The components of lexical meaning

Components of lexical meaning

Denote the components of lexical meaning in the English language.


1. The denotational meaning: indicates (denotes) or points out things, concepts etc. For example “bird” denotes an animal that can fly. “Father, dad, daddy” denote the male parent. “Rain, shine” denote phenomena of nature.

When the referent is a concept, an abstract thing, we have significative denotation and when it is an individual object we have demonstrative denotation.

2. The connotational meaning:  shows us how things, concepts etc are indicated (denoted). It conveys the speaker’s attitude, emotions and so on. “Father, dad, daddy” as mentioned above, have the same denotational meaning, and so do “face, mug, muzzle” and so on.
Connotation may consist of emotive charge (emotion), evaluation, intensity, and stylistic colouring. Stylistic colouring means that a word may be colloquial, bookish, slangy etc.

Connotation plays an important role in such spheres of life as advertising, politics, and literature. Many synonyms differ greatly due to their favorable and unfavorable connotations. Advertisers are “afraid” to used the word “cheap” and refer to “inexpensive” instead because the former has some connotation of poor quality.

Similarly some girls do not like to be called “birds”. In Vietnamese colleges nowadays, students of the “irregular system” prefer the word “open” to “irregular” also because of their connotation. So, connotation can be considered as an additional meaning to denotation./.

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