The structure of lexical meaning.
The 1st group in which meanings can be divided from their form (community) – motivated. Complex words consist of a number of morphemes with a known meaning.
E.g. sofa, child – these are non-motivated, they are simple in form. These are the words, the origin of which is forgotten and their existence is explained by the conventional relationship between an object and a word.
Motivation is a historical phenomena. The words lose their transparency. It
happens to many words. Motivation is a special subject matter of lexicology, closely connected with the history of the language. Etymology analyses the word-stock of a language.
One meaning can be found in:
— foreign words .
— specific terms.
e.g., Algol — международный язык программирования.
The words with only one lexical meaning are called monosemantic. Such words are restrictive in use, they are quit few in the language.
As for majority of words, they have several meanings – polysemantic. The inner form of polysemantic words presents a structure which is called – the semantic structure.
The origin of polysemy
Word meaning is a result of long historical development. In course of time under cultural, social changes the notion of the object (significative concept) changes.
All meanings are related in some way: functionally or formally.
Similarities are based on different associations, but one basic principal – new objects and new ideas demand new names and these names are not created. A lot of old words are capable to develop new meanings if they denote objects resembling those which need new names. And these resemblance may be on different type:
— positional (head – boss)
— functional (hand – hand clock)
— qualitative (brilliant idea).
So, a word has separate but semantically related meanings. These relations are held by the speakers. These separate but semantically related meanings of 1 polysemantic word are called – lexico-semantic variants (LSV). The term was invented by Smernitsky to denote elementary units.
E.g., shade – 1. darkness (LSV1)
2. slight difference (LSV2)
3. facial expression of sadness (LSV3).
In a polysemantic word
The semantic structure of the word is formed by all lexico-semantic variants of a word taken together.
Lexical meaning Lexico-grammatical meaning Grammatical meaning
Semantic structure of the word is interrelation and independence of all its LSV.
And it’s determent not only by the number of LSV, but also by their types.
The whole semantic structure of the word is flexible category bcs it changes with the development of the language.
The polysemantic word can never be actually used in speech bcs while we are speaking we always refer to one object, so use one definite meaning. Word with many meaning exists only in the dictionary and our mind (mental lexicon), such words are generalization and they are called lexemes. В словаре лексемы, а в речи актуализируется одно из их значений (лексема). In dictionaries polysemantic words are listed in one entry and in such way as to present the most common (primary meaning) first and then only other meanings.