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CHAPTER 4 sense relations

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THUONGMAI UNIVERSITY
ENGLISH FACULTY

-----o0o-----

DISCUSSION
SEMANTICS

CHAPTER 4: SENSE RELATIONS

Lecturer
Class
Group

: Ms. Nguyen Thi Thuy Chung
: H2001ENTH0911
: 06

HANOI – 2020


SEMANTICS
DISCUSSION
Chapter 2: Word Meaning

Lecturer
Class
Group

Ms. Nguyen Thi Thuy Chung
H2001ENTH0911


1


Group 1
Name
Dang Thi Van Anh
Nguyen Thi Lan Anh
Nguyen Dieu Anh
Nguyen Thi Nhat Anh (Leader)
Tran Thi Linh Chi
Ngo Thi Diem
Nguyen Thi Thuy Dung
Ha Anh Dung
Nguyen Thi Anh Duong
Le Thi My Duyen

Tasks
PowerPoint
Presenting (A-III. Synonym & Antonym)
Presenting (A-II. Homonym & Polysemy)
- Word (Introduction; Conclusion; A-I, II)
- Presenting (Introduction + A-I, II)
- Completing whole word assignment
Word (III. Synonym & Antonym)
Word (II. Homonym & Polysemy)
Word (Exercises 3,4)
- Making game
- Presenting (Game + Conclusion)
Presenting (B. Exercises)
Word (Exercise 1,2)



GROUP 1
TABLE OF MEMBERS ASSESSMENT
No
1

Student
Number
18D170151

Name

Class

Tasks

Assessment

Dang Thi
Van Anh

K53N
4

PowerPoint

(A+)
Complete on time
+ Excellent work


2

17D170122

Nguyen Thi
Lan Anh

K53N
3

1.Summarize
important ideas
for PP work
2.Presenting (AIII. Synonym &
Antonym)
1.Summarize
important ideas
for PP work
2.Presenting (AII. Homonym &
Polysemy)

(A-)
1.Uncomplete task
(1) on time
2.Excellent
Presentation

3


18D170104

Nguyen
Dieu Anh

K54N
3

4

17D170244

Nguyen Thi
Nhat Anh

K53N
5

1.Word
(Introduction;
Conclusion; A-I,
II) + Completing

(A+)
1.Complete on
time + Actively
give feedback for
Word work
2.Excellent
Presentation

(A+)
1.Complete on
time
2.Excellent
Presentation

whole word
assignment
2.Presenting
(Introduction +
A-I, II)
5

18D170055

Tran Thi
Linh Chi

K54N
2

Word (III.
Synonym &
Antonym)

(A)
-Complete on time
-Word file exists
some spelling
mistakes


Mark


6

18D170205

Ngo Thi
Diem

K54N
5

Word (II.
Homonym &
Polysemy)

(A+)
-Complete on time
-Good work

7

17D170306

Nguyen Thi
Thuy Dung

K53N

6

Word (Exercises
3,4)

(A+)
Complete on time
+ Excellent work

8

17D170126

Ha Anh
Dung

K53N
3

1.Making game

(A+)
1.Complete on
time
2.Excellent work
(Game +
Presentation)

2.Presenting
(Game +

Conclusion)

9

17D170247

Nguyen Thi
Anh Duong

K53N
5

Presenting (B.
Exercises)

(A-)
1.Uncomplete task
(1) on time
2.Excellent
Presentation

10

18D170007

Le Thi My
Duyen

K54N
1


Word (Exercise
1,2)

(A+)
Complete on time
+ Excellent work


TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................................1
A. THEORIES............................................................................................................ 2
I.

Words as meaningful units...................................................................................2

II.

Forms and expressions......................................................................................2

III.

Homonymy and Polysemy.................................................................................2

1. Homonymy............................................................................................................2
2. Polysemy................................................................................................................4
3. Homonymy & Polysemy.......................................................................................6
IV.

Synonym and antonym......................................................................................8


1. Synonym................................................................................................................8
2. Antonymy..............................................................................................................9
B. EXERCISES........................................................................................................11
CONCLUSION..........................................................................................................16


INTRODUCTION

Semantics is a systematic study of meaning. In other word, it is the study of how
language organizes and expresses meaning. When learning semantics, we will give an
account of word meaning, sentence meaning and utterance meaning. It is a general
belief that the meaning does not exist in the word itself, but it rather spreads over the
neighboring words, because the neighboring words identify the semantic field and help
pin down the meaning. A dictionary may have over 50 different senses of the word
"play", each of these having a different meaning based on the context of the
word's usage. A word which is related to other words is related to them in sense, hence
sense relations. The subjects that have long held the interest and attention of
semanticists are polysemy, homonymy, synonymy, antonymy. Each of these items
announces its distinctive features. These will be discussed in this chapter. The
discussion will cover the understanding of the workings of the words as well as sense
relations.

