Main characteristics of words

characteristics of words

Q. Denote main characteristics of words.?

The modern approach to word studies is based on distinguishing between the external and the internal structures of the word.

When we consider the “external structure” of the word, we mean its morphological structure.

For instance, in the word post-impressionists the following morphemes can be distinguished: the prefix: post-, im-, the root press, the noun-forming suffixes -ion, -ist, and the grammatical suffix of plurality -s. 

All these morphemes constitute the external structure of the word post-impressionists

We will study the external structure of words, and also typical word-formation patterns in the session on word-building.

The internal structure of word, or its meaning, is nowadays commonly referred to as the word’s semantic structure.

This is certainly the word’s major aspect. Word can serve the purposes of human communication solely due to their meanings, and it is the most unfortunate when this fact is ignored by some contemporary scholars who, in their obsession with the fetish of structure, tend to condemn as irrelevant anything that eludes mathematical analysis. And this is exactly what meaning, with its subtle variation and shifts, is apt to do.

The area of lexicology specializing in the semantic studies of the word is called semantics. Another structural aspect of the word is sometimes inaccurately interpreted as indivisibility. The example of post-impressionists has already shown that the word is not, strictly speaking, indivisible.

Its component morphemes are permanently linked together in opposition to word-groups, both free and with fixed contexts, whose components possess a certain structural freedom, example bright light, to take for granted .

A further structural feature of the word is its susceptibility to grammatical employment. In speech most words can be used in different grammatical forms in which their interrelations are realized.

So far we have only underlined the word main peculiarities, but this suffices to convey the general idea of the difficulties and questions faced  by the scholars attempting to give a detail definition of the word.

The difficulty does not merely consist in the considerable number of aspects that are to be taken into account, but, also in the essential unanswered questions of word theory which concern the nature of its meaning.

All that we have studied the word can be summed up as follows:

The word is a speech unit used for the purposes of human communication, materially representing a group of sounds, possessing a meaning, susceptible to grammatical employment and characterized by formal and semantic unity.

Facebook Comments

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!