Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 179

SEMANTICS

2017-18

Lecturer: Vu Thi Lan


INTRODUCTION
Assessment
- Mid-term test (1) + mini-tests 70%
- Participation 10%
- Attendance 20%

Note:
=> Permission for absence needs to be
obtained BEFORE class attendance check.
=> Lateness (twice) = w/o P (once) => -1
=> P (twice) = w/o P (once) => -1
Oral presentation (10% + Bonus)
Unit 4 (Semantic relations)
* Ex.5 (Homophones)
Unit 5 (Idioms)
* Ex.4 (Phraseological unities - Comparisons)
* Ex.5 (number 1-5)
* Ex.5 (number 6-10)
Unit 6 (Figures of speech)
1. The last leaf
2. The gift of the magi (The Christmas gift)
3. A retrieved reformation
4. The cop and the anthem (Soapy and the cop)
5. Makes the whole world kin
6. The ransom of Red Chief
REFERENCE BOOKS
Semantics - A coursebook (James R. Hurford, Brendan
Heasley, & Michael B. Smith), Cambridge
University Press, 2007
Language, Grammar, Communication (Gerald P.
Delahunty & James J. Garvey), McGraw-Hill,
1994
An Introduction to English language (Koenraad Kuiper &
W. Scott Allan), Palgrave Macmillan, 2010
Figures of speech (Stylistic devices)
http://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/writing-
stylistics.php
http://www.usingenglish.com/glossary/figure-of-
speech.html
Week/11 unit topics
1  What is Semantics?
1 Basic concepts: Semantics, Pragmatics,
Sentences, Utterances, Propositions
2  Sense and Reference
3 * Sense, Referent, Reference
* Predicate, Predicator, Referring
2
expression
* Generic sentence, Equative sentence
* Deictic terms
4  Sense properties
5 * Semantic properties/ features of words
3 * Semantic properties of sentences
(Analyticity, Syntheticity, Contradiction)
Week/11 unit topics
6  Mid-term Test
7  Sense relations
8 * Synonymy & Paraphrase
9 * Hyponymy & Entailment
* Antonymy (Types: Gradable,
4
Complementary, System of multiple
incompatibility, Converses)
* Homonymy (Full, Homophones,
Homographs)
* Polysemy & Ambiguity (lexical & structural)
Week/11 unit topics
10  Idioms
11 * Characteristics (structure & meaning)
12 5 * Classification (Phraseological combinations/
unities/ fusions)
* Proverbs, Sayings
13  Figures of speech
14 * Figures of comparison (metaphor, simile,
15 personification)
6 * Figures of contrast (irony, hyperbole,
understatement)
* Figures of association (metonymy,
synecdoche)
Unit 1
BASIC IDEAS
IN SEMANTICS
By Vu Thi Lan
2017
Basic Ideas in Semantics

I. WHAT IS SEMANTICS?

II. MEANING
III. SENTENCE, UTTERANCE,
PROPOSITION

IV. SEMANTIC TRIANGLE


I. WHAT IS SEMANTICS?
Semantics = a branch of Linguistics
studying the meanings of words, expressions, or
sentences
dealing with

N.B. Semantics vs. Pragmatics

 study of relationships b/w  study of relationships b/w

 
I. WHAT IS SEMANTICS?
E.g. Where can we find a peacock?
=>
Where did you find that peacock?
=>
II. MEANING

Language

word
sounds structures meanings
formation

Meaning =
=>
MEANING

Semantics Pragmatics

Literal Non-literal
meaning meaning

Linguistic Situational
words sentences
context context

 Literal meaning 
 Non-literal meaning  in actual use, in utterances

 Linguistic context  actual words / sentences that precede or follow an


utterance

 Situational context  situation, background knowledge, physical context


(where, when, who,…)
Meanings are complicated because
There are non-literal meanings =>
understood by
1 stress, intonation
2 body language
3 contextual interpretation
Meanings may vary
across dialects or individual speakers
* BE vs. AE
** Two women
III. SENTENCE, UTTERANCE,
PROPOSITION
1.
=> Which has meaning? Which is a sentence?
e.g. “She put my books on the counter.”
“She put my book.”
- “On the counter.”

A sentence =>
-
-
2. An utterance =>
- what is said by any speaker,
-

=> Identify the utterances:


E.g. Susan: “Nice day today. Going out?”
Peter: “No. I’d rather stay indoors. Coffee?”
Susan: “Yes, no sugar.”
Peter: “I know. You don’t like anything sweet.”
Susan: “No.”
3. => How many basic meanings are there in this
simple sentence?
E.g. Mary’s friend, Carol’s brother, is a married lawyer.
- Mary has a friend.
-
-
-
-
=> 5 propositions
A proposition =>
- the basic meaning which a sentence expresses
-
Exercise: Identify the propositions in these utterances.

1. “Malaria – a dangerous, infectious disease spread


by mosquitoes – is usually found in the tropics.”

2. “Venezuela sits atop the world’s largest proven oil


reserves, but its people are going hungry.”

3. “The tall, stately building collapsed after an


earthquake measuring 8.5 on the Richter scale.”
4. “NY Metropolitan Museum of Art’s chief floral
designer, an immigrant from Holland, has been
creating floral arrangements in the Great Hall weekly
for more than 20 years.”

