English 121 092905

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					  English 121
   09/29/05

The English Lexicon
What do we mean by lexicon?
The study of the vocabulary of a language
– How words are formed
– How words develop over time
– How they are addressed in dictionaries
– How they relate to each other in meaning
   Words…




What is a word?
         Are these words?
 book
 store
 tooth
 brush
 God
 mother
Why would you call these words?
            Are these words?
  the
  of
  a
  which
  what
  where

Do all of these words fit your previous definition?
 What does it mean to know a
           word?
1. You know how to pronounce it
    roof; either; route
2. You (generally) know what it means
3. You know how other words can be
   formed from it
      able; unable; disable
4. You know its category (noun, verb,
   adjective, preposition, etc.)
      What counts as a word?
two-fifths

cutting-edge

fixer-upper

NATO

CIA
   What counts as a word?
Mary

New York

Metallica
     What counts as a word?
 Book
 Store     Bookstore
 Tooth
 Brush     Toothbrush
 God
 Mother    Godmother

1 or 2 words?
      What counts as a word?
 bake; baking; baked

 tell; telling; told

 am; is; are; was; were; am; being

 old; older; oldest

How many words here? 4? 16?
                 Lexemes
  Include the word and its related forms as a
  single construct
  “A unit of lexical meaning that exists
  regardless of its inflectional endings”
  (CEEL, p. 118)

bake, tell, old, be are all lexemes
How many words (lexemes) are in
    the English Language?
Depends on what counts as a word
If you use a dictionary, it depends on the
decisions that dictionaries make.
 – Dictionaries written in the 1700s will not have the
   word telephone.
 – Dictionaries written in the 1950s will not have e-mail
   or fax
 – Is Metallica in the dictionary?

 By conservative estimates, between 450,000
 and 500,000 English words.
  How many words do people
      generally know?
Depends…what does it mean to know a
word?
– To use it?
– To know what it means?

Active vocabulary: words you actually use
Passive vocabulary: words you know, but may
 not use (e.g., davenport; lorry; the lift)
        The CEEL says…
Office worker
– active        31,500
– passive       38,300
Business woman
– active        63,000
– passive       73,350
College professor
– active        56,250
– passive       76,250
 How does a language get (and
   increase) its vocabulary?
Affixation
– Re-fax that will you?
Compounds
– toothbrush
Shortening
– feds; poli-sci; narcs
Acronyms/initialisms
– WASP; NAFTA; AOL; GPA
blends
– smog (smoke + fog); mockumentary (mock + documentary)
borrowing
– pecan; boomerang; kung fu; alcohol
  Words and word meaning
We have lots of words that can refer to the
same thing but are different. We can refer
to these two different types of meaning as:

     –denotation



     –connotation
               Denotation
refers to the literal meaning of a word, the
dictionary definition

Snake:
"any of numerous scaly, legless, sometimes
venomous reptiles having a long, tapering,
cylindrical body and found in most tropical
and temperate regions."
                Connotation
refers to the associations that are connected to a
certain word or the emotional suggestions related
to that word

The connotative meanings of a word exist
together with the denotative meanings.

The connotations for the word snake could
include evil or danger.
      Synonym Worksheet
Do as a group…
             Word origins
1. colleague--Latin through French (1524)
   friend—Old English (1018—Beowulf)
   contemporary—Latin (1742)
   peer—Norman (1321)
   associate—Latin (1389)
   buddy—from the U.S. (1850)
   mate—middle low German (1582)

				
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