Teaching Plan 2
Episode One A General Survey of Word
Content: ?. Theory of Naming Some
?. Sense and Reference
?. Sense and Meaning
?. Classification of Senses
To help Ss know the relationship between the word form and its sense;
To help Ss come to the different types of sense of WORD. Focal Points and difficulties:
Saussure’s Signifier and Signified;
C.K. Ogden & I.A. Richards’ s Triangle.
Teaching Methods & Aids: Lecturing; discussion; Q & A; PPT
1. Review the different definitions of WORD and let Ss present their own after discuss
(1) Ask them to identify the following faulty recognition of WORD. 1) Word includes three parts: sound, meaning and grammar.
2) Word is a system of sound, sense and grammar.
3) A word has free form and bound form.
4) Word is the smallest morpheme.
5) Word has fixed form of intonation.
6) Word has meanings to distinguish pronunciation.
7) Word has the regular structure of grammar.
(2) Have them discuss Reconsideration of WORD and share them preferences. 1) Word is the essential element of a sentence with its own sound and meaning, some of which can stand independently. Word can express different meaning in different situation. Every sentence is made up of words because it is the minimal form. 2) Having its own meaning and sound, word is the lexical item formed by free
morphemes or bound morphemes which can be used to communicate according to fixed grammatical rules.
3) Word can be defined as a fundamental unit of phrases or sentences. It has its sound, meaning, and grammatical use. People can communicate with others through sentences made up of words.
4) Word is a unity of a given sense, a given sound and grammatical use. It is made up of morphemes—the smallest significant unit of speech. Word is composed of free forms and bound forms or only free form.
5) Word has its own pronunciation expressing different meanings in different context. It is the basic unit of sentences and formed by one or more morphemes.
6) Word is the most significant semantic unit which is used grammatically in speech. It consists of free morphemes and bound morphemes as well, or the combination of both. (3) Have them present their own understanding.
2. Present Theory of Naming
Theory of Naming concerns the relationship between sound/the word name and the object/entity. There are two schools regarding this theory: the Naturalists and the Conventionalists.
The Naturalists argue there is an intrinsic correspondence between sound and sense. They stress the origin of language lies in onomatopoeia, that people began talking by creating iconic signs to imitate the sounds heard around them in nature. The Conventionalists hold that sense is a kind of linguistic social contract, and that the relations between sound and meaning are conventional and arbitrary.
3. Discuss Sense & Reference
(1) Saussure’s Signifier and Signified
According to Ferdinand de Saussure(1916:99; 1959:67), a word or a linguistic sign consists of a signifier and signified; these are more strictly a sound image(音响形象) and
a concept, and there is no intrinsic relation between them.
The linguistic SIGN (a key word) is made of the union of a concept and a sound image. The union is a close one, as one part will instantly conjure up the other; Saussure's example is the concept "tree" and the various words for tree in different languages.
In Saussure's theory of linguistics, the signifier is the sound and the signified is the thought. The linguistic sign is neither conceptual nor phonic, neither thought nor sound. Rather, it is the whole of the link that unites sound and idea, signifier and signified. The properties of the sign are by nature abstract, not concrete. Saussure maintains, "A sign is not a link between a thing and a name, but between a concept and a sound pattern." (2) C.K. Ogden & I.A. Richards’ s Triangle
In The Meaning of Meaning by C.K. Ogden and I.A. Richards(1923), they saw the relationship as a triangle.
Reference(能指)—indicates the realm of memory where recollections of past experiences and contexts occur.
Referent(所指)—is the extralinguistic object that is perceived and that creates the impression stored in the thought area.
Symbol—It is the written or spoken word that calls up the referent through the mental processes of the reference. (Ogden & Richards, pp. 9-12)
Put it bluntly, the “symbol” is the linguistic element — word, sentence, etc., and the
“referent” the object the symbol stands for, while “reference” is concept. According to
the theory, there is no direct link between symbol and referent—the link is via thought or
reference, the concepts of our mind.
Therefore, reference deals with the relationship between the linguistic elements and the non-linguistic world of experience. Sense relates to the complex system of relationships that hold between the linguistic elements themselves; it is concerned only with intralinguistic relations
(3) Our Interpretation
Sense is closely related to a concept. A concept is the base of the sense of a word.
