Lecture 2 General Characteristics of English Vocabulary. Plan I. Lexico-Semantic system. II. The volume of the vocabulary. The basic word-stock (запас слов). III. Archaisms [ɑ:'keɪɪz(ə)m] IV. Neologisms [ni:'ɔləʤɪz(ə)m] Lexico-Semantic system
Lexicology studies the recurrent patterns of semantic relationships, and of any formal phonological, morphological or contextual means by which they may be rendered.
In contrast to grammar, the vocabulary of a language is not systematic but chaotic [keɪ'ɔtɪk]. In the light of recent investigations in linguistic theory, however, we are now in a position to bring some order into the “chaos”['keɪɔs]. We call vocabulary systematic because the sum total of all words in it may be considered as a structured set of interdependent and interrelated elements.
The term “system” as applied to vocabulary should not be taken rigidly. The vocabularysystemcannot be completely and exactly characterized by deterministic[dɪ'tɜ:mɪ'nɪstɪk] (однозначный)functions; that is for the present state of science it is not possible to specify the system’s entire future by its status at some one instant of its operation. In other words, the vocabulary is a probabilistic system['prɔbəbə'lɪstɪk] (вероятностная), or rather a set of interrelated probabilistic systems. An approximation is always made possible by leaving some things out of account. But we have to remember that the rules of language are mostly analogies[ə'næləʤɪ]. Where different analogies are in conflict, one may appear as a constraint on (оказывать давление на) the working of another. The following simple example illustrates this point: the regular that is statistically predominant, pattern for adjective stemsis to form abstract nouns by means of the suffix –ness: shortness, narrowness, shallowness.All the antonyms of the abovementioned words, however, follow a different pattern: they have a dental suffix: length, width, depth.This second analogy becomes a constraint on the working of the first. Moreover, the relationship of the adjective big with the rest of the system is even more unpredictable, as it is mostly correlated with the noun size. The semantic correlation (соотношение) then is as follows: Short/shortness = narrow/narrowness = shallow/shallowness = long/length = wide/width = deep/depth = big/size. At this point it will be helpful to remember that it is precisely the most frequent words that show irregular or suppletive ['seplitiv] derivation and inflection. Супплетиви́зм — образование словоизменительной формы некоторого слова уникальным для языка образом (часто — от другого корня и/или при помощи уникального чередования f.eg. be — am — is — are; go- went -gone).
Having in view all these restrictions (ограничение), we, nevertheless regard vocabulary as a lexico-semantic system because all its elements are in some relations of equivalence and contrast which hold between them, and are grouped into sets according to various features of equivalence.
So, lexico-semantic system is a combination of interdependent elements. A change in one part of the system brings a change into another one. (reed – камыш; read –читать).