Lexicology



                                  Questions



1 Lexicology as a science. Branches of lexicology.
2 Two approaches to language study, varieties of words.
3 Methods of investigation.
4 Contrastive analysis.
5 Statistical analysis.
6 Immediate constituents analysis.
7 Distributional analysis.
8 Transformational analysis.
9 Componental analysis.
10 Method of semantic differential.
11 Analytical (referential) definition of meaning.
12 Functional (contextual) definition of meaning.
13 Operational (information-oriented) definition of meaning.
14 Naming. The nominative approach to meaning.
15 The formation of concepts. Meaning and concept.
16 The ways of forming sound forms of words.
17 Aspects of lexical meaning.
18 Sources and types of meaning variability.
19 The semantic structure of a word.
20 Semantic relations of words.
21 Word-structure. Types of morphemes.
22 The method of immediate and ultimate constituents.
23 The derivational structure. Derivational bases. Types of
             stems .
24 Derivational patterns.
25 Word-formation. Basic ways of coining words.
26 Minor types of coining words.
27 Affixes. Polysemy. Homonymy. Synonymy.
28 Conversion.



                          Lexicology as a science.
                        Its basic units and methods.

       Lexicology is a branch of linguistics  the science of language. The
term lexicology is composed of two Greek morphemes lexic  word,  phrase
& logos which  denotes  learning  a  department  of  knowledge.  Thus  the
literal meaning of the term lexicology  is  the  science  of  the  word.
Lexicology as a branch  of  linguistics  has  its  own  aims  &  methods  of
scientific  research.  Its  basic  task    being  a  study   &   systematic
description of vocabulary in  respect  to  its  origin,  development  &  its
current use. Lexicology  is  concerned  with  words,  variable  word-groups,
phraseological units & morphemes which make up words.
       Distinction is made between GENERAL LEXICOLOGY & SPECIAL LEXICOLOGY.
General lexicology is a part of General linguistics . It is  concerned  with
the study of  vocabulary  irrespective  of  the  specific  features  of  any
particular language . Special lexicology is the lexicology of  a  particular
language ( Russian , German , French , etc. ).
       Lexicology is closely connected with other branches of linguistics :
phonetics , for example , investigates the phonetic structure of language  &
is concerned with the study of the outer sound-form of the  word  .  Grammar
is the study of the grammatical structure of  language  .  It  is  concerned
with the various means of expressing grammatical relations between words  as
well as with patterns after which words  are  combined  into  word-groups  &
sentences .  There  is  also  a  close  relationship  between  lexicology  &
stylistics which is concerned with a study of a nature , functions &  styles
of languages .



                      Two approaches to language study.
                             Varieties of words.

    There are two principle approaches in linguistic science to  the  study
of language material : synchronic & diachronic  .  With  regard  to  Special
lexicology the synchronic approach is concerned with  the  vocabulary  of  a
language as it exists at a given time . Its Special Descriptive  lexicology
that deals with the vocabulary & vocabulary units of a  particular  language
at a certain time .
    The diachronic approach in terms of Special lexicology deals  with  the
changes & the development of vocabulary in  the  coarse  of  time  .  It  is
Special  Historical  lexicology  that  deals  with  the  evaluation  of  the
vocabulary units of a language as the time goes by .
    The two approaches shouldnt be set one against the other . In  fact  ,
they are interconnected & interrelated because every linguistic structure  &
system exists in a state of constant  development  so  that  the  synchronic
state of a language system is a result  of  a  long  process  of  linguistic
evaluation , of its historical development  .  Closely  connected  with  the
Historical lexicology is Contrastive &  Comparative  lexicology  whose  aims
are to study the  correlation  between  the  vocabularies  of  two  or  more
languages & find out the correspondences between  the  vocabulary  units  of
the languages under comparison .
    Lexicology studies various lexical units . They are : morphemes , words
, variable  word-groups  &  phraseological  units  .  We  proceed  from  the
assumption that the word is the basic unit of  the  language  system  ,  the
largest on morphological & the smallest on  syntactic  plane  of  linguistic
analyses . The word is a structural & semantic entity  within  the  language
system . The word as well  as  any  linguistic  sign  is  a  two-faced  unit
possessing both form & content or , to be more exact , sound-form &  meaning
.
                            e. g.      boy  

