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јвтор: јнтрушина √алина Ѕорисовна

Chapter 10 synonyms: are their meanings the same or different?

 

Synonymy is one of modern linguistics' most controversial problems. The very existence of words traditionally called synonyms is disputed by some linguists; the nature and essence of the relationships of these words is hotly debated and treated in quite different ways by the representatives of different linguistic schools.

Even though one may accept that synonyms in the traditional meaning of the term are somewhat elusive and, to some extent, fictitious it is certain that there are words in any vocabulary which clearly develop regular and distinct relationships when used in speech.

In the following extract, in which a young woman rejects a proposal of marriage, the verbs like, admire and love, all describe feelings of attraction, approbation, fondness:

 

"I have always liked you very much, I admire your talent, but, forgive me, Ч I could never love you as a wife should love her husband."

(From The Shivering Sands by V. Holt)

 

Yet, each of the three verbs, though they all describe more or less the same feeling of liking, describes it in its own way: "I like you, i. e. I have certain warm feelings towards you, but they are not strong enough for me to describe them as "love"," Ч so that like and love are in a way opposed to each other.

The duality of synonyms is, probably, their most confusing feature: they are somewhat the same, and yet they are most obviously different. Both aspects of their dual characteristics are essential for them to perform their function in speech: revealing different aspects, shades and variations of the same phenomenon.

 

"Ч Was she a. pretty girl?

Ч I would certainly have called her attractive."

(Ibid.)

 

The second speaker in this short dialogue does his best to choose the word which would describe the girl most precisely: she was good-looking, but pretty is probably too good a word for her, so that attractive is again in a way opposed to pretty (not pretty, only attractive), but this opposition is, at the same time, firmly fixed on the sameness of pretty and attractive: essentially they both describe a pleasant appearance.

Here are some more extracts which confirm that synonyms add precision to each detail of description and show how the correct choice of a word from a group of synonyms may colour the whole text.

The first extract depicts a domestic quarrel. The infuriated husband shouts and glares at his wife, but "his glare suddenly softened into a gaze as he turned his eyes on the little girl" (i. e. he had been looking furiously at his wife, but when he turned his eyes on the child, he looked at her with tenderness).

The second extract depicts a young father taking his child for a Sunday walk.

 

"Neighbours were apt to smile at the long-legged bare-headed young man leisurely strolling along the street and his small companion demurely trotting by his side."

(From Some Men and Women by B. Lowndes)

 

The synonyms stroll and trot vividly describe two different styles of walking, the long slow paces of the young man and the gait between a walk and a run of the short-legged child.

In the following extract an irritated producer is talking to an ambitious young actor:

"Think you can play Romeo? Romeo should smile, not grin, walk, not swagger, speak his lines, not mumble them."

(Ibid.)

 

Here the second synonym in each pair is quite obviously and intentionally contrasted and opposed to the first: "... smile, not grin." Yet, to grin means more or less the same as to smile, only, perhaps, denoting a broader and a rather foolish smile. In the same way to swagger means "to walk", but to walk in a defiant or insolent manner. Mumbling is also a way of speaking, but of speaking indistinctly or unintelligibly.

Synonyms are one of the language's most important expressive means. The above examples convincingly demonstrate that the principal function of synonyms is to represent the same phenomenon in different aspects, shades and variations.

And here is an example of how a great writer may use synonyms for stylistic purposes. In this extract from Death of а Ќего ≈. Aldington describes a group of survivors painfully retreating after a defeat in battle:

 

"... The Frontshires [name of battalion] staggered rather than walked down the bumpy trench ... About fifty men, the flotsam of the wrecked battalion, stumbled past them .... They shambled heavily along, not keeping step or attempting to, bent wearily forward under the weight of their equipment, their unseeing eyes turned to the muddy ground."

 

In this extract the verb to walk is used with its three synonyms, each of which describes the process of walking in its own way. In contrast to walk the other three words do not merely convey the bare idea of going on foot but connote the manner of walking as well. Stagger means "to sway while walking" and, also, implies a considerable, sometimes painful, effort. Stumble, means "to walk tripping over uneven ground and nearly falling." Shamble implies dragging one's feet while walking; a physical effort is also connoted by the word.

The use of all these synonyms in the extract creates a vivid picture of exhausted, broken men marching from the battle-field and enhances the general atmosphere of defeat and hopelessness.

