Lexical Form And Lexical Meaning English Language Essay


2A lexical form is an abstract unit representing a set of word forms differing only in inflection and not in core meaning. It is a component part of a lexical unit (form-meaning composite). On the other hand, meaning is a notion in semantics classically defined as having two components, (1) Reference (denoted by word or expression), (2) Sense (system of syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationship between a lexical unit and other lexical units in a language).

Features of lexical form and lexical meaning exemplified in the text (Annexure-1)

Stockwell (2001) explains that since morphemes are the smallest carriers of meaning, each word must contain at least one morpheme (smaller unit). The word morpheme itself is made up of two morphemes: morph "form, shape" and -eme "meaningful". So a morpheme is a meaningful unit of form. Morphemes are further divided in (A) { [3] Roots} (free, bound) (B) { [4] Affixes} (Derivational prefixes and suffixes and Inflectional). Both roots and Affixes are types of morphemes.

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The text under analysis has been numbered from line no: 1 to line no: 18 for easy reference (Annexure-1). The text is a perfect example of a three-way distinction (Ballard, 2001) between [5] simple word, [6] compound words and [7] complex words. The example of these words are: simple words expect (line 1), breeze (line 2) name (line 8), compound words whirlwind (line 1), facebook (line 5), Microsoft (line 9) and complex words like barely (line 1), unfortunately (line 6), exclusively (line 17). The verb carrying can be viewed as carry (Free morpheme) which is a root and ing (inflectional bound morpheme) which is an affix. In line number (4) the root/base of the word richest is rich which is a free morpheme and suffix est (inflectional bound morpheme). Gairns (1996) explains that prefixes and suffixes in the base word are used to modify meaning of the items or to change from one part of speech to another.

Stockwell (2001) says that principle of fixed linear ordering is valid for all affixes, so it is important to note the position of hyphen when one encounters an unfamiliar affix. Akmajian (2001) explains that hyphen is often used when a compound has been newly created or it is not widely used. When a compound has gained a certain currency or permanence it is often spelled closed up. The text under analysis has both examples of hyphenated and closed up words. In line number (3) and line number (5) compound words are hyphenated; giner-haired people , greeky-looking guys. On the other hand words like Microsoft or Facebook are not separated apart because they are widely known.

Compounding, according to Ballard (2001:56) is typically the result of joining nouns, adjectives and verbs. Compound verbs are rare and those which exist are likely to be result of back-formation (change of word class) and conversion (change of word class without any alteration to the form of word). The examples of compounding can be easily located in the text, like; newspapers, Facebook, giner-haired, geeky-looking.

According to Ballard (2001: 58) that multi-word verbs are very common in contemporary English. They are sometimes also known as phrasal verbs. It is combination of (1) verb+preposition (2) verb+adverb (3) verb+adverb+preposition. Further, the meaning of multi-verb verbs is partly or wholly idiomatic. The text has a number of examples of multi-word verb for example; walk into, look for, walk with, written about. Collocation is a propensity in words to co-occur. The text has verb-noun collocation like, carrying burden, faced recession and shows sign. There are also fixed expression that share identical idea like shot side, paper money, net worth, heavy burden, internet sensation.

Thornbury (1997) explains that in meaning words are often defined by reference to their similarities or differences with other words. For example: (1) Different words but same or similar meaning ( [8] synonym, taxi and cab) , (2) different words but opposite meaning (antonym, left and right), (3) Different words but same word family or lexical field (hyponyms, broom, dustbin and brush), (4) same words but different meaning (homonyms, sound and sound), and (5) same word and similar meaning (polysemes, lift, alift). In line no:1 and line no:2 of the text two words viz; whirlwind and breeze are subordinates of the super ordinate word wind. This shows a kind of relationship, known as hyponymy. Walter (2001) gives two meanings of whirlwind (1) visit/relationship, which is befitting in the context of text, and (2) strong wind. The writer of the article has made use of numerical figures like 24, 3, 1.6 and currency like $, then million, billion, hundred. The clipped word per cent is from the full word percentage.

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In line numbers 7 and 9 words estimate and calculate refer to a relationship of sameness. Allen, et al (1979: 365) lists the words calculate and estimate in synonym finder. Likewise, the words used in the text like simple, fundamental have been listed as synonyms in Allen's synonym finder. In line number 15 the words simple and fundamental both refer to meaning referring to basic and original. Jackson (2000: 94) explains two kinds of synonymy, strict and loose. Former relates to words to be interchangeable in all possible contexts of use giving free choice. Later relates to varying degrees of loose synonym where not only overlap of meaning is observed but also in some contexts words' substitution becomes difficult. Taking example of Jackson (2000) one can locate words like Feel(line number 17), emotional(15), sensation(13). Sinclair (1995) mentions feel, emotions and sensation as forms of personal feelings, which is also mentioned in text in line number 15. The words before and after are antonyms in the text. The words for and four are examples of homonyms.

Vocabulary Tasks

Vocabulary describes that area of language learning that is concerned with word knowledge (Thornbury, 2006). I have set the following vocabulary-related task in the local Pakistani context. The vocabulary to them is a list of an isolated series of words which they have to rot-read and use subsequently. This makes learning partially flawed. As, It is generally agreed that, in terms of goals, learners need a receptive vocabulary of around 3000 high frequency words in order to achieve independent user status. This will give students ninety percent coverage of normal text (Thornbury, 2006: 240).

It is impossible to teach students all the words they need to know. Therefore It is advisable to provide students some prospects for accidental learning, through extensive reading. It is worth mentioning here that difficulty level of the text is high (lexical density) for students of public universities in Pakistan, this may be compensated by introducing relatively simpler [9] activities.

1. Underline any three simple words, three compound words and three complex words as you read through the text. After you have read, write down these words in the following columns and also put the line number:

Simple words compound words complex words

Word Line number word Line number word Line number

______ ________ _________ _______ _________ ______

______ _________ _________ _________ _________ ______

______ _________ __________ _________ _________ ______

2. Which of the followings words [10] collocate or create compounds with following words?

1.________side 2. Face_______ 3. heavy________ 4. paper____________

3. Read the meaning below and write appropriate word from the text.

Meaning word [11] line number

1. Person who is not confident 02

2. Person who has great wealth 03

3. Pioneer or initiator of anything 05

4. Time when market and currency go down 12

4. Make two new words using the following bases and check in the dictionary.

1. Fortunate 2. Estimate 3. Become 4. Sign 5. Even

5. Find synonyms of the following words from the text:

1. Money 2. Appraise 3. Weight 4. Curtailment 5. Basic 6. Recessionary

According to Thornbury (2006) amassing a fully-functioning vocabulary is essentially a memory task, and techniques to help in the memorizing of words can be usefully taught. It also helps to provide learners with repeated encounters with new words through the reading of text or by reading several texts about the same topic. Constantly recycling of newly learned words is essential.

This paper attempts to suggest the English language teachers how to prepare vocabulary tasks within specific textual context and how to train learners to go about it. This paper argues that the existing teaching of vocabulary in Pakistani universities is not learner centered and it encourages rot-learning which results in 'NO LEARNING'. The paper gives samples of vocabulary tasks which will likely help students learn vocabulary more effectively and help them use vocabulary correctly by avoiding pitfalls.