A piece of furniture Meals provided - Афанасьева О. В., Морозова Н. Н. А72 Лексикология английского языка: Учеб...

^ A piece of furniture Meals provided for pay

An official group of persons

Board I, II, III, n. (split polysemy)

A somewhat different case of split polysemy may be illustrated by the three following homonyms:

spring, n. — the act of springing, a leap spring, n. — a place where a stream of water comes up out of the earth (R. родник, источник)

spring, n. — a season of the year.

Historically all three nouns originate from the same verb with the meaning of "to jump, to leap" (O. E. springan), so that the meaning of the first homonym is the oldest. The meanings of the second and third homonyms were originally based on metaphor. At the head of a stream the water sometimes leaps up out of the earth, so that metaphorically such a place could well be described as a leap. On the other hand, the season of the year following winter could be poetically defined as a leap from the darkness and cold into sunlight and life. Such metaphors are typical enough of Old English and Middle English semantic transferences but not so characteristic of modern mental and linguistic processes. The poetic associations that lay in the basis of the semantic shifts described above have long since been forgotten, and an attempt to re-establish the lost links may well seem far-fetched. It is just the near-impossibility of establishing such links that seems to support the claim for homonymy and not for polysemy with these three words.

It should be stressed, however, that split polysemy as a source of homonyms is not accepted by some scholars. It is really difficult sometimes to decide whether a certain word has or has not been subjected to the split of the semantic structure and whether we are dealing 5 with different meanings of the same word or with homonyms, for the criteria are subjective and imprecise. The imprecision is recorded in the data of different dictionaries which often contradict each other on this very issue, so that board is represented as two homonyms in Professor V. K. Muller's dictionary [41], as three homonyms in Professor V. D. Arakin's [36] and as one and the same word in Hornby's dictionary [45].

Spring also receives different treatment. V. K. Muller's and Hornby's dictionaries acknowledge but two homonyms: I. a season of the year, II. a) the act of springing, a leap, b) a place where a stream of water comes up out of the earth; and some other meanings, whereas V. D. Arakin's dictionary presents the three homonyms as given above.

^ Classification of Homonyms

The subdivision of homonyms into homonyms proper, homophones and homographs is certainly not precise enough and does not reflect certain important features of these words, and, most important of all, their status as parts of speech. The examples given in the beginning of this chapter show that homonyms may belong both to the same and to different categories of parts of speech. Obviously, a classification of homonyms should reflect this distinctive feature. Also, the paradigm of each word should be considered, because it has been observed that the paradigms of some homonyms coincide completely, and of others only partially.

Accordingly, Professor A. I. Smirnitsky classified homonyms into two large classes: I. full homonyms, II. partial homonyms [15].

Full lexical homonyms are words which represent the same category of parts of speech and have the same paradigm.

Partial homonyms are subdivided into three subgroups:

A. Simple lexico-grammatical partial homonyms are words which belong to the same category of parts of speech. Their paradigms have one identical form, but it is never the same form, as will be seen from the examples.

B. Complex lexico-grammatical partial homonyms are words of different categories of parts of speech which have one identical form in their paradigms.

E. g. rose, n.

rose, v. (Past Indef. of to rise}

maid, n.

made, v. (Past Indef., Past Part. of to make}

left, adj.

left, v. (Past Indef., Past Part. of to leave)

bean, n.

been, v. (Past Part. of to be)

one, num.

won, v. (Past Indef., Past Part. of to win)

C. Partial lexical homonyms are words of the same category of parts of speech which are identical only in their corresponding forms.

E. g. to lie (lay, lain), v.

to lie (lied, lied), v.

to hang {hung, hung}, v.

to hang (hanged, hanged), v.

to can canned, canned)

(I) can (could)


I. Consider your answers to the following.

1. Which words do we call homonyms?

2. Why can't homonyms be regarded as expressive means of the language?

3. What is the traditional classification of homonyms? Illustrate your answer with examples.

4. What are the distinctive features of the classification of homonyms suggested by Professor A. I. Smirnitsky?

5. What are the main sources of homonyms? Illustrate your answer with examples.

6. In what respect does split polysemy stand apart from other sources of homonyms?

7. Prove that the language units board ("a long and thin piece of timber") and board ("daily meals") are two different words (homonyms) and not two different meanings of one and the same word. Write down some other similar examples.

8. What is the essential difference between homonymy and polysemy? What do they have in common? Illustrate your answer with examples.

^ II. Find the homonyms in the following extracts. Classify them into homonyms proper, homographs and homophones.