1


A. THEORIES
I. Words as meaningful units
It is generally agreed that the words, phrases and sentences of language have
meanings and sentences are made up of words (phrases) and that the meaning of a

sentence is the function of the meanings of the words (and phrases) of which it is made
up.
“Words are regarded as the smallest indivisible meaningful units of a language
which can operate independently.”.
It is difficult to define the term “word”. One reason is that the term ‘word’ is
ambiguous, both in everyday usage and also as it is employed technically by linguists.
Words may be considered purely as forms, whether spoken or written, or, alternatively,
as composite expressions, which combine forms and meanings.
II.Forms and expressions
Words are also considered expressions. Words and word forms are distinguished
from each other in terms of the distinction between lexical and grammatical meanings.
Forms of one and the same word have the same lexical meaning whereas different
words have different lexical meanings.
III. Homonymy and Polysemy
1. Homonymy
a. Definition:
 The word Homonymy (from the Greek - homos: same, onoma: name) is the
relation between words with identical writing and/or pronunciation but different
meanings - that is, the condition of being homonyms.
 Examples:
 peer ('person belonging to the same group in age and status') and peer ('look
searchingly')
 peep ('making a feeble shrill sound') and peep ('look cautiously')
 for (preposition) and four (number)
b. Types of homonyms:
There are 2 types of homonyms: Absolute homonyms and partial homonyms.
 Absolute homonyms should satisfy 3 conditions:
2



 They will be unrelated in meanings.
 All their forms will be identical.
 The identical forms will be grammatically equivalent.
Examples:
 Spring (n): a stream – Spring (n): the season after winter and before summer
 Pole (n): either of the two locations (North Pole or South Pole) – Pole (n): a
tent pole.
 Partial homonyms (Depending on the sameness of forms, including
pronunciation and spelling) may be classified into 3 small types:
 Full homonyms: Words that have the same spelling, same pronunciation, but
different word forms and different meanings.
Examples:
 Address (n): địa chỉ - write the name and address of the intended recipient on
(an envelope, letter, or package)
Address (v): phát biểu - speak to (a person or an assembly), typically in a formal
way.
 Play (n): vở kịch - a dramatic work for the stage or to be broadcast.
Play (v): chơi - take part in (a sport).
 Fly (n): con ruồi – fly (v): bay
 Lie (n): bịa chuyện, lời nói dối – lie (v): nằm
 Fair (n): hội chợ - fair (a): công bằng
 Homophones: words that have the same pronunciation but different spelling.
Examples:
 Not (adv): không – knot (n): nút dây
 I: tôi – eye (n): con mắt
 Heal (v): chữa lành – heel (n): gót chân
 Affect (v): ảnh hưởng đến – effect (n): kết quả, tác dụng
 Die (v): chết – dye (v,n): nhuộm, thuốc nhuộm
 Homographs: Words that have the same spelling but different pronunciation
Examples:

3


 Contract (n): hợp đồng – contract (v): lây nhiễm
 Subject (n): chủ đề - subject (v): ép buộc, chịu đựng
 Refuse (n): vật phế thải – refuse (v): từ chối
 Rebel (n): người nổi loạn – rebel (v): nổi loạn
 Content (n): nội dung – content (a): hài long
c. Sources of homonyms:
- Phonetic changes: which words undergo in the course of their historical
development. As a result of such changes, two or more words which were formerly
pronounced differently may develop identical sound forms and thus become
homonyms. A more complicated change of form brought together pair of homonyms:
to knead (OE cnēdan) and to need (OE nēodian);
- Conversion: which serves the creating of grammatical homonyms (e.g. iron
→to iron, work→ to work, etc.);
- Shortening: is a further type of word-building which increases the number of
homonyms (e.g. The noun rep, n. denoting a kind of fabric has three homonyms made
by shortening: repertory → rep, n., representative → rep, n., reputation → rep, n.);
- Borrowing is another source of homonyms. A borrowed word may, in the
final stage of its phonetic adaptation, duplicate in form either a native word or another
borrowing (e.g. ritus Lat. → rite n. – write v. – right adj.; paisOFr→ piece, n. –
pettiaOFr→ peace n.);
- Words made by sound-imitation can also form pairs of homonyms with other
words (e.g. mew, n. "the sound a cat makes" – mew, n. "a sea gul" – mew, n. "a pen in
which poultry is fattened" – mews "small terraced houses in Central London").
- Disintegration or split of polysemy: different meanings of the same word
move so far away from each other that they come to be regarded as two separate units.
The Latin “buxus” results in box (a kind of small evergreen shrub), box (a receptacle
made of wood), box (v) (to put in a box), box (a slap with the hand on the ear) and box

