What are the characteristics of American English?
1. Conservativeness and creativeness in usage: American English contains archaic features of the language which have disappeared in english itself. Functional change may serve as the first illustration of the creativeness in American English. American English has demonstrated a fondness for compound formation. And many new words have been created by American English through other devices of word-information.
2. Verbosity and brevity of expression: the most prevalent defect in writing as seen in present day American English is a tendency to convey an idea in as complicated a way as possible. But brevity is one of the salient features of the language. In American English there can be found no lack of prose or fiction marked by simple, terse and direct style.
3. The heterogeneous nature of the American vocabulary: A. The melting pot. American english has supplemented its word stock by adoptions from many other languages. B. Slang, jargon, cant. What are the sources of polysemy?
According to Stephen Ullmann, there are five sources. Homonyms reinterpreted and foreign influence, two are rare or not quite normal in english. But others are important. A. Shifts in application. Words have a number of different aspects according to the contexts in which they are used. Some of these aspects are purely ephemeral; others may develop into permanent shades of meaning, as the gap between them widens, we may eventually come to regard them as different senses of the same term. B. Specialization in a social milieu. Polysemy often arises through a kind of verbal shorthand. C. Figurative language. A word can be given one or more figurative senses without losing its original meaning.metaphor, metonymy may work in the same way.
What is pragmatic context?
According to van Dijk, pragmatic context designates, among other things, speech participants, their internal structures( knowledge, beliefs, purposes, intentions) and the ways in which they communicate( appropriateness is essential to pragmatic success in communicative acts). What is cultural context?
It refers to history, culture, customs and habits, moral values, socio-cultural interaction and other features that are peculiar to a given speech community to which a language user belongs. All these factors will find expression in the language shared by the members of the speech community. What are the two factors that lead to loss of motivation?
1. One is a change in the morphological structure of a word. The parts of which a compound is made up may coalesce to such a degree that it becomes an opaque, unanalysable unit.
2. The other is change of meaning. When the gap between original and transferred meaning becomes too wide, motivation is lost and two senses will be felt to belong to two separate words. What are semantic fields?
The semantic field theory is an approach which developed in the 1930s; it took the view that the vocabulary of a language is not simply a listing of independent items( as the headwords in a dictionary word suggest), but is organized into areas or fields, the members of which are joined together by some common semantic component, such as the concept of color or kinship. The members of the semantic field interrelate and define each other in various ways. It follows that the meaning of a word is to a great extent determined by the place it occupies in its semantic field. What are the characteristics of English idioms?
1. An english idiom is characterised by semantic unity and structural stability.
2. It is a set expression made up of two or more words. An idiom functions as a unit of meaning
which cannot be predicted from the literal meaning of its member words.
3. Structurally analysed, only a limited number of idioms can be written in any other way without destroying the meaning of the idiom. Many of them are completely rigid and cannot show up in any other whatever. Substitution of one for the other will break the semantic unity of the idiom.
4. The combination of two or more words into an idiom is conventional and arbitrary.
5. Idiomatic phrases( idioms) differ from free phrases in that the meaning of the latter can be deduced from the literal meaning of the constituent parts.
6. The idiomaticity of an expression can be tested by different means and be tested in another way. What are the differences between British English and American English?
1. Differences in pronunciation: most lies in the pronunciation of the vowels, Eg: American English pronounce a sound /?/ as in cat, but British pronounce it with a sound / ɑ:/ ----a broad / ɑ/. It may be noted that both word-stress and sentence-stress are weaker in American than in British English, and intonation is more level.
2. Differences in spelling: A: honor,favor; E: hornour, favour
3. Difference in vocabulary: A: apartment; E: service flat.
How can you distinguish compounds from free phrases?
1. The former typically have a single stress (a 'greenhouse) whereas the latter have a two-stress pattern of a normal syntactic group (a 'green 'house).
2. A compound occurs as an inseparable semantic unit that differs in meaning from a free phrase.
3. A compound does not allow modification of the first element as a free phrase does (a very green house).
4. No adverb can be used to modify the first element of a compound.
5. The first element of a compound is not allowed to be turned into an adjective in the comparative degree, but this rule does not apply to a free phrase (a greener house).
What are allomorph?
Allomorph---Some morphemes are realized by more than one morph according to their position. Such alternative morphs are allomorphemes. E.g. the morpheme of plurality (-s) has a number if allomorphemes in different sound context, e.g. in cats/s/, in bags/z/, in matches/iz/.
A morpheme is a linguistic abstraction; it is a concept. It needs to be represented in certain phonological and orthographical forms. These forms are called morphs. It can be found that the same functional unit varies in form from one context to another, the three forms are the variants of the same morpheme -s. They are called allomorphs.