Chapter 1
The Theory behind a Source-Based Approach
• Word families, matrices, connections, webs,
gestalts, Venn Diagrams and semantic space
• Generative Semantics
– Conceptual Metaphors vs. Source-Based
metaphors
– From the known to the unknown
– From the literal to the metaphorical
– Prediction and intelligent guessing (1)
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1
Vocabulary Plus:
A Source-Based Approach
www.ablongman.com/nilsen
By Don L. F. Nilsen
And Alleen Pace Nilsen
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Basic Assumptions
• English is constantly changing because of inventions,
discoveries, social changes, paradigm shifts, etc.
• English is enriched by words from other languages.
• Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives and Adverbs have dozens of
meanings.
• Words move from literal to “metaphorical” meanings.
• Words follow regular patterns as they acquire new meanings.
(Nilsen & Nilsen 2)
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Basic Distinctions
•
Bound vs. free morphemes
•
Ambiguity vs. paraphrase vs. Anomaly
•
Lexical vs. grammatical categories
•
Eponymy (e.g. the Earl of Sandwich)
•
Epiphany (e.g. Hellen Keller)
•
Metonymy (e.g. 9/11/2001 and 911)
•
Borrowing (French, Spanish, German, Latin/Greek, Arabic, American
Indian Lgs.
(Nilsen & Nilsen 2-5)
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Etymologies and Folk Etymologies
Guerilla warfare
Hero sandwich
Hotdog
Muskrat
Pidgin
Woodchuck
(Nilsen & Nilasen 6)
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Eponyms
• Adam’s Apple
• Cesarean section
• Maudlin
• John Phillips Sousa was a musician in the military.
• Godfrey Derrick was a public executioner.
• Etienne de Silhouette was Louis XIV’s Controller General
(Nilsen & Nilsen 7)
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Place Metaphors
Boston baked
beans
Buffalo wings
Cheddar cheese
Denim
Jeans
(from Genoa, Italy)
Manhattan
clam chowder
Tex-Mex restaurant
(Nilsen & Nilsen 7)
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Metonymy | Synecdoche
Jocks
Red cap
Skirts
Suits
The big screen
Deck hands
Glasses
Heads of cattle
Paperbacks
The Pigskin
The tube
Wheels (7)
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Compounds
Blackboard
Blackbird
Blackberries
Bluebeard
Bluebird
Boathouse
Goldfish
Greenhouse
Guesthouse
Houseboat
Houseguest
Redcap
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Redcoat
Red head
Tight rope
White House
Yellowjacket
(7)
9
Clipping
| Blending
Abdominal muscles
Bicycle
Delicatessen
Examination
Good be with you
Hazardous Materials
Helicopter
Las Vegas
Medications
Refridgerator
Tricycle
Zoological Garden
Alcohol Holidays
Breakfast and Lunch
Electric Execute
Motor hotel
National Biscuit Company
Smoke and fog
Urine analysis
(8)
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Acronyming
AID
AIDS
ASAP
AK 47
BCNU
BIRP
COD
CD
DVD
FLOTUS & POTUS
LOL
MANURE
MASH
NOW
NUT
POS
ROFL
ROFLMAO
SAG
VISTA
ZIP (8)
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Part-Of-Speech Change
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
She likes to wear dresses.
She dresses up at night.
It is a dress shirt.
It is just window dressing
I like turkey dressing with turkey.
The boss gave him a dressing down.
Put your clothes in this dresser.
(Nilsen & Nilsen 9)
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Generalization | Specialization
Bird
Butter
Chauvinist
Coke
Depression
Dilapidated
Glasses
Kleenex
Linens
7-Eleven
Silverware
Deer
Disease
Hound
Meat
Plastic
Starve
Zest
(Nilsen & Nilsen 9-10)
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Amelioration | Pejoration
Bad
Dexterity
Knight
Pastor
Phat
Surgeon
Terrible
Awful
Knave
Saloon
Silly
Villain
(Nilsen & Nilsen 9-11)
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Vocabulary Tests
1. Particular words (not groups of words)
2. Particular meanings of words
3. Machine scored
4. Only one correct answer
5. Only a few seconds per answer
6. Focus on obscure words so that testers can discriminate
7. Questions are clear-cut & easy to answer
8. Order is random or alphabetical, not word families
9. Students work individually
10. Students work silently
11. The premium is to get a wide range of scores
(Nilsen & Nilsen 11-12)
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Vocabulary Teaching Should:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
show how words relate to each other
show how single words have many meanings
involve much dialogue
stress intelligent guessing
allow time for pondering & meditation
focus on useful and frequent words
allow answers to be messy and tangential
show how words are connected and how they change
show the social aspects of language use
encourage lively discussion
Show how every answer is correct, although it often must be
fine-tuned.
(Nilsen & Nilsen 11-12)
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Walking Words: an example
Show how the following words are related:
• Amble (what a horse does)
• Ambulance (originally stretchers)
• Ambulance chasers
• Ambulatory patient
• Perambulator (British “pram”)
• Preamble to the Constitution
• Somnambulent
(Nilsen & Nilsen 14)
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Intelligent Guessing:
Are words etymologically related?
•
Phonological Similarity
–
•
Spelling Similarity
–
•
Because spelling systems are conservative,
spelling shows word histories as in “knight.”
Meaning Similarity
–
•
But we have to contrast puns & metaphors
Note: Antonyms are similar
Pragmatic Similarity
–
–
Rules of assimilation
Histories & contact-situations (15)
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“Assaulted Peanut”
A Pun
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“Raining Cats and Dogs”
A René-Magritte Metaphor
In the Middle Ages
when it rained hard the
cats and dogs got
caught in the drainage
system.
So it appeared to be
“raining cats and
dogs.”
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Forks
A Germanic Example
(Nilsen & Nilsen 19
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Sticks
Another Germanic Example
(Nilsen & Nilsen 19)
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“Peds” (Feet)
A Latin Example
Nilsen & Nilsen 19)
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!Contrast the Puns and Metaphors:
•
•
•
•
Needlecraft ad: It’s a crewel, crewel world
Lampstore: Just a shade better
Restaurant: Paul Perry’s Stake-Out
Drapery Store: After 35 years, we’ve got the
hang of it.
• Spark Plug Ad: We’re plugging for better
mileage.
• The weather bureau is a non-prophet
organization.
• Alimony is a splitting headache.
(Nilsen & Nilsen 20)
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!!Body Metaphors
(Germanic)
Body bags
Body check (in ice
hockey)
Body count
Body language
Celestial bodies
Body shirt
Body surfing
Full bodied hair
Legislative body
Student body
Wide body plane
(Nilsen & Nilsen 22)
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!!!Corpus Metaphors
Latin and Romance Languages
Corporal
Corpse
Corporation
Corpsman
Corpulent
Corpus
Corpus Christi, TX
Corsage
Corsets
Incorporated
Marine Corps
(Nilsen & Nilsen 67)
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Reference
Nilsen, Alleen Pace, and Don L. F. Nilsen.
Vocabulary Plus: High School and Up:
A Source-Based Approach. Boston,
MA: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, 2004.
www.ablongman.com/nilsen
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