Grammatical Description Of Lemmas In English And Russian Substandard Lexicography
The article deals with lexicographic tools used to describe grammatical features of a slang lemma in substandard dictionaries. The language material for the lexicographic analysis in the article embraces slang units with sports meaning or those used in or by sports circles, namely by athletes, coaches, sports public, supporters, fans, and workers of sports industry. The list of the analyzed slang units consists of both single words and set expressions. The lexicographic analysis is made in the following steps: 1) of a lemma’s part-of-speech features; 2) of lexical and grammatical features of the parts of speech revealed. It is found out that the part-of-speech features of the Russian sports slang units are described with special grammatical labels or final morphemes while those of the English sports slang units are defined with special grammatical labels only. The common lexical and grammatical feature of the English and Russian lemmas is the category of number of the nouns. The unique feature of the Russian slang units is markers of grammatical categories of the nouns (gender, collectivity, grammar invariability) and verbal categories (aspect, impersonality and verbal government). The unique feature of the English slang words is markers of verbal categories of transitivity - intransitivity, voice and mood.
Keywords: Slangsocial lexicographysubstandard dictionarieslabels
It is a well-known fact that the vocabulary of any language is a very complicated system united by a great number of different relations and links. Probably, the best way to investigate and analyze vocabulary is to describe it in dictionaries, which is undoubtedly one of the most urgent issues of modern linguistics (Nesova, 2014). Lexeme (a word or an idiom) is a compound lexical item that embraces its phonetic form, its semantics, relations with other lexemes and extralinguistic information. In lexicography the defined lexemes are called lemmas. The described features of the lemma are treated in the dictionary’s microstructure. An analysis of the microstructure allows a user to extract all the parameters of a lemma, supplied there by the compiler. The lemma’s parameters are manifested in a set of special labels or some other lexicographic means which provide a user of a dictionary with information about a lexical unit, namely and usually about its phonetic, grammatical, stylistic, derivational and some other traits, conditioned by many factors, including e.g. the type of a dictionary and even the compiler’s background.
Despite a wide use of all kinds of labels in practical lexicography, their theoretical foundations and linguistic analysis leave much to be desired (Blinova, 2014), as the number of theoretical works is still insufficient. Lexicographic labels used to describe a linguistic world-view in English explanatory dictionaries and their sociolinguistic function have been examined by V. Yu. Derevyanko (Derevyanko, 2014). Labels used in German lexicography and their practical application to pedagogy have been studied by G. A. Baeva (Baeva, 2016). Another researcher of dictionary labels V. Yu. Kryakvin analyzes and compares stylistic labels on German and Russian idioms (Kryakvin, 2015). Stylistic and functional labels in Russian explanatory dictionaries as well as their introduction in the microstructure are investigated by M. A. Tikhonova and T. V. Tikhonova (Tikhonova &Tikhonova, 2014). Labels applied to treat a lexical unit in Russian and English substandard dictionaries have been meticulously described in G. V. Ryabichkina’s dissertation (Ryabichkina’s, 2009). Perhaps, the most thorough theoretical study of normative and stylistic labels in Russian academic dictionaries, as well as their linguistic analysis, has been provided in the monograph by a group of Russian scholars, but grammatical labels as an object of the analysis are left out (Кruglov, et al., 2015). However, labels, as it has been mentioned, are not necessarily the only means to treat a lexical item in dictionaries of any type, as there may be other ways of representing linguistic and extralinguistic information about the lemma. Unfortunately, these ways, common to practical dictionary compilers, most often stay out of sight of theoretical linguistics. This paper aims at filling this blank somehow, at least as far as substandard lexicography is concerned.
The research questions therefore are as follows:
What grammatical features can a slang lemma have in substandard dictionaries?
What techniques and representations of grammatical features are applied in the most authoritative English and Russian substandard dictionaries?
Purpose of the Study
The practical purpose of the study is to reveal ways of treatment of the lemmas’ grammatical features in Russian and English substandard lexicography, with their following comparison.
In order to achieve this purpose, I need to solve the next problems:
to make a selection of dictionary article entries referring to the field of sports out of two substandard dictionaries;
to examine all possible grammatical features of the lemma in the structure of the dictionary article entry;
to research ways of lexicographic treatment of the lemma’s grammatical features;
to carry out a comparative analysis of the revealed ways of lexicographic treatment of the lemma’s grammatical features on the basis of the two substandard dictionaries.
The theoretical purpose of the study is to find out the most acceptable and efficient ways of conveying the grammatical features of slang units in substandard dictionaries and, more generally, to contribute to the development of substandard lexicography to some degree.
The practical material used in the paper is restricted to sports slang units from “The Unabridged Dictionary of Russian Slang” (“Bolshoi slovar russkogo zhargona”) by Prof. V. M. Mokienko and Prof. T. G. Nikitina (Mokienko & Nikitina, 2000) and from “A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English” by E. Partridge (Partridge, 1984). The choice of the two dictionaries is conditioned by their authority on non-literary vocabulary in English and Russian. They are well known among social lexicographers and in many respects are the most exemplary pieces of lexicographic work, with the list of entries including thousands of lexical items of different social milieus and stylistic traits. Sports milieus are undoubtedly very representative in terms of slang vocabulary due to the popularity of sports and its ever increasing social meaning. The extracted English and Russian slang units are used by athletes, sports industry workers, team supporters and fans, journalists, and sports public in general, which is confirmed by special sociolinguistic markers found in the slang lemmas’ microstructure.