A carefully chosen word from a group of synonyms is a great asset not only on the printed page but also in a speaker's utterance. It was Mark Twain who said that the difference between the right word and just the right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning-bug.

The skill to choose the most suitable word in every context and every situation is an essential part of the language learning process. Students should be taught both to discern the various connotations in the meanings of synonyms and to choose the word appropriate to each context.

 

Criteria of Synonymy

 

Synonymy is associated with some theoretical problems which at present are still an object of controversy. Probably, the most controversial among these is the problem of criteria of synonymy. To put it in simpler words, we are still not certain which words should correctly be considered as synonyms, nor are we agreed as to the characteristic features which qualify two or more words as synonyms.

Traditional linguistics solved this problem with the conceptual criterion and defined synonyms as words of the same category of parts of speech conveying the same concept but differing either in shades of meaning or in stylistic characteristics.

Some aspects of this definition have been criticized. It has been pointed out that linguistic phenomena should be defined in linguistic terms and that the use of the term concept makes this an extralinguistic definition. The term "shades of meaning" has been condemned for its vagueness and lack of precision.

In contemporary research on synonymy semantic criterion is frequently used. In terms of componential analysis synonyms may be defined as words with the same denotation, or the same denotative component, but differing in connotations, or in connotative components (see Ch. 7).

Though not beyond criticism, this approach has its advantages and suggests certain new methods of analysing synonyms.

A group of synonyms may be studied with the help of their dictionary definitions (definitional analysis). In this work the data from various dictionaries are analysed comparatively. After that the definitions are subjected to transformational operations (transformational analysis). In this way, the semantic components of each analysed word are singled out.

Here are the results of the definitional and transformational analysis of some of the numerous synonyms for the verb to look.

 

 

The common denotation convincingly shows that, according to the semantic criterion, the words grouped in the above table are synonyms. The connotative components represented on the right side of the table highlight their differentiations.

In modern research on synonyms the criterion of interchangeability is sometimes applied. According to this, synonyms are defined as words which are interchangeable at least in some contexts without any considerable alteration in denotational meaning. [4]

This criterion of interchangeability has been much criticized. Every or almost every attempt to apply it to this or that group of synonyms seems to lead one to the inevitable conclusion that either there are very few synonyms or, else, that they are not interchangeable.

It is sufficient to choose any set of synonyms placing them in a simple context to demonstrate the point. Let us take, for example, the synonyms from the above table.

 

Cf.: He glared at her (i. e. He looked at her angrily).

He gazed at her (i. e. He looked at her steadily and attentively; probably with admiration or interest).

He glanced at her (i. e. He looked at her briefly and turned away).

He peered at her (i. e. He tried to see her better, but something prevented: darkness, fog, weak eyesight).

 

These few simple examples are sufficient to show that each of the synonyms creates an entirely new situation which so sharply differs from the rest that any attempt at "interchanging" anything can only destroy the utterance devoiding it of any sense at all.

If you turn back to the extracts on p. 184Ч187, the very idea of interchangeability will appear even more incredible. Used in this way, in a related context, all these words (I like you, but I cannot love you; the young man was strolling, and his child was trotting by his side; Romeo should smile, not grin, etc.) clearly demonstrate that substitution of one word for another is impossible: it is not simply the context that firmly binds them in their proper places, but the peculiar individual connotative structure of each individual word.

Consequently, it is difficult to accept interchange-ability as a criterion of synonymy because the specific characteristic of synonyms, and the one justifying their very existence, is that they are not, cannot and should not be interchangeable, in which case they would simply become useless ballast in the vocabulary.

Synonyms are frequently said to be the vocabulary's colours, tints and hues (so the term shade is not so inadequate, after all, for those who can understand a metaphor). Attempts at ascribing to synonyms the quality of interchangeability are equal to stating that subtle tints in a painting can be exchanged without destroying the picture's effect.

All this does not mean that no synonyms are interchangeable. One can find whole groups of words with half-erased connotations which can readily be substituted one for another. The same girl can be described as pretty, good-looking, handsome or beautiful. Yet, even these words are far from being totally interchangeable. Each of them creates its own .picture of human beauty. Here is an extract in which a young girl addresses an old woman:

 

"I wouldn't say you'd been exactly pretty as a girl Ч handsome is what I'd say. You've got such strong features."