A word acts as the symbol for that concept. The concept/reference is abstracted from
the person, thing, relationship, idea, event and so on, that we are thinking about. ( See to Lu Guoqiang 2001: 301) Reference is the indication of some non-linguistic entity by a
linguistic symbol (a word). Not all words are referential, however, some abstract
adjectives have no referent at all, e.g. "beautiful." we understand the sense of "beautiful," but there is no concrete referent.
4. Discuss Sense and Meaning
MEANING is a notion in semantics classically defined as having two components: reference, anything in the referential realm denoted by a word or expression; sense, the system of syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships between a lexical unit and other lexical units in a language.
Literally, SENSE is the MEANING of a lexical unit, but in semantics, MEANING is a notion broader than SENSE, involving word-world relations.
To inquire about the MEANING of a word is to ask about a definition. That is what a dictionary is for; to understand about the SENSE of a word, one is looking for an understanding of a word in context. Most often this is due to use of an idiomatic expression, jargon, or slang.
Son: These cookies are cool, Mom!
Mom: Cool? I just took them out of the oven. They should still be warm. Son: Mom, you just don't understand.
Mom: OK. What do you mean by "cool"?
Son: Well, they taste really great!
Mom: Well, why didn't you say that? Now that makes sense!
Son: But that's what I meant!!!
5. Classify different senses after presenting Leech’s classification.
G. Leech(1974) classified seven sorts of senses in his Semantics:
1，Denotative/Conceptual/Lexical/ Dictionary Sense
Denotative sense is the basic meaning of a given word, found in the dictionary, and other meanings are derived from it. By denotative sense, a word is related with something in the universe. It is universal for all peoples, not for all cultures. Denotative sense is viewed as the central or core meaning of a lexical item and is generally equated with the referential (i.e. cognitive or conceptual) meaning.
Connotative sense is attached to denotative sense, closely related to the culture of the language. Denotative sense varies from case to case, but remains the same in a given community, but connotative sense does not exist universally. Connotations of a word are supplementary meanings which extend beyond the central linguistic one. They represent people's emotions or attitudes toward cultural beliefs, which show up in legends, idioms, comments or observations on life and usefulness.
It involves context, participants, the relationship between the participants, domain/register, subject matter and the mode of discourse and describes or implies the social circumstances that relate to the use of the lexeme. A word may be used in a particular location, be written rather than spoken, be colloquial, slang, or used in jokes and riddles.
Martin Joos(1967) recognized five different levels of formality—hierarchy of formality
in his book the Five Clocks:
Take “请坐” for example:
Seat yourself. (frozen)
Be seated. (formal)
Sit down. (consultative)
Have a seat. (casual)
Take a pew. (intimate )
Take “怀孕的” for example:
expecting/conceiving a baby (formal)
having a baby (casual)
in the family way/in the interesting condition (intimate ) 4，Affective Sense
It distinguishes between the attitudinal and emotional factors which depend on the
speakers attitude or the situation.
The affective sense of a word may involve three aspects: commendatory, neutral, and
Commendatory Neutral Derogatory senior citizen old person fossil slender thin skinny plump fat obese
little small tiny gathering crowd mob
replica copy counterfeit insist on stick to persist in pass away die kick the bucket effect result consequence famous well-known notorious 5， Collocative Sense
It consists of the associations a word acquires in its collocation. In other words, it is
that part of the word meaning suggested by the words before or after the word in
discussion, e.g. “pretty” and “handsome” share the conceptual meaning of “good-looking”, but are distinguished by the range of words they collocate with.
a fast friend:
a fast fact:
a fast life:
pull a fast one:
play fast and loose with:
Reflected sense refers to associative or metaphorical meaning in actual. Take “mouth”, “teeth” for example, the denotative senses of these two words are easy, their reflected senses can be easily obtained as in “the mouth of the river”, “the teeth of the comb.”
Thematic sense refers to the pragmatic sense or specialized sense of a lexical item in actual discourse or in certain context or the organization of the message in terms of ordering, forms and emphasis. Take the word “action” for example, for a lawyer, it will
naturally mean “legal process”; for a soldier, it will denote a “military mission”; for a doctor, it will imply a “surgical operation”.
Homework: Find more examples to illustrate the seven types of senses according to G.
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