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Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. DOI: The chapter on lexical relations defines a range of synonym types and covers larger issues, such as why languages tolerate synonymy while avoiding absolute synonymy and how relations such as synonymy fit into different models of lexical organization. For upper-level undergraduate and postgraduate students.

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Sign in via your Institution. Sign in with your library card. After explaining the differences in terminology between syntax and semantics in relation to the predicate, the meaning element of verbs is divided into different types of situations, i.

Series: Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics

The role of arguments is described using examples that help to make clear the distinction between arguments that need to be expressed, and incorporated arguments. A description of states and events then leads into the discussion of motion verbs. These have been the focus of much research recently, including research into cross-linguistic differences between motion verbs.

Various meaning elements, such as path, manner, or cause, can be conflated in a motion verb, and this is well illustrated with examples from English. Polysemy then makes another appearance in the form of motion verbs that can have both causative and non-causative meanings. A short look at non-verbal predicates concludes the discussion of predication, argument structure and conflation of arguments. The second chapter on verb meanings deals with time elements, including Aktionsart.

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As before, the differences between a syntactic view and a semantic view are dealt with before embarking on the details of lexical aspect. The dimension of Aktionsarten discussed include static vs. Vendler classes are presented as one classification that uses these dimensions for various situation types. One section discusses the similarities between boundedness and telicity, another looks at the parallels between hyponymy and troponymy, and other semantic relations that can be found among verbs. The final chapter deals with the semantic properties of adjectives.

One characteristic of adjectives is the fact that their meaning seems considerably less stable than that of nouns, but we still tend to think of that meaning as a single concept as opposed to some dictionaries, which would tend to split meanings up into separate subentries for spatial and temporal dimensions, for example. The bulk of the chapter discusses gradability, however, rather than the elasticity of the core meaning of many adjectives. We learn about scalar and non-scalar absolute adjectives and totality modifiers, about gradable adjectives and the forms they can take, and about various types of scales, where adjectives can be positioned on these and how these differences manifest themselves in the words we can combine with specific adjectives.

A second-year student would find the first chapters relatively easy as these go over material that can be expected to be at least vaguely familiar to them before launching into new territory in the form of semantic theories and some of the more complex semantic issues. The fact that all chapters have two types of exercises, with and without answers in the book, further underlines the book's suitability for students, whether they want to read it on their own or work through it as part of a taught course on lexical semantics. The chapter texts are interspersed with so-called puzzles; the answers or a discussion of possible answers then follows at the end of each chapter.

Lexical Semantics (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics)

Some thought has obviously gone into both the questions and the answers; they are well worth reading and some should prove to be particularly interesting for speakers of other language varieties and for learners of English. The end-of-chapter exercises include an ingenious ''Adopt-a-word'' series, for which a number of words are suggested, along with instruction on how to choose other good words.

The tasks in this series could easily be adapted for a group work situation, but are just as suitable for self-study. Generally the exercises are well-constructed and include up-to-date examples that should keep students' interest. The exercises tend to become more challenging as the book progresses and are likely to provide ample material for in-class discussion. Another staple at the end of each chapter is a usually short list of further reading suggestions.

These follow a clear learning curve, going from references for basic terminology, grammars of English, morphology, and lexicography in chapter 1 to sources on the theories discussed in chapters 4 and 5 with comments on the relative difficulty of the texts and scholarly publications towards the end of the book. Murphy's textbook is appealing for several reasons.

It combines good coverage of the basics and introductions to the major theories with somewhat more in-depth discussions of issues such as countability or regular polysemy. Another positive aspect is the fact that the book does not try to gloss over the tricky aspects of semantics. The basic problem of finding or defining the dividing line between semantic meaning and concepts is well described and accessibly presented. Polysemy also features quite prominently throughout the book, an aspect some other textbooks say rather little about.

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