(From The Stone Angel by M. Lawrence)

 

So, handsome is not pretty and pretty is not necessarily handsome. Perhaps they are not even synonyms? But they are. Both, the criterion of common denotation ("good-looking, of pleasing appearance") and even the dubious criterion of interchangeability seem to indicate that.

In conclusion, let us stress that even if there are some synonyms which are interchangeable, it is quite certain that there are also others which are not. A criterion, if it is a criterion at all, should be applicable to all synonyms and not just to some of them. Otherwise it is not acceptable as a valid criterion.

 

Types of Synonyms

 

The only existing classification system for synonyms was established by Academician V. V. Vinogradov, the famous Russian scholar. In his classification system there are three types of synonyms: ideographic (which he defined as words conveying the same concept but differing in shades of meaning), stylistic (differing in stylistic characteristics) and absolute (coinciding in all their shades of meaning and in all their stylistic characteristics) [8].

However, the following aspects of his classification system are open to question.

Firstly, absolute synonyms are rare in the vocabulary and, on the diachronic level, the phenomenon of absolute synonymy is anomalous and consequently temporary: the vocabulary system invariably tends to abolish it either by rejecting one of the absolute synonyms or by developing differentiation characteristics in one or both (or all) of them. Therefore, it does not seem necessary to include absolute synonyms, which are a temporary exception, in the system of classification.

The vagueness of the term "shades of meaning" has already been mentioned. Furthermore there seems to be no rigid demarcation line between synonyms differing in their shades of meaning and in stylistic characteristics, as will be shown later on. There are numerous synonyms which are distinguished by both shades of meaning and stylistic colouring. Therefore, even the subdivision of synonyms into ideographic and stylistic is open to question.

A more modern and a more effective approach to the classification of synonyms may be based on the definition describing synonyms as words differing in connotations. It seems convenient to classify connotations by which synonyms differ rather than synonyms themselves. It opens up possibilities for tracing much subtler distinctive features within their semantic structures.

 

Types of Connotations

 

I. The connotation of degree or intensity can be traced in such groups of synonyms as to surprise Ч to astonish Ч to amaze Ч to astound;1 to satisfy Ч to please Ч to content Ч to gratify Ч to delight Ч to exalt; to shout Ч to yell Ч to bellow Ч to roar; to like Ч to admire Ч to love Ч to adore Ч to worship.

As the table on p. 189 shows, some words have two and even more connotative components in their semantic structures. In the above list the synonymic groups headed by to satisfy and to like contain words which can be differentiated not only by the connotation of intensity but by other types which will be described later.

II. In the group of synonyms to stare Ч to glare Ч to gaze Ч to glance Ч to peep Ч to peer, all the synonyms except to glance denote a lasting act of looking at somebody or something, whereas to glance describes a brief, passing look. These synonyms may be said to have a connotation of duration in their semantic structure.

Other examples are: to flash (brief) Ч to blaze (lasting); to shudder (brief) Ч to shiver (lasting); to say (brief) Ч to speak, to talk (lasting).

All these synonyms have other connotations besides that of duration.

III. The synonyms to stare Ч to glare Ч to gaze are differentiated from the other words of the group by emotive connotations, and from each other by the nature of the emotion they imply (see the table on p. 189).

In the group alone Ч single Ч lonely Ч solitary, the adjective lonely also has an emotive connotation. She was alone implies simply the absence of company, she was lonely stresses the feeling of melancholy and desolation resulting from being alone. A. single tree on the plain states plainly that there is (was) only one tree, not two or more. A lonely tree on the plain gives essentially the same information, that there was one tree and no more, but also creates an emotionally coloured picture.

In the group to tremble Ч to shiver Ч to shudder Ч to shake, the verb to shudder is frequently associated with the emotion of fear, horror or disgust, etc. (e. g. to shudder with horror) and therefore can be said to have an emotive connotation in addition to the two others (see the scheme in Ch. 7, p. 136).

One should be warned against confusing words with emotive connotations and words with emotive denotative meanings, e. g. to love Ч to admire Ч to adore Ч to worship; angry Ч furious Ч enraged; fear Ч terror Ч horror. In the latter, emotion is expressed by the leading semantic component whereas in the former it is an accompanying, subsidiary characteristic.