5. “The 47-year-old Rena Sard decided to turn a 5-year


prison sentence into an opportunity to better her life
by enrolling in a program that allowed her to earn a
college degree while behind bars.”
Important notes

a) Sentences of different languages


=> same proposition
e.g. Je m’appelle Alice.

b) Different sentences => same proposition


e.g. The porters have shut the gates.
c) A declarative sentence + its corresponding
interrogative / imperative one => same propositional
content
e.g. The porters have shut the gates.
Have the porters shut the gates?
Ask the porters to shut the gates!
=>
d) A proposition can be TRUE or FALSE.
e.g.
IV. SEMANTIC TRIANGLE

sense

form referent
IV. SEMANTIC TRIANGLE

sense
Form-sense rel. Sense-referent rel.
=> =>

form referent

Form-referent rel.
=>
Unit 2
SENSE AND REFERENCE

I. SENSE VS. MEANING

II. REFERENT VS. REFERENCE

III. COMPLICATED SENSE-FORM-REFERENT


RELATIONSHIPS

IV. REFERRING EXPRESSIONS,


PREDICATES, PREDICATORS

V. DEICTIC TERMS
I. SENSE vs. MEANING
Sense – meaning =>

Sense, not meaning:


- when distinguishing ≠ senses of a word / expression
e.g.
- when considering semantic relations of words / exp.
e.g.
- when distinguishing sense from reference (referent)
e.g.
• Table
dinner table 1

tables 2 and charts


a task for this table 3

=> 3 senses of “table”


Light
- a light room =
- a light meal =
- light clothes ≠
- a light book ≠
=> 4 senses in relation to other senses /
expressions
II. REFERENT vs. REFERENCE
Referent =

Reference =

B.O.O.K
III. Complicated sense-form-referent
relationships
1. one sense – one referent =>
unique, constant reference
2. one sense – many referents
=> variable reference

3. same exp. – different


referents – different senses

4. ≠ exp. – same referents –


same or ≠ senses
5. with sense – w/o  imagery animals
referents
 abstract notions

 non-existent entities

6. clear sense –
ambiguous referents

7. with referents – w/o


sense

Exercise
Exercise: Comment on the S-F-R relationship of
these words / expressions.
1. the Queen of England
2. vest (BE) – vest (AE)
3. the capital of Vietnam
4. the capital of the SRV
5. the president of Japan

6. Mt Everest
7. the last king of Vietnam –
Mr. Baûo Ñaïi
8. Donald Trump
IV. REFERRING EXPRESSIONS,
PREDICATES, PREDICATORS
1. Referring expressions (REs)
any expressions used in an utterance to refer to sth. /
S.O.
PN, personal pronouns, definite descriptive NPs =>

Other concepts related to REs:


- Equative sentence:

- Generic sentence:
=> Which expressions have referents?
Examples:
1. Roses are flowers.
Roses, flowers => generic, no referents
2. My roses are red.

3. John is my close friend.

4. He is a doctor.
REs NOT REs
* Definite NP * Indefinite / generic NP
- My bike was broken down. -

* Definite NP * Definite NP, but no referent


- I know the person who stole -
your bike.

* Existing in speaker’s mind * Generic NP


- The phoenix then looked at -
Harry.
- Tomorrow will be fine. -
N.B. * Ambiguous cases

E.g. She wants to hire a new maid.

 any maid =>


 a more careful, honest, hard-working person =>
** EQUATIVE SENTENCES

=> Used to identify two REs having the same referents


- Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam.
- Vatican City is the world’s smallest country.
=> Two REs  usually reversible
**Non-equative sentences
• Kim looks like Marilyn Monroe.
=> “Kim” / “MM” =
=>
=>
“Reversal test” (p.42)

 Not always applicable to Equative sentences


 Sometimes => 2 REs of equative sentence >

E.g. That is my father. => ???


 Sometimes => 2 parts are reversible, but only 1
RE
 E.g. What I want is a drink.
= A drink is what I want.
*** GENERIC SENTENCES

=> To express a fact or the truth


- Roses are flowers.
vs.
- A billionaire is a rich man.
vs.
2. Predicates & Predicators
Predicator = a word / expression
=> ø RE
=>
=> can be V, A, P, N (content words)
E.g. - This car is wonderful.
- He is a singer.
- The old woman died.
- Your book is between his and mine.
N.B. What is the predicator in an equative sentence?

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam

=> No predicator
=>
Predicate
=> any word that can function as predicator of another
sentence / utterance
=>
=>
=> helping identify referent of a RE 

E.g1 My old cat caught a small yellow bird.


- REs:
- Predicator:
- Predicates:
=> We admire his new car.
REs: we, his new car
Predicator:
Predicates:

Another context:
=> Her book is new.

=> That is a car.


