Specific linguistic restrictions in the range of grammatical valency of individual words imposed on the lexical units by the inner structure of the language are also observed by comparing the grammatical valency of correlated words in different languages. The English verb influence, for example, can be followed only by a noun (to influence a person, a decision, choice, etc.). The grammatical valency of its Russian counterpart влиять is different. The Russian verb can be combined only with a prepositional group (cf. влиять на человека, на выбор, . . ., etc.).
No departure from the norm of grammatical valency is possible as this can make the word-group unintelligible to English speakers. Thus e.g. the word-group mathematics at clever is likely to be felt as a meaningless string of words because the grammatical valency of English nouns does not allow of the structure Noun+at+Adjective.
It should also be pointed out that the individual meanings of a polysemantic word may be described through its grammatical valency. Thus, different meanings of the adjective keen may be described in a general
1 See ‘Semasiology’, § 42, p. 49. 66
way through different structures of the word-groups keen+N, — keen sight (hearing, etc.), keen + on + N — keen on sports (on tennis, etc.), keen+V(inf.) — keen to know (to find out, etc.).
From this point of view word-groups may be regarded as minimal syntactic (or syntagmatic) structures that operate as distinguishing clues for different meanings of a polysemantic word.
STRUCTURE OF WORD-GROUPS
§ 3. Distribution as the Criterion of Classification
Structurally word-groups may be approached in various ways. We know that word-groups may be described through the order and arrangement of the component members. The word-group to see something can be classified as a verbal — nominal group, to see to smth as verbal — prepositional — nominal, etc.
All word-groups may be also analysed by the criterion of distribution into two big classes. If the word-group has the same linguistic distribution as one of its members, it is described as endocentric, i.e. having one central member functionally equivalent to the whole word-group. The word-groups, e.g., red flower, bravery of all kinds, are distributionally identical with their central components flower and bravery (cf., e.g.,-I saw a red flower — I saw a flower).
If the distribution of the word-group is different from either of its members, it is regarded as exocentric, i.e. as having no such central member, for instance side by side or grow smaller and others where the component words are not syntactically substitutable for the whole word-group.
In endocentric word-groups the central component that has the same distribution as the whole group is clearly the dominant member or the head to which all other members of the group are subordinated. In the word-group red flower, e.g., the head is the noun flower and in the word-group kind to people the head is the adjective kind, etc.
It follows that word-groups may be classified according to their headwords into nominal groups or phrases (e.g. red flower), adjectival, groups (e.g. kind to people), verbal groups (e.g. to speak well), etc. The head is not necessarily the component that occurs first in the word-group. In such nominal word-groups as, e.g., very great bravery, bravery in the struggle the noun bravery is the head whether followed or preceded by other words.
Word-groups are also classified according to their syntactic pattern into predicative and non-predicative groups. Such word-groups as, e.g., John works, he went that have a syntactic structure similar to that of a sentence, are classified as predicative, and all others as non-predicative.1 Non-predicative word-groups may be subdivided according to the type
1 This classification was the issue of heated discussion in Soviet linguistics. It was argued that the so-called predicative word-groups actually comprise the subject and the predicate, i.e’, the main components of the sentence and should be regarded as syntactical rather than lexical units. Here we are concerned only with non-predicative word-groups.
of syntactic relations between the components into subordinative and coordinative. Such word-groups as red flower, a man of wisdom and the like are termed subordinative because the words red and of wisdom are subordinated to flower and man respectively and function as their attributes. Such phrases as women and children, day and night, do or die are classified as coordinative.
MEANING OF WORD-GROUPS
As with word-meaning, the meaning of word-groups may be analysed into lexical and grammatical components.
§ 4. Lexical Meaning
The lexical meaning of the word-group may be defined as the combined lexical meaning of the component words. Thus the lexical meaning of the word-group red flower may be described denotationally as the combined meaning of the words red and flower. It should be pointed out, however, that the term combined lexical meaning is not to imply that the meaning of the word-group is a mere additive result of all the lexical meanings of the component members. As a rule, the meanings of the component words are mutually dependent and the meaning of the word-group naturally predominates over the lexical meaning of its constituents.
