English Language Lexis and Semantics

the basics of lexis and semantics

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  • Created by: Shauni
  • Created on: 14-05-12 22:21


The method that deals with the vocabulary system of a language.

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The method that deals with meaning and how that is generated within texts.

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Textual Cohesion:

The term used to describe how a text is logically structured to create a coherent sense of meaning.

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Subject Pronoun:

A pronoun that usually occurs as the actor in a verbal process.

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Possesive Pronoun:

A pronoun that demonstrates ownership.

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Lexical Words:

Words that carry explicit meanings and represent the word classes that are open to new additions and derivations.

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Functional Words:

Words that have less explicit meaning and serve to highlight relationship between other words.

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Material Processes:

Describing actions or events.

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Relational Processes:

Describing states of being, identification or attributes.

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Mental Processes:

Describing perception, thoughts or speech.

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Dynamic Verbs:

Verbs where the situation described by the verb process changes over time, for example ‘he ate the cake’ involves a dynamic process.

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Stative Verbs:

Verbs that describes a state of affairs rather than an action, e.g. ‘know’.

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Base Form:

The simple form of an adjective, serving to modify.

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The form for comparing two items; adjectives inflected with -er or combined with ‘more’ are in the comparative form.

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Adjectives inflected with -est or combined with ‘most’ are in the superlative form.

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A measure of how well a text fits together as a whole, its internal logic and construction.

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When lexical items replace those already mentioned or about to be mentioned.

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Anaphoric Referencing:

Referencing back to an already stated lexical item.

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Cataphoric Referencing:

Referencing forwards to an as yet undisclosed lexical item.

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The replacing of one set of lexical items for another.

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The missing out of a word or words in a sentence.

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A strict ‘dictionary’ meaning of a lexical item.

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An associated, symbolic meaning relying on culturally shared conventions.

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Semantic or Lexical Field:

Lexical items that are similar in range of meaning and properties.

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Words with very similar semantic value.

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Words with opposite semantic value.

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The term for the hierarchical structure that exists between lexical items.

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 A socially acceptable word or phrase used to avoid talking about something potentially distasteful.

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A harsh, ‘to-the-point’ and perhaps taboo term, sometimes used for a dark humorous effect.

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Truly opposite antonyms.

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Antonyms that are not exact opposites but can be considered in terms of degree of quality.

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A ‘lower’ word in the hyponymic chain; a more specific lexical term.

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A ‘higher’ word in the hyponymic chain; a more general lexical term.

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The inappropriately vague, rather general answer to a question.

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The giving of an inappropriately too specific answer, sometimes with absurd effects.

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Conceptual Metaphor:

The way in which abstract terms are mapped onto physical entities through an underlying conceptual structure.

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Object Pronoun:

A pronoun that usually appears as being affected by the verb process.

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Names of objects, feelings, attitudes, people or places.

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Proper Noun:

Refers to names of people or places.


London, Paris, Shauni

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Abstract Noun:

Refers to states, feelings and concepts that have no physical existence.


Plain, happiness, sadness

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Concrete Noun:

Refers to objects that have a physical existence.

Countable, e.g. table
Non-countable, e.g. furniture

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Shows actions, events or states of being, feeling or thinking.

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Material Verb:

Describe actions or events.


hit, run, eat, push

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Relational Verb:

Describe states of being or are used to identify.


be, appear, become

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Mental Verb:

Describe perception, thought or speech.


Think, speak, love

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Dynamic Verb:

Processes where there is a change in state over time.


Paint, remove, eat

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Stative Verb:

Processes where the situation remains constant.


love, hold, believe

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Adds detail to nouns.

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Base Adjective:

The main stem of the adjective.


Hot, cold, small, thin

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Comparative Adjective:

Comparing words saying something is ___ than something else


Hotter, colder, smaller, thinner

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Superlative Adjective:

Saying something is the ultimate.


Hottest, coldest, smallest, thinnest

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More Adjectives:

Some longer adjectives use more for their comparative and superlative forms

Example: more beautiful, more handsome

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Most Adjectives:

Some longer adjectives use most for their comparative and superlative forms.


Most beautiful, most handsome






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Irregular Adjectives:

Some have irregular forms


good and bad- good, better, best, bad ,worse, worst

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Adds detail to verbs and other adverbs.

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Add Information/ Modify Verb Adverbs:

I ran quickly

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Modify Adjctives/ Other Adverbs:

I ran very quickly

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Modify Whole Sentences Adverbs:

interestingly, the town is small

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Comparative Adverbs:


Example: more gracefully

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Superlative Adverbs:


Example: most gracefully

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Positioned in front of nouns to add detail or to clarify.

Example: The, a, an, my

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Links words, phrases and clauses together.

Example: and, but, although, also




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Shows relation in terms of time or place.

Example: in, at, by, on





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Replaces nouns and can also refer forwards and backwards to them in longer stretches of text.

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Personal Pronoun:

I, you, she, they




Singular      First person I Me My Second person You You Your Third person He/she Him/her His/her Plural First person We Us Our Second person You You Your Third person They Them Their

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Possesive Pronoun:

my, his, our, their

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Reflexive Pronoun:

myslef, himself, themselves

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Demonstrative Pronoun:

this, these, that, those

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Relative Pronoun:

who, whom, which

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Lexical Connectors:

Addition: and, also, furthermore

Consequence: so, therefore, consequently

Comparative: similarly, however, whereas

Temporal: later, next, now

Enumeration: firstly, then, finally

Summative: in conclusion, on the whole, with all things considered

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