E.g.2 The car near the gate is expensive.
- REs:
- Predicator:
- Predicates:
E.g.3 Peter’s house is on the hill.
- REs:
- Predicator:
- Predicates:
E.g.4 This well-furnished room is for her, not for you.
- REs:
- Predicator:
- Predicates:
E.g.5 Our plane is taking off in a minute.
- REs:
- Predicator:
- Predicates:
E.g.6 My mother is as busy as a bee.
- REs:
- Predicator:
- Predicates:
E.g.7 John found his wallet in the pool.
- REs:
- Predicator:
- Predicates:
**NOTE:
=> Degree of a predicate => number of
arguments (x, y, z) as indicated by REs and
determined by the predicator
one-place predicate:
DIE BEAUTIFUL DOCTOR
two-place predicate:
HIT ON SISTER
three-place predicate:
GIVE BETWEEN
V. DEICTIC TERMS
Take their meanings from the situation or context
of the utterance
Have different referents …
Example:
Ben (to Mary): I saw Tom yesterday.
Mary (to Ann): I saw Ben yesterday.
Deictic terms are usually
 Adverbs: here, there,

 Demonstratives: this, that,


 Pronouns: I, you,
 Verbs: come, go,
 Tense marker: past, present, future
N.B.
 Deixis = general phenomenon of the occurrence of
deictic terms
 Terms are called “deictic” when they refer to sth.

E.g. You can’t tell a book by its cover.


YOU =>
(In the exam room) Now… now… No cheating!
NOW =>
CONCLUSION
Words, phrases, sentences have meaning and
can be used to refer
Sense and referent do not always correspond
to each other =>
Unit 3

SENSE PROPERTIES
& STEREOTYPES
SENSE PROPERTIES & STEREOTYPES

I. SENSE PROPERTIES
OF WORDS

II. SENSE PROPERTIES


OF SENTENCES

III. STEREOTYPES
I. SENSE PROPERTIES OF WORDS

CHILD KID INFANT


+ human + human + human
- old + young - old
- formal + formal
Sense of a word / expression
=>
=> sum of its sense properties + sense relations with others

Sense properties of a word


=> smallest units of meaning in a word

Semantic features of a word


=> sense properties
N.B. Conversations will get stuck if a speaker seems to ignore
some particular conventions about the sense of words /
expressions.

=>

Who ignores or violates the language conventions?


Mary I saw an animal on top of the clothes pole.
John How do you know it was an animal?
Mary I saw it. It was a cat.
John You might have seen a cat, but how can you be so sure it
was an animal?
Mary Of course it was an animal if it was a cat.
John I don’t think so.
EXERCISE: Find the shared semantic
properties of the words within each group.
1. yoghurt, cheese, butter, ice cream

2. plate, glass, fork, knife

3. rhinoceros, buffalo, bison, whale

4. spade, rake, pruning shears, shovel

5. table-tennis, baseball, cricket, rounders


6. horse, mare, stallion, pony

7. pony, puppy, kitten, duckling

8. puppy, cub, calf, kitten

9. broom, vacuum cleaner, duster, mop


10. milk, lemonade, beer, coffee

11. bicycle, motorbike, moped, scooter

12. peach, plum, cherry, nectarine

13. dragonfly, locust, moth, butterfly

14. bee, wasp, scorpion, jellyfish


II. SENSE PROPERTIES OF SENTENCES
1. Cats are animals.
2. Cats are not vegetables.
3. Bachelors are male.
4. Bachelors are unmarried.
5. Cats are clean.
6. Bachelors are lonely.
7. These cats are not animals.
8. Cats are not animals.
9. Everybody is sick, but some
people are not.
10. Tim was killed but he was still
alive.
Analyticity
=>
=> The truth => determined by the semantics of the
language

N.B. Analytically true vs. Empirically true.

- Roses are flowers. T/F?

- The August Revolution broke out in 1845. T/F?


Syntheticity

=>
=> The truth / falsehood => determined by the
circumstances
E.g. Queens are kings’ wives. T/F?
Contradiction
=>
=> The falsehood => determined by the senses of the
words in the sentence
=> Opposite of analyticity

Bachelors are married. =>


unmarried. =>
not married. =>

Analyticity Contradiction
N.B. Anomaly (Anomalous sentence)
=> a special case of contradiction
=> semantic oddness, i.e. violation of selectional restriction
(= rules of combining words)
E.g.
- That pregnant bachelor speaks with a big voice.
=> bachelor >< ; big ><
- Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.
=> green ><
green (concrete) >< Exercise
sleep (inactive activity) ><
Exercise 1: Determine whether the following sentences
are analytic, synthetic, or contradictory.

1. My father is very nice.


2. If John killed the bear, then the bear died.
3. We can’t work without computers.
4. John is a bachelor, but he is married.
5. John was a bachelor, but he is married now.
6. Dolphins are fish.
7. Dolphins are friendly.
8. Sam’s wife is married.
9. Sam’s wife is not Vietnamese.
10. Roses are red.
11. Queens are mothers.
12. Horses are herbivores.
13. Her grandmother is not her mother’s mother.
14. Queens are princesses’ mothers.
15. If everybody is sick, then it’s not true that nobody’s sick.
16. Mary’s mother is her (= Mary’s) daughter’s mother.
17. Bob is married to Sue, but Sue isn’t married to Bob.
18. Carol’s aunt is her mother’s youngest sister.
19. John’s baby son is a boy.
20. Twins look alike.
Exercise 2: Anomaly or contradiction?