1. "Mine is a long and a sad tale!" said the Mouse, turning to Alice, and sighing. "It is a long tail, certainly," said Alice, looking down with wonder at the Mouse's tail; "but why do you call it sad?" 2. a) My seat was in the middle of a row. b) "I say, you haven't had a row with Corky, have you?" 3. a) Our Institute football team got a challenge to a match from the University team and we accepted it. b) Somebody struck a match so that we could see each other. 4. a) It was nearly December but the California sun made a summer morning of the season, b) On the way home Crane no longer drove like a nervous old maid. 5. a) She loved to dance and had every right to expect the boy she was seeing almost every night in the week to take her dancing at least once on the weekend, b) "That's right," she said. 6. a) Do you always forget to wind up your watch? b) Crane had an old Ford without a top and it rattled so much and the wind made so much noise. 7. a) In Brittany there was once a knight called Eliduc. b) She looked up through the window at the night. 8. a) He had a funny round face. b) — How does your house face? — It faces the South. 9. a) So he didn't shake his hand because he didn't shake cowards’ hands, see, and somebody else was elected captain.. b) Mel's plane had been shot down into the sea. 10. a) He was a lean, wiry Yankee who knew which side his experimental bread was buttered on. b) He had a wife of excellent and influential family, as finely bred as she was faithful to him. 11. a) He was growing progressively deafer in the left ear. b) I saw that I was looking down into another cove similar to the one I had left. 12. a) Iron and lead are base metals. b) V/here does the road lead? 13. Kikanius invited him and a couple of the other boys to join him for a drink, and while Hugo didn't drink, he went along for the company.

III. On what linguistic phenomenon is the joke in the following extracts based? What causes the misunderstanding?

1. "Are your father and mother in?" asked the visitor of the small boy who opened the door.

"They was in," said the child, "but they is out." "They was in. They is out. Where's your grammar?" "She's gone upstairs," said the boy, "for a nap."

2. "Yes, Miss Janes, it's true my husband has left his job. He thought it was better for him to enlist rather than to be called up. Anyway, he has burned his bridges behind him."

"Oh, well, I shouldn't worry about that. They'll provide him with a uniform in the Army," commented the neighbour.

3. "I got sick last night eating eggs."

"Too bad."

"No, only one."

4. Husband and wife were enjoying a quiet evening by their fireside, he deep in a book and she in a crossword puzzle. Suddenly she questioned him:'

"Darling, what is a female sheep?"

"Ewe [ju:]>" he replied. His further explanation hardly soothed her.

5. "I spent last summer in a very pretty city in Switzerland."


"No, I almost froze."

6. Officer (to driver in parked car): Don't you see that sign "Fine for parking"?

Driver: Yes, officer, I see and agree with it.

IV. a. Find the homonyms proper for the following words; give their Russian equivalents.

1. bared — a company of musicians. 2. seal — a warm-blooded, fish-eating sea-animal, found chiefly in cold regions. 3. ear — the grain-bearing spike of a cereal plant, as in corn. 4. cut — the result of cutting. 5. to bore — to make a long round hole, esp. with a pointed tool that is turned round. 6. corn — a hard, horny thickening of the skin, esp. on the foot. 7. fall — the act of falling, dropping or coming down. 8. to hail — to greet, salute, shout an expression of welcome. 9. ray — any of several cartilaginous fishes, as the stingray, skate, etc. 10. draw — something that attracts attention.

b. Find the homophones to the following words, translate them into Russian or explain their meanings in English.

Heir, dye, cent, tale, sea, week, peace, sun, meat, steel, knight, sum, coarse, write, sight, hare.

c. Find the homographs to the following words and transcribe both.

1. To bow — to bend the head or body. 2. wind — air in motion. 3. to tear— to pull apart by force. 4. to desert -— to go away from a person or place. 5. row — a number of persons or things in a line.

V. a. Classify the following italicized homonyms. Use Professor A. I. Smirnitsky's classification system.

1. a) He should give the ball in your honour as the bride, b) The boy was playing with a ball. 2. a) He wished he could explain about his left ear, b) He left the sentence unfinished. 3. a) I wish you could stop lying. b) The yellow mouse was still dead, lying as it had fallen in the crystal clear liquid. 4. a) This time, he turned on the light, b) He wore $300 suits with light ties and he was a man you would instinctively trust anywhere.

5. a) When he's at the door of her room, he sends the page ahead, b) Open your books at page 20.

6. a) Crockett's voice rose for the first time. b) I'll send you roses, one rose for each year of your life. 7. a) He was bound to keep the peace for six months, b) You should bound your desires by reason. 8. a) The pain was almost more than he could bear. b) Catch the bear before you sell his skin. 9. a) To can means to put up in airtight tins or jars for preservation, b) A man can die but once.

b. Explain the homonyms which form the basis for the following jokes. Classify the types as in part a.

1. An observing man claims to have discovered the colour of the wind. He says he went out and found it blew.

2. Child: Mummy, what makes the Tower of Pisa lean?

Fat mother: I have no idea, dear, or I'd take some myself.

3. Advertisement: "Lion tamer wants tamer lion."

4. F a t h e r; Didn't I tell you not to pick any flowers without leave?

Child: Yes, daddy, but all these roses had leaves.

5. Diner: Waiter, the soup is spoiled.

Waiter: Who told you that?

Diner: A little swallow.

6. The difference between a cat and a comma is that a cat has its claws at the end of its paws, and a comma has its pause at the end of a clause.

7. A canner exceedingly canny

One morning remarked to his grannie:

"A canner can can anything that he can,

But a canner can't can a can, can'e?"

^ VI. Provide homonyms for the italicized words in the following jokes and extracts and classify them according to Professor A. I. Smirnitsky's classification system.

