扩展意义单位视角下英语“提高”类同义词语义韵研究

来源: www.yczhwj.com 作者:vicky 发布时间:2019-05-08 论文字数:44524字
论文编号: sb2019041512123825857 论文语言:English 论文类型:硕士毕业论文
本文是一篇英语论文,本文选取四个英语“提高”类动词同义词,即 improve, promote, increase 和raise 为案例,从扩展意义单位这一角度,分别比较探究了中国英语学习者和本族语者就这四个同义词
本文是一篇英语论文,本研究采取了基于数据与数据驱动相结合的研究方法。通过回答以下三个问题尝试探索中国英语学习者对于这四个同义词的掌握情况:(1)这四个同义词在本族语中有着明确的积极、消极或中性的语义韵吗?(2)中国英语学习者体现出的语义韵特征和本族语者的有何异同?(3)造成差异的原因有哪些?

Chapter 1 Literature Review

1.1 Studies of Extended Units of Meaning
From the point view of traditional minimal approach, words indicate units ofmeaning, and this minimal approach only focuses on the word’s meaning itself.However, this approach is challenged by the meaning of compounds like blackbird.Technically, blackbird should mean a bird which is black. Actually, that is not alwaysthe case. Compounds typically consist of two or over two words and each word is aseparated existence. Sometimes the meaning that made up by each separated word isdifferent from that made up by the sum of the meanings of individual word. That is tosay: words should not be studied in an isolated way but in a collocational way.Therefore, Sinclair proposes that the words should be analyzed in line with extendedunits of meaning theory. The theory of extended units of meaning, EUM for short, is anew theoretical framework and is made up of five elements, namely node word,collocation, colligation, semantic prosody and semantic preference. The node wordrefers to the word to be investigated. With respect to collocation, it refers to therepeated co-occurrence of words (Sinclair 2004) and it can be understood that there is always a tendency for any word to follow another word or be followed by anotherword. For example, Firth (1957) finds that the word dark is often followed by theword night, then, the word night could be the collocation of the word dark. Withregard to colligation, it refers to the grammatical aspects and always be habitualco-occurrence of words. For instance, the grammatical structure of dark night wouldbe described as [adjective + noun]. In line with Stubbs (2001), semantic preference is defined as the habitual collocation behavior in the co-selection of the node word andthe collocation. In terms of semantic prosody, it is initially Sinclair’s idea in 1987.Later, the term ‘semantic prosody’ gains its currency in Louw (1993). Louw definessemantic prosody a ‘consistent aura of meaning with which a form is imbued by itscollocation.’ It can be thought that semantic prosody conducts a leading role to play inthe integration of the node word with its surroundings.
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1.2 Studies of Semantic Prosody
Semantic prosody was initially Sinclair’s idea in 1987. Later, the term ‘semanticprosody’ gained its currency from Louw (1993), and was based upon a parallel withFirth’s discussions of prosody in phonological terms. In this respect, Firth wasconcerned with the way sounds transcend segmental boundaries. The exact realizationof the phoneme /k/, for example, is dependent on the sounds adjacent to it. The /k/ ofkangaroo is varied from the /k/ of keep, because the mouth is already makingprovision for the production of the next sound when realizing the consonant k. Thusthe /k/ of kangaroo prepares for the production of /?/ rather than /i:/ or any othersound, by a process of “phonological coloring” (ibid. : 158). In the same way, Louwclaims (ibid: 170) that an expression such as symptomatic of prepares (thehearer/reader) for the production of what follows, in this case something undesirable(parental paralysis, management inadequacies, numerous disorders) (Stewart 2010).Thus, the term semantic prosody is taken from Firth’s prosody in phonological terms.
1.2.1 Definitions and Categories of Semantic Prosody
According to Louw (1993), definition of semantic prosody is a ‘consistent auraof meaning with which a form is imbued by its collocation’. Sinclair’s (1996)definition is a pragmatic one. In his opinion, semantic prosody is a pragmatic term,because it helps language users to express certain attitudes like positive attitudes,neutral attitudes or negative ones. Based on the attitudes, they try to search from their storage of vocabulary for certain words which contain such attitudinal meaning. Andthen they need to find other words which collocate with them to achieve the purposethat they have intended. In this way, the collocations of the words are all imbued withthe same attitude. In light of Stubbs (1996), if two or over two words co-occurhabitually, then, semantic prosody will be produced. And Partington (2004) definessemantic prosody as ‘the spreading of connotation coloring beyond the single wordboundaries’ and so forth.
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Chapter 2 Theoretical Framework

