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Productive Types of Compound Nouns 11 страница



It may be inferred from the examples discussed above that ICs represent the word-formation structure while the UCs show the morphemic structure of polymorphic words.

§ 4. Distributional Analysis and Co-occurrence

Distributional analysis in its various forms is commonly used nowadays by lexicologists of different schools of thought. By the term distribution we understand the occurrence of a lexical unit relative to other lexical units of the same level (words relative to words / morphemes relative to morphemes, etc.). In other

1 See ‘Word-Structure’, §§ 4, 6, pp. 94, 95. 246


words by this term we understand the position which lexical units occupy or may occupy in the text or in the flow of speech. It is readily observed that a certain component of the word-meaning is described when the word is identified distributionally. For example, in the sentence The boy — homethe missing word is easily identified as a verb — The boy went, came, ran, etc. home. Thus, we see that the component of meaning that is distributionally identified is actually the part-of-speech meaning but not the individual lexical meaning of the word under analysis. It is assumed that sameness / difference in distribution is indicative of sameness / difference in part-of-speech meaning.

It is also observed that in a number of cases words have different lexical meanings in different distributional patterns. Compare, e.g., the lexical meaning of the verb to treat in the following: to treat somebody well, kindly, etc. — ‘to act or behave towards’ where the verb is followed by a noun + an adverb and to treat somebody to ice-cream, champagne, etc. — ‘to supply with food, drink, entertainment, etc. at one’s own expence’ where the verb is followed by a noun+the preposition to + another noun. Compare also the meaning of the adjective ill in different distributional structures, e.g. ill look, ill luck, ill health, etc. (ill+N — ‘bad’) and fall ill, be ill, etc. (V+ill — ’sick’).

The interdependence of distribution and meaning can be also observed at the level of word-groups. It is only the distribution of otherwise completely identical lexical units that accounts for the difference in the meaning of water tap and tap water. Thus, as far as words are concerned the meaning by distribution may be defined as an abstraction on the syntagmatic level.

It should also be noted that not only words in word-groups but also whole word-groups may acquire a certain denotational meaning due to certain distributional pattern to which this particular meaning is habitually attached. For example, habitually the word preceding ago denotes a certain period of time (an hour, a month, a century, etc. ago) and the whole word-group denotes a certain temporal unit. In this particular distributional pattern any word is bound to acquire an additional lexical meaning of a certain period of time, e.g. a grief ago (E. Cummings), three cigarettes ago (A. Christie), etc. The words a grief and a cigarette are understood as indicating a certain period of time and the word-groups as denoting temporal units. This is also true of the meaning of the most unusual word-groups or sentences, e.g. griefs of joy (E. Cummings) (cf. days of joy, nights of grief,etc.), to deify one’s razorblade(E. Cummings) (cf. to sharpen the knife).

Distributional pattern as such seems to possess a component of meaning not to be found in individual words making up the word-group or the sentence. Thus, the meaning ‘make somebody do smth by means of something’ cannot be traced back to the lexical meanings of the individual words in ‘to coax somebody into accepting the suggestion’. The distributional pattern itself seems to impart this meaning to the whole irrespective of the meaning of the verb used in this structure, i.e. in the pattern V+N+into+Ving verbs of widely different lexical meaning may be used. One can say, e.g., to kiss somebody into doing smth, to


flatter somebody into doing smth, to beat somebody into doing something,

etc.; in all these word-groups one finds the meaning ‘to make somebody do something’ which is actually imparted by the distributional pattern.

The same set of lexical items can mean different things in different syntactic arrangements as illustrated by: John thought he had left: Mary alone, Mary alone thought he had left John. Had he alone thought Mary left John?

As can be inferred from the above distributional analysis is mainly applied by the linguist to find out sameness or difference of meaning. It is assumed that the meaning of any lexical unit may be viewed as made up by the lexical meaning of its components and by the meaning of the pattern of their arrangement, i.e. their distributional meaning. This may perhaps be best illustrated by the semantic analysis of polymorphic words. The word singer, e.g., has the meaning of ‘one who singsor is singing’ not only due to the lexical meaning of the stem sing- and the derivational morpheme -er (= active doer), but also because of the meaning of their distributional pattern. A different pattern of arrangement of the same morphemes *ersing changes the whole into a meaningless string of sounds.1

Distribution of stems in a compound makes part of the lexical meaning of the compound word. Compare, e.g., different lexical meanings of the words formed by the same stems bird and cage in bird-cage and cage-bird.