1. John’s 9-year-old brother is not a boy.


2. My wife slept vertically.
3. That sleeping child is awake.
4. That dead child is alive.
5. I hate that narrow teacher.
6. James sliced the idea for analysis.
7. James is both here and not here.
8. This contradictory sentence is not
contradictory.
Conclusion
Analyticity, syntheticity, contradiction => not used for
imper. or interrogative sentences (not about facts)
E.g. The door is open. =>
vs. Open the door! =>
Sense properties of sentences depend on the sense
properties of the words in the sentences.
E.g. Carrots are vegetables.
A circle is a round shape.
III. STEREOTYPES
1. Stereotype vs. Prototype Example

- Prototype = an object

- Stereotype = a list

with feather, having wings, can fly,


building nests in a tree, …

made of glass, cylindrical base,


with a narrow neck at the top,…
N.B. People of different cultures may have
different views of the prototype & stereotypes
E.g.
=> Vietnamese vs. European
2. Stereotype vs. sense
=> sense = hard core of meaning agreed by almost
all people & cultures (conventional)
E.g. woman
SENSE: [+ human, - male, + adult ]
STEREOTYPE:
CONCLUSION

• Stereotype

 important => reflecting the
typical view of people of a
community in a certain place at a
certain time
Unit 4

74
SEMANTIC RELATIONS
I. Synonymy

II. Hyponymy IV. Homonymy

III. Antonymy V. Polysemy

CONCLUSION
Exercises
75
SYNONYM, SYNONYMOUS,
SYNONYMY

- “Bike” and “bicycle” are _________.

- They are ____________ words.

- The relation b/w “bike” and bicycle”


is _____________.

76
I. SYNONYMY
1. = the relationship b/w 2 predicates/predicators having the
same sense (NOT: b/w 2 words)
e.g. This room is bright. vs. This room is light.
2. Synonyms may share one sense in common, but not all
others.
=>
= =
= =
BRIGHT = LIGHT (a) =
= =
… …

77
3. Synonyms share all semantic properties but one.
infant =>
kid =>

78
3. Synonyms share all semantic properties but one.
infant =>
kid =>

Other examples:
a. adore, love
=>
b. autumn, fall
=>
c. thin, slim

d. slim, slender

e. lonely, alone
79
Other examples:
f. shine, glow
=>
g. happy (new year), merry (Christmas)
=>
h. Christmas, Xmas
=>
i. present, gift
=>

80
NOTE: Denotation vs. Connotation
• The denotation of a word/phrase is its explicit
or primary meaning.
e.g. infant & kid >
• The connotation of a word/phrase is its
secondary or implied meaning.
e.g. infant vs. kid >
Common types of connotation: style, degree,

81
Exercise 1: Identify the connotation of the
following synonymous pairs.
1. wound vs. injury
2. choose vs. select
3. continual vs. continuous
4. cost vs. price
5. gaudy vs. gorgeous
6. clothes vs. garment
7. desolate vs. deserted
8. fat vs. plump
82
4. Synonyms => usually of the same class, but not always
The house is burning (V) /
My baby is sleeping (V) /
5. Synonymous sentences = PARAPHRASES
My baby is sleeping My baby is asleep.
=> the same notion (symmetrical)
=> 2 kinds of paraphrases
6. Synonymous “opposites”
=> good = ?
a good scare =

83
Two kinds of paraphrases
a) Lexical paraphrase => making use of synonyms
I have 3 kids. =
I like table tennis. =
b) Structural paraphrase => giving different structures
The cat chased the mouse. =
It is tough to live with him. =

N.B. Someone stole my bike  My bicycle was stolen.


=> Exercise
Structural paraphrase
< Some common transformational rules
1. Passive structure
2. Extra-position movement
To meet you is nice. =>
3. Tough movement
It’s difficult to deal with him. =>

4. Cleft structure
Peter loves Mary. =>
5. Pseudo cleft structure
John hates doing the housework. =>
85
Exercise 2: Paraphrase the following.

1. It was Jennifer that cheated in the exam.


2. It is my honour to entertain our distinguished guests.
3. It is possible that there would be a storm tonight.
4. It is expected that you all will win the game.
5. What I want to do now is sit down and have a rest.
6. The rioters set fire to the police car yesterday.
7. John saw a cock with three legs.
8. It was odd how proud he was.
II. HYPONYMY

ANIMAL

Mammal Reptile …

dog cat …

87
METAL

Gold (Au) Silver (Ag) Copper (Cu) Iron (Fe) Mercury (Hg) …

88
(p.111)
= the set of
all animals

= the set of
all cows

89
Characteristics of Hyponymy
1. = sense relation b/w predicates such that the meaning of
one predicate is included in the sense of the other (=
inclusion) (p.105)
CAT +
+
=> The sense of ANIMAL ____________ in the sense of CAT.
=> The sense of CAT _____________ the sense of ANIMAL.
2. Two-way hyponymy (symmetrical)  synonymy
=>

90
METAL

Gold (Au) Silver (Ag) Copper (Cu) Iron (Fe) Mercury (Hg) Quicksilver

Co-hyponyms

91
3. ENTAILMENT = hyponymy applied to sentences (p. 107)
My cat was stolen.

They boiled the pork.

N.B. a) Entailment => cumulative ?

A rose is a flower ; A flower is a kind vegetation.