     When used in actual speech the word undergoes certain  modification  &
functions in one of its forms . The system showing a word in all  its  word-
forms is called a paradigm . The lexical meaning  of  a  word  is  the  same
throughout the paradigm . The grammatical meaning varies from  one  form  to
another . Therefore when we speak on any word as used in  actual  speech  we
use the term  word  conventionally  because  what  is  manifested  in  the
utterances is not a  word  as  a  whole  but  one  of  its  forms  which  is
identified as belonging to the definite paradigm . Words as a whole  are  to
be found in the dictionary (showing the paradigm  n  noun  ,  v    verb  ,
etc).

    There are two approaches to the paradigm : as a system of forms of  one
word revealing the differences & the relationships between them .
    e. g.       to see  saw -  seen  seeing
    ( different forms have different relations )
    In abstraction from concrete words the paradigm is treated as a pattern
on which every word of one part of speech models its forms  ,  thus  serving
to distinguish one part of speech from another .
                 -s     -s      -s
-ed       -ing



                                     nouns,                       of-phrases
     verbs
    Besides the grammatical forms of  words  there  are  lexical  varieties
which are called variants of words .Words seldom possess only one  meaning
, but used in speech each word reveals only that meaning which  is  required
.
    e. g.  to learn at school                       to make a dress
            to learn about smth. /smbd.         to make smbd. do smth.
    These are lexico-semantic variants .
    There are also phonetic & morphological variants .
    e. g. often can be pronounced in two ways, though the  sound-form  is
slightly changed , the meaning remains  unchangeable  .  We  can  build  the
forms of the word to dream in different ways :
                 to dream  dreamt  dreamt
                                                            dreameddreamed
                           These are morphological variants  .  The  meaning
is the same but the model is different .

    Like words-forms variants of words are identified  in  the  process  of
communication as making up one & the same word . Thus , within the  language
system the word exists as a system & unity of all its forms & variants .



                         Methods of investigation .

  The science is said to be formed when it  has  at  its  disposal  certain
methods of investigation . The process of scientific  investigation  may  be
subdivided into several stages :

*  Observation  is  an  early  &  basic  phase  of  all  modern  scientific
  investigations including linguistics & is the center of what is called  
  the inductive method of inquiry  . The cardinal role  of  all  inductive
  procedures is that the statements of fact must be  based  on  observation
  not  on  unsupported  authority  ,  logical   conclusions   or   personal
  preferences .

*  Another  stage  of  scientific  investigation   after   observation   is
  classification of those facts which were obtained through  observation  .


          e. g. It is observed that in English nouns the suffixal  morpheme
               -er is added to verbal stems ( to cook  cooker , to  write
 writer ) & noun stems ( village  villager ,  London    Londoner  ).  The
same suffix also occurs in the words such as mother , father . The  question
is whether the words  mother , father  have suffix . They havent  ,  thus
we can come to the conclusion that -er can be  found  in  derived  &  non-
derived words .

 * The following stage is usually that of generalization ,  that  is  ,  the
   collection of data & their classification must  eventually  lead  to  the
   formulation of a hypotheses , rule , or law .
            e. g. In the case with -er we can  formulate  the  rule  that
derived words in -er may have either verbal or noun stems .The  suffix  -
er in combination with adjectival or adverbial stems cant produce nouns  (
bigger , longer , shorter are not nouns ).

 * Any linguistic generalization is to be followed by the very fine  process
    the linguist is required to seek verification  of  the  generalizations
   that are the result of his inquires . For these aims different methods  &
   procedures are used . They  are  :  contrastive  analyses  ,  statistical
   methods of analyses , immediate constituents  analyses  ,  distributional
   analyses , transformational analyses , componental analyses &  method  of
   semantic differentiation .


                           Contrastive analysis .