It is also assumed that productivity largely depends on the distributional meaning of the lexical units. Distributional meaning of the lexical units accounts for the possibility of making up and understanding a lexical item that has never been heard or used before but whose distributional pattern is familiar to the speaker and the hearer. Thus, though such words as kissable, hypermagical, smiler (She is a charming smiler), etc. cannot be found in any dictionary their meaning is easily understood on the analogy with other words having the same distributional pattern, e. g- (v + -able- -> A as in readable, eatableand kissable).

From the discussion of the distributional analysis above it should not be inferred that difference in distribution is always indicative of the difference in meaning and conversely that sameness of distribution is an absolutely reliable criterion of sameness of meaning.

It was pointed out above that as a rule distribution of stems in a compound word predicts a certain component of meaning as the stem that stands first is understood as modifying the one that follows (cf. bird-cage and cage-bird). In certain cases, however, the meaning or to be more exact one of the word-meanings may be structured differently. Firstly, in morphologically non-motivated words distributional structure is not correlated with certain meaning. For instance, in the words apple-sauce, plum-sauce, etc. we actually see that the item sauce-is modified by the stems apple-, plum-,etc., hence these words may be semantically interpreted as ‘kind of sauce made of apples, plums, etc.’ One of the meanings of the word apple-sauce — ‘nonsense’, ‘insincere

1 See ‘Semasiology’, § 19, p. 27. ‘Word-Formation’, § 27, p. 144, 248


flattery’, however, is in no way connected with the distributional structure of stems. This is observed in all non-motivated words. Secondly, it is common knowledge that words used in identical distributional patterns may have different meanings. Compare, e.g., the meaning of the verb to movein the pattern to move+N: 1. cause to change position (e.g. move the chair, the piano, etc.), 2. arouse, work on the feelings of smb. (e.g. to move smb. deeply). In the cases of this type distributional analysis traditionally understood as the analysis on the level of different parts of speech, as an abstraction on the syntagmatic level is of little help in the analysis of sameness or difference of lexical meaning.

Distributional analysis, however, is not as a rule confined to the analysis on the part-of-speech level or in general on the grammatical level but is extended to the lexical level.

The essential difference between grammar and lexis is that grammar deals with an obligatory choice between a comparatively small and limited number of possibilities, e.g. between the manand mendepending on the form of the verb to be,cf. The man is walking, The men are walkingwhere the selection of the singular number excludes the selection of the plural number. Lexis accounts for the much wider possibilities of choice between, say, man, soldier, firemanand so on. Lexis is thus said to be a matter of choice between open sets of items while grammar is one between closed systems.1 The possibilities of choice between lexical items are not limitless however. Lexical items containing certain semantic components are usually observed only in certain positions. In phrases such as all the sun long, a grief agoand farmyards awaythe deviation consists of nouns sun, grief, farm yardsin a position where normally only members of a limited list of words appear (in this case nouns of linear measurements such as inches, feet, miles).The difference between the normal lexical paradigm and the ad hoc paradigm can be represented as follows:

 

inches feet yards, etc. ) away (normal) farmyards griefs, etc. } away (deviant)

Cf. also “half an hour and ten thousand miles ago” (Arthur C. Clark). “She is feeling miles better today.” (Nancy Milford)

Distribution defined as the occurrence of a lexical unit relative to other lexical units can be interpreted as co-occurrence of lexical items and the two terms can be viewed as synonyms.

It follows that by the term distribution we understand the aptness of a word in one of its meanings to collocate or to co-occur with a certain group, or certain groups of words having some common semantic component. In this case distribution may be treated on the level of semantic classes or subclasses of lexical units.