=>

b) Two-way entailment = Paraphrase (p.108)


=> John and Mary are twins.  Mary and John are twins.
92
c) Hyponymy =>  Entailment
With
They didn’t boil the pork. They didn’t cook the meat.
They grilled the pork!
With
All my roses have thorns All my flowers have thorns.
My daisies don’t have thorns.
With
I saw a big mouse. I saw a big animal.

93
SUMMARY

Sense synonymy paraphrase hyponymy entailment


relation
sense Similarity Similarity Inclusion Inclusion
b/w predi. b/w senten. b/w predi. b/w senten.

94
III. ANTONYMY
Traditionally => words with opposite meanings
Currently => 4 basic types of antonyms or

1. Binary antonyms / Complementary pairs e.g.

= predicates which come in pairs & b/w them exhaust


all relevant possibilities
=> either X or Y is true / false; no exceptions
N.B.

95
Binary antonyms

Examples
true ≠ false
dead ≠ A B
pass ≠
A B

96
2. Converses / Relational opposites e.g.
= 2 or 3 things / people are mentioned in the
opposite order (= symmetric relationship)
N.B. [x] ___ [y]  [y] ____ [x]
[x] ____ [y], [z]  [z] _____ [y], [x]
3. System of multiple incompatibility (SMI) e.g.
= including all the terms that are mutually
incompatible (exclusive), and that cover all the
relevant area
N.B.  co-hyponyms

97
Converses
Examples
- parent vs. child [x] parent [y] 
- husband vs. wife [x] husband [y] 
- bigger vs. smaller [x] bigger [y] 
- own vs. belong [x] owns [y] 
- give vs. receive
I give a book to Mary  Mary receives a book from me.

[x] gives [y], [z]  [z] receives [y], [x]


98
System of multiple incompatibility
Examples
Sp Su
- spring, summer, autumn, winter
Au Wi
- hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades
- south, north, east, west
- Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, …
- Jan, Feb, March, April, …
=>

- red, yellow, blue, green, …


- rose, daisy, lily, orchid, …
=>
99
4. Gradable antonyms e.g.
= at opposite ends of a continuous scale of values
N.B.
“NOT” A B
TESTS => very +
=> more A 
(converses: [x] older [y]  [y] younger [x])
Applied to sentences => Contradiction
E.g. That tall man is quite short.

Exercise
100
Gradable pairs
Examples

YOUNG OLD

N.B. NOT young old

101
Exercise 3: Determine the types of antonymy.
1. yin – yang
2. doctor – nurse
3. doctor – patient
4. humane – inhumane
5. human – non-human
6. niece – nephew
7. black – white
8. white – non-white (n)
9. bigger – smaller
10. slow – fast
IV. HOMONYMY
1. No sense relations b/w predicates => unrelated
meanings
=>
2. Classification
[a] Full homonymy
seal (animal) – seal (on containers)
[b] Homophony
meat – meet
[c] Homography
lead (v) – lead (metal)
103
3. A source of lexical ambiguity & humor
=>
Example:
Customer Waiter!
Waiter Yes, sir?
Customer What’s this?
Waiter It’s [bi:n] soup, sir.
Customer Never mind what it has [bi:n]. I want to
know what it IS now.

Exercise

104
Exercise 4: Find the meanings of
these full homonyms

1. long

2. flat

3. bank

4. bear

5. bat
Exercise 5: Find the other word of
the homonymous pairs
1. role – roll 11. idle
2. dear 12. lesson
3. no 13. made
4. need 14. night
5. pore 15. saw
6. die 16. write
7. sail 17. symbol
8. which 18. carrot
9. whale 19. kernel
10. hole 20. mare
Exercise 6: Say aloud these homographs.

1. minute (time) – minute (very small)


2. desert (Sahara ~) – desert (v)
3. close (v) – close (= near)
4. invalid (person) – invalid (visa)
5. bow (one’s head) – bow (and arrow)
V. POLYSEMY
1. Words having 2 or more closely related senses
developed by extension
=>
E.g. NECK
a. part of the body
b. narrow part of a bottle
c. flesh of an animal’s neck
N.B. Distinction b/w Polysemy & Homonymy
=> based on dictionary entries for words
 meanings in ONE entry =>
 meanings in ≠ entries =>
108
2. a source of lexical ambiguity
Example
Customer: I’d like a book, please?
Bookseller: Something light?
Customer: That doesn’t matter. I have my car with me.

N.B.
(a) Lexical ambiguity <
Wait for me near the bank. I need a seal now.
Structural ambiguity <
The policeman hit the man with an umbrella.
??? The lamb is too hot to eat.

109
(b) Referentially versatile word => referring to a wide range of
different things / people (= multiple referents) => ambiguity
e.g. “What should be done now?” –“We should call the police.”
WE 
WE 
(c) Referentially vague concept => no absolute distinction due to
≠ views of gradable pairs
e.g. He is SHORT.
=>
She is the BEST student.
=>

Exercise 110
Exercise 7: Identify the types of ambiguity
in these sentences. Explain their meanings.

1. They are flying planes.


2. He saw that petrol can explode.
3. The long drill was boring.
4. John passed the hammer and saw through the window.
CONCLUSION
 Knowledge of semantic relations => help
successful communication
 Ambiguity used in creative writing => making
jokes
 Context or additional information =>
disambiguating or clarifying sentences
e.g. The lamb is too hot to eat; we have to wait
in hunger.