 

IV. The evaluative connotation conveys the speaker's attitude towards the referent, labelling it as good or bad. So in the group well-known Ч famous Ч notorious Ч celebrated, the adjective notorious bears a negative evaluative connotation and celebrated a positive one. Cf.: a notorious murderer, robber, swindler, coward, lady-killer, flirt, but a celebrated scholar, artist, singer, man-of-letters.

In the group to produce Ч to create Ч to manufacture Ч to fabricate, the verb to create characterizes the process as inspired and noble. To manufacture means "to produce in a mechanical way without inspiration or originality". So, to create can be said to have a positive evaluative connotation, and to manufacture a negative one.

The verbs to sparkle and to glitter are close synonyms and might well be favoured by supporters of the interchangeability criterion. Yet, it would be interesting to compare the following sets of examples:

A. His {her) eyes sparkled with amusement, merriment, good humour, high spirits, happiness, etc. (positive emotions).

B. His (her) eyes glittered with anger, rage, hatred. malice, etc. (negative emotions).

The combinability of both verbs shows that, at least, when they are used to describe the expression of human eyes, they have both emotive and evaluative connotations, and, also, one further characteristic, which is described in the next paragraph.

 

V. The causative connotation can be illustrated by the examples to sparkle and to glitter given above: one's eyes sparkle with positive emotions and glitter with negative emotions. However, this connotation of to sparkle and to glitter seems to appear only in the model "Eyes + Sparkle/Glitter".

The causative connotation is also typical of the verbs we have already mentioned, to shiver and to shudder, in whose semantic structures the cause of the act or process of trembling is encoded: to shiver with cold, from a chill, because of the frost; to shudder with fear, horror, etc.

To blush and to redden represent similar cases: people mostly blush from modesty, shame or embarrassment, but usually redden from anger or indignation. Emotive connotation can easily be traced in both these verbs.

 

VI. The connotation of manner can be singled out in some groups of verbal synonyms. The verbs to stroll Ч to stride Ч to trot Ч to pace Ч to swagger Ч to stagger Ч to stumble all denote different ways and types of walking, encoding in their semantic structures the length of pace, tempo, gait and carriage, purposefulness or lack of purpose (see, for instance, the quotations on p. 184Ч187).

The verbs to peep and to peer also have this connotation in their semantic structures: to peep = to look at smb./smth. furtively, by stealth: to peer == to look at smb./smth. with difficulty or strain.

The verbs to like Ч to admire Ч to love Ч to adore Ч to worship, as has been mentioned, are differentiated not only by the connotation of intensity, but also by the connotation of manner. Each of them describes a feeling of a different type, and not only of different intensity,

 

VII. The verbs to peep and to peer have already been mentioned. They are differentiated by connotations of duration and manner. But there is some other curious peculiarity in their semantic structures. Let us consider their typical contexts.

One peeps at smb./smth. through a hole, crack or opening, from behind a screen, a half-closed door, a newspaper, a fan, a curtain, etc. It seems as if a whole set of scenery were built within the word's meaning. Of course, it is not quite so, because "the set of scenery" is actually built in the context, but, as with all regular contexts, it is intimately reflected in the word's semantic structure. We shall call this the connotation of attendant circumstances.

This connotation is also characteristic of to peer which will be clear from the following typical contexts of the verb.

One peers at smb./smth. in darkness, through the fog, through dimmed glasses or windows, from a great distance; a short-sighted person may also peer at things. So, in the semantic structure of to peer are encoded circumstances preventing one from seeing clearly.

 

VIII. The synonyms pretty, handsome, beautiful have been mentioned as the ones which are more or less interchangeable. Yet, each of them describes a special type of human beauty: beautiful is mostly associated with classical features and a perfect figure, handsome with a tall stature, a certain robustness and fine proportions, pretty with small delicate features and a fresh complexion. This connotation may be defined as the connotation of attendant features.

 

IX. Stylistic connotations stand somewhat apart for two reasons. Firstly, some scholars do not regard the word's stylistic characteristic as a connotative component of its semantic structure. Secondly, stylistic connotations are subject to further classification, namely:

colloquial, slang, dialect, learned, poetic, terminological, archaic. Here again we are dealing with stylistically marked words (see Ch. 1, 2), but this time we approach the feature of stylistic characteristics from a different angle: from the point of view of synonyms' frequent differentiation characteristics.

