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Productive Types of Compound Nouns 9 страница



Not long ago Soviet lexicographers came to the opinion that separate reference books are called for teachers and learners. As far as dictionaries of English go, perhaps the first attempts at producing dictionaries for teachers are the reference books Adjectival Collocations and Verbal Collocations.

Those are the main types of dictionaries considered necessary to ensure the process of foreign language teaching. As to the present state of learner’s lexicography, it may be characterised as just coming into being, as the already existing dictionaries are few in number and they do not make a system, rather some separate links of a system.

As to the information they provide they may be divided into two groups: those giving equal attention to the word’s semantic characteristics and the way it is used in speech (these may be called learner’s dictionaries proper) and those concentrating on detailed treatment of the word’s lexical and grammatical valency (dictionaries of collocations).

To learner’s dictionaries proper issued in English-speaking countries we may refer, for example, The Progressive English Dictionary and An English Reader’s Dictionary by A. S. Hornby and E. С Parnwell designed for beginners, as well as Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English by A. S. Hornby and The New Horizon Ladder Dictionary of the English Language by J. R. Shaw with J. Shaw for more advanced students.

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English by A. Hornby has achieved international recognition as a most valuable practical reference book to English as a foreign language. It contains 50,000 units and is compiled on the basis of COD to meet the needs of advanced foreign learners of English and language teachers. It aims among other things at giving detailed information about the grammatical and partly lexical valency of words.

1 We are now speaking about the nature of information, not the language it is couched in. Thus we may imagine several Anglo-Russian dictionaries, each designed for a separate group of learners with a different linguistic background.


The New Horizon Ladder Dictionary includes 5000 of the most frequently used words in written English. It is called Ladder Dictionary because the words are divided in it into five levels or ladder rungs of approximately 1000 each, according to the frequency of their use (a figure in brackets attached to each word shows to which thousand the word belongs).

Compiled in our country is the English-Russian Dictionary of Most Commonly Used Words prepared by V. D. Arakin, H. M. Weiser and S. K. Folomkina under Prof. I. V. Rakhmanov’s direction. This is a vocabulary minimum of 3250 words, typical word-groups and phraseological units selected for active mastery in Soviet secondary school.

The Learner’s English-Russian Dictionary by S. Folomkina and H. Weiser does not, strictly speaking, belong to the group of dictionaries under consideration, as it is designed for use by English-speaking students of the Russian language, but is helpful as well when learning English. It contains about 3500 words.

The word-books given above differ in many respects: they are either monolingual or polylingual, they provide different information, they differ in the kind of the intended user (learners of the English language who have reached different stages in the course of their studies, adults or children of different linguistic background — English-speaking learners of Russian) and in aim (an aid to oral speech — the development of reading and writing skills) and in other features. However these dictionaries have some traits in common that distinguish them from the word-books considered in the preceding sections. They all aim at teaching how to speak, write, etc., while the tendency in modern English lexicography is not to prescribe as to usage, but to record what is actually used by speakers.

Dictionaries of collocation contain words which freely combine with the given head-word. The few reference books of this kind known to us belong to the pen of foreign compilers. For example, A. Reum’s Dictionary of English Style is designed for the Germans, Kenkyusha’s New Dictionary of English Collocations is intended for the Japanese, Adjectival Collocations in Modern English by T. S. Gorelik and Verbal Collocations in Modern English by R. Ginzburg, S. Khidekel, E. Mednikova and A. Sankin are designed for Russian school teachers and students of English.

Each of the two dictionaries of collocations prepared by Soviet linguists presents the collocability of 375 words that are used in Soviet school text-books. The presentation of the word’s grammatical and lexical valency is based on identical principles.

§ 16. Selection of Entry Words

Compilers of learner’s dictionaries have to tackle the same cardinal problems as those of ordinary explanatory and translation dictionaries, but they often solve them in their own way, besides they have some specific policies to settle on to meet the needs of language learners to whom the book will be addressed.

The common purpose of learner’s dictionaries is to give information on what is currently accepted usage, besides most compilers seek to choose


the lexical units that foreign learners of English are likely to need. Therefore not only are obsolete, archaic and dialectal words excluded, but” also technical and scientific terms, substandard words and phrases, etc. Colloquial and slang words as well as foreign words of common occurrence in English are included only if they are of the sort likely to be met by students either in reading or in conversation. Moreover some of the common words may be omitted if they are not often encountered in books, newspapers, etc. or heard over the radio and in conversation.

