Types of meaning Geoffrey Leech (1974, 1981). Semantics: The Study of Meaning. Seven types of meaning: Conceptual meaning Connotative meaning Social meaning Affective meaning Reflected meaning Collocative meaning Thematic meaning Associative Meaning 1. Conceptual meaning Also called ‘denotative’ or ‘cognitive’ meaning. Refers to logical, cognitive or denotative content. Concerned with the relationship between a word and the thing it denotes, or refers to. 2. Connotative meaning The communicative value an expression has by virtue of what it refers to, over and above its purely conceptual content. A multitude of additional, non-criterial properties, including not only physical characteristics but also psychological and social properties, as well as typical features. Involving the ‘real world’ experience one associates with an expression when one uses or hears it. Unstable: they vary considerably according to culture, historical period, and the experience of the individual. Any characteristic of the referent, identified subjectively or objectively, may contribute to the connotative meaning of the expression which denotes it. 3. Social meaning What a piece of language conveys about the social circumstances of its use. Dialect: the language of a geographical region or of a social class. Time: the language of the 18th c., etc. Province: language of law, of science, of advertising, etc. Status: polite, colloquial, slang, etc. Modality: language of memoranda, lectures, jokes, etc. Singularity: the style of Dickens, etc. domicile: very formal, official residence: formal abode: poetic home: general steed: poetic horse: general nag: slang gee-gee: baby language The five clocks by Martin Joos Frozen Formal Consultative Casual Intimate Formal <------------------------------> Informal 4. Affective meaning Reflecting the personal feelings of the speaker, including his attitude to the listener, or his attitude to something he is talking about. You’re a vicious tyrant and a villainous reprobate, and I hate you for it! I’m terribly sorry to interrupt, but I wonder if you would be so kind as to lower your voices a little. or Will you belt up. ‘Colorful’ meaning Commendatory tough-minded resolute, firm shrewd childlike wiseman man of usual talent portly, stout, solid, plum slender, slim Derogatory ruthless obstinate sly, crafty childish wiseguy freak fleshy, fat, tubby lean, skinny, lanky, weedy, scraggy 5. Reflected meaning Arises in cases of multiple conceptual meaning, when one sense of a word forms part of our response to another sense. When you hear ‘click the mouse twice’, you think of Gerry being hit twice by Tom so you feel excited. Many taboo terms are result of this. 6. Collocative meaning The associations a word acquires on account of the meanings of words which tend to occur in its environment. pretty: girl, boy, woman, flower, garden, colour, village, etc. handsome: boy, man, car, vessel, overcoat, airliner, typewriter, etc. I got on horseback within ten minutes after I got your letter. When I got to Canterbury I got a chaise for town; but I got wet through, and have got such a cold that I shall not get rid of in a hurry. I got to the Treasury about noon, but first of all got shaved and dressed. I soon got into the secret of getting a memorial before the Board, but I could not get an answer then; however, I got intelligence from a messenger that I should get one next morning. As soon as I got back to my inn, I got my supper, and then got to bed. When I got up next morning, I got my breakfast, and, having got dressed, I got out in time to get an answer to my memorial. As soon as I got it, I got into a chaise, and got back to Canterbury by three, and got home for tea. I have got nothing for you, and so adieu. 7. Thematic meaning What is communicated by the way in which a speaker or writer organizes the message, in terms of ordering, focus, and emphasis. Mrs Bessie Smith donated the first prize. The first prize was donated by Mrs Bessie Smith. They stopped at the end of the corridor. At the end of the corridor, they stopped.