Here are some examples of synonyms which are differentiated by stylistic connotations (see also Ch. 2). The word in brackets starting each group shows the denotation of the synonyms.

(Meal). Snack, bite (coil.), snap (dial.), repast, refreshment, feast (formal).

These synonyms, besides stylistic connotations, have connotations of attendant features.

Snack, bite, snap all denote a frugal meal taken in a hurry; refreshment is also a light meal; feast is a rich or abundant meal.

(Girl). Girlie (coil.), lass, lassie (dial.), bird, birdie, jane, fluff, skirt (sl.), maiden (poet.), damsel (arch.).

(To leave). To be off, to clear out (coil.), to beat it, to hoof it, to take the air (sl.), to depart, to retire, to withdraw (formal).

 

Exercises

 

I. Consider your answers to the following.

 

1. Say why synonyms are one of the language's most important expressive means. Illustrate your answer with examples.

2. Synonyms are sometimes described as words with "dual" characteristics. What is meant by this?

3. The meanings of two apparent synonyms may be in a way opposed to each other. Why are such words still regarded as synonyms? Give examples.

4. How are synonyms traditionally defined? On what criterion is this definition based? Which aspects of this definition are open to criticism?

5. How can synonyms be defined in the terms of componential analysis? On what criterion is this definition based?

6. Show how the dual nature of synonyms can be clearly seen if they are regarded through semantic criterion.

7. Why is the definition of synonyms based on the criterion of interchangeability open to question? Illustrate your answer with examples.

8. What types of synonyms were defined in Academician V. V. Vinogradov's classification system? Which aspects of this classification are open to question?

9. What is the modern approach to classifying synonyms? Illustrate this classification with examples.

10. What connotations differentiate the verbs to peep and to peer; the adjectives pretty, handsome and beautiful?

 

II. The sentences given below contain synonyms. Write them out in groups and explain the difference where the words are familiar.

 

1. a) While Kitty chatted gaily with her neighbours she watched Walter, b) Ashenden knew that R. had not sent for him to talk about weather and crops, c) As he spoke he rose from the bed. d) He is said to be honest. e) He'll tell you all about himself, f) If you wish to converse with me define your terms. 2. a) She felt on a sudden a cold chill pass through her limbs and she shivered. b) Her lips trembled so that she could hardly frame the words, c) I was shaking like a leaf when I came here. d) He shuddered with disgust, 3.a)He gave his wrist-watch a glance, b) Tommy gave her a look out of the corner of his eye. c) But her abstract gaze scarcely noticed the blue sea and the crowded shipping in the harbour, d) Let me have just one peep at the letter. 4. a) Bessie gets up and walks towards the window, b) He did nothing from morning till night but wander at random, c) I saw a man strolling along. d) The men sauntered over to the next room. 5. a) I began to meditate upon writer's life. b) You had better reflect a little, c) The more he thought of it the less he liked the idea. d) I'm sure that a little walk will keep you from breeding. 6. a) The next witness was Dr. Burnett, a thin middle-aged man. b) The woman was tall with reddish curly hair and held a scarlet kimono round her slender figure, c) The girl was slim and dark. d) Studying him, Mrs. Page saw a spare young man with high cheekbones and blue eyes. 7. a) There was a fat woman, who gasped when she talked, b) She came in like a ship at full sail, an imposing creature, tall and stout, c) She was twenty-seven perhaps, plump, and in a coarse fashion pretty, d) He was a person of perhaps forty, red-faced, cheerful, thick. 8. a) Strange, unstable woman. It was rather embarrassing that she would cry in a public gallery.

b) It was a life that perhaps formed queer characters.

c) I thought it odd that they should allow her to dance quite quietly in Berlin, d) It is a veritable picture of an old country inn with low, quaint rooms and latticed windows.

 

III. Give as many synonyms for the italicized words in the following jokes as you can. If you do not know any of them consult the dictionaries.1 Revise Ch. 10.

 

1. "I hear there's a new baby over at your house, William," said the teacher. "I don't think he's new," replied William. "The way he cries shows he's had lots of experience."