  Contrastive linguists attempt to find out similarities &  differences  in
both related & non-related languages .  Contrastive  analysis  grew  as  the
result of the practical demands of a language-teaching methodology  ,  where
it was empirically shown that the errors which are made by foreign  language
students can be often traced back to the differences  in  structure  between
the target language & the language of the learner . This  naturally  implies
the necessity of a detailed comparison of the structure  of  a  native  &  a
target language . This procedure  has  been  named  contrastive  analysis  .
People proceed from the assumption that the categories  ,  elements  on  the
semantic as well as on the syntactic &  other  levels  are  valid  for  both
languages .
  e. g. Linking verbs can be found in English , French , German , Russian ,
etc. Linking verbs having the meaning of change & become  are  differently
represented in each of the languages . In English , for instance ,   become
, come , grow , fall , run , turn  ; in Russian     are  used
. The task is to find out which semantic & syntactic  features  characterize
the English set of linking verbs , the Russian linking verb & how  they  can
be compared , how the English word-groups  grow thin , get  angry  ,   fall
ill  correspond to Russian  ,  ,  .
  Contrastive analysis can be carried out  at  three  linguistic  levels  :
phonology , grammar ( morphology & syntax ) & lexis .  Contrastive  analysis
is applied to reveal the features of sameness & difference  in  the  lexical
meaning & the semantic structure of correlated words in different  languages
.  It  is  commonly  assumed  by  non-linguists  that  all  languages   have
vocabulary systems in which the words themselves differ in sound-form ,  but
refer to reality in the same way . From this assumption it follows that  for
every word in the mother tongue there is an exact equivalent in the  foreign
language . It is a  belief  which  is  reinforced  by  the  small  bilingual
dictionary where single-word translation is often  used  .Language  learning
cannot be just a matter  of  substitution  a  new  set  of  labels  for  the
familiar ones of the mother tongue .It should be born in  mind  that  though
the objective reality exists outside human  beings  &  irrespective  of  the
language they speak , every language classifies reality in its  own  way  by
means of vocabulary units .
    e. g. In English , for example , the word foot is used to denote  the
    extremity of  the leg . In Russian there is  no  exact  equivalent  for
    foot:  is a little bit smaller than foot  ,  the  word  
    denotes the whole leg including the foot .
  Differences in the lexical meaning of correlated words  account  for  the
differences of their collocability in different languages .
    e. g. Thus , the English adjective new & the Russian adjective
    when taken in isolation are felt as correlated words : a  new  dress  ,
    New Year  .  In  collocation  with  other  nouns  however  the  Russian
    adjective cannot be used in the same meaning in which the English  word
    new is currently used : new potatoes , new bread , etc.
  Contrastive analysis on the level of the grammatical meaning reveals that
co-related  words  in  different  languages  may   differ   in   grammatical
characteristics .
    e. g. Russians are liable to say news are good , the money are on  the
    table , her hair are black because the Russian words  , 
    ,  have the grammatical meaning of plurality .
  Contrastive analysis brings to light  the  essence  of  what  is  usually
described as idiomatic English , idiomatic Russian , i. e. the peculiar  way
in which every language combines  &  structures  in  lexical  units  various
concepts to denote extra-linguistic reality .
    e. g. A typical Russian word-group used to describe  the  way  somebody
    performs an action or to state how  a  person  finds  himself  has  the
    structure that may be represented by the formula adjective + a  finite
    form of a verb(    ,   ). In English we can
    also use structurally similar word-groups & say he learns fast/slowly
    . The structure of idiomatic word-group in English is different  .  The
    structure is adjective + deverbal noun. It is really  in  English  to
    say he is a heavy smoker , poor learner early riser.



                           Statistical analysis .



