We can best understand the shift in modern cases, where the connotative values and the practical background are known. During the last generations the growth of cities has led to a lively trade in city lots and houses, "development" of outlying land into residence districts, and speculative building. At the same time, the prestige of the persons who live by these things has risen to the point where styles pass from them to the working man, who in language is imitative but has the force of numbers, and to the "educated" person, who enjoys a fictitious leadership. Now, the speculative builder has learned to appeal to every weakness, including the sentimentality, of the prospective buyer; he uses the speech-forms whose content will turn the hearer in the right direction. In many locutions house is the colorless, and home the sentimental word:
COLORLESS PLEASANT CONNOTATION
Smith has a lovely house : Smith has a lovely home
= a lovely new eight-room house : x.
Thus, the salesman comes to use the word home of an empty shell that has never been inhabited, and the rest of us copy his style. It may be too, that, the word house, especially in the substandard sphere of the salesman, suffers from some ambiguity, on account of meanings such as 'commercial establishment' (a reliable house), 'hotel,' 'brothel,' 'audience' (a half-empty house).
The learned word transpire in its Latin-French use, meant 'to breathe or ooze' (Latin spirare) through (Latin trans),' and thus, as in French transpirer 'to exhale, exude, perspire, ooze out,' and with a transfer of meaning, 'to become public (of news).' The old usage would be to say of what really happened, very little transpired. The ambiguous case is it transpired that the president was out of town. On the pattern
it happened that the president was : it transpired that the president . . .
out of town
= what happened, remains a secret : x,
we now get the formerly impossible type what transpired, remains a secret, where transpire figures as an elegant synonym of happen, occur.
This parallelism of transference accounts for successive encroachments in a semantic sphere. As soon as some form like terribly, which means 'in a way that arouses fear,' has been extended into use as a stronger synonym of very, the road is clear for a similar transference of words like awfully, frightfully, horribly.
Even when the birth of the marginal meaning is recent, we shall not always be able to trace its origin. It may have arisen under some very special practical circumstances that are unknown to us, or, what comes to the same thing, it may be the successful coinage of some one speaker and owe its shape to his individual circumstances. One suspects that the queer slang use, a quarter of a century ago, of twenty-three for 'get out' arose in a chance situation of sportsmanship, gambling, crime, or some other rakish environment; within this sphere, it may have started as some one person's witticism. Since every practical situation is in reality unprecedented, the apt response of a good speaker may always border on semantic innovation. Both the wit and the poet often cross this border, and their innovations may become popular. To a large extent, however, these personal innovations are modeled on current forms. Poetic metaphor is largely an outgrowth of the transferred uses of ordinary speech. To quote a very well chosen example, when Wordsworth wrote
The gods approve
The depth and not the tumult of the soul,
he was only continuing the metaphoric use current in such expressions as deep, ruffled, or stormy feelings. By making a new transference on the model of these old ones, he revived the "picture." The picturesque saying that "language is a book of faded metaphors" is the reverse of the truth, for poetry is rather a blazoned book of language.
Part III. Diachrony of Semantic Conversives.
Semantic structure of lexical conversives has undergone certain changes in course of time. The semantics of the selected conversives - "to give : to take" and "to sell : to buy" - during each of the three major periods of the English language development has been analyzed in this paper.
Along with the examination of the present-day dictionary meaning of the above-mentioned semantic conversives (see Part I), their textual analysis was done. The latter is based on: 1) the Old English Epic "Beowulf" in which 39 cases of the usage of the verb "?ifan", 28 - of the verb "niman", 25 - of the verb "sellan" and 3 - of the verb "byc?an" were registered; 2) the Middle English novel "The Canterbury Tales" by G. Chaucer where the verbs "yiven", "taken", "sellen" and "byen" were found in 198, 281, 16 and 25 contexts accordingly; and 3) the New English (NE) text "Don Juan" by G. Byron "to give", "to take", "to sell" and "to buy" were registered in 117, 173, 8 and 15 contexts.
3.1. Text / Discourse Definition.
Discourse is defined as a general term for examples of language use, i.e. language which has been produced as the result of an act of communication.
Whereas grammar refers to the rules, a language ceases to form grammatical units such as clause, phrase, and sentence, discourse refers to larger units of language such as paragraphs, conversations, and interviews.
Sometimes a study of both written and spoken discourse is known as Discourse Analysis; some researchers however use discourse analysis to refer to the study of spoken discourse, and text linguistics to refer to the study of written discourse.
The discourse can be investigated with the help of Discourse Analysis which is defined as the study of how sentences in spoken and written language form larger meaningful units such as paragraphs, conversations, interviews, etc.
For example, discourse analysis deals with:
a) how the choice of articles, pronouns and tenses affects me structure of the discourse;
b) the relationship between utterances in a discourse;
c) the moves made by the speaker to introduce a new topic, change the topic, or assert a higher role relationship to the other participants.