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LEXICAL ITEM




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  7. TYPES OF LEXICAL UNITS

 

Decide what is just one lexical item and what is more than one lexical item.

  Is it just one lexical item?   Is it just one lexical item?
a hummingbird   greyish-blue  
to give somebody a present   yellow and green  
blind as a bat   black and white  
to give somebody a piece of mind   black and blue  
a tall man   French bread  
a lollipop man   to take French leave  
smalltalk   French kiss  
a dark room   French wine  
a darkroom   through and through  
Dutch tulips   white-collar  
Dutch courage   hard and fast  
bread and butter   to cook the books  
a must-have   to nose about  
to talk to friends   to bite your tongue  
to talk shop   to bite an apple  

 

#2 THE ENGLISH WORD AND ITS PROBLEMS

 

In defining the word one must distinguish it from other linguistics unit: phoneme, morpheme or word group.

The definition of the word is one of the most difficulties in linguistics because the simplest word has many different aspects.

It has sound form, because it is certain arrangement of phonemes when used in actual speech it may occur in different word forms and signal various meanings. There are many variants of word definition.

Thomas Hobbs, English philosopher wrote that “words” are not mere sounds but names of matter.

E.Sapir called the word one of the smallest, completely satisfying bits of isolated meaning into which the sentence resolve itself. Sapir also points out one more very important characteristics of the word, its indivisibility. It cannot be cut into without a disturbance of meaning, one or more other or both of the several parts remaining as a helpless waif in our hands.

The essence of the indivisibility will be clear from a comparison of the article “a” and the prefix “a” in words “a lion” and “alive”.

“A lion” is word group, because we can separate its elements and insert other words between them.



“A living lion” – this is evident. “Alive” is a word, it is indivisible. Nothing can be inserted. One more example:

“a black-bird, a blackbird

The word can be perceived as the total of the sounds which comprise it. The word viewed structurally possesses several characteristics. The modern approach to word studies is based on distinguishing between the external and internal structures of the word.

By external structure of the word we mean morphological meaning.

By external structure – its meaning, its semantic meaning.

 

 

Exercise 1. Answer the questions:

1. What is the word?

2. What is the definition of the word?

3. What is the most important characteristic of the word?

4. Who is the author of the term “indivisibility” in reference to a word?

5. What is a word group? Give an example.

6. What is a semantic meaning of the word?

7. How many structures of the word there exist?

8. What is an external meaning of the word?

Exercise 2. Give 10 examples to the followings:

1. phoneme

2. morpheme

3. word group

4. word division

5. prefix

6. suffix

7. external structure

8. internal structure



Exercise 3. Identify the Indirect & Direct Object subcategorised the underlined lexical verbs in the following sentences and state their semantic role.

1. Dad got me a few books.

2. Mummy’s bought him a lovely new tie.

3. Rosmerta must have sent Slughorn that bottle.

4. The waiter brought us the wrong dish.

5. I’ve left you some food on the table.

6. Throw me that towel, will you?

7. Why did you lend that dreadful man money?

8. I wonder if they could prepare us a special pudding.

Exercise 4. Identify the syntactic function and semantic role of the underlined constituents.

1. The Ministry bought five hundred Shield Hats for all its support staff!

2. The old professor donated all his books to the library.

3. She bought a car for her daughter.

4. I was given this watch by my father.

5. William baked a cake for Goneril.

 


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