Space is further saved by omitting certain derivatives and compounds the meaning of which can be easily inferred.

Alternative spellings and pronunciations are avoided, only the more accepted forms are listed.

Various criteria have been employed in choosing words for learner’s dictionaries. In the first place the selection of words is based on the frequency principle.

Frequency value, an important characteristic of lexical units, is closely connected with their other properties. That is why the word-counts enable the compiler to choose the most important, the most frequently used words.

However many methodologists and compilers of learner’s dictionaries have a tendency to exaggerate the significance of the frequency criterion. The research done in different countries (in our country and in France, for example) has shown that the frequency tables, helpful ‘as they are in the compilation of a vocabulary minimum, do not in themselves present the vocabulary minimum. While it is indisputable that every high-frequency word is useful, it is not every useful word that is frequent (e.g. carrots, fork, stamp,etc.). Consequently frequency cannot be the only point to be considered in selecting items for learner’s dictionaries as well as for other teaching materials. It must be complemented by some other principles, such as the words’ collocability, stylistic reference, derivational ability, semantic structure, etc.1

§ 17. Presentation of Meanings

The order of arrangement of meanings followed in learner’s dictionaries is usually empiric, that is beginning with the main meaning to minor ones. Besides the following principles of arrangement are considered proper for language learners: literal uses before figurative, general uses before special, common uses before rare and easily understandable uses before difficult. Each of these principles is subject to the limitation “other things being equal” and all are subject to the principle that that arrangement is best for any word which helps the learners most.

E.g. in Hornby’s entry for committhe first meaning is ‘perform’ (a crime, foolish act, etc.) and its primary meaning ‘entrust’ is given as its second meaning.

1 In the dictionary under Prof. I. V. Rakhmanov’s direction the choice of words is based upon three main principles: 1) combinability, 2) lack of stylistic limitations, 3) semantic value, and four additional principles: 1) word-building ability, 2) polysemy, 3) syntactical valency, 4) frequency.


But this is not always the case. For instance, the first meaning of the word revolutiongiven by Hornby is ‘act of revolving or journeying round’ and not ‘complete change, great reversal of conditions, esp. in methods of government’, which is more common nowadays. Thus the compilers preserve the historical order of meanings in this case.

In monolingual learner’s dictionaries the same types of definitions are used, as in ordinary monolingual explanatory word-books, but their proportion is different. Encyclopaedic definitions are usually used more rarely, the role of descriptive definitions is much greater.

Compare, for instance, the definition for coaltaken from the Ladder Dictionary with that from COD given above.1

coaln. a black, hard substance that burns and gives off heat.

It would be wrong to think however that the definitions in learner’s dictionaries are always less complete than in the dictionaries designed for native users. More often than not these definitions are not so condensed in form and they are more complete in content, because the compilers have to make up for the user’s possible inadequacy in command of the language and lack of knowledge of some realia.

Compare, for example the two entries for prepgiven below:

COD II2 (abbr prep)preparation of lessons as part of school routine;

OALD [U]3 (colloq abbr prep) (time given to) preparing lessons or writing exercises, after normal school hours (esp at GB public or grammar schools): two hours’ prep; do one’s French prep;

In learner’s dictionaries cross-references are for the most part reduced to a minimum.

Compilers of learner’s dictionaries attach great importance to the language in which the definition is couched, the goal being to word them in the simplest terms that are consistent with accuracy. Some compilers see to it that the definitions are couched in language which is commoner and more familiar to the language learner than the words defined.

Some lexicographers select a special defining vocabulary held to be the commonest words in English or those first learnt by foreigners. For example, in the International Reader’s Dictionary the word-list of 24,000 items is defined within a vocabulary of 1490 words selected by M. West.

In some learner’s dictionaries pictorial material is widely used as a means of semantisation of the words listed. Pictures cannot only define the meanings of such nouns as dike, portico, domes, columns, brushes,etc., but sometimes also of adjectives, verbs and adverbs.

E.g. in Hornby’s dictionary, the definitions of the adjective concentrated,the verb claspand the adverb abreastare illustrated with the pictures of concentrated circles, clasped hands, and boys walking three abreast.