1 See ‘Semasiology’, §§ 5, 6, pp. 18, 19.


Thus, e.g., it is common practice to subdivide animate nouns into nouns denoting human beings and non-humans (animals, birds, etc.). Inanimate nouns are usually subdivided into concrete and abstract (cf., e.g., table, book, flowerand joy,, idea, relation)which may be further classified into lexico-semantic groups, i.e. groups of words joined together by a common concept, e.g. nouns denoting pleasurable emotions (joy, delight, rapture,etc.), nouns denoting mental aptitude (cleverness, brightness, shrewdness,etc.). We observe that the verb to movefollowed by the nouns denoting inanimate objects (move + Nin) as arule have the meaning of ‘cause to change position’; when, however, this verb is followed by the nouns denoting human beings (move + Nanim pers) it will usually have another meaning, i.e. ‘arouse, work on the feelings of. In other cases the classification of nouns into animate / inanimate may be insufficient for the semantic analysis, and it may be necessary to single out different lexico-semantic groups as, e.g., in the case of the adjective blind.Any collocation of this adjective with a noun denoting a living being (animate) (blind+Nan) will bring out the meaning ‘without the power to see’ (blind man, cat.etc.). Blindfollowed by a noun denoting inanimate objects, or abstract concepts may have different meanings depending on the lexico-semantic group the noun belongs to. Thus, blindwill have the meaning ‘reckless, thoughtless, etc’ when combined with nouns denoting emotions (blind passion, love, fury,etc.) and the meaning ‘hard to discern, to see’ in collocation with nouns denoting written or typed signs (blind handwriting, blind type,etc.).

In the analysis of word-formation pattern the investigation on the level of lexico-semantic groups is commonly used to find out the word-meaning, the part of speech, the lexical restrictions of the stems, etc. For example, the analysis of the derivational pattern n+ish -> A shows that the suffix -ishis practically never combined with the noun-stems which denote units of time, units of space, etc. (*hourish, *mileish,etc.). The overwhelming majority of adjectives in -ishare formed from the noun-stems denoting living beings (wolfish, clownish, boyish,etc.).

It follows that distribution may be viewed as the place of a lexical item relative to other lexical items on the level of semantic classes and sub-classes.

The analysis of lexical collocability in word-groups is widely applied for different purposes: to find out typical, most commonly used collocations in modern English, to investigate the possibility / impossibility of certain types of meaning in certain types of collocations, and so on.

It stands to reason that certain lexical items rarely if ever co-occur because of extra-linguistic factors. There are no restrictions inherent in the grammar or vocabulary of the English language that would make co-occurrence of the participle flyingwith the noun rhinocerosimpossible, yet we may be reasonably certain that the two words are unlikely to co-occur.

What we describe as meaning by collocation or meaning by co-occurrence is actually a blend of extra-linguistic and intra-linguistic components of meaning.


One or the other component may prevail. For instance, one may argue that the meaning of the adjective goodis different in good doctor, good mother, good milkman,etc. because we know that a good doctoris ‘a doctor who gives his patient adequate medical care and treatment’, whereas good motheris ‘a mother who takes care of the needs of her children and cares for them adequately’. Here naturally it is the extralinguistic factors that account for the difference in meaning.

Of greatest importance for language teaching, however, is the investigation of lexical restrictions in collocability that are of purely intralinguistic nature and cannot be accounted for by logical considerations. This can be perhaps best illustrated by comparing the collocability of correlated words in different languages. In the English language, e.g., the verb toseize may be combined with nouns denoting different kinds of emotions: I was seised with joy, grief,etc., whereas in the Russian language one can say на меня напала тоска, отчаяние, сомнение, etc. but the collocations напала радость, надежда are impossible, that is to say the Russian verb cannot be combined with nouns denoting pleasurable emotions.

The results of the co-occurrence or distributional analysis may be of great help to teachers in preparation of teaching material.

To illustrate the point under consideration it is sufficient to discuss the experiment the goal of which was to find out the semantic peculiarities of the verb to giggle. Gigglerefers to a type of laughter — to giggle is usually defined as ‘to laugh in a nervous manner’. There is nothing in the dictionary definition to indicate a very important peculiarity of the word-meaning, i.e. that giggling is habitually associated with women. A completion test carried out by a group of English linguists yielded interesting results.

The sentences to be completed were of the type: The manwith obvious pleasure, The woman — with obvious pleasure,etc.

The informants were to fill in the blanks witheither the verb to laughor to giggleand were presented with a choice of subjects male and female.

A clear preference was shown for women gigglingand men laughingwith obvious pleasure. The analysis of the informants’ responses also showed that a man may giggle drunkenlyor nervously,but not happilyor politely.In the case of women, however, of whom giggling is more characteristic it appears that all collocations — giggle drunkenly, nervously, happily, politely — are equally acceptable. It may be inferred from the above that the meaning by co-occurrence is an inherent part and an essential component of the word-meaning.

