Words words and words TESL 2200 Lecture 1 2009-2010 Semester 2
Warm-up questions • How big is the lexicon of English? • How many English words do any of us know? • How do we calculate size, with such an amorphous phenomenon? • Where does the vastness of the lexicon come from? • How do we use words properly?
Outline • The importance of words • What is a word? • Ways words can be studied • Use and usage • Vocabulary in context
The importance of words Vocabulary is the Everest of a language (Crystal 1995:116).
UIC has the shortest winter holiday among mainland colleges and universities.
What is a word? • units of meaning • a sequence of letters bounded by spaces • a sequence of sounds
units of meaning (or items of vocabulary, a lexical item) • headwords in a dictionary such as dog
the sequence of letters bounded by spaces. An orthographic word. You’re a lazy dog! 你是个懒骨头！ I’m dog-tired。我累坏了。 She dogged my footsteps.她紧跟着我。
a sequence of sounds. UIC has the shortest winter holiday among mainland colleges and universities.
Ways words can be studied One can study the origins of English words. For example, when certain words came into English. This is the historical dimension of studying a word (etymology). One can study how words are formed. For example, morphology studies the structure of words.
Ways words can be studied One also can study whether a word is in standard use or restricted to a dialect. This is the regional dimension. To study whether a word carries resonances of gender, class, formality, or ethnicity is the social dimension of word study.
Ways words can be studied • To study whether a word has special status in such domains as science, religion, or law is the occupational dimension of word study.
Use and usage • Use is how the language is used in communication. • Usage is the way in which words are used in a language. It’s similar to grammar. • Have you ever eaten fried snake?
Use and usage I love you, darling; I could gaze into your eyeballs all day long. The membrane was pink in color and shiny in appearance. The United Nations is stepping up its efforts to support kids' rights.
Use and usage • The container was marked inflammable, so why can't we smoke?
Vocabulary in context A large number of words are restricted in their contexts of use By geography (BE, AE, AUS,NZ,HKE etc) By subject matter By formality By effect or literariness
By geography List of British words not widely used in the United States. bloke (us. buddy) Bollocks(us.bullshit) crisps (us.potatio chips) curriculum vitae (us. Resume) Car park (us. parking lot) Invigilator(us. proctor) Lorry(us.truck)
By geography • List of the more common words which are different in American and British EnglishApartment. • apartment(uk.flat) • argument (uk.row) • baby carriage(uk.pram) • band-aid (uk.plaster) • bathroom (uk.loo or WC) • Can(uk. Tin) • chopped beef (uk.mince)
Subject matter Make a list of the specialist vocabulary( terminology or jargon) of leisure interests such as: Ballet(e.g. fish dive) Skiing(e.g. yard sale) Music(e.g.heavy metal,hard rock etc) Stamps-collecting (first day cover,album etc)
Subject matter For example, one of my past leisure interests is weight-lifting. Can you name the following items or actions?
Formality of words Formal vs Informal or colloquial He checked up on his accountant. Heinvestigated his accountant. They put up with their neighbours. They tolerated their neighbours. She caught on very quickly. She understood very quickly.
Formality of words She made up for it with an early night. She compensated for it with an early night. He went down with a fever. He contracted a fever. The cost of living went up. The cost of living increased/rose.
Formality of words • Slang ( The latest slang term for defecation, however, is dropping the kids off at the pool ) A few British slang - Pissed - drunk • Spud – potato • Fag – cigarette • Quid- pound money • Bird - girl
Formality of words • Vulgar (dirty words) • Taboo (forbidden words)
Effect of words Humorous (fantastic-fabulous-fantabulous) Derogatory (cunning) Euphemistic (departure-death)
Summary The linguist Nelson Francis has said, ‘Words do not have meanings; people have meanings for words’ (1967,p.119)