Lexicology as a branch of linguistics

Lexicology (from Gr lexis ‘word’ and logos ‘learning’) is the part of linguistics dealing with the vocabulary of the language and the prop­erties of words as the main units of language. The term vосabu1arу is used to denote the system formed by the sum total of all the words and word equivalents that the language possesses.

The term word denotes the basic unit of a given language resulting from the association of a particular meaning with a particular group of sounds capable of a particular grammatical employment. A word therefore is simultaneously a semantic, grammatical and phonological unit.

The general study of words and vocabulary, irrespective of the spe­cific features of any particular language, is known as general lexicology. Linguistic phenomena and properties common to all languages are generally referred to as language univer­sals. Special lexiсоlоgу devotes its attention to the des­cription of the characteristic peculiarities in the vocabulary of a given language.

Historical lexicology or etymology discusses the origin of various words, their change and development, and investigates the linguistic and extra-linguistic forces modifying their structure, meaning and usage. Descriptive lexicology deals with the vocabulary of given language at a given stage of its development. It studies the functions of words and their specific structure as a characteristic inherent of the s у s t e m.

The descriptive lexicology of the English language as with the English word in its morphological and semantical structures, investigating the interdependence between these two aspects. These structures are identified and distinguished by contrasting the nature and arrangement of their elements. Lexicology also studies all kinds of semantic grouping and semantic relations: synonymy, antonymy, hyponymy, semantic fields, etc.

The branch of linguistics, dealing with causal relations between the way the language works and develops, on the one hand, and the facts of social life, on the other, is termed sociolinguistics.

The importance of English lexicology is based not on the size of its vocabulary, however big it is, but on the fact that at present it is the world’s most widely used language.

So, lexicology as a branch of linguistics has its own aims and methods of scientific research, its basic task being the study and systematic description of the vocabulary of some particular language in respect to its origin, development and current use. Hence lexicology investigates words, word-groups, word-equivalents and morphemes which make up words.

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