112
Exercise 8: Identify the semantic relations
of each pair of predicates or predicators.
1. Is this substance flammable / inflammable?
2. This cup is valuable / invaluable.
3. A bicycle is usually convenient / inconvenient.
4. Have you ever seen a football match?
Did you see my match box?
5. What a dull lecture. / What a dull man.
6. She was given a gem / gemstone.
7. She was given an emerald / a gem.
8. He is her better / worse half.
9. You can take a tomato or a potato.
10. Where is my hair / hare?
Unit 5
Unit 5 - IDIOMS
I Definition

II Characteristics

III Classification

** NOTES
•Idioms = idiomatic expressions
=
Cf. Collocations / Expressions
E.g.
I. Definition:
= fixed phrases
=> their meanings are not the combination of the
meanings of the individual words
=>
e.g.
red tape

to lose one’s head


Note: Idioms vs. phrases
Idioms Phrases
1. structure Fixed Changeable
- -

2. meaning Usually transferred Combined


- -
II. Characteristic
1. Invariable structures (frozen in form)
a. Restriction in substitution => no word of the idiom can
be substituted without destroying its sense
e.g. to give S.O. the cold shoulder

b. Restriction in introducing additional components


=> no insertion of new words to the idiom is allowed

Exception: “… While dressing herself for dinner,


she built ……………………………………………………… castle in
the air of which she was the mistress…”
II. Characteristic (cont.)

c. Restriction in grammatical changes


=> word order, word forms cannot be changed
e.g. to find fault with S.O.

Exceptions:
to build castle in the air =>
a black sheep =>
II. Characteristic (cont.)
2. Violation of the rules on combining semantic
properties (= anomaly)
e.g.
* to eat one’s word
=>
** to have one’s heart in one’s boots
=>
*** to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve
=>
III. Classification
1 Phraseological combinations (motivated)
* from head to foot
*
2 Phraseological unities (partially motivated)
* from hand to mouth
*
3 Phraseological fusions (completely non-
motivated)
* Achilles’ heels
*
Exercise 1 
Ex 1. Classify the following idioms.

1. Many moons ago


2. To feel pity for S.O.
3. Over / under the counter
4. Gonzo journalism
5. To split hairs
6. In prison
7. Under lock and key
8. A rough diamond
9. Spartan life
10.To clear the table
Ex 2. Complete the following idioms
and then classify them.
1. My uncle rules the family business with a rod of ....
2. We can’t let the grass grow …. – we need to get
going with the project.
3. He had another drink to give him Dutch … before
taking part in the fight.
4. It will be a disaster if you are on … terms with your
boss.
5. After work, my father drinks like …
6. I want a qualified plumber to fix the pipes, not just
any Tom, Dick or …
7. I fell in love with her at first ….
NOTES
1 Idioms may have synonyms
* as black as soot
* walking dictionary

2 Many idioms are created from proverbs /


sayings

* A bird in the hand < A bird in the hand is worth


two in the bush
* The last straw
Proverbs, Sayings

Proverbs Sayings
 …  …
 complete or elliptical  complete sentences
sentences,  moral lessons, advice
=>

 moral lessons
Ex 3. - Find the original proverbs or sayings.
- Find their meanings.

1. to lie on the bed one


has made

2. a rolling stone

3. birds of a feather

4. a new broom
Ex 4. Complete these phraseological unities
1. as black as … 13. as silly as …
2. as blind as 14. as smooth as…
3. as bright as … 15. as strong as …
4. as cold as … 16. as rich as …
5. as clear as … 17. as poor as …
6. as dark as … 18. as sour as …
7. as easy as … 19. as thin as …
8. as fresh as … 20. as true as …
9. as hot as … 21. as ugly as
10. as mad as … 22. as warm as …
11. as quick as … 23. as weak as …
12. as red as … 24. as white as …
25. as wise as …
Cues:

butter crystal glass pitch a church mouse


a baby coal lightning oil a March hare
blood Croesus ice a sheet a toad
ABC day a Jew a serpent a rake
a bat a daisy a horse soot steel
a bell fire glass Solomon vinegar
pepper a rose marble snow water
ink night a mole thought wool
a goose charity silver a frog a sheep
Ex 5. Find the origins and meanings of these idioms

•1. apple of discord


•2. Trojan horse
•3. Achilles’ heel
•4. between Scylla and Charybdis
•5. a pound of flesh
•6. have Hobson’s choice
•7. Midas touch
•8. Pandora’s box
•9. Catch-22 situation
•10. the lion’s share
Ex6. - Find the meanings or Vietnamese
equivalents of these proverbs.

1. Familiarity breeds contempt.


2. Set the fox to mind the geese.
3. No pains, no gains.
4. No money, no piper.
5. The leopard cannot change its spots.
6. The rotten apple injures its neighbour.
7. The tailor makes the man.
8. More haste, less speed.
9. Walls have ears.
10.When candles are out, the cats are grey.
Unit 6

FIGURES OF SPEECH
FIGURES OF SPEECH
Boiling water was rising rapidly inside him.

There was a long minute’s quivering silence.

