My Opinion on Why We Study English Lexicology

Topics: Linguistics, Affix, Word formation Pages: 9 (1794 words) Published: June 26, 2010
My opinion on why we study English lexicology

How many words are there in the modern English language? There is no single sensible answer to this question. It is impossible to count the number of words in a language, because it is so hard to decide what counts as a word. But it is widely accepted by linguists that there are one million or so English words now. If so, a subject is needed to study and analyze modern English vocabulary. Thus, English-lexicological learning is important in some aspects.

ⅠBetter understanding low context culture

Studying English lexicology can help us better understand different thinking styles. According to anthropologist Edward Hall, the U.S is a low context country, which communication is explicit, clear and unambiguous. Individuals come directly to the point and say precisely what they mean. China is a typically high context country, which much important information is conveyed beyond and outside the words actually spoken. Individuals need to be able to have a high degree of sensitivity to ambiguity and able to read between the lines and a knowledge of the unwritten or unspoken rules of communication. So the different thinking styles between two countries lead to different choices and applications of vocabulary. Americans tend to express themselves with direct, clear and explicit words, while Chinese prefer choosing ambiguous, unclear and implicit words. For instance, when talking about love, there is a pop song in the U.S singing that: adore you girl I want you the one I cant live without

that's you that's you
you're my special little lady
the one that makes me crazy
of all the girls I’ve ever known
it's you, it's you
my favorite, my favorite
my favorite, my favorite girl

a pop song in China singing that: 你问我爱你有多深
我的情也真我的爱也那么真 月亮代表我的心

We can easily see the big difference from the lyrics; they express the same affection, but different styles. Thus, whether it is from a high to low, or low to high, people need to understand foreign vocabulary well. Thus, a good understanding of English vocabulary is essential to understand western people. Such phenomenon let me think of the chapter “meaning and context”, low context culture and high context culture have some degree of similarities with Extra-linguistic Context and Linguistic Context. As most words have more than one meaning, it’s often impossible to tell the meaning of a word before it is used in context. Context is very important because the meaning is influenced immediately by the linguistic context, and in many cases by the whole speech situation as well, At least, with context there is generally no danger of misinterpretation.

1): Extra-linguistic Context:

It’s generally related to the speaker himself, what he/she is thinking, and what angle he/she has taken, what attitude, mood.

2): Linguistic Context: there are two kinds:

a): Lexical context: refers to the words that occur with together with the words in question, their meaning are often affected and defined by the neighboring words.

b): Grammatical Context: in many cases, the meaning is influenced by the structure in which it occurs.

2): the role of context:

a): Elimination of Ambiguity;
b):Indication of Referents;
c): Provision of Clues for Inferring Word-meaning.( by definition; explanation; example; synonymy; antonym; hyponymy; relevant details; word structure.)

In conclusion, if we have a good master of Extra-linguistic Context and Linguistic Context, we can better understand low context culture and high context culture. ⅡMemorizing vocabulary more efficiently

We know that there are tons of words in English dictionary, so how can we master these words in...
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