How many meanings or senses do you know for
        the following English words?
   top                 page    button   ring
the top of the volcano
the top of the cupboard
the top of the crop
the sports pages
page of honour
the buttons of a jacket
the TV button
a policeman’s button
a gold ring
to hit the ring (basketball)
circus ring
A type of relation between words based
  simply on a close connection in everyday
• Container-content relationship (can/juice)
• Whole-part relationship (car/wheels)
• Representative-symbolic relationship (king-
• E.g. He drank the whole bottle.
Consider the following English words and decide
  whether they are best thought of in terms of
      homonymy or polysemy, and why.

  cap      face     row      club              way
        bed     match   plot

- Try translating them into your native language.
- Are there several possible translation
cap - polysemy
face - polysemy
row - homonymy (homographs)
club - homonymy
way - homonymy
bed - polysemy
match - homonymy
plot - polysemy
   Consider the translatability of the word back.
    Which of the following sentences could be
translated using the L2 word meaning the rear part
                of the human body?
1. She sat at the back of the class.
2. My back aches from all that work.
3. The index is in the back of the book.
4. I’m tired, I want to go back.
5. The back of the chair is broken.
6. The back of your jacket is stained.
7. Open the back of the camera to put the film in.
• We know which words tend to occur with
  other words.
• Some collocations are joined pairs,
  binomial idioms made up of two parts
  connected by and, whose order cannot be
  – salt and pepper
  – husband and wife
  – knife and fork
  Any others?
•   Bed and breakfast
•   Fork and knife
•   Pros and cons
•   Ups and downs
•   Fish and chips
•   Sick and tired
•   Home and dry
•   Safe and sound
•   Bags and baggage
      Compositional meaning
It is when the meaning of the phrase/sentence is the result of
the meaning of the single words componing it

So for example the first clause (as well as the second) of

I got up on the wrong side of my bed, and therefore tripped
over my shoes.

has compositional meaning, because it's the literal sense.
Therefore if you know the meaning of all the words, plus you
have the syntactic parse, you can figure out what the whole
construction means.
But in
• Watch out for the boss--he must have gotten
  out of bed on the wrong side.
  the meaning of the similar clause is non-
  compositional or metaphoric: it means
  something other than rolling out of bed on to
  the floor.

• Re-edit = compositional meaning (“to pay

• Repay = non-compositional meaning (it
  doesn’t mean “to pay again”)
     Metaphorical meaning
• The central meaning of a word may often
  be the basis of metaphorical extensions of
  a word.
• Metaphors enable us to talk about one
  thing in terms of another.
• Metaphors are useful in expanding
  existing concepts and creating new ones.
          Metaphors we live by
                 Lakoff and Johnson (1980)

• Most of our conceptual system is
  metaphorical in nature.
Time is money
•   You’re wasting my time
•   Taking the bus will save you hours.
•   I don’t have time to give you.
•   How do you spend your time these days?
•   I’ve invested a lot of time in her.
•   I don’t have enough time to spare with that.
•   You’re running out of time.
•   It’s not worth your time.
•   You don’t use your time profitably.
Argument is war

•   Your claims are indefensible.
•   He attacked every weak point in my argument.
•   His criticisms were right on target.
•   I demolished his argument.
•   I’ve never won an argument with him.
•   You disagree! OK, shoot!
•   If you use that strategy, he’ll wipe you out.
•   He shot down all my arguments.
Even declaratives aren’t always

   I need a tie.      restaurant

(Appropriate reply:
 “What a shame.”)
 Even declaratives aren’t always

    I need a tie.

  (Possible reply:
  “We’ll show you
everything we have, sir.”)
 Even declaratives aren’t always

   I need a tie.

(Appropriate reply:
  “Certainly, sir,
   I’ll bring one
Meaning doesn’t just depend on linguistic
   knowledge of words but also on the
            context of use.

To top