  Statistical linguistics is nowadays generally recognized as  the  one  of
the major branches of linguistics . Statistical inquiries have  considerable
importance because of their relevance to certain problems  of  communication
engineering & information theory . Statistical approach proved essential  in
the selection of  vocabulary  items  of  a  foreign  language  for  teaching
purposes . Very few people know more than 10% of the words in  their  mother
tongue . It follows that if we do not wish to waste time  on  committing  to
memorize vocabulary items which  are  never  likely  to  be  useful  to  the
learner we have to select only lexical units that are  commonly  used  by  a
native speaker .
  Out of approximately 500 000 words listed in  Oxford  English  dictionary
the active vocabulary of an educated Englishman comprises no  more  than  30
000 words & of these 4 000 - 5 000 are presumed to  be  amplisufficient  for
the daily needs of an average member of the English speech  community.  Thus
, it is evident that the problem of selection of teaching vocabulary  is  of
vital importance . Statistical techniques have been successfully applied  in
the analysis of various linguistic phenomena .  Different  structural  types
of words , affixes , the vocabularies of great writers &  poets  &  even  in
the study of some problems of Historical Lexicology .
  Statistical regularities can be observed  only  if  the  phenomena  under
analysis are sufficiently numerous . Thus , the  first  requirement  of  any
statistic investigation is the size  of  the  sample  .  It  is  known  that
comparatively small group of words makes up the bulk of any text  .  It  was
found that approximately 1300  1500 most frequent words make up 85% of  all
words occurring in the text . If however we analyze a sample of 60 words  it
is hard to predict the number of occurrences of most frequent words .
    e. g. If we take the word room we can find some meanings of the  word
    : 1) room- denoting space as in take less room , not  enough  room
    to do smth.; 2) part of a house as in  sitting-room  ;  3)  used  in
    plural = lodgings as in to get rooms. Statistical analysis shows that
    most frequently the word is used in its second meaning    83%  of  all
    occurrences of the word in different texts , 12% of all takes its first
    meaning  space, & only 2% takes the third meaning of the word .

                      Immediate constituents analysis .

  The theory of Immediate Constituents  was  originally  elaborated  as  an
attempt to determine the ways in which lexical units are relevantly  related
to one another . It was discovered that combinations of  units  are  usually
structured into hierarchial sets of binary constructions .
    e. g. In the word-group  a black dress in severe style    we  do  not
    relate the indefinite article a to adjective  black  ,  black  to
    dress , dress to in , in to severe , severe to style  .We
    set up a structure which may be represented as a black  dress  &  in
    severe style.
  Thus , the fundamental aim  of  immediate  constituents  analysis  is  to
segment a set of lexical units into two maximally  independent  sequences  &
these maximally independent sequences are called  immediate  constituents  .
The further segmentation  of  immediate  constituents  results  in  ultimate
constituents , which means that further segmentation is  impossible  for  no
meaning can be found .

    e. g. The ultimate constituents of the phrase given are a ,black  ,
      dress ,  in , severe , style .


  This  method  of  analysis  is  extremely  fruitful  in  discovering  the
derivational structure of words .



                          Distributional analysis .


  Distributional analysis in its various forms is commonly  used  nowadays.
By the term distribution we understand the occurrence of  a  lexical  unit
relative to another lexical units of the same levels  :  words  to  words  ,
morpheme to morphemes . In other words , by  this  term  we  understand  the
position which lexical unit occupies or may occupy in the  text  or  in  the
flow of speech . It is observed  that  a  certain  component  of  the  word-
meaning is described when the word is identified distributionally .
    e. g. In the sentence

                          The boy__________ home .

      the missing word is easily identified as a verb . It may be came ,
    ran , went , goes , but not as an adverb or a noun , or an adjective .
  Thus , we see that the component  of  meaning  that  is  distributionally
identified is actually the part-of-speech meaning  .  It  is  also  observed
that in  a  number  of  cases  words  have  different  lexical  meanings  in
different distributional patterns .
    e. g. The verb to treat has different lexical meanings in  to  treat
    smbd kindly & to treat smbd to ice-cream .
  The interdependence of distribution & meaning can be also observed at the
level of word-groups .
    e. g. It is only the distribution of completely identical lexical units
    but arranged on the reverse that differentiates the meaning  water tap
    & tap water .



                         Transformational analysis .