Even in word-groups made up of technical terms which are traditionally held to be monosemantic the meaning of the word-group cannot be described as the sum total of the meanings of its components. For example, though the same adjective atomic is a component of a number of terminological word-groups, e.g. atomic weight, atomic warfare, etc., the lexical meaning of the adjective is different and to a certain degree subordinated to the meaning of the noun in each individual word-group and consequently the meaning of the whole group is modified.
Interdependence of the lexical meanings of the constituent members of word-groups can be readily observed in word-groups made up of polysemantic words. For example, in the nominal group blind man (cat, horse) only one meaning of the adjective blind, i.e. ‘unable to see’, is combined with the lexical meaning of the noun man (cat, horse) and it is only one of the meanings of the noun man — ‘human being’ that is perceived in combination with the lexical meaning of this adjective. The meaning of the same adjective in blind type (print, handwriting) is different.
As can be seen from the above examples, polysemantic words are used in word-groups only in one of their meanings. These meanings of the component words in such word-groups are mutually interdependent and inseparable. Semantic inseparability of word-groups that allows us to treat them as self-contained lexical units is also clearly perceived in the analysis of the connotational component of their lexical meaning. Stylistic reference of word-groups, for example, may be essentially different from that of the words making up these groups. There is nothing colloquial or slangy about such words as old, boy, bag, fun, etc. when taken in isolation. The word-groups made up of these words, e.g. old boy, bags of fun, are recognisably colloquial.
§ 5. Structural Meaning
As with polymorphemic words word-groups possess not only the lexical meaning, but also the meaning conveyed mainly by the pattern of arrangement of their constituents. A certain parallel can be drawn between the meaning conveyed by the arrangement of morphemes in words and the structural meaning of word-groups.1 It will be recalled that two compound words made up of lexically identical stems may be different in meaning because of the difference in the pattern of arrangement of the stems. For example, the meaning of such words as dog-house and house-dog is different though the lexical meaning of the components is identical. This is also true of word-groups. Such word-groups as school grammar and grammar school are semantically different because of the difference in the pattern of arrangement of the component words. It is assumed that the structural pattern of word-groups is the carrier of a certain semantic component not necessarily dependent on the actual lexical meaning of its members. In the example discussed above (school grammar) the structural meaning of the word-group may be abstracted from the group and described as ‘quality-substance’ meaning. This is the meaning expressed by the pattern of the word-group but not by either the word school or the word grammar. It follows that we have to distinguish between the structural meaning of a given type of word-group as such and the lexical meaning of its constituents.
§ 6. Interrelation of Lexical
and Structural Meaning in
The lexical and structural components of meaning in word-groups are interdependent and inseparable. The inseparability of these two semantic components in word-groups can, perhaps, be best illustrated by the semantic analysis of individual word-groups in which the norms of conventional collocability of words seem to be deliberately overstepped. For instance, in the word-group all the sun long we observe a departure from the norm of lexical valency represented by such word-groups as all the day long, all the night long, all the week long, and a few others. The structural pattern of these word-groups in ordinary usage and the word-group all the sun long is identical. The generalised meaning of the pattern may be described as ‘a unit of time’. Replacing day, night, week by another noun the sun we do not find any change in the structural meaning of the pattern. The group all the sun long functions semantically as a unit of time. The noun sun, however, included in the group continues to carry the semantic value or, to be more exact, the lexical meaning that it has in word-groups of other structural patterns (cf. the sun rays, African sun, etc.). This is also true of the word-group a grief ago made up by analogy with the patterns a week ago, a year ago, etc. It follows that the meaning of the word-group is derived from the combined lexical meanings of its constituents and is inseparable from the meaning of the pattern of their arrangement. Comparing two nominal phrases a factory hand — ‘a factory worker’ and a hand bag — ‘a bag carried in the hand’ we see that though the word hand makes part of both its lexical meaning and the role it plays
1 See ‘Semasiology’, §§ 15, 16, p. p. 24, 25.
in the structure of word-groups is different which accounts for the difference in the lexical and structural meaning of the word-groups under discussion.