§ 5. Transformational Analysis

Transformational analysis in lexicological investigations may be defined as re-patterning of various distributional structures in order to discover difference or sameness of meaning of practically identical distributional patterns.

As distributional patterns are in a number of cases polysemantic, transformational procedures are of help not only in the analysis of semantic sameness / difference of the lexical units under investigation


but also in the analysis of the factors that account for their polysemy.

For example, if we compare two compound words dogfightand dogcart,we shall see that the distributional pattern of stems is identical and may be represented as n+n. The meaning of these words broadly speaking is also similar as the first of the stems modifies, describes, the second and we understand these compounds as ‘a kind of fight’ and ‘a kind of cart’ respectively. The semantic relationship between the stems, however, is different and hence the lexical meaning of the words is also different. This can be shown by means of a transformational procedure which shows that a dogfightis semantically equivalent to ‘a fight between dogs’, whereas a dogcartis not ‘a cart between dogs’ but ‘a cart drawn by dogs’.

Word-groups of identical distributional structure when re-patterned also show that the semantic relationship between words and consequently the meaning of word-groups may be different. For example, inthe word-groups consisting of a possessive pronoun followed by a noun, e.g. his car, his failure, his arrest, his goodness,etc., the relationship between hisand the following nouns is in each instant different which can be demonstrated by means of transformational procedures.

his car(pen, table, etc.) may be re-patterned into he has a car(a pen, a table, etc.) or in a more generalised form may be represented as A possesses B.

his failure(mistake, attempt, etc.) may be represented as he failed(was mistaken, attempted) or A performs В which is impossible in the case of his car(pen, table, etc.).

his arrest(imprisonment, embarrassment, etc.) may be re-patterned into he was arrested(imprisoned and embarrassed, etc.) or A is the goal of the action B.

his goodness(kindness, modesty, etc.) may be represented as he is good(kind, modest, etc.) or В is the quality of A.

It can also be inferred from the above that two phrases which aretransforms of each other (e.g. his car-> he has a car; his kindness -> he is kind,etc.1) are correlated in meaning as well as in form.

Regular correspondence and interdependence of different patterns is viewed as a criterion of different or same meaning. When the direction of. conversion was discussed it was pointed out that transformational procedure may be used as one of the criteria enabling us to decide which of the two words in a conversion pair is the derived member.2

Transformational analysis may also be described as a kind of translation. If we understand by translation transference of a message by different means, we may assume that there exist at least three types of translation:3 1. interlingual translation or translation from

1 -> stands for ‘may be replaced by’

2 See ‘Word-Formation’, § 19, p. 133.

3 See E. Nida. Towards a scientific theory of translation. Netherlands, 1964; Л. С. Бархударов. Язык и перевод. М., 1975.


one language into another which is what we traditionally call translation; 2. intersemiotic translation or transference of a message from one kind of semiotic system to another. For example, we know that a verbal message may be transmitted into a flag message by hoisting up the proper flags in the right sequence, and at last 3. intralingual translation which consists essentially in rewording a message within the same language — a kind of paraphrasing. Thus, e.g., the same message may be transmitted by the following his work is excellent -> his excellent work -> the excellence of his work.

The rules of transformational analysis, however, are rather strict and should not be identified with paraphrasing in the usual sense of the term. There are many restrictions both on the syntactic and the lexical level. An exhaustive discussion of these restrictions is unnecessary and impossible within the framework of the present textbook. We shall confine our brief survey to the transformational procedures commonly used in lexicological investigation. These are as follows:

1. permutation — the re-patterning of the kernel transform on condition that the basic subordinative relationships between words and the word-stems of the lexical units are not changed. In the example discussed above the basic relationships between lexical units and the stems of the notional words are essentially the same: cf. his work is excellent -> his excellent work -> the excellence of his work -> he works excellently.

2. replacement — the substitution of a component of the distributional structure by a member of a certain strictly defined set of lexical units, e.g. replacement of a notional verb by an auxiliary or a link verb, etc. Thus, in the two sentences having identical distributional structure He will make a bad mistake, He will make a good teacher,the verb to makecan be substituted for by becomeor beonly in the second sentence (he will become, be a good teacher)but not in the first (*he will become a bad mistake)which is a formal proof of the intuitively felt difference in the meaning of the verb to makein each of the sentences. In other words the fact of the impossibility of identical transformations of distributionally identical structures is a formal proof of the difference in their meaning.