  Transformational analysis in lexicological investigations may be  defined
as repatterning ( representing , reorganization ) of various  distributional
structures in order  to  discover  difference  or  sameness  of  meaning  of
practically identical distributional patterns . As  distributional  patterns
are in a number of cases polysemantic  transformational  procedures  are  of
help not only in the analysis of  semantic  sameness  /  difference  of  the
lexical units but also in the analysis  of  the  factors  that  account  for
their polysemy . Word-groups  of  identical  distributional  structure  when
repatterned show that the semantic relations between  words  &  consequently
the  meaning  may  be  different  .e.  g.  A   pattern  possessive  pronoun
+noun(his car , his failure , his arrest, his kindness  ).  According  to
transformational analysis the meaning of each word-group may be  represented
as : he has a car , he failed , he was arrested , he is  kind.  In  each  of
the cases different meaning is revealed :  possession  ,  action  ,  passive
action , quality .The rules of transformation are rather strict &  shouldnt
be identified with paraphrasing in the usual sense of the  term  .There  are
many restrictions both on syntactic & lexical levels . These are :
Permutation  the repatterning on condition  that  the  basic  subordinative
relationships between words &  word-stems  of  the  lexical  units  are  not
changed .e. g. His work is excellent    may  be  transformed  into    his
excellent work , the excellence of his work , he works     excellently  .In
the example given the relationships between lexical units  &  the  stems  of
the notional words are essentially the same .
Replacement    the  substitution  of  a  component  of  the  distributional
structure by a member of a certain strictly defined  set  of  lexical  units
.e. g. Replacement of a notional verb by an auxiliary or link verb (he  will
make a bad mistake & he will make a  good  teacher  ).  The  sentences  have
identical distributional structure but only in the second one the  verb  to
make  can be  substituted  by    become    or    be    .  The  fact  of
impossibility of identical  transformations  of  distributionally  identical
structures is a formal proof of the difference in their meaning .



Addition ( or expansion ) may be  illustrated  by  the  application  of  the
procedure of addition to the classification of adjectives into  two  groups-
adjectives denoting inherent & non-inherent qualities .
    e. g.                        John is happy .
                                   John is tall .
We add a word-group  in Moscow . We shall see that    John  is  happy  in
Moscow . has meaning while the second one is senseless . That is  accounted
by the difference in the meaning of adjectives denoting  inherent  (tall)  &
non-inherent(happy) qualities .
Deletion  a procedure which shows whether one  of  the  words  semantically
subordinated to the other . e. g.  The  word-group  red   flowers  may  be
deleted & transformed into flowers without making the  sentence  senseless
: I like red flowers  or  I like flowers . The other word-group red tape  
cant be deleted & transformed either into  I hate tape  or I hate red  
because in both transformed sentences the meaning of the phrase  red  tape
means bureaucracy & it cant be divided into two parts .



                           Componental analysis .


  In this analysis linguists proceed from the assumption that the  smallest
units of meaning are sememes or semes . e. g. In the  lexical  item  woman
several sememes may be singled out , such as human , not an animal ,  female
, adult . The analysis of the word girl will show the following sememes  :
human , female , young . The last component of the two words  differentiates
them & makes impossible to mix up the words in the process of  communication
. It is classical form of revealing the  work  of  componental  analysis  to
apply them to the so called closed systems of vocabulary  ,  for  example  ,
colour terms . The analysis as a rule was formalized  only  as  far  as  the
symbolic representation of meaning components it is  concerned   with  .Each
sememe in the terms of colours acquires or is given a certain letter (  A  ,
B , C , D  ) & the meaning of the terms may be given in a  formalized  form
. e. g. Red & scarlet will differ only in one component & that is  intensity
of colour & by the letter it may be illustrated as
  A B C
  A B C     Under the letter C the intensity is meant .
  The formalized representation of meaning  helps  to  find  out  different
semantic components which influence collocability of words (during  the  day
but not during the stairs, down the stairs but not down the day ).
  Componental analysis is practically always combined with transformational
procedures or statistical analysis .The combination  makes  it  possible  to
find out which of the meanings should be represented first  of  all  in  the
dictionaries of different types & how the words should be combined in  order
to make your speech sensible .