It is often argued that the meaning of word-groups is also dependent on some extra-linguistic factors, i.e. on the situation in which word-groups are habitually used by native speakers. For example, the meaning of the nominal group wrong number is linguistically defined by the combined lexical meaning of the component words and the structural meaning of the pattern. Proceeding from the linguistic meaning this group can denote any number that is wrong. Actually, however, it is habitually used by English speakers in answering telephone calls and, as a rule, denotes the wrong telephone number.
INTERDEPENDENCE OF STRUCTURE AND MEANING IN WORD-GROUPS
As both structure and meaning are parts of the word-group as a linguistic unit, the interdependence of these two facets is naturally the subject matter of lexicological analysis.
§ 7. Syntactic Structure
(Formula) and Pattern
In connection with the problem under discussion the term syntactic (or syntagmatic) structure requires some clarification. We know that word-groups may be generally described through the pattern of arrangement of the constituent members. The term syntactic structure (formula) properly speaking implies the description of the order and arrangement of member-words as parts of speech. We may, for instance, describe the word-group as made up of an Adjective and a Noun (clever man, red flower, etc.), a Verb — a Noun (take books, build houses, etc.), or a Noun, a Preposition and a Noun (a touch of colour, a matter of importance, etc.). The syntactic structure (formula) of the nominal groups clever man and red flower may be represented as A + N, that of the verbal groups take books and build houses as V + N, and so on.
These formulas can be used to describe all the possible structures of English word-groups. We can say, e.g., that the verbal groups comprise the following structural formulas: V+N (to build houses), V+prp+N (to rely on somebody), V+N+prp+N (to hold something against somebody), V+N+V(inf.) (to make somebody work), V+ V(inf.) (to get to know), and so on.
The structure of word-groups may be also described in relation to the head-word, e.g. the structure of the same verbal groups (to build houses, to rely on somebody) is represented as to build + N, to rely + on + N. In this case it is usual to speak of the patterns of word-groups but not of formulas. The term pattern implies that we are speaking of the structure of the word-group in which a given word is used as its head.
The interdependence of the pattern and meaning of head-words can be easily perceived by comparing word-groups of different patterns in which the same head-word is used. For example, in verbal groups the head-
word mean is semantically different in the patterns mean+iV (mean something) and mean + V(inf.) (mean to do something). Three patterns with the verb get as the head-word represent three different meanings of this verb, e.g. get+N (get a letter, information, money, etc.), get+ +to +N (get to Moscow, to the Institute, etc.), get+N+V(inf.) (get somebody to come, to do the work, etc.). This is also true of adjectival word-groups, e.g. clever+N (clever man) and clever+at+N (clever at arithmetic), keen+N (keen sight, hearing), keen+on+N (keen on sports, tennis). Notional member-words in such patterns are habitually represented in conventional symbols whereas prepositions and other form-words are given in their usual graphic form. This is accounted for by the fact that individual form-words may modify or change the meaning of the word with which it is combined, as in, e.g., anxious+for+ N (anxious for news), anxious+about+N (anxious about his health). Broadly speaking we may conclude that as a rule the difference in the meaning of the head-word is conditioned by a difference in the pattern of the word-group in which this word is used.
§ 8. Polysemantic and Monosemantic Patterns
If the structure of word-groups is different, we have ample grounds to infer that the difference in the syntactic (or syntagmatic) structure is indicative of a difference in the meaning of the head-word of word-groups.
So we assume that verbal groups represented by different structural formulas, e.g. V+N and V+V(inf.) are as a rule semantically different because of the difference in the grammatical component of meaning. This is also true of different patterns of word-groups, e.g. get+N and get+V(inf.).
