Module1: Applied Linguistics Lexis and Semantics By: Mohamed Oubedda Lahcen Tighoula Trainer: Mr. Akkouch October 11th, 2012 Inspectors’ Training Center Rabat 1
Outline1- What is language ?2- What is Linguistics3- What are the branches of Linguistics4- The scope of Sematics5- Difficulties of Studying Meaning6-Theories of Sematics Lexis:1- What is lexis?2- A rationale for studying lexis3- What’s in a word?4- Lexis and grammar5- Implications to ELT: “The Lexical Approach” 2
What is Language ?" The system of human communication which consists of the structure arrangement of sounds in larger units" Richards and Scmidt ( 2002) 3
Linguistics?" The scientific study of Language, some ofthe basic issues of this field are :* What is langauge ?* How is it organised ?* How is it analyzed ?* Where is language stored and How is itlearned ? 4
Another definition of languagea. Communication of thoughts and feelings through asystem of arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds,gestures, or written symbols.b. Such a system including its rules for combining itscomponents, such as words.c. Such a system as used by a nation, people, or otherdistinct community; often contrasted with dialect. 5
Linguistics Other issues :*How did the language originate ?*What does it have in commonwith animalcommunication?* How many distinct families or Stocks oflanguages are there in the 6000 or so knownlanguages today? What original languages did theycome from? How have they changed over time?* what is the relationship between language andculture ?* Language and thought? 6
Branches of Linguistics* Phonetics* Phonology*Morphology*Syntax*Semantics* Pragmatics 7
What branch of linguistics is this?• 1. the study of speech sounds in their physical aspects.• 2.the study of speech principles that govern the way sounds are organised in lges and to explain the variations that occur.• 3.the study of the formation of words.• 4.the study of the formation of sentences• 5.the study of meaning.• 6.the study of language use . 8
Applied linguistics• The branch of linguistics concerned with practical applications of language studies, with particular emphasis on the communicative function of language, and including such professional practices as lexicography, terminology, general or technical translation, language teaching (general or specialized language, mother tongue or second language), writing, interpretation, and computer processing of language. (BTB Translation Bureau Canada) 10
The Scope of Semantics• " Semantics is the study of meaning in Language. We know that Language is used to express meaning which can be understood by others but meaning exists in our mind and we can express what is in our mind through the spoken and written forms of llanguage as well as through gestures, actions,...etc In other words semantics is that level in Linguistic Analysis where meaning is analysed" 11
Difficulties In the Study of Meaning* The problem of meaning is quite difficult. some linguists especially structuralists went to the extent of excluding semantics from linguistics. They think it is only the form of Language which can be studied and not the abstract functions. 12
Difficulties In the Study of Meaning• 1- Abstract words create problems in specifying their meaning. For example nobody can exaclly tell what the word "good" really mean.• 2- The connotative use of words adds further complications.• 3- Metaphoric and poetic use of language• 4- Above all is the question : Where does meaning exist? in the words themselves or in the speaker or the listner or in both or in the context or situation ? 13
What is lexis?• A term in linguistics for the vocabulary of a language. Adjective:lexical. http://grammar.about.com/od/il/g/lexisterm.htm• lexis is the stock of words in a given language.• Jim Scrivener (2005) states that while vocabulary « typically refers mainly to single words », lexis « is bigger… It refers to our internal database of words and complete ready-made fixed / semi-fixed / typical combinations of words… »
What’s in a word?• Word classes• Word families• Word formation• Multi-word units• Collocations• Homonyms – polysemes – synonyms and antonyms – hyponyms –• Lexical fields• Associative fields
Word classes (or parts of speech) – nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, etc. – and most dictionaries give word class labels to lexical items as a matter of course. Apart from getting information about use, we also need to be aware of word class for spelling, to distinguish between nouns (eg licence, practice) and verbs (eg license, practise).Within this, we can also make distinctions between grammatical words and lexical words. Grammatical words (or finctional words) contribute to the grammatical structure of the sentence and are generally pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions..etc Lexical words ( or content words) carry a high information load. They are usually nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.http://courses.nus.edu.sg/course/elltankw/history/Vocab/B.htm
Word families• A word family contains the base word and its inflexions and its most common derivatives. example: plays, playing, played (inflexions), replay, player, playful (derivatives)
Word formationCan be done by:• Affixation: e.g.misunderstand• Blending: e.g. brunch, edutainment,• Compounding: e.g. Second-hand, record- player• Conversion: from one part of speech to another. e.g. She upped and left,• Clipping: shortening words; eg. Flu, dorm, email.
Multi-word unitsalso called lexical chunks; these are combinations of more than one word, which can function as a meaningful unit with a fixed or semi-fixed form.Examples are: out of the blue (fixed) it’s up to you , (semi-fixed) what a nice day!, year after year
Collocations• Looser than multi-word units• Two words are collocates if they are used together frequently. Examples would be: world record, once more, first time, capital city..
• Homonyms: words that have the same form but have different meanings.• Homophones: words that sound the same but have different spellings and different meanings.• polysemes : words that have multiple but related meanings. E.g. A book, to book a hotel room,• synonyms and antonyms• hyponyms : words that have a « type of » relationship. Example: a hammer is a type of tool. So here hammer is a hyponym of tool.
Lexical fields• Words that pertain to one thematic relationship are said to belong to the same lexical field. e.g. Classroom, pencil, understand, pupils
Associative Fields• Associative fields : associative networks of words in a language• “The Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure made a distinction between associative relations and syntagmatic relations. We tend to use the term paradigmatic relations instead of associative relations today.
Lexis and Grammar• « Grammar refers to the generalisable patterns of the language and to our ability to construct new phrases and sentences out of word combinations and grammatical features…to express a precise meaning » J.Scrivener (2005) 26
• “Without grammar very little can be conveyed; without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed.” (Wilkins 1972:111) 27
Pedagogical Implications: « The Lexical Approach »• Lexis is the basis of language.• Lexis is misunderstood in language teaching because of the assumption that grammar is the basis of language and that mastery of the grammatical system is a prerequisite for effective communication.• The key principle of a lexical approach is that “language consists of grammaticalized lexis, not lexicalized grammar.”• One of the central organizing principles of any meaning- centered syllabus should be lexis. 28
Referrences• Srivener, J . Learning Teaching (2005)• Thornbury, S. How to Teach Vocabulary (2002)• http://courses.nus.edu.sg/course/elltankw/history/Vocab/ B.htm• http://grammar.about.com/od/il/g/lexisterm.htm 29