Lexicology: A Short Introduction by M.A.K. Halliday;Colin Yallop

By M.A.K. Halliday;Colin Yallop

This readable introductory textbook offers a concise survey of lexicology. the 1st component to the e-book is a survey of the research of phrases, supplying scholars with an summary of simple concerns in defining and knowing the be aware as a unit of language. This part additionally examines the heritage of lexicology, the evolution of dictionaries and up to date advancements within the box. the second one part extends this learn of lexicology into the connection among phrases and which means, etymology, prescription, language as social phenomenon and translation. "Lexicology: a quick creation" might be of curiosity to undergraduate scholars of linguistics.

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We may then, uncritically, assume that a dictionary in book form is the appropriate model of words as a component of language or of word-meanings stored as an inventory in the human brain or mind. In fact a dictionary is a highly abstract construct. To do the job of presenting words more or less individually, 24 Words and meaning in an accessible list, the dictionary takes words away from their common use in their customary settings. While this is in many respects a useful job, the listing of words as a set of isolated items can be highly misleading if used as a basis of theorizing about what words and their meanings are.

Extending this point, we normally use and respond to meanings in context. As users of language, we know that someone's mention of a recent television programme about big cats in Africa implies a different meaning of cat from a reference to the number of stray cats in the city of New York. And if someone talks about 'letting the cat out of the bag' or 'setting the cat among the pigeons', we know that the meaning has to be taken from the whole expression, not from a word-by-word reading of Felis catus jumping out of a bag or chasing Columbidae.

And if people do say things like this, the names are on their way to becoming meaningful words of the language, along a similar path to that followed by words like boycott and sandwich, which had their origins in names of people associated with particular events or objects. (Note how boycott and sandwich are now written with initial lower-case letters rather than the capitals which would mark them as names. ) There may also be differences of experience and associations within a community which have systematic linguistic consequences.

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