It should be pointed out,’ however, that although difference in the pattern signals as a rule difference in the meaning of the head-word, identity of pattern cannot be regarded as a reliable criterion for identity of meaning.1 Thus structurally identical patterns, e.g. heavy+N, may be representative of different meanings of the adjective heavy which is perceived in the word-groups heavy rain (snow, storm), cf. heavy smoker (drinker), heavy weight (table), etc. all of which have the same pattern — heavy+N. Structurally simple patterns are as a rule polysemantic, i.e. representative of several meanings of a polysemantic head-word, whereas structurally complex patterns are monosemantic and condition just one meaning of the head-member. The simplest verbal structure V+N and the corresponding pattern are as a rule polysemantic (compare, e.g. take+N (take tea, coffee); take the bus, the tram, take measures, precautions, etc.), whereas a more complex pattern, e.g. take+to+N is monosemantic (e.g. take to sports, to somebody).
§ 9. Motivation in Word-Groups
Word-groups like words may also be analysed from the point of view of their motivation.2 Word-groups may be described as lexically motivated if the combined lexical mean-
1 See 'Semasiology', §§ 41-45, p. 48-53,
2 See 'Semasiology', § 17, p. 25.
ing of the groups is deducible from the meaning of their components. The nominal groups, e.g. red flower, heavy weight and the verbal group, e.g. take lessons, are from this point of view motivated, whereas structurally identical word-groups red tape — ‘official bureaucratic methods’, heavy father — ’serious or solemn part in a theatrical play’, and take place — ‘occur’ are lexically non-motivated. In these groups the constituents do not possess, at least synchronically, the denotational meaning found in the same words outside these groups or, to be more exact, do not possess any individual lexical meaning of their own, as the word-groups under discussion seem to represent single indivisible semantic entities. Word-groups are said to be structurally motivated if the meaning of the pattern is deducible from the order and arrangement of the member-words of the group. Red flower, e.g., is motivated as the meaning of the pattern quality — substance can be deduced from the order and arrangement of the words red and flower, whereas the seemingly identical pattern red tape cannot be interpreted as quality — substance.
The degree of motivation may be different. Between the extremes of complete motivation and lack of motivation there are innumerable intermediate cases. For example, the degree of lexical motivation in the nominal group black market is higher than in black death, “but lower than in black dress, though none of the groups can be considered as completely non-motivated. This is also true of other word-groups, e.g. old man and old boy both of which may be regarded as lexically and structurally motivated though the degree of motivation in old man is noticeably higher. It is of interest to note that completely motivated word-groups are, as a rule, correlated with certain structural types of compound words. Verbal groups having the structure V+N, e.g. to read books, to love music, etc., are habitually correlated with the compounds of the pattern N+(V+er) (book-reader, music-lover); adjectival groups such as A + +prp+N (e.g. rich in oil, shy before girls) are correlated with the compounds of the pattern N+A, e.g. oil-rich, girl-shy.
It should also be noted that seemingly identical word-groups are sometimes found to be motivated or non-motivated depending on their semantic interpretation. Thus apple sauce, e.g., is lexically and structurally motivated when it means ‘a sauce made of apples’ but when used to denote ‘nonsense’ it is clearly non-motivated. In such cases we may even speak of homonymy of word-groups and not of polysemy.
It follows from the above discussion that word-groups may be also classified into motivated and non-motivated units. Non-motivated word-groups are habitually described as phraseological units or idioms.
§ 10. Summary and Conclusions
1. Words put together to form lexical units make up phrases or word-groups. The main factors active in bringing words together are lexical and grammatical valency of the components of word-groups.
2. Lexical valency is the aptness of a word to appear in various collocations. All the words of the language possess a certain norm of lexical valency. Restrictions of lexical valency are to be accounted for by the inner structure of the vocabulary of the English language.
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