1 See ‘Fundamentals of English Lexicography’, § 9, p. 220.

2 The parallel bars in COD = not US.

3 U = uncountable


§ 18. Setting of the Entry

The structure and content of the entry in learner’s dictionaries also have some peculiar features. Chief among these is marked attention to the ways words are used in speech, e.g. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary points out which nouns, and in which of their meanings, can be used with the indefinite articles (the symbols [C] and [U] stand for “countable” and “uncountable"). It also indicates the patterns in which verbs can be used. They are presented with the help of the abbreviation VP and the number of the pattern preceding the definition of each meaning. All the patterns are listed in A Summary of the Verb Patterns. The dictionary also gives information of a more detailed character about the lexical valency of words. Sets of words with which the head-word may combine as well as illustrative examples taken from everyday language are given, e.g.

ar·rive/э'raiv/ vi [VP2A, С, ЗА] 1 reach a place, esp the end of a journey: ~ home, ~ at aport, ~ in harbour. 2. come: At last the day ~ d. Her baby ~d (= was born) yesterday. 3. [VP3A] ~ at, reach (a decision, a price, the age of 40, manhood, etc) 4 [VP2A] establish one’s position or reputation: The flood of fan mail proved he'd ~d.

Each dictionary has its own specific features. For instance, in the Learner’s English-Russian Dictionary there is no indication of the patterns the English word is used in. Designed for English learners of Russian the dictionary provides Russian equivalents for all meanings with the stress indicated in each word and translation of all examples, indicates the types of conjugation of Russian verbs. See the entry from the dictionary given below:

arrive[э'raiv] приезжать (64),1 perf приéхать (71); the delegation will ~ on Wednesday делегация приедет в среду; what time do we ~? в котором часу мы приедем? ... when I ~d home they were already there когда я приёхал(а) домой, они уже были там.

In dictionaries of collocations the setting of the entry assumes adifferent shape. See, for example, the entry for arrivetaken from the Verbal Collocations:

arrive [э'raiv] I2 [come to a place]; ~ at some time (unexpectedly, early, late, safely, next week, at last, etc.) приезжать, прибывать в какое-л. время; the train (the steamer, the plane, etc.) has~ d поезд (пароход и т. д.) прибыл, пришел; your friend (his son etc.) has ~d твой друг (его сын и т. д.) приехал /прибыл/; a parcel has ~d посылка пришла;

1 The numbers in brackets indicate the number of the table presenting the type of conjugation of the Russian verb.

2 The black-faced Roman numbers indicate the pattern in which the word can be used.


III. [see I]; ~ with /by/ smth (with a train, with a steamer, by the six o'clock train, by aeroplane, etc.) прибывать чём-л.; ~ on smth (on horseback, on one’s bicycle, etc.) приезжать на чём-л.; ~ at some time (on time, just at the right moment, on Monday, on March 3rd, at six o'clock, before /after/ dark, before /after/ smb, etc.) прибывать когда-л.; ~ somewhere (at a small station, at a village in England, in a city, in London, in harbour, etc.) прибывать куда-л.; 2. [reach, attain]; ~ at smth (at a goal, at perfection, etc.) достигать чего-л.; ~ at smth (at a conclusion, at a correct result, at an opinion, at an understanding, etc.) приходить к чему-л.; ~ at a decision принимать решение.

The supplementary matter in learner’s dictionaries, besides that usually found in general dictionaries, may include other reference material necessary for language learners. For instance, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary includes not only lists of irregular verbs, common abbreviations, geographical names, etc., but also common forenames listed with their pet names, numerical expressions giving help in the reading, speaking and writing of numbers and expressions which contain them, the works of William Shakespeare and even ranks in the Armed Forces of GB and US.

§ 19. Summary and Conclusions

1. The numerous linguistic dictionaries of the English language may be grouped by the following criteria: 1) the nature of their word-list, 2) the information they contain, 3) the language of the explanations, 4) the intended user.

2. The most important problems the lexicographer faces are: 1) the selection of items for inclusion and their arrangement, 2) the setting of the entries, 3) the selection, arrangement and definition of meanings, 4) the illustrative examples to be supplied, and 5) the supplementary material. The choice among the possible solutions depends upon the type to which the dictionary will belong, the aim the compilers pursue, the prospective user of the dictionary, the linguistic conceptions of the dictionary-maker, etc.