(a sport term).
2. Polysemy
a. Definition
4


- Polysemy is an aspect of semantic ambiguity that concerns the multiplicity of
word meanings.
- In other words, one word has two or more multiple meanings and these
meanings are related to each other.
Examples:
 Flurry: sudden commotion, excitement, confusion, or nervous hurry: a flurry
of activity before the party.
Flurry: a sudden gust of wind or snow.
 Gutter: a shallow trough fixed beneath the edge of a roof for carrying off
rainwater.
Gutter: the blank space between facing pages of a book or between adjacent
columns of type or stamps in a sheet. Gutter (v): (of a candle or flame) flicker and burn
unsteadily: the candles had almost guttered out.
b. Ambiguity and the role of contexts
 Definition:
Ambiguity is the presence of two or more possible meanings in a single passage.
The word comes from a Latin term which means, "wandering about" and the adjective
form of the word is ambiguous. Other terms used for ambiguity are amphibologia,
amphibolia, and semantic ambiguity. In addition, ambiguity is sometimes regarded as a
fallacy (commonly known as equivocation) in which the same term is used in more
than one way.
 In speech and writing, there are two basic types of ambiguity:
+ Lexical ambiguity is the presence of two or more possible meanings within a
single word.

+ Grammatical ambiguity is the presence of two or more possible meanings
within a single sentence or sequence of words.
 Example: They rent some detective novels written by Dan Brown.
Lexical ambiguity
(1) to pay someone for the use of
(2) to tear (something) into pieces

Grammatical ambiguity
(1) present tense of “rent”
(2) past tense of “rend”

 The role of contexts

5


Context plays a very important role in determining the semantics of a word, a
sentence or a whole text. Especially in which the context consists of two parts:
+ Lexical context, the words or phrases that are used with the homonyms or polysemantic words.
Examples:
 The enraged actor sued the newspaper.
He read the newspaper.
 His cottage is near a small wood.
The statue was made out of a block of wood.
+ Grammatical context, the grammatical structure in which a homonym or
polysemy is used.
Examples:
 He drank a glass of milk
He forgot to milk the cow.
 To eliminate ambiguity, the reader is required to remove lexical ambiguity and

grammatical ambiguity.
+ based on grammatical equivalence: that means the reader must identify words
and phrases used correctly in the sentence or the whole text.
+

context-based: the writer can add information in sentences to make the

sentence clearer.
Example: I saw her duck. => “I saw her duck walking in my yard” or “I saw her
duck to avoid the incoming ball.”
3. Homonymy & Polysemy
- Homonym and polysemy are distinguished from each other in: definition,
relatedness in meaning, origin, dictionary and guessing the meaning.

6


Content

Polysemy

Homonymy

comparison
Polysemy is the coexistence of many Homonymy refers to the
Definition

possible meanings for a word or

existence of unrelated


phrase.

words that look or sound

Different but related meanings.

the same.
Completely different

meaning
Origin

Related origins

meanings.
Different origins

Dictionary

Polysemous words are listed under

Homonyms are listed

Guessing the

one entry in dictionaries
Polysemous words can be

separately in dictionaries

Meaning of homonyms

meaning

understood if you know that the

cannot be guessed since

meaning of one word.

the words have unrelated

-Rum (1) (n): an alcoholic liquor

meanings.
-Stalk (1): The main stem

Relatedness in

Examples

distilled from sugar-cane residues or
molasses. Example: Get drunk on

of a herbaceous plant
Stalk (2): Pursue or

approach stealthily
-Sow (1): adult female pig
Rum (2) (a): odd; peculiar. Example: Sow (2): to plant seeds in a

rum.

It's a rum business, certainly.
-Prune (1) (n): a plum preserved by
drying, having a black, wrinkled
appearance.
Prune (2) (v): trim (a tree, shrub, or
bush) by cutting away dead or
overgrown branches or stems,
especially to increase fruitfulness
and growth.

