Semantic classification of lexical units. Antonyms. Classification of antonyms.

The main unit of the lexical system of a language resulting from the association of a group of sounds with a meaning is a word. This unit is used in grammatical functions characteristic of it. It is the smallest language unit which can stand alone as a complete utterance.
A word, however, can be divided into smaller sense units - morphemes. The morpheme is the smallest meaningful language unit. The morpheme consists of a class of variants, allomorphs, which are either phonologically or morphologically conditioned, e.g. please, pleasant, pleasure.
Morphemes are divided into two large groups: lexical morphemes and grammatical (functional) morphemes. Both lexical and grammatical morphemes can be free and bound. Free lexical morphemes are roots of words which express the lexical meaning of the word, they coincide with the stem of simple words. Free grammatical morphemes are function words: articles, conjunctions and prepositions ( the, with, and).
Bound lexical morphemes are affixes: prefixes (dis-), suffixes (-ish) and also blocked (unique) root morphemes (e.g. Fri-day, cran-berry). Bound grammatical morphemes are inflexions (endings), e.g. -s for the Plural of nouns, -ed for the Past Indefinite of regular verbs, -ing for the Present Participle, -er for the Comparative degree of adjectives.

Antonyms are words belonging to the same part of speech, identical in style, expressing contrary or contradictory notions.
V.N. Comissarov in his dictionary of antonyms classified them into two groups : absolute or root antonyms /»late» - «early»/ and derivational antonyms / «to please’ - «to displease»/ . Absolute antonyms have different roots and derivational antonyms have the same roots but different affixes. In most cases negative prefixes form antonyms / un-, dis-, non-/. Sometimes they are formed by means of suffixes -ful and -less.
The number of antonyms with the suffixes ful- and -less is not very large, and sometimes even if we have a word with one of these suffixes its antonym is formed not by substituting -ful by less-, e.g. «successful» -»unsuccessful», «selfless» - «selfish». The same is true about antonyms with negative prefixes, e.g. «to man» is not an antonym of the word «to unman», «to disappoint» is not an antonym of the word «to appoint».
The difference between derivational and root antonyms is not only in their structure, but in semantics as well. Derivational antonyms express contradictory notions, one of them excludes the other, e.g. «active»- «inactive». Absolute antonyms express contrary notions. If some notions can be arranged in a group of more than two members, the most distant members of the group will be absolute antonyms, e.g. «ugly» , «plain», «good-looking», «pretty», «beautiful», the antonyms are «ugly» and «beautiful».
Leonard Lipka in the book «Outline of English Lexicology» describes different types of oppositeness, and subdivides them into three types:
a) complementary, e.g. male -female, married -single,
b) antonyms, e.g. good -bad,
c) converseness, e.g. to buy - to sell.
In his classification he describes complimentarity in the following way: the denial of the one implies the assertion of the other, and vice versa. «John is not married» implies that «John is single». The type of oppositeness is based on yes/no decision. Incompatibility only concerns pairs of lexical units.
Antonymy is the second class of oppositeness. It is distinguished from complimentarity by being based on different logical relationships. For pairs of antonyms like good/bad, big/small only the second one of the above mentioned relations of implication holds. The assertion containing one member implies the negation of the other, but not vice versa. «John is good» implies that «John is not bad», but «John is not good» does not imply that «John is bad». The negation of one term does not necessarily implies the assertion of the other.
An important linguistic difference from complementaries is that antonyms are always fully gradable, e.g. hot, warm, tepid, cold.
Converseness is mirror-image relations or functions, e.g. husband/wife, pupil/teacher, preceed/follow, above/below, before/after etc.
3. The periods in the history of English.

Scholars have divided the history of English into three main periods, representing very different stages of the language: 1. The old English period extends from the arrival of the Germanic tribes in Britain in the second half of the 5th century (the year 449) to the end of 11th century (1066 – the Norman Conquest).

2. The Middle English period lasts from the 12th century (after 1066) till 1475, the year of introduction of printing.

3. The New English period from the 16th century and up to now (early new English 15-17 centuries, i.e. to the Age of Shakespeare) and Modern New English (from 17th up to now).

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