                      Method of semantic differential .

  A word has not only one meaning & even  one  word  usually  implies  some
additional information which differentiates one word from another .
  e. g. to like , to love , to adore , to warship . All  the  words  denote
positive feelings , characteristic of a human  being  .  But  each  of  them
gives additional information on the so-called strength of feeling .
  This is the connotational aspect which was singled out  by  the  semantic
differential  the method which was  worked  out  by  a  group  of  American
psycholinguists . Their technique requires the subjects to judge  a  series
of concepts with respect to a set of antonymic adjective scale .
  e. g. A horse can be :
                                 good  bad
                                 fast  slow
                                strong  weak
                                 hard  soft
                                 happy  sad
  The meaning of the divisions is that each of the quality may be  gradated
representing extremely good , very good , neither  good  nor  bad  ,slightly
bad , extremely bad & these grades can be marked by a plus  .And  the  horse
may be very good , not bad , etc .
  The revealed gradations showing some portion of quality helps to  singled
out such words which are  usually  referred  to  as  neutral,  expressive  ,
archaic & new words proper  neologisms . All the methods  of  analysis  are
applied in one & the same sphere of investigation . If  you  are  interested
in meaning you shouldnt pay much attention to the structure ,  if  you  are
interested in collocation of words you shouldnt  pay  much  attention  what
parts of words represent the distributional structure . The  combination  of
different methods of analysis helps to classify the vocabulary as a whole  &
each lexical unit taken separately . It should be said that  practically  no
procedures function independently & separately from each other . It is  only
for study aims that we separate one procedure  from  another  .  In  fact  ,
being a two-faced unit a lexical item provides to be an indivisible unit  of
form & content . That is why you cannot investigate one  side  of  the  item
paying no attention to the other one .



                            Semasiology . Lexical
                           meaning & its aspects .

  Semasiology (or semantics ) is a  branch  of  linguistics  which  studies
meaning . Semasiology is singled out as an independent branch of  lexicology
alongside word-formation , etymology , phraseology & lexicography .  And  at
the same time it is often referred to as the central branch of lexicology  .
The  significance  of  semasiology  may  be  accounted  for  by  three  main
considerations :
  1. Language is the basic human communication system aimed at ensuring the
     exchange of information between the communicants  which  implies  that
     the semantic side forms the backbone of communication .
  2. By definition lexicology deals with words , morpheme &  word-groups  .
     All those linguistic units are two-faced entities having both  form  &
     meaning .
  3. Semasiology underlines all other branches of lexicology .  Meaning  is
     the object of semasiological study .
However , at present there is no universally accepted definition of  meaning
or rather a definition reflecting all the basic characteristic  features  of
meaning & being at the same time operational . Thus , linguists  state  that
meaning is one of the most ambiguous &  most  controversial  terms  in  the
theory of language  (Steven  Ullman).Leech  states  that  the  majority  of
definitions turn out to be a dead end not only on practical but  on  logical
grounds . Numerous  statements  on  the  complexity  of  the  phenomenon  of
meaning are found on the Russian tradition as  well  by  such  linguists  as
.. , ..   ,  ,  ,  ..  
& others .
  However vague & inadequate , different definitions of meaning help to sum
up the general characteristics of the notion  comparing  various  approaches
to the description of the content side of the language  .  There  are  three
main categories of definitions which may be referred to as :
 V analytical or referential definition of meaning
 V functional or contextual definition of meaning
 V operational or information-oriented definition of meaning


                          Analytical or referential
                           definition of meaning.
  They seek to find the essence of meaning establishing the interdependence
between words of the objects or phenomena  they  denote  .  The  best  known
analytical model of meaning is the so-called basic triangle.