7

ground


IV. Synonym and antonym
1. Synonym
a. Definition
- Synonyms are actually words of the same parts of speech which have similar
meaning but not identical meanings.
- They may share a similar denotational or connotational meanings. They can
differ from each another in terms of denotation or connotation.
Ex: Father and dad differ in terms of connotation rather than denotation.
b. Classification
 Absolute synonyms: satisfy the following three conditions:
- All their meanings are identical
- They are synonymous in all contexts
- They are semantically equivalent (i.e. their meaning or meanings are identical)

on all dimensions of meanings and descriptive and non-descriptive.
It can be seen that such synonyms are extremely rare.
Ex: begin-start
 Semantic synonyms: they are those which differ in terms of their denotation.
Ex: glance (a quick and stolen look) and look (turn one’s eyes in a particular
direction in order to see)
 Stylistic synonyms: they are those which differ in terms of their connotation.
Ex: Father-dad
 Semantic-stylistic synonyms: make up the majority of all synonyms in Englishwords differing both in denotational and connotational meaning, (i.e. in shades of
meaning connotation.
Ex: to reduce- to axe- to cut back
 Phraseological synonyms: words which are different in their collocations
(combinability: ability to be combined with different words).
Ex: do- make (to do exercises but to make money)
 Territorial synonyms: they are those employed in different regions like Britain,
Canada, Australia or the US.
Ex: football (Br.E)- soccer(Am.E)
8


 Euphemisms: literally means “speak well”. In using euphemisms, a less
unpleasant or offensive effect is achieved.
Ex: “redundant” and “be out of a job/ unemployed”: the word “redundant” is
not as direct or to the point as “unemployed”, thus, it may sound more “politically
correct”.
c. Sources of synonyms
- Borrowing: many words were borrowed from Greek, Latin and French and
they became synonyms to native words forming the synonymic groups, in which the
native words are usually neutral French words are literary, Latin and Greek are
bookish or scientific.

Ex: to ask (native English words)- to question (words borrowed from French)- to
interrogate (words borrowed from Latin).
- The change of meaning:
The word “hand” for example, acquired the meaning “worker” and became
synonym to this word, then the meaning “side, direction” (hand-side), signature(hand-signature).
- Word-building:
+ Use/creation of phrasal verbs: to rise- to get up
+ Conversion may also be a source of synonymy: laughter-laugh
+ Quite often synonyms (mostly stylistic) are due to shortening: bicycle-bike
+ Synonyms are created by means of derivation and composition:
Police-policeman-policewoman
2. Antonymy
a. Definition
- Words of the same part of speech that are opposite in meanings are called
antonyms.
- Many words, especially those denoting concrete objects have no antonyms.
- Usually adjective denoting quality, verbs denoting actions or states and
abstract nouns have antonyms.
Ex: ugly- pretty

9


b. Characteristics
- Antonyms belong to the same semantic field, nearly identical in distribution.
Ex: big- small (adjectives, about size)
- Antonyms do not differ either in style emotional coloring.
Ex: Treat somebody ill or well.
- In many pairs of antonyms, one is marked and other unmarked.
Ex: How tall is he? (Not “How short is he?”)

c. Classification
 Gradable antonyms: are easily gradable, based on the operation of gradation.
They are opposite ends of a continuous scale of values.
Ex: hot (-warm- cool-)- cold
 Complementary antonyms: involve two items and presuppose that the
assertion of one is the negation of the other. Complementary synonyms come in pairs
and between them exhaust all relevant possibilities. If one is applicable, then the other
can’t be, and vice versa.
Ex: alive-dead
 Conversive: Conversive denote the same situation but from different points of
view, with a reversal of the order of participants and their roles.
Ex: sell-buy
 Directional antonyms: Directional antonyms present opposite directions of
motion.
Ex: come-go

10


B. EXERCISES
Exercise 1: Explain the semantic ambiguity of the following sentences by
providing two sentences which paraphrase the two meanings.
1. He waited a few minutes
Minutes (n): - a period of 60 seconds
- a written record of what is said at a meeting
=> He waited for his girlfriend a few minutes
=> He waited his management to give a few minutes of the meeting
2. She cannot bear children
Bear (v): - to tolerate something or someone
- to give a birth

=> She cannot bear taking care of children because they are very noisy
=> She cannot bear children because she is such a weak woman
3. My nail was broken
Nail (n): - a area that covers the upper side of fingers and toes
- a thin pointed piece of metal
=> My finger nail was broken when I had it cut
=> My nail on the wall was broken
4. We are in the park
Park (n): - a large area of land with grass and trees
- a place to leave a car
=> We are in the national park to go for walk
=> We are in the car park of the building
5. He gave some points
Points (n): - ideas or opinions
- marks or units for counting
=> He gave some individual points of view to prove the truth
=> He gave some good points to his students for the final exam
6. He was in trouble about his chest
Chest (n): - the upper front part of the body
- a large strong heavy box used for storing things