3. Designed for foreign learners of English, learner’s dictionaries are characterised by their strictly limited word-list, the great attention given to the functioning of lexical units in speech and their strong perspective orientation.


X. Methods and Procedures of Lexicological Analysis

It is commonly recognised that acquaintance with at least some ofthe currently used procedures of linguistic investigation is of considerable importance both for language learners and for prospective teachers as it gives them the possibility to observe how linguists obtain answers to certain questions and is of help in the preparation of teaching material. It also helps language learners to become good observers of how language works and this is the only lasting way to become better users of language.

The process of scientific investigation may be subdivided into several stages. Observation is an early and basic, phase of all modern scientific investigation, including linguistic, and is the centre of what is called the inductive method of inquiry.

The cardinal role of all inductive procedures is that statements of fact must be based on observation, not on unsupported authority, logical conclusions or personal preferences. Besides, linguists as a rule largely confine themselves to making factual statements, i.e. statements capable of objective verification. In other words a linguist assumes that a question cannot be answered unless there are procedures by which reliable and verifiable answers can be obtained.

The next stage after observation is classification or orderly arrangement of the data obtained through observation. For example, it is observed that in English nouns the suffixal morpheme -eris added to verbal stems (speak+ -er, writ(e)+ -er,etc.), noun stem’s (village + -er, London+ -er,etc.), and that -er also occurs in non-derived words such as mother, father,etc. Accordingly all the nouns in -er may be classified into two types — derived and simple words and the derived words may be subdivided into two groups according to their stems. It should be pointed out that at this stage the application of different methods of analysis is common practice.1

The following stage is usually that of generalisation, i.e. the collection of data and their orderly arrangement must eventually lead to the formulation of< a generalisation or hypothesis, rule, or law.

In our case we can formulate a rule that derived nouns in -er may have either verbal or noun stems. The suffix -er in combination with adjectival or adverbial stems cannot form nouns (cf. (to) digdiggerbut bigbigger).

Moreover, the difference in the meaning of the suffixal nouns observed by the linguist allows him to infer that if -er is added to verbal stems, the nouns thus formed denote an active doer — teacher, learner,etc., whereas when the suffix -eris combined with noun-stems the words denote residents of a place or profession (e.g. villager, Londoner).

1 See ‘Word-Structure’, §§ 7-9, pp. 96 — 102; ‘Word-Formation’, § 9, p. 119. 234


One of the fundamental tests of the validity of a generalisation is whether or not the generalisation is useful in making reliable predictions. For example, proceeding from the observation and generalisation discussed above we may ‘predict’ with a considerable degree of certainty that if a new word with a suffix -er appears in modern English and the suffix is added to a verbal stem, the word is a noun denoting an active doer (cf., e.g., the new words of the type (moon-)crawler, (moon-)walker (lunar-)rouer which appeared when the Soviet moon car was launched.1 Moreover we may predict if we make use of statistical analysis that such words are more likely to be coined than the other types of nouns with the -er suffix.

Any linguistic generalisation is to be followed by the verifуing process. Stated, simply, the linguist is required, as are other scientists, to seek verification of the generalisations that are the result of his inquiries. Here too, various procedures of linguistic analysis are commonly applied.

It may be inferred from the above that acquaintance with at least some of the methods of lexicological investigation, is essential for classification, generalisation and above all for the verification of the hypothesis resulting from initial observation. We may also assume that application of various methods of analysis should be an essential part of the learning process and consequently of teacher’s training.

The metho_ds and procedures briefly discussed below are as follows: 1. Contrastive analysis, 2. Statistical methods of analysis. 3. Immediate Constituents analysis, 4 Distributional analysis and co-occurrence, 5. Transformational analysis, 6. Componental analysis, 7. Method of semantic differential.2

All methods of linguistic analysis are traditionally subdivided into formalised and non-formalised procedures.

It is common knowledge that formalised methods of analysis proved to be in many cases inapplicable to natural languages and did not yield the desired results, nevertheless if not theoretical tenets at least some procedures of these methods of analysis have been used by linguists of different schools of thought and have become part of modern linguists’ equipment.

Naturally, the selection of this or that particular procedure largely depends on the goal set before the investigator.

If, e.g., the linguist wishes to find out the derivational structure of the lexical unit he is likely to make use of the 1С analysis and/or the transformational analysis.3 If the semantic structure of two correlated words is compared, componental analysis will probably be applied.

