CHAPTER 4 || The Lexicon Flashcards Preview

ENG 211-O1 INTRO TO LINGUISTICS > CHAPTER 4 || The Lexicon > Flashcards

Flashcards in CHAPTER 4 || The Lexicon Deck (32):


The vocabulary of a person, language or branch of knowledge.

The internalized dictionary.

Instead of the every day term dictionary, linguists use the technical term lexicon.

The full lexicon of a language will contain not just words but also idioms.

Ex. The lexicon of soccer includes such terms as linesman, friendly match, yellow card, penalty shootout, pitch, result and draw.

Ex. The lexicon of a stock trader includes terms such as delayed quotes, futures contracts, limit order, margin account, short selling, stop order, trend line and watch list.

The lexicon of a language is not fixed and changes quite rapidly.



An expression whose meaning is not predictable from the meaning of its component parts.

Ex. Kick the bucket for dying.

Ex. A blessing in disguise for something which seems like a problem, which has an unexpected beneficial effect or becomes an asset to you.



Or word classes.

The idea that the words in the lexicon of a language can be put into different classes:

  • nouns
  • adjectives
  • pronouns
  • verbs
  • auxiliaries
  • adverbs
  • prepositions
  • postposition
  • conjunctions
  • interjections 



Words that typically specify things of entities (people, animals, objects, places, abstact ideas).



Describes a noun.

Indicates qualities or properties of things, such as age, color, size, speed and shape. 



Words like I, me, you and they that are used instead of nouns to refer to persons and things, especially known and identifiable ones.



Any member of a class of words that function as the main elements of predicates, that typically express action, state, or a relation between two things, and that may be inflected for tense, aspect, voice, mood, and to show agreement with their subject or object.



Verbs that express grammatical rather than lexical information and are used along with lexical verbs that represent events. The most used auxiliaries in English are to do, to be, and to have.

Sometimes called helping verbs because they are needed to form many of the tenses.

Ex. Do you like German food?

Ex. Does your cousin speak English?

Ex. How long have you been in the United States?

Ex. Have you done your homework?

Ex. I was reading when you called!

Ex. By this time, I will have been learning French for 5 years!



Indicate qualities and properties of events or indicate intensity of a quality.

Ex. I really don’t care.

Ex. He literally wrecked his car.

Ex. I am certain of the facts, for sure.

Ex. You simply don’t understand.

Ex. so want to go to the concert.

Ex. She completely rejected his proposal.

Ex.heartily endorsed the new restaurant. want that new car.

Ex. He completely understands me.

Ex. absolutely refuse to stay here any longer.



Grammatical words like at, in, to, by and from that go with nouns to specify how they are related to the rest of the sentence.



Words that do the same as prepositions but follow the noun rather than precede it.



Grammatical words like and, or, but, and if, that join words or groups of words together.



Words like hey!, yuck!, eek!, and ugh!, which mostly expresses the speaker's emotional attitude or call for attention.



The shortening of an existing word of more than one syllable generally to a single syllable.

Ex. Public house into pub.

Ex. Facsimile into fax.

Ex. Advertisement into ad.

Ex. Condominium into condo.

Ex. Influenza into flu.

In English, names are often clipped as well: Mike, Sue, Liz, Ron, Rob.




A type of clipping that is common in Australian English.

Hypocorism involves clipping a word down to a closed monosyllable and attaching the suffix –y ~ –ie to the clipped form. 

Ex. Australian into Aussie.

Ex. Breakfast into brekky.

Ex. Biscuit into bickie.

Ex. Barbecue into barbie.

Ex. Television into telly.



Words formed from the first letters of a string of words.

Ex. National Aeronautics and Space Administration into NASA.



Involve the combination of parts of two separate words to form a single word.

It's usually the first part (often syllable) of one word together with the second part of the other word (either syllable or single final consonant) which occur in that sequence.

Ex. Motor and hotel becomes motel.

Ex. Smog and fog becomes smog.

Ex. Binary and digit becomes bit



The process of incorporating into one language words from another.

The most common source of new words.

Words that have been borrowed are called loan words.

Ex. Kangaroo is a word borrowed from Guugu Yimithirr in Australia.



Or calques.

A special type of borrowing in which the morphemes composing the source word are translated item by item.

Ex. The English power politics is from the German machtpolitik.

Ex. The Chinese nan pengyu (male friend) is from the English boyfriend.



A word that is completely novel, an entirely pure invention not created through use of any of the regular patterns of lexeme formation.

Ex. English word nerd.

Ex. American English word barf.



Certain phones tend to be associated in the lexicon of a language with certain meanings, often on a partially iconic basis.

Ex. Many English words that begin with gl- have to do with brightness: glisten, gleam, glitter, glow.

Ex. Many English words beginning with sl- tend to be associated with uncontrolled, liquid-like movements: slip, slide, slither.



The process of forming new words by use of derivational morphemes, morphemes that create new lexical stems.

Derivational morphemes are bound morphemes added to a root or stem to form a new stem.

Ex. The suffix –er in English.



When two separate words are sometimes joined together to form a single word, a new word with a meaning of its own, a meaning that is not entirely predictable from the component words.

Ex. Loanword is a single word made up of two independent words loan and word.



Many languages form new words by repeating an existing word, either in full or in part.

Ex. Fifty-fifty, hush-hush, helter-skelter, dilly-dally, higgeldy-piggeldy, hanky-panky, teeny-weeny.



When a shorter word is created from a longer one by removing a part that is wrongly taken to be an existing morpheme.

Ex. From the noun television, televize was backformed on analogy with other pairs such as revize/revision and incise/incision that involve the nominal derivational suffix –ion.



The process of extending the meaning of an existing word, broadening it to embrace new senses.

A common way to form new words.

Ex. The word holiday comes from the compound holy day.



The reverse of meaning extension: a word's sense becomes restricted.

Ex. The word doctor in daily spoken English shows narrowing from "a person holding a doctorate degree" to "a person holding a doctorate in medicine." The word has probably been narrowed down due to the lack of a suitable term for the professional in the medical field.



Fixed expressions that have meanings that are fully predictable from the component words.

Ex. Salt and pepper, pen and paper, up and down, cup and saucer.

The words of binomials come in a relatively fixed order; thus, you normally say "Pass the salt and pepper" and not "Pass the pepper and salt."



Habitual combinations of words.

Binomials are an example of collocations.

Words are somewhat fussy about the company they keep. There is often some degree of predictability of one word given another.

Salt is statistically more likely to be followed by pepper than by any other word.



Refers to the actions or things that are prohibited by social or religious convention.

In English and other European languages, many words relating to sexual activity, the genitals and some bodily functions and exuviae (urine, feces, menstrual blood) are taboos.



Indirect or evasive expressions used to avoid direct mention of unpleasant or taboo ideas.

Euphemisms provide ways of avoiding being offensive by being evasive.

Ex. Using the terms "pass away" or "going to sleep" to describe dying or death.

Ex. Using "working girl" or "woman of the street" to refer to a prostitute.



The inverse of euphemisms.

A euphemistic or neutral expression is replaced by a particularly direst of harsh term with offensive overtones (often a taboo term).

Ex. Using the term "shithouse" to refer to the bathroom.

Ex. Use of taboo terms like "fuckwit", "cunt", and "shithead."