11


=> He was in trouble about his chest pains
=> He was in trouble about his jewellery chest someone had stolen
7. Jack has a fan
Fan (n): - someone who admires the idol
- an electric device
=> Jack has a big fan who always admires and supports his career

=> Jack has a ceiling fan
Exercise 2: Comment on the types of homonyms
1. Be – Bee
=> Homophones: same pronunciation but different spelling
2. Letter (n) – Letter (n)
=> Absolute homonyms: same spelling, same pronunciation, same word forms
but different meanings
 Letter: a written message from one person to another
 Letter: a written symbol that is used to represent a sound used in speech
3. Peace – Piece
=> Homophones: same pronunciation but different spelling
4. Plain – Plane
=> Homophones: same pronunciation but different spelling
5. Miss (v) – Miss (v)
=> Absolute homonyms: same spelling, same pronunciation, same word forms
but different meanings
 Miss: to arrive too late to get on a bus, train or aircraft
 Miss: to feel sad that a person or thing is not present
6. Ring (n) – Ring (v)
=> Full homonyms: same spelling, same pronunciation, but different word forms
and different meanings
 Ring (n): a piece of jewellery worn especially on your finger
 Ring (v): to make the sound of a bell
7. Watch (v) – Watch (n)

12


=> Full homonyms: same spelling, same pronunciation, but different word forms
and different meanings

 Watch (v): to look at something or someone
 Watch (n): a small clock worn around a wrist
8. Desert (n) – Desert (v)
=> Homographs: same spelling but different pronunciation
 Desert (n): /ˈdez.ət/: an area covered with sand or rocks
 Desert(v): /dɪˈzɜːt/: to leave the armed forces without permission
9. Live (v) – Live (adj)
=> Homographs: same spelling but different pronunciation
 Live (v): /lɪv/: to be alive or have life
 Live (adj): /laɪv/: having life
10. Minute (n) – Minute (n)
=> Absolute homonyms: same spelling, same pronunciation, same word forms
but different meanings
 Minute (n): a period of 60 seconds
 Minute (n): a written record of what is said at a meeting
Exercise 3: There are several kinds of antonyms. Indicate which of the
following are complementary pairs, which are gradable pairs, and which are
conversives.
1. Sunny – rainy
2. Advantage – disadvantage
3. Teacher – student
4. Bright – dark
5. Man – woman
6. Performer – audience
7. Hungry – full
8. Big – small
9. Husband – wife
10. Tall – short

13



Answer:
1. Sunny – rainy: gradable
2. Advantage – disadvantage: complementary
3. Teacher – student: conversive
4. Bright – dark: gradable
5. Man – woman: complementary
6. Performer – audience: conversive
7. Hungry – full: gradable
8. Big – small: gradable
9. Husband – wife: conversive
10. Tall – short: gradable
Exercise 4: Comment on the types of synonyms
1. Beautiful – pretty – lovely
2. Mother – mom – mama
3. Cinema – movie theatre
4. (To be) pregnant – (to be) in the family way
5. Child – infant – kid
6. Few – little
7. Car park – parking lot
8. Red – crimson – scarlet
9. Keep – hold
10. Die – kick the bucket
Answer:
1. Beautiful – pretty – lovely: semantic
Beautiful: is very attractive
Pretty: is pleasant to look at
Lovely: a person who is kind, friendly, and pleasant
2. Mother – mom – mama: stylistic

Mother (neutral) – mom (informal) – mama (informal)
3. Cinema – movie theatre: territorial

14


Cinema (British English) – movie theatre (American English)
4. (To be) pregnant – (to be) in the family way: euphemisms
5. Child – infant – kid: stylistic
Child (neutral) – infant (elevated) – kid (colloquial)
6. Few – little: phraseological
Few books - little money
7. Car park – parking lot: territorial
Car park (Br.E) – parking lot (Am.E)
8. Red – crimson – scarlet: semantic
Red: the colour of fresh blood
Crimson: deep red colour
Scarlet: bright red colour
9. Keep – hold: phraseological
Keep silence – Hold one’s gab
10. Die – kick the bucket: euphemisms

15


CONCLUSION
In this chapter, we sketched out a brief introduction of word as well as its forms
and expressions. We subscribe to the view that every word combines a lexical meaning
and a grammatical meaning. We also look at some sense relations. Polysemy can cause
lexical ambiguity and grammatical ambiguity. Homonyms are those lexical items

which

are

formally

identical

in

some

ways:

phonetically

(homophones),

orthographically (homographs), or both (full homonyms). Synonyms are those words
of the same part of speech sharing a similarity of both connotation and denotation.
Antonyms can consist of 4 types: gradable, conversive, complementary and directional
antonyms.

16



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