Some of the methods of lexicological analysis are of primary importance for teachers of English and are widely used in the preparation of

1 See C. Barnhart, op. cit.

2 Method of contextual analysis suggested by Prof. N. N. Amosova is not discussed here because there is a monograph devoted to this procedure. See N. N. Amosova. English Contextology, L., 1968.

3 See ‘Word-Structure’, § 6, p. 95; .Word-Formation’, § 30, p. 146.


teaching material, some are of lesser importance. The comparative value of individual methods for practicing teachers and also the interconnecttion of some of the procedures determined the order of their presentation. The first method discussed here is that of contrastive analysis as we consider it indispensable in teaching English as a foreign language. This is followed by a brief survey of statistical methods of analysis as quantitative evaluation is usually an essential part of any linguistic procedure. The so-called formalised methods of analysis — the IC analysis, distributional and transformational procedures precede the componental analysis not because of their greater value in terms of teaching English, but because componental analysis may be combined with distributional and/or transformational procedures, hence the necessity of introducing both procedures before we start the discussion of the componental analysis.

§ 1. Contrastive Analysis

Contrastive linguistics as a systematic branch of linguistic science is of fairly,

recent date though it is not the idea which is new but rather the systematisation and the underlying principles. It is common knowledge that comparison is the basic principle in comparative philology. However the aims and methods of comparative philology differ considerably from those of contrastive linguistics. The comparativist compares languages in order to trace their philogenic relationships. The material he draws for comparison consists mainly of individual sounds, sound combinations and words, the aim is to establish family relationship. The term used to describe this field of investigation is historical linguistics or diachronic linguistics.

Comparison is also applied in typological classification and analysis. This comparison classifies languages by types rather than origins and relationships. One of the purposes of typological comparison is to arrive at language universals — those elements and processes despite their surface diversity that all language have in common.

Contrastive linguistics attempts to find out similarities and differences in both philogenically related and non-related languages.

It is now universally recognised that contrastive linguistics is a field of particular interest to teachers of foreign languages.1

In fact contrastive analysis grew as the result of the practical demands of language teaching methodology where it was empirically shown that the errors which are made recurrently by foreign language students can be often traced back to the differences in structure between the target language and the language of the learner. This naturally implies the necessity of a detailed comparison of the structure of a native and a target language which has been named contrastive analysis.

1 Contrastive analysis is becoming nowadays one of the fundamental requirements in teaching foreign languages in general. See, e. g., Proceedings of the Warsaw Session of the General Assembly of the International Association of Russian Teachers held in August 1976.


It is common knowledge that one of the major problems in the learning of the second language is the interference caused by the difference between the mother tongue of the learner and the target language. All the problems of foreign language teaching will certainly not be solved by contrastive linguistics alone. There is no doubt, however, that contrastive analysis has a part to play in evaluation of errors, in predicting typical errors and thus must be seen in connection with overall endeavours to rationalise and intensify foreign language teaching.

Linguistic scholars working in the field of applied linguistics assume that the most effective teaching materials are those that are based upon a scientific description of the language to be learned carefully compared with a parallel description of the native language of the learner.1

They proceed from the assumption that the categories, elements, etc. on the semantic as well as on the syntactic and other levels are valid for both languages, i.e. are adopted from a possibly universal inventory. For example, linking verbs can be found in English, in French, in Russian, etc. Linking verbs having the meaning of ‘change’, ‘become’ are differently represented in each of the languages. In English, e.g., become, come, fall, get, grow, run, turn, wax,in German — werden,in French — devenir,in Russian — становиться.

The task set before the linguist is to find out which semantic and syntactic features characterise 1. the English set of verbs (cf. grow thin, get angry, fall ill, turn traitor, run dry, wax eloquent),2. the French (Russian, German, etc.) set of verbs, 3. how the two sets compare. Cf., e.g., the English word-groups grow thin, get angry, fall illand the Russian verbs похудеть, рассердиться, заболеть.

Contrastive analysis can be carried out at three linguistic levels: phonology, grammar (morphology and syntax) and lexis (vocabulary). In what follows we shall try to give a brief survey of contrastive analysis mainly at the level of lexis.

Contrastive analysis is applied to reveal the features of sameness and difference in the lexical meaning and the semantic structure of correlated words in different languages.




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