Lexicology

Lexicology. A branch of linguistics dealing with the study of the meaning, usage, derivation, and history of words and word elements. In Ukraine lexicological problems were usually treated in terms of their practical application, in connection with the establishment of a system of Ukrainian terminology and of a standard literary Ukrainian lexicon, by scholars such as Hryhorii Kholodny (the general principles of terminology), Tadei Sekunda (the principles of technical terminology), Mykola Osypiv, Yevhen Hrytsak (neologisms), and M. Hladky (author of Mova suchasnoho ukraïns’koho pys’menstva [The Language of Contemporary Ukrainian Literature, 1930] and Nasha hazetna mova [Our Newspapers' Language, 1928]) and by various authors of articles on lexicography and the theory and practice of translation. Other linguists, such as Oleksa Syniavsky, Mykola Sulyma, Ivan Ohiienko, George Yurii Shevelov, Hryhorii Levchenko, Ivan Bilodid, Pavlo Pliushch, and I. Hrytsiutenko, devoted much attention to lexicological problems in their studies of the language of various writers. Chapters by I. Troian in Pidvyshchenyi kurs ukraïns’koï movy (An Advanced Course in the Ukrainian Language, 1930, ed Leonid Bulakhovsky), by Yurii Sherekh in his Narys ukraïns’koï literaturnoï movy (Outline of the Ukrainian Literary Language, 1951), and by Petro Horetsky in vol 1 of Kurs suchasnoï ukraïns’koï literaturnoï movy (A Course in the Contemporary Ukrainian Literary Language, 1951, ed Bulakhovsky) contained systematic but brief surveys of the lexicon of the literary Ukrainian language.

Since the 1930s the Institute of Linguistics of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (currently the Institute of Linguistics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) has been the co-ordinating center of Ukrainian lexicology. In 1965–9 it published the serial Leksykolohiia ta leksykohrafiia. Until recent times Ukrainian theoretical lexicology was underdeveloped and was limited to Mykhailo Kalynovych's work on the concept of the word and Borys Larin's research on urban speech. In the 1970s several publications on theoretical lexicology appeared: the collection Pytannia strukturnoï leksykolohiï (Questions of Structural Lexicology, 1970), L. Lysychenko's Leksykolohiia suchasnoï ukraïns’koï movy: Semantychna struktura slova (The Lexicology of the Contemporary Ukrainian Language: Semantic Structure of the Word, 1977), M. Kocherhan's Slovo i kontekst (The Word and Context, 1980), and particularly Z istoriï ukraïns’koï leksykolohiï (From the History of Ukrainian Lexicology, 1980). Despite their shortcomings, such as political bias and excessive descriptivism, the collectively written Leksyka i frazeolohiia (Lexicon and Phraseology, vol 4 of Suchasna ukraïns’ka literaturna mova [The Contemporary Ukrainian Literary Language, 1973]) and Istoriia ukraïns’koï movy: Leksyka i frazeolohiia (History of the Ukrainian Language: Lexicon and Phraseology, 1983), both edited by Mykhailo Zhovtobriukh and Vitalii Rusanivsky, mark a breakthrough in Ukrainian lexicology.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]




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