政府官员反贪局人员a

    word taken from Swedish < Old Norse)

    sputnik (man-made satelite 前苏联人造地球卫星)

    mao tai a famous brand of liquor in Guizhou of China 中国贵州茅台酒~

    autopista super-highway, a word borrowed from Spanish 高速公路~

    Mao jacket ( A light weight jacket with high collar, worn by Mao Zedong and his people during his time中山装? 毛式上衣)

    Nehru jacket The Nehru Jacket was one element of Indian dress that penetrated western dress. This style of jacket was single breasted and slightly

    fitted with a band collar. It was based on a traditional Indian jacket and named

    after the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru because he commonly wore this

    traditional garment.


    kungfu, (An ancinet Chinese way of self defense by striking blows at vunerable areas of an attackers body using fluid movement of hands and legs功夫、武术~

    black belt a person who attained the rank of expert in the martial arts like judo or

    karate 柔道或空手道中有黑带段数的练武者~

To conclude,

    ;The development of science,

    ;The rapid changes in society,

    ;The receptive and flexible nature of English


;The influence of other cultures and languages

    6. Classification of English words according to different criteria By origin

    By level of usage

    By notion

A. By origin words can be divided into : 1) native words;

     Words of Anglo-Saxon origin or of Old English

     2) loan words Those borrowed from other languages

Let‟s see some words

    faultless fault(F)+less(E)

    uncertain un- (E) + certain (F)

    coup d‟ état;武装政变~, détente (两国关系缓和)

    Perfectly naturalized and no longer felt to be aliens, while some still felt to be


    The fundamental features of the basic word stock

     National character ;全民族使用的特性~

     Stability ;稳定性~

     Strong word-forming ability ;构词能力强~

     Ability to form collocations ;具有很强的搭配能力~

    e.g. (派生与合成)

    Hand: handful----handy----handbag---- handwriting

    Rain: Rainy----rainbow---raindrop----rain dance---rainfall----raincoat Sun: Sunny---Sunday----sunbath----sun-burned---sun cream e.g. ;词组搭配~

    Hand: Hand in hand, at first hand, to show one‟s hand, to play into sb‟s hand…

    Eye: An eye for an eye, to catch someone‟s eye, in the eye‟s of the law, mind your eye, to see eye to eye.

    Ex.: Fill in the blank with native words, loan words. The great majority of the basic word stock are_native_ _words_, they are

    naturally the most frequently used one in everyday speech and writing. If one counted the words of native and foreign origin in a dictionary, he would find

    80% of the entries to be _loan_ _words_.


B. By level of usage

    ? Common words 普通词

     Common or popular words are words connected with the ordinary things or

    activities necessary to everyday life.

     e.g. telephone, sister, angry.

    ? Literary words 书面词:

    Feeling fatigued, Tom retired early.

    Tom went to bed early because he felt tired.

     Endeavour;企图->努力~, albeit;尽管although~;

     edifice;大厦~, visualize (预见、预想);

     purchase;购买~, matrimony;婚姻关系~

    More examples

    Do not open the portal. ;大门~

    Have you perused the paper this morning? ;阅读~

    Apprise;通知~ me of the result of your deliberation. ;审议、决定~

    Two categories among literary words:

    Archaic words (古词、文言词)[arch (aic)] vs obsolete words(过时/废弃词) [obs]

    Poetical words (诗歌词) [poet. (ical)]

     E: Give the modern equivalents for the following archaic poetical words

     belike probably~ natheless (nevertheless) herein (in this place)

     thou (you) betwixt (between) naught (pron.无用?零)

     beholdsee with attention~perchance (by chance)

     quoth (=speak [ I / he /she ~ 第一、第三人称)]

    ? Colloquial 口语体词 vs. ? slang words 俚语词

    Colloquial words tend not to be used on formal occasions, though they are

    perfectly polite and acceptable in informal conversation. Slang words are not generally used in informal conversation unless the speakers

    are on intimate terms.

    Slang words embrace daring and new expressions that have not been accepted

    by the majority of people as standard English.

    Ex.: Can you find out the slang words in the sentences? Father said nix to our plan, so we couldn‟t go to the museum. (nothing, No)

    When the buck leads, the world suffers. (dollar)

    I‟ll clobber you if you don‟t do what you‟re told, said the angry father. ()

    I think I‟m just a hick at heart.

    He thought his idea was wonderful, but in fact, it was complete rot.


For example

     electron (电子) psychoanalysis ;精神 / 心理分析~

    / ) penicillin / radioactivity (放射性辐射;盘尼西林青霉素~

    ? Technical or special words refer to those words used in various special fields.

     The status of a words is not fixed, but changes from time to time. technical popular

     slang colloquial common

    Summary of the five classes of the words by level of usage:

    Words Style Field Notes