Meaning and Motivation
Motivation accounts for the connection between the linguistic symbol and its meaning.语言符号与意义之间的联系
As we know, the relationship between word form
and meaning is conventional and arbitrary, and most words can be said to be non-motivated. That is the connection between the sign and meaning does not have logical explanation. But English does have words whose meanings can be explained to a certain extent.
Onomatopoeic (phonetic) Motivation
Primary onomatopoeia means the imitation of sounds by sounds.
Bow-wow, says the dog, Mew, mew, says the cat, Grunt, grunt, says the hog,
And squeak goes the bat,
Caw,caw, says the crow, Quack, quack,says the duck,
Apes gibber. Bears growl Bulls bellow
Cats mew ( purr)
Asses bray. Beetles drone. Camels grunt.
Geese cackle (gabble).
Horses neigh ( snort).
Hens cluck. Lions roar Mice squeak
Larks warble Magpies chatter. Owls hoot (screech)
Snakes hiss. Turkeys gobble.
Pigs squeal ( grunt).
模仿金属的声音： clash, clank, ting, tinkle, clang, jangle, ding-dong, tick-tack
模仿水等液体声： splash, bubble, splish-splosh, dripdrop
Secondary onomatopoeia It means that certain sounds and sound sequences are associated with certain senses in an expressive relationship
Flare, glare, stare, blare
1) breath-noise: sniff, snuff, snore,
2)quick separation or movement: snip, snap, snatch
3)creeping: snake, snail, sneak, snoop
1) slippery: slide, slip, slither, slush, sluice, sludge
2) pejorative sense: slattern, slut, slang, sly, sloppy, slovenly
skate, skim, skin, skid, skimp
plump, chump, rump, hump, stump, dump, mump
/h/表示猛烈使劲时的气喘声： heavy, haste, hurry, hit, heave, hoarse, hurl等
wham, whang, whap, whop, wheeze, whicker, whinny, whomp, whoop
2. Grammatical motivation
Words which were formed by means of grammatical structure belong to the category of motivation by grammar. It is also called morphological motivation
teacher: a person who teaches
Airmail? mail by air hopeless? without hope
Motivation by meaning (semantic Motivation) It refers to the mental associations suggested by the conceptual meaning of a word. It explains the connection between the literal sense and figurative sense of the word.
1)use a person’s name to refer to the
He read Shakespeare.
2)use a container to refer to what is
The kettle is boiling He is addicted to the bottle.
Please drink a cup
3. use part of body organs to
refer to their functions:
an ear for music
Don’t let your heart rule your head.
4) use the place name to refer to the product produced there. I could do with a cup of canary.
Canary is a place where this kind of grape wine is produce.
5. Use prominent features to refer to
the person concerned
The blue eyes walked into the room.
Synecdoche (提喻） Use the part for the whole, or the whole for the part or the material for the thing; smiling year:
Motivation by analogy Words are created in imitation of other words: telethon, talkathon: from marathon
black list （黑名单）
（白名单：指准予上演的短剧等名 单） gray list
（ 灰名单）指非明文查禁但仍然属 于不合法的人或物。
blue-collar workers, white collar workers,
The Black Panther（黑豹党） the Gray Panther (灰豹党:指反对年龄歧视的老年退休 职工组织） the Green Panther
First Mother (指国家元首的母亲）
The three p’s (peace,petroleum,Palestine)指有中东局势所 引起的三大问题 The three I’s (inflation, interest rate, impeachment 弹劾) The three R’s ( reading, writing, arithmetic)读写算三种基 本技能
First Strike Capability：
Second Strike Capability： 第二次打击能力，指受敌人先发制 人的第一次核打击后的核还击能力 the Fourth world 指西方资产阶级所谓的最贫国集团
Place and space analogy
（月球表面；月面景色）； marscape （火星的表面） surnrise: earthrise （月平线上看到 的地球的升起） earthquake: starquake (星球地震）
?daylight （主要工作在晚上，白 天兼职） with-it入时的?without-it过时，守 旧的
High-rise(高层建筑）? low-rise（ 低层建筑） Hot-line（热线） ? cold line（冷线 ） Phase out (分阶段撤出或减少）? phase in （逐步采用）
Overproduce ? underproduce
Missile gap 产生于美国1960大选期间，指美国与苏联 在导弹发展上的差异 production gap development gap 经济发展方面的差距
Environmental pollution visual/eye pollution cultural pollution graffiti pollution 指公共场合乱涂乱画的涂写污染
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