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Diachrony of Semantic Conversives in English - Дипломна робота

used to denote a gift of a slave. E. Benveniste describes the tradition of the old Germans that lay in putting their freedom on stake while playing the dice or some other gambling games. However, the person who used to win a slave in such a way tried to get rid of him as soon as possible (most often by making a "gift"), in order not to feel guilty or ashamed [16, p.99]. Transition of meaning (from the gift described to a certain business transaction) took place during the Middle English period.
3.3.4. Evolution of the Semantic Conversive "to buy".
Another constituent of the given conversive pair "to buy" (OE bycgan, Old Saxon buggean, Gothic bugjan) should be related with the Avestanroot baog-, that at first meant "to untie", "to unfasten a belt or clothes", and later on - "to liberate, to make free" and, finally, "to save" [16, p. 73].
In this case the semantic transition could occur due to the following condition: the so-called "purchase" implied paying ransom for a captive, which was the only way of rescuing him / her from slavery. There is a meaning, still retained in Modern English, that is a clear evidence of the above-mentioned hypothesis: "to buy" in the meaning of "to redeem" (see section 1.3.2 of Part I) which is cited in the Webster's New World Dictionary of American English as "religious" та "archaic" [12, p. 191].
On the whole, the verb "to sell" was used in the texts analyzed for 43 times:
Table 4. The Diachrony of the Verb "to buy" in the English Language.
№ Verb Text Period Number Percentage (of the word stock)
1 byc?an "Beowulf" OE 3 0,0157 %
2 byen "The Canterbury Tales" ME 25 0,0158 %
3 buy "Don Juan" NE 15 0,0118 %
The origin of the word "to buy" (discussed in detail above) makes itself felt in "Beowulf": "byc?an" never denotes the corresponding business transaction of purchasing; instead, it is used only in its primary figurative meaning (see Supplement 4):
OE ?eah ?e o?er his ealdre gebohte,
heardan ceape… [2, p.59].
NE though one of them bought it with blood of his heart,
a bargain hard
However, by the beginning of the ME period it has acquired the present-day sense of making a purchase, e.g.:
ME But so bifel, this marchant on a day
Shoop hym to make redy his array
Toward the toun of brugges for to fare,
To byen there a porcioun of ware… [5, p. 79].
Thus, we can see again that the verbs "to sell : to buy" are closely interrelated (which is a particular feature of semantic conversives): in the primitive languages they used to denote paying ransom for or selling of a captive or a slave. We should also mention that OE "bebyc?an" "to sell" is the form of the verb "byc?an" "to buy" (cf. the German "kaufen" and "verkaufen"):
OE Nu ic on ma?ma hord mine bebohte
frode feorhlege, fremma? gena
leoda ?earfe [2, p.37]
NE Now I've sold here for booty of treasure
the last of my life, so look ye well
to the needs of my land!
Conclusions.
In the lexical system of the language the meanings of different words are always correlated and interacting. In this respect, the question arises: what paradigmatic semantic correlations do the lexemes of the words have. Undoubtedly, it is those correlations that make the units of a certain multitude a system. Besides, the analysis of the paradigmatic semantic correlations is closely connected with the basic aspect of the lexical semantics, i.e. the description of lexical meanings. The opinion that it is impossible to properly analyze the meaning of the word without comparing it to the meanings of other words in a certain language has become an important issue in the linguistics due to the establishment of the structural methods of analysis, though it was even earlier that some linguists came to realize the importance of the correlations between meanings of the words.
Hence, the functioning of the semantic conversives is one of the focal problems of the contemporary linguistics (especially semantic linguistics). They help to establish what kinds of semantic paradigmatic relations different lexical and semantic units have, thus helping to group the words into certain clusters called lexico-semantic paradigms or semantic fields. Each constituent of the conversive pair of words influences and partly determines the meaning of another constituent.
The conversive correlation unites the words that define the same situation from the points of view of the participants that are engaged in its different aspects. The examples of this correlation are the following pairs of words: "to owin - to lose", "over-under", "to have-to belong (to)", "younger - older", etc.
Lexical conversion belongs to the categories that are not explored enough. Nevertheless, generalization of the available data about conversion makes it possible to outline a number of structural types of this linguistic phenomenon. Usually, conversives are classified according to 1) their morphological features and 2) their semantic features, i.e. in accordance with the general semantic categories inherent to them. Besides, the classification suggested by Yu.Apresyan and I.Melchuk is based on the number of transformation performed during the process of conversion. This division is rather arbitrary, so all these types of classification are interrelated and often presented as a single unity (it can be illustrated by the classification given by Yu.Apresyan).
The componential analysis of the conversive pairs revealed their complex structure. We designed the semantic structure of the conversives "to sell - to buy" on the basis of 5 modem dictionaries of the contemporary English language. Thus, the semantic structure of the verb "to sell" contained 13 major sememes, and that of the verb "to buy" contained 11. Also, the main components of meaning were determined. The dominant components can be represented by the opposition "supply : demand", which is proved by the facts of the register of economics.
Innovations which change the lexical meaning rather than the grammatical function of a form, are classed as change of meaning or semantic change. The conversives have undergone certain semantic changes in the course of the time. The semantic development of the conversives depends on the notions they defined in the history of early languages. E.g. the verbs with the meaning "to buy" originated from Indo-European roots *wes- and *kwri-. The *wes- root was registered in the Hittite [hi'tait], Greek, Latin and Indo-Iranian languages, whereas the *kwri- root is found in the Greek, Indo-Iranian, Celtic, Slavic and Baltic languages.
The semantic conversives illustrate the linguistic phenomenon called "the glide of meaning", which is a kind of semantic transition. For example, the meaning of Modem English
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