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Flashcards in Lexicology Deck (16)
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A free lexical word to which one or more endings can be added. A base can itself consist of more than one morpheme whereas a root contains only one.


citation form

The form of a linguistic item which is given when it occurs on its own. Often the form used for a dictionary entry, typically the nominative of nouns and the infinitive of verbs (in English and German).



A term from derivational morphology, i.e. a lexicological term, which refers to a word which contains more than one lexical morpheme. This word is thus a new word which is gained by combining two or more morphologically simpler words, e.g. girlfriend from girl and friend, teabreak from tea and break. The term is occasionally used in syntax, as in 'a compound sentence', when referring to a sentence which consists of clauses which in turn could function as sentences on their own.



The use of an item of one class in another without any formal change, e.g. to breakfast from breakfast. Conversion is a common feature of analytical languages such as English.



The smallest (abstract) unit which is recognised as semantically independent in the lexicon of a language. A lexeme subsumes a set of forms which are related semantically, e.g. the lexeme walk unites the various forms walk, walks, walked, walking.


lexical (2)

1) Pertaining to the vocabulary of a language and/or information which is deposited in the mental lexicon of the speaker.

2) Irregular, 'quirky', not conforming to a given pattern. This second use implies that a form cannot be derived by rule and hence it must be learned as an indivisible whole during language acquisition and stored in the lexicon in its full, unalterable form.



The vocabulary of a language. It can refer to the book form of a dictionary (usually with an alphabetic listing of words) or the assumed lexicon which speakers possess mentally. The precise nature and organisation of this mental lexicon is much debated in linguistic literature as it is generally assumed to be radically different in organisation from a conventional dictionary.



Any word which can be shown to have been imported from one language into another, that is which does not represent an historical continuation of an earlier form (although loan-words may be related at a greater time depth). The word cardiac is a Greek loan as it is derived from the word for 'heart' in the latter language although it is ultimately related to English heart as both stem from the same root in Indo-European *kerd.



A new word in the vocabulary of a language. Frequently a borrowing but not necessarily so.



A term referring to any form or process which cannot be spontaneously understood by lay speakers. One could say that the word gospel is opaque for English speakers as they do not normally know that it comes from good + spell.



A kind of dictionary which consists of words grouped according to similarity in meaning.



A reference to a form or a process in morphology whose structure can be understood without any additional information, particularly of an historical nature, from the language concerned. For instance the German compound Kinderarzt is transparent but English pediatrician, which is derived from the Greek word for 'child' is not so. Former transparent compounds may change in the course of time. The English word hussey is a reduced form of 'housewife' and because of loss of transparency underwent a semantic shift to 'unpleasant woman' with the transparent housewife being re-introduced into the language. Transparent contrasts directly with opaque.



A reference to a unique word in a text, e.g. there are 6 types — but 8 tokens — in the following sentence: The young girl spoke to the older girl because the words the and girl occur twice.



The set of words in a language. These are usually grouped into word fields so that the vocabulary can be said to show an internal structure. The term lexicon is also found here but the latter has two meanings (the words of a language and one's mental storehouse for these words).


word formation

The second main branch of morphology (the other being inflection) and the chief process in lexicology (the study of the vocabulary of a language). Word formational processes are closely connected to a language's type: German as a synthetic language has much compounding but English as an analytic language has somewhat less, though in this sphere a tendency towards complex formations is noticeable, e.g. part-financed, low-intensity, small-scale.



study of the structure of the lexicon.