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1 The Notion of Meaning in Stylistics 3
2 The Notion of Meaning in Lexicology 5
3 The Notion of Meaning in Stylistics as Complementing to the Notion of Meaning in Lexicology 7
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In its further semantic development the word progressively broadened its range of meaning. At first it came to denote not only a female child but, in addition, a young single woman, afterwards, any young woman, and in modern informal English it is almost synonymous to the noun woman (for example, The old girl must be at least seventy), thus that its range of meaning is quite broad.
3 The Notion of Meaning in Stylistics as Complementing to the Notion of Meaning in Lexicology
To sum up, it is significant to determine the notion of meaning in stylistics as complementing to the notion of meaning in lexicology. As it has been already mentioned above, lexicology is more concerned of a word as a lexical unit with its peculiars, whereas stylistics deals with word’s features in means of its stylistic functions. In other words, both branches of linguistics are highly interfered in studying different sides of a word and complement each other. To make the statement more obvious, let us use euphemism which is studied by both stylistics and lexicology as an example.
First of all, euphemism is understood as a variant of periphrasis which is used to replace an unpleasant, hush or blunt word or expression by a conventionally more acceptable in means of the style or the register [Кокшарова, 2011: 62]. For example: Он находился в местах не столь удалённых = в тюрьме. In other words, euphemism is mild or vague expression used instead of harsh or blunt one.
However, the term euphemism does not characterise a definite lexical group, denoting rather a certain stylistic result which can be achieved by various means, whenever a strong expression renounces its own place to a weaker one. As a result, nearly every case of ‘understatement’ has euphemistic force. For instance, the word ‘to perspire’ is a bookish one, as compared with ‘to sweat’ in the following sentence: Horses sweat, men perspire, but ladies only glow. On the other hand, it is the word borrowed from Latin and a euphemism.
There are some differences concerning whether certain terms are or are not euphemisms: sometimes the phrase visually impaired is labeled as a politically correct euphemism for blind. However, visual impairment can be a broader term, including people who have partial sight in one eye, those with uncorrectable mild to moderate poor vision, or even those who wear glasses, a group that would be excluded by blind. At the same time, euphemisms can cause confusion when used with old literal meaning: for instance, the author James Herriot recorded that he ran into a difficulty when talking to an animal's owner he wanted to refer to ‘putting (the animal) to sleep’ literally that is to say anaesthetising it for a while.
As for the main functions and stylistic effects created by the use of euphemisms, they are mostly used to give a more positive characterisation of the described subject, to soften the reader’s perception of events and to cover up what the real situation is.
Euphemisms quite often deal with so-called taboos which can vary in different languages and cultures which are considered one of the main phenomena having been described by stylistics but not lexicology. However, it can be stated that lexicology also deals with formal and informal context but the point of focus differs and that is why the notion of meaning in stylistics complements the notion of meaning in lexicology.
As a result of the work, the following conclusion is to be drawn. The most essential feature of a word is that it expresses the concept of a thing, process, phenomenon, naming (denoting) them. Concept is a logical category, its linguistic counterpart is meaning. First of all, meaning is the unity of generalization, communication and thinking. Stylistics is a domain where meaning assumes paramount importance, as the term "meaning" is applied not only to words, word-combinations, sentences but also to the manner of expression into which the meaning is cast. Secongly, grammatical meaning refers our mind to relations between words or to some forms of words or constructions bearing upon their structural functions in the language-as-a-system. Grammatical meaning can thus be adequately called “structural meaning”. Finally, the number, importance and the overlapping character of connotative meanings incorporated into the semantic structure of a word, are brought forth by the context that is a concrete speech act that identifies and actualizes each one. In the semantic actualization of a word the context plays a dual role: on one hand, it cuts off all meanings irrelevant for the given communicative situation.
As for lexicology, the systems of meanings of polysemantic words evolve gradually. The older a word is the better developed is its semantic structure. The normal pattern of a word's semantic development is from monosemy to a simple semantic structure encompassing only two or three meanings, with a further movement to an increasingly more complex semantic structure.
In conclusion, it is necessary to emphasize that the notion of meaning in stylistics does complement the notion of meaning in lexicology. Lexicology is more concerned of a word as a lexical unit with its peculiars, whereas stylistics deals with word’s features in means of its stylistic functions.
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