Session IV: Paradigmatic and syntagmatic lexical relations


Exercise I: Consider the case of English mouse, which has two basic meanings, the first of which preceded the second (= 1. any of numerous small rodents typically resembling diminutive rats with pointed snout, rather small ears, elongated body, and slender hairless or sparsely haired tail; 2. a hand-held device used to control the cursor movement and select computing functions without keying). Why would cognitive semantics (e.g. prototype theory) be better at explaining the meaning change involved here than componential analysis (i.e. structural semantics)?

Exercise II: Identify the lexical relations holding between the following sets of words: forwards-backwards, frame-window, expand-contract, mole-spy, fill-empty, fail-succeed, picture-painting, hot-cold, semantics-linguistics, master-servant

Exercise III: Are the above meaning relations intralingual or extralinguistic? Consider the following examples: Kartoffeln-Gemüse vs. potatoes-vegetables; Schere vs. shears/scissors (aspect: hyponymy); très complet - *sehr vollständig (aspect: gradable antonymy)

Exercise IV: Discuss the pros and cons of Herbst’s definition of collocation.

Exercise V: Spot the collocation(s) and valency/complementation patterns in the following concordances from a corpus of novels and film scripts:


#145;s METHOS, oldest of all Immortals, gazing down in quiet contemplation.    M

he ballcap down over his eyes, cast his gaze down to the dirty, torn concrete of

y. Moves away, giving her privacy. JILL gazes down, eyes distant, remembering. 

 the window overlooking the sheer drop. Gazing down, he goes on:     BALKAN (con

T. MANHATTAN - SKY - DAY    The Gryphon gazes down. Below, Godzilla moves betwee

 connection between   events.  The eyes gazed downward with paradoxical peace. 

pecting to see Hester--and he does!  He gazes   dramatically a short distance aw

cating. Spike fidgeted in his seat, his gaze drawn down towards the warm bodies

EVEREND DIMMESDALE'S STUDY  He is still gazing dreamily at the rose.  Now he goe

 Gabs than Xena in this episode. She is gazing dreamily into Gabs face as she sa

ESTER'S ROOM  SEMI CLOSE-UP   Hester is gazing dreamily into the mirror.  Then t

her fault. That she'd slept around. Her gaze drifted to Xander, who looked so sc

ncing, as he stares at the page.    His gaze drifts up.    HIS POV    The bathin

s.     SIKES Cathy... (as she meets his gaze) ...Droonal flange brush - no big d

t sound, not unlike a growl, as Angel's gaze dropped down to Wesley's mouth. "Yo

ing. Unless..."     He trailed off, his gaze dropping to the floor. In a flash B

lps to accentuate the positive.     His gaze drops to directly below my waist le

orting the wounded." He follows his own gaze, ducking to the next section of the

ht in the web of her, the light of her. Gaze eagerly taking in every detail //he


e are gone, while -       THE EXPLOSION ECHOES out over the lake, booming again

ked as the sound of a distant explosion echoed through the darkness. The Bounty

LWAY   SHENANDOAH CLUB    The explosion echoes over the cut as we track up the 

le disappeared   inside.   An explosion echoed from the interior followed by a g

e is extinguished    muffled explosions echo from the mountain sides    a cousin

ing pint glasses and saw his expression echoed on Gunn's face - the direct resul

, the baby's coming. Now." His own eyes echoed her fear. "I'm gonna get the nurs

lder could see the fear in his own eyes echoed in hers, then they passed through

   the cliche of `right-before-my-eyes' echoing in my head." Shetapped her templ

 as soon as she took the phone her face echoed with empathic grief. Mulder could

n the room, I notice that Krycek's face echoes my feeling of horror. "Sure, Fox.

to look at Scully. The look on her face echoed his own feelings, and blind reali

Mulder." She felt the smile on her face echoing his. "Until the sky falls down o

eted floor, but it was far off, fading, echoing into a dim background noise,bare

 for a split second she heard the faint echo of her voice reverberating off the

h her lips as she listened to the faint echoes of her footsteps in the silence o

to hear the second heartbeat, the faint echo of her own, to reassure herself tha

   me who you are." There   was a faint echo as I heard my own voice being recor

. He smelled the wood polish, the faint echo of incense, all thechurchy smells h

 and Buffy for a moment, like the faint echo of music or the shadow of a perfume

As she reads it, there is a faint       echoing refrain of Bach's Goldberg Varia

 is far away. I catch only the faintest echoes of dark places where the hearts o

in the Antarctic, the HEARTBEAT FAINTLY ECHOES through the  cabin. The "S" on th

 if you maggots ever make it that far!" echoed through his memory)), almost retu

"     The drumming grew louder, faster, echoing through Angel's empty body, beco


Exercise VI: Which of the following word combinations would you consider collocations? try to, sound asleep, quench one’s thirst, dependent on, think of, set a record, (insects +) sting, consider a case, green house, resent bitterly, break in shoes, back from, according to a survey, fear of

Homework assignment I: On the basis of what we have said so far, how many levels of meaning (e.g. extralinguistic vs. intralingual) would you want to distinguish in a theory of meaning?

Homework assignment II: Use a monolingual dictionary (or your intuition) to find out what the words in each of the groups below have in common. What are the implications for a theory of meaning?


-              awash, low, rich, poor, high

-              big, courageous, clever, nice, kind, generous, prudent, sweet, thoughtful, wise, sensible

-              bathe, bind, cloak, coat, cocoon, cover, frame, douse, encase, sheathe, shroud