2. A little boy who had been used to receiving his old brother's old toys and clothes remarked: "Ma, will I have to marry his widow when he dies?"

3. Small boy (to governess): Miss Smith, please excuse my speaking to you with my mouth full, but my little sister has just fallen into the pond.

4. A celebrated lawyer once said that the three most troublesome clients he ever had were a young lady who wanted to be married, a married woman who wanted a divorce, and an old maid who didn't know what she wanted.

5. Boss: You are twenty minutes late again. Don't you know what time we start to work at this office? New Employee: No, sir, they are always at it when I get here.

6. H e (as they drove along a lonely road): You look lovelier to me every minute. Do you know what that's a sign of? She: Sure. You are about to run out of gas.

7. Husband (shouting upstairs to his wife): For last time, Mary, are you coming? Wife: Haven't I been telling you for the last hour that I'll be down in a minute.

8. "Oh, Mummie, I hurt my toe!" cried small Janey, who was playing in the garden. "Which toe, dear?" I inquired, as I examined her foot. "My youngest one," sobbed Janey.

 

IV. Carry out definitional and transformational analysis on the italicized synonyms using the explanations of meanings given below. Examples of this type of analysis are given on p. 189. Draw diagrams and define the types of connotations found in them.1

 

1. Old means having lived a long time, far advanced in years; elderly means approaching old age, between middle and old age, past middle age, but hardly old; aged is somewhat old, implies greater age than elderly; ancient is so old as to seem to belong to a past age.

2. To create means to make an object which was not previously in existence, to bring into existence by inspiration or the like; to manufacture is to make by labour, often by machinery, especially on a large scale by some industrial process; to produce is to work up from raw material and turn it into economically useful and marketable goods.

3. To break is to separate into parts or fragments; to crack is to break anything hard with a sudden sharp blow without separating, so that the pieces remain together; to shatter is to break into fragments, particles and in numerous directions; to smash is to destroy, to break thoroughly to pieces with a crashing sound by some sudden act of violence.

4. To cry is to express grief or pain by audible lamentations, to shed tears with or without sound; to sob is to cry desperately with convulsive catching of the breath and noisily as from heart-rending grief; to weep means to shed tears more or less silently which is sometimes expression of pleasurable emotion.

5. Battle denotes the act of struggling, a hostile encounter or engagement between opposite forces on sea or land; combat denotes a struggle between armed forces, or individuals, it is usually of a smaller scale than battle, less frequently used in a figurative sense; fight denotes a struggle for victory, either between individuals or between armies, ships or navies, it is a word of less dignity than battle, fight usually implies a hand-to-hand conflict.

 

V. Consult the diagram on p. 125 and using the definitions of the following synonyms and the explanation given in the English-Russian Synonymic Dictionary1 prove that synonyms possess & dual nature. Draw the diagrams of meanings to illustrate your answer as in Exercise IV.

 

1. to shake Ч to tremble Ч to shiver Ч to shudder. 2. smell Ч scent Ч odour Ч aroma. 3. to walk Ч to stroll Ч to saunter Ч to wander. 4. to want Ч to wish Ч to desire. 5. weak Ч feeble Ч frail Ч fragile. 6. large Ч big Ч great. 7. to jump Ч to leap Ч to spring Ч to skip Ч to hop. 8. pain Ч ache Ч pang Ч twinge. 9. to discuss Ч to argue Ч to debate Ч to dispute. 10, dim Ч dusky Ч obscure.

 

VI. Single out the denotative and connotative components of meanings of the synonyms in the examples given below.

 

l. a) At the little lady's command they all three smiled, b) George, on hearing the story grinned. 2. a) Forsyte Ч the best palate in London. The palate that in a sense had made his fortune Ч the fortunes of the celebrated tea men, Forsyte and Treffry... b) June, of course, had not seen this, but, though not yet nineteen, she was notorious. 3. a) Noticing that they were no longer alone, he turned and again began examining the lustre, b) June had gone. James had said he would be lonely. 4. a) The child was shivering with cold. b) The man shuddered with disgust. 5. a) I am surprised at you. b) He was astonished at the woman's determination. 6. a) It's impolite to stare at people like that. b) The little boys stood glaring at each other ready to start a fight, c) The lovers stood gazing into each other's eyes. 7. a) They produce great amounts of wine but this is not all they produce in that part. b) The story was fabricated from beginning to end. 8. a) On hearing from Bosinney that his limit of twelve thousand pounds would be exceeded by something like four hundred, he had grown white with anger, b) "It's a damned shame," Andrew burst out, forgetting himself in a sudden rush of indignation. 9. a) He was an aged man, but not yet old. b) He was an elderly man at the time of his marriage. 10. The distance between the Earth and the Sun may be said to be immense; the distance between the poles is vast.