2.1Extended Units of Meaning
Sinclair (2004: 148) proposes that “the word is not the best starting-point for adescription of meaning”, because meaning does not arise from the single word butwords in the particular combinations”. In traditional English dictionaries, for example,the rough equation of “word = unit of meaning” could not explain the meaning of allwords in use. It is inevitable to qualify some additional cases, such as the meaning ofcompounds, phrases, cliches, proverbs, technical terms and jargon et cetera (Stewart,2010). Words, sometimes, incline to multiply ambiguity. Given this situation, Sinclairputs forward the term ‘lexical item’, a unit of description made up of words as well asphrases. As a result, EUM is put forward to investigate the meaning of lexical items.EUM integrates the form, structure, meaning and function, covering the languagefeatures from the surface level to the abstract level. More importantly, EUM hasprivileges over the other studies on semantic prosodies of synonyms for the followingreasons:
(1) It is more comprehensive and brief. Because it covers a broad area oflanguages components from structures and forms to meanings and functions, witheach components corresponding to different layers of languages, including lexis,syntax, semantics and pragmatics;
(2) The distinction of components is bright and all components of EUMconstitute an integral entirety under the dominance of semantic prosody;
(3) It is more operable easily with the help of corpora and relevant corpus tools.Since it is developed from practice in corpus-driven dictionary compilation, EUMshould be naturally applied to corpus-driven study.
There are five elements of EUM, which are respectively the core (the items to bestudied), collocation, colligation, semantic prosody and semantic preference. As thecore is invariable, so I do not give the details of it. However, the details of the otherfour elements will be illustrated in the section 2.3 in the following.
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2.2 Co-selection and EUM
Many people are confused about co-selection and EUM. Co-selectionreconstructs the perspective and methodological framework of language descriptionintegrating pragmatics, semantics, lexis and syntax together. The relations betweenthe lexical items are the relations of co-selection: lexis and lexis, lexis and grammar,patterns and meanings (Sinclair 1996, 2004, Wei 2007). EUM contains three levels ofco-selections: lexis and lexis, lexis and grammar, patterns and meanings (Sinclair,1991; 1996; 2004; Wei, 2007). The relationships between components of categories ofco-selection and linguistic components are illustrated in Table 2.2.1 below:

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Chapter 3 Research Design...................................19
3.1 Synonyms Chosen for the Study............................. 19
3.2 Corpora and Computer Programs Used for the Study.....................................20
Chapter 4 Results and Discussion................................. 25
4.1 Analysis of Synonym Frequency in CLEC and COCA.................................. 25
4.2 Semantic Prosodies of Improve................... 27

Chapter 4 Results and Discussion

4.1 Analysis of Synonym Frequency in CLEC and COCA
In this part, I firstly analyze the frequencies of the four synonyms (improve,promote, increase and raise) in both CLEC and COCA. Besides, because the scale ofthe two corpora is not same, thus, normalized frequency (occurrences per million) willbe employed to cope with the different sizes of the two corpora. The detailedinformation on Log-likelihood value has been mentioned in Chapter 3. TheLog-likelihood value here will be used to measure whether the difference of thefrequencies of the four synonyms in the two corpora is statistically significant or not.The following Table 4.1.1 displays the overall frequency and the normalizedfrequency of each word in both corpora.

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Conclusion

1. Major Findings of the Present Study
With regard to the research question of whether the four synonyms share positive,negative or neutral semantic prosody in native English in a marked way, I have got thefollowing to say:
Firstly, in light of the semantic prosodic distributions of improve in COCA, thedominant semantic prosody of improve is the positive prosody, for it takes up morethan half (81%) of the collocations. Therefore, the word improve in COCA showsstrong positive semantic prosody.
Secondly, the synonym promote shows clear positive semantic prosody in COCA.The precise percentage of the positive semantic prosody of the word presented inCOCA is 57%, which is the biggest compared with the percentages of the other twosemantic prosodies manifested in the corpus COCA.
The third synonym increase does not show positive or negative semantic prosodybut only the neutral semantic prosody in COCA, and the percentage of neutralsemantic prosody of this word is 51%.
Lastly, the word raise manifests clear positive semantic prosody in COCA.Negative and neutral semantic prosodies of the word are manifested in COCA as well.Moreover, these latter two semantic prosodies are close to being evenly distributed inCOCA.
reference(omitted)

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