They scrabbled like a monkey up the stone steps.

It seemed to take him an age to fall.


Unit 6 – FIGURES OF SPEECH
GENERAL

FIGURES OF COMPARISON

FIGURES OF CONTRAST

FIGURES OF ASSOCIATION
MISCELLANY
Conclusion
= extended reference of meaning beyond
the word ordinary sense

= a word or phrase used for special effect


beyond its usual meaning

=>
FIGURES OF COMPARISON

1. Metaphor

2. Simile

3. Personification
Exercise
METAPHOR

Definition => substitution based on …


=> The comparison is covert, not stated directly
=> No function words
E.g. These are sweet. May I have three hands, please?
METAPHOR (1)
Classification:
1. Similarity of shape / appearance
2. Similarity of position
3. Similarity of function / use
METAPHOR (2)
Classification:
4. Similarity of movement
5. Similarity of size
6. Similarity of temperature
METAPHOR (3)
Classification:
7. Similarity of color
8. Similarity of sound / manner
9. Similarity of quality
Simile
= an expression in which sth. is compared
to sth. else by using a function word

=> The comparison is stated explicitly.

e.g. They speak like saints and act like devils.


Her hands are as cold as …
She is as hard-working as ...
Personification
= a special kind of metaphor
= some non-human thing is compared by
implication to a human being

Human characteristics are given to sth.


non-human
e.g. This drawer …………. to open.
My goldfish is ………….. to be fed.
Exercise 1: Identify the kinds of metaphor.

1. Cold weather / cold war


2. Tail of a dog / tail of a procession
3. A worm / to worm through a tunnel
4. Hand of a person / hand of a clock
5. A dog / to dog a film star
6. A fox (an animal / a cunning man)
7. A red scarf / red hot
8. A giant / giant leap
9. A head / head of a cabbage
10. A finger / chocolate fingers
FIGURES OF CONTRAST

1. Irony

2. Hyperbole / Overstatement

3. Understatement / Litotes
Irony

= extension of meaning in a direction


opposite to the normal one

e.g. (On a rainy day)


“Oh! What a lovely day for a picnic!”
Hyperbole
=
= saying more than what is actually meant

e.g. I just died laughing.


I’d rather kill myself than watch that film.
Understatement

= saying less than what is actually meant

e.g. (In a violent storm)


Sailor: “It’s just a wee bit of a blow.”
FIGURES OF ASSOCIATION

1. Metonymy

2. Synecdoche
METONYMY
= substitution based on ……………… of meanings
of 2 entities
METONYMY (2)
Types
1. container used for the content
2. body organ used for its function
3. concrete things used for sth. abstract
METONYMY (3)
Types
4. material used for the thing made of it
5. place used for its inhabitants
6. place used for the things produced there
METONYMY (4)
Types
7. inventor used for his invention / product
8. author used for his works
Exercise 2: Metaphor or Metonymy?
1. I like to eat chicken legs.
2. The chair legs have been broken.
3. Who is the head of the department?
4. Are you out of your head?
5. She has a kind heart.
6. His office is in the very heart of the city.
7. Let’s look into the heart of the matter.
8. Violence is a cancer in our society.
9. She takes the chair in all our meetings.
10. There’s a variety of seafood dishes here.
11. I was shocked at his cool manner.
12. This cave has a very low roof.
13. I wish to have a cashmere scarf.
14. They will exhibit Van Goghs soon.
15. Harry is afraid of being under the knife.
16. They are night owls before the exam.
17. He has an iron fist in a velvet glove.
18. The prisoners are clapped in irons.
SYNECDOCHE
= substitution in which
PART WHOLE
=>

“Can I borrow your WHEELS?”


= substitution in which
WHOLE PART

The sun rises in the east.

Kim was born in the East.


Exercise 3: Identify the words with
metonymic use in the following sentences.
1. Carol and her family vow to boycott all products
made from endangered species.

2. Would you like a champagne or a whiskey?

3. Are hamburgers good for your health?

4. Here is your mackintosh – don’t forget it.

5. Scotland Yard is tracking the terrorists down.


6. We have always remained loyal to the crown.

7. How much are these 60-watt light bulbs?

8. To make a hot dog, put a frankfurter inside.

9. What makes a difference between a chauvinist and


a patriot?

10. Go on with your story – we’re all ears.


Exercise 4:
Which figure of speech is
used?
- Figures of similarity
- Figures of contrast
- Figures of association
1. Her floods of tears have stopped him.

2. We need some new faces around here.

3. Squeeze your towel out and hang it up to dry.

4. Your words are squeezing my poor heart.

5. He's so nice to leave you and run away with


another.
6. The noise is like a waterfall.

7. We are reading Hugos.

8. She earns a humble income of 5,000,000


USD a year.
9. Most students are hungry for knowledge.