VII. Look through Ch. 10 and, if necessary, through synonymic dictionaries and prove that the rows of words given below are synonyms. Use the semantic criterion to justify your opinion.

 

1. To shoutЧ to yellЧ to roar. 2. angryЧ furious Ч enraged. 3. alone Ч solitary Ч lonely. 4. to shudder Ч to shiver Ч to tremble. 5. fearЧterrorЧ horror. 6. to cry Ч to weep Ч to sob. 7. to walk Ч to trot Ч to stroll. 8. to stare Ч to gaze Ч to glare. 9. to desire Ч to wish Ч to want. 10. to like Ч to admire Ч to worship.

 

VIII. Say why the italicized synonyms in the examples given below are not interchangeable.

 

1. a) The little boys stood glaring at each other ready to start a fight, b) The Greek myth runs that Narcissus gazed at his own reflection in the water until he fell in love with it and died. 2. a) She is a very pretty American girl of twenty-two, with fair hair and blue eyes. b) She was a tall, blonde woman, slender, and stately and beautiful. 3. a) You don't know what a shock it was, Constance. I was knocked endways. I'd been brooding over it ever since till I was afraid I should go mad. b) She'd evidently had time to reflect because when I came again she asked me quite calmly what it was exactly that I proposed. 4. a) She began to sob hysterically. b) Mortimer looks from Marie Louise who is quietly weeping to Constance with the utmost bewilderment. 5. a) You only want a car so that you can be independent of me. b) She longed with all her heart for him to take her in his arms so that she could lay her head on his breast. 6. a) People turned in the street and stared at her with open mouths, b) R. got up and strolled slowly about the room and when he passed the windows as though in idle curiosity, peeped through the heavy crep curtains that covered them, and then returning to his chair once more comfortably put his feet up. 7. a) He was puzzled at the letter, b) I was astonished at seeing him so changed. 8. a) Many of them had their sleeves rolled up, revealing bare arms. b) He saw naked children playing on the heaps of rubbish. 9. a) There was a scent of honey from the lime-trees in flowers, b) The room was permeated with the familiar smells of dust and yesterday's cooking. 10. a) Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are. b) He sought for a crushing phrase, some final and intimidating repartee.

 

IX. From the sentences given below write out the synonyms in groups and classify them into: A. synonyms differentiated by the connotation of duration; B. synonyms differentiated by the connotation of degree or intensity; C. synonyms differentiated by the causative connotation. Explain the reasons for your decisions.

 

1. He shuddered at the thought of a meeting that lay before him. 2. The whole situation, he tells me, was extraordinary, like that of an African explorer who, endeavouring to ignore one of the local serpents, finds himself exchanging glances with a man-eating tiger. 3. He merely blushed and said that he was jolly well going to go, because this girl was in Cannes. 4. Gosh, how I used to admire you at the dear old school. You were my hero. 5. What I really want is a meal. 6. That is the trouble about Cannes in August Ч- it becomes very mixed. You get there splendid chaps who were worshipped by their schoolmates Ч and you also get men like this bookie. 7. He resents their cold stare. 8. Her voice was trembling with excitement. 9. He made a short speech in French, and the mothers all applauded, and the babies all yelled. 10. The girl was shivering with cold. 11. I must confess I am a little surprised. 12. "A truck driver," shouted someone from the audience. 13. "You have settled it!" cried the astonished parent. 14. The audience roared with laughter. 15. He was speaking for half an hour or so. 16. His face reddened, he could hardly keep his temper. 17. "I adore you, Mary," he said. 18. His eyes glittered with malice. 19. She would have liked to go there herself but couldn't. 20. His eyes were blazing as he heard how cruelly the children had been treated. 21.1 was perfectly amazed that one man, all by himself, should have been able to beat down and capture such battalions of practiced fighters. 22. His eyes sparkled with happiness.

