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Українські рефератиРусские рефератыКниги
НазваThe Meating of English Words(реферат)
РозділІноземна мова, реферати англійською, німецькою
ФорматWord Doc
Тип документуРеферат
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The meaning


of english words




What Is "Meaning"?


Polysemy. Semantic Structure of the Word


Types of Semantic Components


Meaning and Context


What Is "Meaning"?


The linguistic science at present is not able to put forward a

definition of meaning which is conclusive. However, there are certain

facts of which we can be reasonably sure, and one of them is that the

very function of the word as a unit of communication is made possible by

its possessing a meaning. Therefore, among the word's various

characteristics, meaning is certainly the most important.


Generally speaking, meaning can be more or less described as a component

of the word through which a concept (mental phenomena) is communicated.

Meaning endows the word with the ability of denoting real objects,

qualities, actions and abstract notions. The relationships between

“referent” (object, etc. denoted by the word), “concept” and “word” are

traditionally represented by the following triangle:


Thought or Reference


(Concept = mental phenomena)


Symbol Referent


(word) (object denoted by the word)


By the "symbol" here is meant the word; “thought” or “reference” is

concept. The dotted line suggests that there is no immediate relation

between “word” and “referent”: it is established only through the



On the other hand, there is a hypothesis that concepts can only find

their realization through words. It seems that thought is dormant till

the word wakens it up. It is only when we hear a spoken word or read a

printed word that the corresponding concept springs into mind. The

mechanism by which concepts (i. e. mental phenomena) are converted into

words (i. e. linguistic phenomena) and the reverse process by which a

heard or a printed word is converted into a kind of mental picture are

not yet understood or described.


The branch of linguistics which specialises in the study of meaning is

called semantics. As with many terms, the term "semantics" is ambiguous

for it can stand, as well, for the expressive aspect of language in

general and for the meaning of one particular word in all its varied

aspects and nuances (i. e. the semantics of a word = the meaning(s) of a





Semantic Structure of the Word


It is generally known that most words convey several concepts and thus

possess the corresponding number of meanings. A word having several

meanings is called polysemantic, and the ability of words to have more

than one meaning is described by the term polysemy.


Polysemy is certainly not an anomaly. Most English words are

polysemantic. It should be noted that the wealth of expressive resources

of a language largely depends on the degree to which polysemy has

developed in the language. Sometimes people who are not very well

informed in linguistic matters claim that a language is lacking in words

if the need arises for the same word to be applied to several different

phenomena. In actual fact, it is exactly the opposite: if each word is

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