            Concept (or our thought)



  Sound-form                Word-object (referent)
  They are connected directly that means that if we  hear  a  sound-form  a
certain idea arises in our mind & the idea brings  out  a  certain  referent
that exists in  the  reality  .  But  the  sound-form  &  the  referent  are
connected indirectly because there  are  no  objects  or  phenomena  in  the
reality that predict a certain sound-form , that  need  to  be  named  by  a
certain sequence of sounds . The strongest  point  in  the  approach  is  an
attempt to link the notion  of  meaning  with  the  process  of  naming  the
objects , processes or  phenomena  of  concrete  reality  .  The  analytical
definitions of meaning are usually  criticized  on  the  grounds  that  they
cannot be applied to sentences .
  e. g. The sentence  I like to read long novels  does not express single
notion , it  represents  composites  of  notions  specifying  the  relations
between them .
  The referential definition of meaning can hardly be applied  to  semantic
additions that come to the surface in the process of communication .
  e. g. Thats very clever  may mean different sorts of things  including
that it is not clever at all .
  It has also been stated that the referential approach  fails  to  account
for that fact that one word may denote different objects & phenomena .  That
is the case of  polysemy . On the other hand one & the same  object  may  be
denoted by different words & that is the case of synonymy .



                          Functional or contextual

                           Definitions of meaning.

  Proceeding from the assumptions that the true meaning of a word is to  be
found by observing what a man does with it not what he says about it  ,  the
proponents of functional approach to meaning define it as  the  use  of  the
word in the language . It has been suggested that the meaning of a  word  is
revealed by substituting different contexts .
  e. g. The meaning of the word cat may be singled out of contexts:
                          ____________ catch mice.
                         I bought fish for my _____.
  and similar sentences.
  To get a better insight in to the semantics of a word it is necessary  to
analyze as many contexts in which it is realized as possible.  The  question
arises  when to  stop  collecting  different  contexts  &  what  amount  of
material is sufficient to make a reliable conclusion about the meaning of  a
word ? In practice a scholar is guided by  intuition  which  amount  to  the
previous knowledge of the notions the given word denotes.  Besides  ,  there
are contexts which are so infrequent that they can hardly  be  registered  &
quite obviously they have never been  met  by  the  speakers  of  the  given
language. Nevertheless being presented  with  a  context  a  native  speaker
proceeds not from a list of possible contexts but from something  else.  The
functional approach to meaning is important because it emphasizes  the  fact
that words are seldom if ever used in isolation &  thus  the  meaning  of  a
word is revealed only when it is realized in a context.  But  on  the  whole
the functional approach may be described as a complimentary , additional  to
the referential one.



                           Operational definition

                                 Of meaning.

  They are centered on defining meaning through its role in the process  of
communication.   Just   like   functional   approach    information-oriented
definitions are part of studying words in action. They are  more  interested
in how the words work , how the meaning works than what the meaning is.  The
operational approach began to  take  shape  with  the  growing  interest  of
linguists in the communicative aspect of the language  when  the  object  of
study was shifted to the  relations  between  the  language  we  use  &  the
situations within which it is used. In this frame-work  meaning  is  defined
as information conveyed from the speaker to the listener in the  process  of
communication. The definition is applicable both  to  words  &  sentences  &
thus overcomes one  of  the  drawbacks  of  the  referential  approach.  The
problem is that it is more applicable to sentences than to words &  even  as
such fails to draw a  clear distinguishing line  between  the  direct  sense
(that is meaning) & implication (that is additional information).
  e. g. Thus the sentence John came  at  6  oclock  besides  the  direct
meaning may imply that John was 2 hours late  ,  that  he  was  punctual  as
usual , that it was a surprise for John to come , that  he  came  earlier  ,
that he was not expected at all & many others.
  In each case the implication would depend on the  concrete  situation  of
communication. And discussing meaning  as  the  information  conveyed  would
amount to the discussion of an almost endless set of possible  communication
situations which in the end will bring us back to a modified  contextual  or
functional approach to meaning. The distinction between the  two  layers  in
the information conveyed is so important that two  different  terms  may  be
used to denote them: the direct information  conveyed  by  the  units  which
build up a sentence may be referred to  as  meaning  while  the  information
added to the given extralinguistic situation may be called sense.