Anglická lexikologie - zpracovaná otázka

Anglická lexikologie – zpracovaná otázka

Changes of lexical meaning (widening, narrowing, deterioriation/pejoration, amelioration/elevation, euphemism; literal and figurative meaning, transfer of meaning, metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, folk etymology, faux amis)



  • Grows by absorbing new words or by giving new additional meaning to the existing ones; the old meaning or the old word is sometimes replaced by the new one, but very often they coexist and so the word can become polysemic



1. widening

  • shift from animal to the adult, e.g. bird, pig used to refer only to offspring X now it?s a general term
  • shift from particular specie to the animal in general, e.g. dog was originally a special breed (the general term used to be a hound)
  • shift from a smaller object to the larger one – box was originally only a small container
  • shift from lexical to grammatical meaning, e.g. ‚have‘ used to have only lexical meaning X now it has also grammatical (perfect tenses)
  • other shifts: ‚ready‘ used tom mean only ‚ready for a ride‘


2. narrowing

  • a general term stopped being a general term and refers to a race or breed only
  • deer – originally: all animals X now: vysoká
  • fowl – or: all birds X now: only water fowl
  • hound – or: all dogs X now: dogs for hunting

3. deterioration

  •  terms which developed in a negative way (usually ethnic terms)
  • cunning – originally: leading X now: cunning as a fox (lstivý)
  • villain – or: a man of a low social class X now: antihero (padouch)
  • propaganda or: spreading news X now zkreslené informace


4. amelioration

  • terms which developed in a positive way
  • duke – used to meant ‚leader‘
  • luxury – used to meant ‚extravagance‘
  • nice – used to meant ‚ignorant‘


5. transfer

  • a degree of similarity between two denotations
  • a) metaphor – a transfer of meaning on the basis of exterior feature, the similarity may involve:
  • I. shape – mouth (mouth of a person + of the river)
  • II. colour – chocolate
  • III. function – hand
  • IV. mount – drop

  • b) metonymy – attribute of the thing is used for the thing itself
  • I. transfer of the activity to its bearer – counsel advice
  • II. transfer of the activity to its product – teaching
  • III. transfer of the condition to its bearer – youth
  • IV. transfer of the quality to its bearer – Your Grace
  • V. transfer of the product to a person – chair – židle -> předseda


6. synecdoche

  • a part is used for the whole
  • e.g. England is often used for the whole Great Britain

literal meaning

  • is the same as the defined meaning
  • literal m. denote


figurative meaning

  • exaggerate/alter the original meaning
  • figurative m connote, this means add layer
  • e.g. when I saw him, my soul began to quiver


folk etymology

  • thoughts of ordinary people about origins and meanings of words sometimes result in the change of words (especially with the foreign words)
  • e.g. cutlet ? originally ii was French costelette, people associated it with the verb ‚cut‘-> cutlet
  • e.g. humble means cheap -> eat humble pie


faux amis

  • term from verb teaching methodology, are similar to inter language homophones
  • e.g. actual X current/topical


Author: Je to boj

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