Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-7mfl8 Total loading time: 0.398 Render date: 2021-12-02T14:12:28.565Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

4 - Vocabulary

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2012

Dieter Kastovsky
Affiliation:
Professor of English Linguistics, University of Vienna
Richard Hogg
Affiliation:
University of Manchester
David Denison
Affiliation:
University of Manchester
Get access

Summary

Introduction

The function of lexemes

The ‘normal’ native speaker of a language will probably regard sounds and words as the most basic building blocks of a language, because they are the elements which can be perceived most easily without specific training. We put sounds together to form words, and we put words together to form larger structures, i.e. sentences realised as utterances (at least that is what we think we are doing). Therefore, speakers tend to react most readily to variation and change of pronunciation and vocabulary. Words, or rather lexical items or lexemes (= dictionary entries), can be regarded as intermediate elements between the level of sounds and the level of syntactic structure. But there are some additional reasons having to do with the existence of certain types of lexemes and their function why lexemes have this bridge function between phonology, morphology, syntax and the lexicon (see Section 4.1.5. below).

Lexemes are the means by which we make direct reference to extralinguistic reality, converting our basic perception of the world around us into language. Their basic function thus is to serve as labels for segments of extralinguistic reality which a speech community finds nameworthy, so that it can talk about it in a simple and direct way.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
13
Cited by

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Vocabulary
  • Edited by Richard Hogg, University of Manchester, David Denison, University of Manchester
  • Book: A History of the English Language
  • Online publication: 05 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791154.005
Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Vocabulary
  • Edited by Richard Hogg, University of Manchester, David Denison, University of Manchester
  • Book: A History of the English Language
  • Online publication: 05 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791154.005
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Vocabulary
  • Edited by Richard Hogg, University of Manchester, David Denison, University of Manchester
  • Book: A History of the English Language
  • Online publication: 05 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791154.005
Available formats
×