10. The whirlwind hungrily swept away all


houses.
MISCELLANY

1. Pun

2. Paradox

3. Antithesis

4. Oxymoron
1. Pun
=> Humorous use of a word or combination of
words that are alike or nearly alike in sound

=> to emphasize different meanings


e.g.
Is life worth living?
- Yes, it depends on the liver.
2. Paradox
=> self-contradictory statement -> to surprise
or impress listeners / readers
=>
e.g.
The child is the father of the man.
3. Antithesis
=> striking contrast of ideas
=> with paralleled structures
e.g.
Give me liberty or give me death.
4. Oxymoron
=> combination of two opposite words
=>
e.g.
loving hate
heavy lightness
Exercise 5: Identify the figures of speech.
1. Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing.
2. Look deep into our ryes.
3. Man proposes; god disposes.
4. I didn't kill anyone. I'm an extreme pacifist.
5. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
6. This place is too black for heaven, and yet too white for
hell.
7. Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy
tales again.
8. Many are called, but few are chosen.
9. In seeking happiness, one does not find happiness.
10. A yawn may be defined as a silent yell.
Exercise 6:
Which figure of speech is
used?
1. We need some new blood in our group.
2. Her lips look like a red rose.
3. He’s really a beast, beating children like
that!
4. She doesn’t want to lose face in public.
5. The face of my clock is broken.
6. He has millions of reasons not to do it.
7. Even the fastest runner is a turtle to him.
8. I believe a turtle can run faster than him.
9. Our new model is awfully pretty.
10. Do you believe that war is peace?
11. When it pours, it reigns.
12. She is really an advanced beginner in my class.
13. You are my sunshine, darling!
14. He’s easy on the eyes but hard on the heart.
15. The earth may get clean after a meteor shower.
16. He’s a good person, but his face doesn’t fit for the
job.
17. To be free, we need to have laws to restrict
individual freedom.
18. Have some more food. You’re eating like a bird.
19. Don’t go out in the snow. It’s burning cold and you
may get hurt.
20. The arm of this chair is broken. Fix it.
CONCLUSION
 Figurative language => necessary to
create effectiveness & impress readers

 Excessive use =>


FIGURES OF SPEECH IN LITERATURE

1. The last leaf


2. The gift of the magi (The Christmas
gift)
3. A retrieved reformation (Jimmy
Valentine)
4. The cop and the anthem (Soapy and
the cop)
5. Makes the whole world kin
6. The ransom of Red Chief
Ex 7. Identify the figures of speech used in
the following excerpts.
(1. The Last Leaf, by O’Henry)
1. Old Behrman was a failure as an artist.
2. Sue told him about Johnsy’s silly idea regarding the
last leaf. Sue said she feared that Johnsy, being as
light and fragile as a leaf herself, really would die
when the last leaf floated down from the vine.
3. Still dark green near its stem, but turning yellow
along the edges, the leaf was hanging bravely from a
branch about twenty feet above the ground.
4. The day passed slowly, and the lonely leaf was still
hanging there against the wall.
(2. The Christmas Gift, by O’Henry)
5. So now, her beautiful hair fell about her like a shining
brown waterfall. It reached below her knees and
almost covered her like a dress.
6. She put on her own brown coat and hat; then, with her
eyes still sparkling, she rushed out the door and down
the stairs to the street.
7. When Della reached home, she took her curling irons,
lighted the gas, and tried to repair in some way the
damage to her hair.
8. Isn’t it a fine chain, Jim? I hunted all over town for it.
You’ll have to look at your watch a hundred times a
day to see what time it is.
(3. A retrieved reformation, by O’Henry)
9. Mike laughed and handed Jimmy a glass of milk.
Jimmy had never touched “hard” drinks.
10. Fifteen hundred dollars in currency was taken; the
silver and other valuables remained untouched.
11. Mr. Ralph Spencer, the phoenix that arose from Jimmy
Valentine's ashes – ashes left by the flame of a sudden and
alterative attack of love – remained in Elmore, and
prospered. He opened a shoe-store and secured a good run
of trade.
12. To a woman, nothing seems quite impossible to the powers
of the man she worships.
(4. The cop and the anthem, by O’Henry)
13. A dead leaf fell on Soapy’s leg. That was winter’s first
greeting. Winter is kind to those who sleep on
benches in Madison Square Park; it gives them a
warning before it comes.
14. For years, the friendly prison on Blackwell’s Island
has been his winter home.
15. The pleasantest way was to dine in luxury at some
expensive restaurant, and then declaring that he could
not pay the bill. The kind judge of the police court
would sentence him to three or more months at the
Island prison.
(5. Makes the whole world kin, by O’Henry)
16. The other well-known type is the burglar who wears a
coat and tie. He is always referred to as a “gentleman
thief.”… He is said to have a wife in every state and
a sweetheart in every big city.
17. I can forecast rain better than any professional
weatherman. Any dampness in the air gives me an
awful pain in my left shoulder and arm.
(6. The ransom of Red Chief, by O’Henry)
18. There was a town down there, as flat as a flannel-
cake, and called Summit, of course.
19. Every few minutes he would remember that he was
a pesky redskin, and pick up his stick rifle and
tiptoe to the mouth of the cave to rubber for the
scouts of the hated paleface.
20. Bill gets down on his all fours, and a look comes in
his eye like a rabbit's when you catch it in a trap.
(The ransom of Red Chief, by O’Henry)
21. I'm sorry we lose the ransom; but it was either that
or Bill Driscoll to the madhouse.
22. "Enough," says Bill. "In ten minutes I shall cross
the Central, Southern and Middle Western States,
and be legging it trippingly for the Canadian
border."