3. additiоn (or expansion) — may be illustrated by the application of the procedure of addition to the classification of adjectives into two groups — adjectives denoting inherent and non-inherent properties. For example, if to the two sentences John is happy(popular, etc.) and John is tall(clever, etc.) we add, say, in Moscow,we shall see that *John is tall(clever, etc.) in Moscowis utterly nonsensical, whereas John is happy(popular, etc.) in Moscowis a well-formed sentence. Evidently this may be accounted for by the difference in the meaning of adjectives denoting inherent (tall, clever,etc.) and non-inherent (happy, popular,etc.) properties.

4. deletion — a procedure which shows whether one of the words is semantically subordinated to the other or others, i.e. whether the semantic relations between words are identical. For example, the word- group red flowersmay be deleted and transformed into flowerswithout


making the sentence nonsensical. Cf.: I love red flowers, I love flowers,whereas I hate red tapecannot be transformed into I hate tapeor I hate red.1

Transformational procedures may be of use in practical classroom teaching as they bring to light the so-called sentence paradigm or to be more exact different ways in which the same message may be worded in modern English.

It is argued, e.g., that certain paired sentences, one containing averb and one containing an adjective, are understood in the same way, e.g. sentence pairs where there is form similarity between the verb and the adjective.

Cf.: I desire that. . . — I am desirous that . . .; John hopes that . . . — John is hopeful that . . .; His stories amuse me . . . — are amusing to me; Cigarettes harm people — are harmful to people.

Such sentence pairs occur regularly in modern English, are used interchangeably in many cases and should be taught as two equally possible variants.

It is also argued that certain paired sentences, one containing averb and one a deverbal noun, are also a common occurrence in Modern English. Cf., e.g., I like jazz — >my liking for jazz; John considers Mary’s feelings -> John’s consideration of Mary’s feelings.2

Learning a foreign language one must memorise as a rule several commonly used structures with similar meaning. These structures make up what can be described as a paradigm of the sentence just as a set of forms (e.g. gowentgone,etc.) makes up a word paradigm. Thus, the sentence of the type John likes his wife to eat wellmakes up part of the sentence paradigm which may be represented as follows John likes his wife to eat well — > John likes his wife eating well — > what John likes is his wife eating well,etc. as any sentence of this type may be re-patterned in the same way.

Transformational procedures are also used as will be shown below in componental analysis of lexical units.

§ 6. Componental Analysis

In recent years problems of semasiology have come to the fore in the research work of linguists of different schools of thought and a number of attempts have been made to find efficient procedures for the analysis and interpretation of meaning.3 An important step forward was taken in 1950’s with the development of componental analysis. In this analysis linguists proceed from the assumption that the smallest units of meaning are sememes (or semes) and that sememes and lexemes (or lexical items) are usually not in one-to-one but in one-to-many correspondence. For example, in the lexical item womanseveral components of meaning or sememes may be singled out and namely ‘human’, ‘female’, ‘adult’. This one-to-many correspondence may be represented as follows.

1 See ‘Word-Groups and Phraseological Units’, §3, p. 67.

2 This is usually referred to as nominalisation and is viewed as one of the permutation procedures. See also ‘Word-Formation’, § 19, p. 133.

3 See, e. g., Л. С. Бархударов. Язык и перевод. М., 1975, с. 50 — 73.


The analysis of the word girlwould also yield the sememes ‘human’ and ‘female’, but instead of the sememe ‘adult’ we shall find the sememe ‘young’ distinguishing the meaning of the word womanfrom that of girl.The comparison of the results of the componental analysis of the words boyand girlwould also show the difference just in one component, i..e. the sememe denoting ‘male’ and ‘female’ respectively.

It should be pointed out that componental analysis deals with individual meanings. Different meanings of polysemantic words have different componental structure. For example, the comparison of two meanings of the noun boy(1. a male child up to the age of 17 or 18 and 2. a male servant (any age) esp. in African and Asian countries) reveals that though both of them contain the semantic components ‘human’ and ‘male’ the component ‘young’ which is part of one meaning is not to be found in the other. As a rule when we discuss the analysis of word-meaning we imply the basic meaning of the word under consideration.




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