In order to use proper methodology, methods and techniques of the analysis of the material I take into account the theoretical and practical work on substandard lexicography by G. V. Ryabichkina (2009, pp. 14-15; 296-297). In particular, I apply the method of comparative lexicographic analysis of the entries’ microstructural organization to reveal and classify lexicographic tools used to describe sports slang units in terms of grammar. I also refer to the reference book by O. S. Akhmanova (1966) and the one by O. M. Karpova (2010) to find and clarify grammatical terminology and to define the contents of some linguistic, mainly lexicographic, concepts and terms, like
Some of the dictionary entry articles used as examples have been shortened a little so as to provide only the most useful information and to avoid unnecessary and distracting details.
When giving an example, I never refer to a particular page of the dictionaries as they are compiled in alphabetic ordering.
The data of the lemma’s grammatical features, including a grammatical reference, are part of the entry’s microstructure in the two dictionaries and therefore lay the foundations for their lexicographic comparison. The grammatical information about the lemma encompasses 1) its part-of-speech features and 2) its lexical and grammatical features, which determines the structure of this paper.
In the materials from “The Unabridged Dictionary of Russian Slang” the information about the lemma’s part-of-speech features contain markers subsuming a slang unit under adverbs, interjections and (with some reservations) nouns, which are materialized in corresponding italicized labels:
In the Partridge Dictionary the label
In “The Unabridged Dictionary of Russian Slang” the lemma is provided with the label
In the Partridge Dictionary the label
In “The Unabridged Dictionary of Russian Slang” the belonging of a sports slang unit to adjectives is always displayed with gender endings (of feminine and neuter gender), typed in Roman, in singular, e.g.
In both the dictionaries the verbal lemma is introduced as infinitive.
In the Partridge Dictionary the label
In “The Unabridged Dictionary of Russian Slang” the lemma’s features as a verb are demonstrated with stressed verb endings in first and third person, typed in Roman, and with the italicized label of imperfective (
In the Partridge Dictionary the label
In “The Unabridged Dictionary of Russian Slang” theitalicized label
The label of interjection is found only in the entries in “The Unabridged Dictionary of Russian Slang”. It is italicized and introduced after the lemma, e.g.
F) Verbal noun
The label of verbal noun is found only in the Partridge Dictionary in the next entry:
G) Past participle adjective
The label of past participle adjective is found only in the English material in the next entry:
Markers of lexical and grammatical features of the parts of speech
The studied lexicographic materials represent such lexical and grammatical categories of slang nouns as
In the Partridge Dictionary
In “The Unabridged Dictionary of Russian Slang”
The grammatical category of gender is found only in the Russian materials and includes masculine, feminine and neuter gender, labeled as
a) of the masculine gender label:
b) of the feminine gender label:
c) of the neuter gender label:
The category of collectivity is found only in the Russian dictionary. It is materialized in the italicized label
Grammatical (morphological) invariability of nouns is found only in the Russian materials. It is displayed by the label
The treated grammatical features of the verbs in the English and Russian slang materials bear no resemblance, thus, being unique tothe English and Russian slangs.
In “The Unabridged Dictionary of Russian Slang” the verbal features of slang units are represented by markers of
See the examples of aspect markers labeled
a) of perfective aspect, e.g.
b) of imperfective aspect, e.g.
The category of impersonality is represented by the italicized label
Special features of verbal government are defined with italicized interrogative words demonstrating a certain case form of the dependent word. See the following example, in which the verbal dependence is manifested in interrogative words
Not only the verbs but also set slang expressions (or slang idioms) manifest special features of government in a similar way, e.g.
In the Partridge Dictionary special markers point at verbal categories of
Verbal transitivity is displayed by the label
The voice category is represented by the passive voice and is expressed by the label
The mood category is represented by the imperative and is expressed by the label
Thus, I have studied the ways of grammatical treatment of lemmas in dictionary article entries containing sports slang units in the two fundamental dictionaries of English and Russian substandard vocabulary. It has been revealed that the description of the part-of-speech features of sports slang units in “The Unabridged Dictionary of Russian Slang” is completed a) directly – with special labels, b) indirectly – by providing ending morphemes and corresponding morphosyntactical relations. In the Partridge Dictionary the part-of-speech features of sports slang units are manifested by special labels only, which are more diverse than those in the Russian Slang Dictionary. On the whole, one can state the correspondence only in the description of nouns and adverbs.
The information about lexical and grammatical features of the parts of speech in the studied material shows similarity only in the category of noun number. Other grammatical features of nouns, such as gender, collectivity and grammar invariability, are introduced with special labels only in the Dictionary of Russian Slang.
The grammatical features of verbs in both the dictionaries do not have any correspondence. The description of the English slang verbs involves underscoring their following features: transitivity - intransitivity, voice and mood. The description of the Russian slang verbs involves underscoring their aspect, impersonality, and verbal government.
The introduction of grammatical data in the dictionary article entry and their graphic (script) design in both the dictionaries also have distinctive features. In the Partridge Dictionary the lemma’s grammatical features are introduced in its microstructure rather non-systematically and do not have a clear graphic distinction, while in “The Unabridged Dictionary of Russian Slang” the lemma’s grammatical features are obligatory and have a clear graphic distinction.
In the main, the lexicographic tools used to describe grammatical features of the sports lemma in the studied dictionaries are diverse. Despite the compression and conciseness of the grammatical data about the lemma, the tools make it possible to reveal and clarify different grammatical features and are quite sufficient to display grammatical features of the referred slang unit.
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VolumeEpSBS / Volume 39 - WUT 2018