1.Teacher: Here is a map. Who can show us America?

Nick goes to the map and finds America on it.

Teacher: Now, tell me, boys, who found America?

Boys: Nick.

2. F a t h e r: I promised to buy you a car if you passed your examination, and you have failed. What were you doing last term?

Sоn: I was learning to drive a car.

3. "What time do you get up in summer?"

"As soon as the first ray of the sun comes into my window."

"Isn't that rather early?"

"No, my room faces west."

4. "Here, waiter, it seems to me that this fish is not so fresh as the fish you served us last Sunday." "Pardon, sir, it is the very same fish."

5. Old Gentleman: Is it a board school you go to, my dear?

Child: No, sir. I believe it be a brick one!

6. Stanton: I think telling the truth is about as healthy as skidding round a corner at sixty.

Freda: And life's got a lot of dangerous corners — hasn't it, Charles?

Stanton: It can have — if you don't choose your route well. To lie or not to lie — what do you think, Olwen?

(From Dangerous Corner by J. B. Priestley)

VII. Explain how the following italicized words became homonyms.

1. a) Eliduc's overlord was the king of Brittany, who was very fond of the knight, b) "I haven't slept a wink all night, my eyes just wouldn't shut." 2. a) The tiger did not spring, and so I am still alive, b) It was in a saloon in Savannah, on a hot night in spring. 3. a) She left her fan at home. b) John is a football fan. 4. a) "My lady, ... send him a belt or a ribbon — or a ring. So see if it pleases him." b) Eliduc rode to the sea. 5. a) The Thames in London is now only beautiful from certain viewpoints — from Waterloo Bridge at dawn and at night from Cardinal's Wharf on the South Bank. b) Perhaps the most wide-spread pleasure is the spectacle of the City itself, its people, the bank messengers in their pink frock coats and top hats. 6. a) The young page gave her good advice: no need to give up hope so soon. b) The verb to knead means to mix and make into a mass, with the hands or by machinery, especially, mix flour and water into dough for making bread. 7. a.) Ads in America are ubiquitous. They fill the newspapers and cover the walls, they are on menu cards and in your daily post. b) "Is that enough?" asked Fortune. "Just a few more, add a few more," said the man. 8. a) The teacher told her pupils to write a composition about the last football match, b) Give me a match, please. 9. a) I can answer that question, b) He had no answer. 10. a) Does he really love me? b) Never trust a great man's love. 11. a) Board and lodging, £ 2 a week. b) The proficiency of students is tested by the Examining Board. 12. a) A rite is a form in which a ceremony or observance is carried out. b) I would write letters to people. c) He put the belt on himself, and was rather careful to get it right.

VIII. Do the following italicized words represent homonyms or polysemantic words? Explain reasons for your answers.

1. 26 letters of the ABC; to receive letters regularly. 2. no mean scholar; to mean something. 3. to propose a toast; an underdone toast. 4. a hand of the clock; to hold a pen in one's hand. 5. to be six foot long; at the foot of the mountain. 6. the capital of a country; to have a big capital (money). 7. to date back to year 1870; to have a date with somebody. 8. to be engaged to Mr. N; to be engaged in conversation. 9. to make a fire; to sit at the /ire(place). 10. to peel the bark off the branch; to bark loudly at the stranger. 11. A waiter is a person who, instead of waiting on you at once, makes you wait for him, so that you become a waiter too.

^ IX. To revise what you have learned from the preceding chapters, say everything you can about the italicized words in one of the following aspects:

1. a) etymology, b) word-building, c) homonymy.

A boy came home with torn clothes, his hair full of dust and his face bearing marks of a severe conflict.

"Oh, Willie," said his mother. "You disobeyed me again. You must not play with that Smith boy. He is a bad boy".

"Ma," said Willie, washing the blood from his nose, "do I look as if I had been playing with anybody?"

^ 2. a) etymology, b) word-building, c) stylistic characteristics

"But I love the Italians," continued Mrs. Blair. "They are so obliging — though even that has its embarrassing side. You ask them the way somewhere, and instead of saying "first to the right, second to the left" or something that one could follow, they pour out a flood of well-meaning directions, and when you look bewildered they take you kindly by the arm and walk all the way there with you."

(From The Man in the Brown Suit by A. Christie)

3. a) stylistic characteristics, b) semantics, e) word-building.

Once in the driving seat, with reins handed to him, and blinking over his pale old cheeks in the full sunlight, he took a slow look round. Adolf was already up behind; the cockaded groom at the horses' head stood ready to go; everything was prepared for the signals, and Swithin gave it. The equipage dashed forward, and before you could say Jack Robinson, with a rattle and flourish drew up at Soames' door.

(From The Forsyte Saga. by J. Galsworthy)

4. a) homonymy, b) word-building.

Soames arrived on the stroke of time, and took his seat alongside the Board, who, in a row, each Director behind his own inkpot, faced their Shareholders.

In the centre of this row old Jolyon, conspicuous in his black, tightly-buttoned frock-coat and his white moustaches, was leaning back with finger-tips crossed on a copy of the Directors' report and accounts.