 

X. Classify the following synonyms in two columns according to: a) degree (intensity) of the referent; b) brief or lengthy duration of the referent.

 

1. Gratify, please, exalt, content, satisfy, delight. 2. Cry, weep, sob. 3. Glance, gaze, glare, stare. 4. Tremble, shiver, shudder, shake. 5. Worship, love, like, adore, admire. 6. Talk, say, tell, speak. 7. Roar, shout, cry, bellow, yell. 8. Astound, surprise, amaze, astonish. 9. Cold, cool, chilly. 10. Want, long, yearn, desire, wish. 11. Vast, immense, large.

 

XI. Write out synonymic groups and classify them into:

A. synonyms differentiated by evaluative connotations;

B. synonyms differentiated by connotation of manner.

 

1. Besides, Jack is a notorious domesticity for John! 2. His eyes sparkled with amusement. 3. "Joey-Joey...!" I said staggering unevenly towards the peacock. 4. Betty would have liked to peep in but could not. 5. Presently I saw a man strolling along. 6. Her eyes glittered with hatred. 7. Those artisans produce pottery with great skill. 8. He was a well-known scientist. 9. It's getting late, so I must trot away. 10. The boy was peering into a dark room. 11. He swaggered along the corridor, evidently in high spirits. 12. The will was fabricated. 13. There was a picture of a celebrated painter on the wall.

 

XII. Within the following synonymic groups single out words with emotive connotations.

 

1. FearЧ terrorЧ horror. 2. lookЧ stareЧ glare Ч gaze Ч glance. 3. love Ч admire Ч adore Ч worship. 4. alone Ч single Ч solitary Ч lonely. 5. tremble Ч shiver Ч shudder Ч shake. 6. wish Ч desire Ч yearn Ч long.

XIII. Do the italicized words possess stylistic connotations? If so, what are their stylistic characteristics?

 

1. a) I was a very young man when I first came to London and I made mistakes, b) I've found him very useful. Not a bad chap. c) I put a very smart lad on the job. d) He is a very nice fellow. 2. a) The sister drew back the cloth and displayed four tiny, naked infants. b) She knew that he had desperately wanted her to bear a child, c) You ought to have a kid or two. 3. a) What I really want is a meal. b) I could do with a snack, c) Let's have a bite. d) They decided to order some refreshment. 4. a) "Now clear out," Althrope says, "both of you." b) He nodded, grinned again at her, then withdrew and went out to the main deck. c) In silence the widow departed. d) When he left the house he promised to return at nine o'clock that night, e) I'm busy. Clear off quickly. f) She liked to read before retiring for the night. 5. a) "Fool around with chalk and crayons. It'll be fun." "Bosh!" b) "There it is, young man," he snapped. "Such foolishness. Poppy-cock!" c) He said he wouldn't stand that nonsense of yours.

 

XIV. Identify the stylistic connotations for the following italicized words in the jokes given below and write their synonyms with other stylistic connotations.

 

1. "I must say these are fine biscuits!" exclaimed the young husband. "How could you say those are fine biscuits?" inquired the young wife's mother, in a private interview. "I didn't say they were fine. I merely said I must say so."

 

2. "Willie," said his mother, "I wish you would run across the street and see how old Mrs. Brown is this morning." "Yes'm," replied Willie and a few minutes later he returned and reported: "Mrs. Brown says it's none of your business how old she is."

 

3. "Yes, she's married to a real-estate agent and a good, honest fellow, too."

"My gracious! Bigamy?"

 

4. Willie: Won't your pa spank you for staying out so late?

Tommy (whose father is a lawyer): No, I'll get an injunction from та postponing the spanking, and then I'll appeal to grandma and she'll have it made permanent.

 

5. A man entered the bar and called for "a Martinus". The barman observed as he picked up a glass, "You mean Martini, sir!" "No, indeed I don't," the man replied. "I was taught Latin properly and I only want

one."

6. A foreigner was relating his experience in studying the English language. He said: "When I first discovered that if I was quick I was fast; that if I was tied I was fast; and that not to eat was fast, I was discouraged. But when I came across the sentence, 'The first one won one-dollar prize' I gave up trying."

7. J a n e: Would you be insulted if that good-looking stranger offered you some champagne?

Joan: Yes, but I'd probably swallow the insult.

 

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