Subneutral wordsare subdivided into colloquial words, jargon wordsand vulgar words
Stylistic Stratification of the Vocabulary
Stylistic reference of words gives "stylistic passport" to every word of the vocabulary. Stylistics gives recommendations to the actual use of words and stratification of the vocabulary from the point of view of style, it is based on the aesthetic value of words and their social prestige.
Though stylistic scale demonstrates only the general principle of the aesthetic differentiation of the vocabulary it is possible to single out word-classes of definite stylistic value.
Poetic words(morn, street, sylvan, spouse) constitute the highest level of the scale. Their aesthetic value is great.
Bookish (learned) wordsare used in cultivated spheres of speech and may have synonyms among neutral words: to begin - to initiate, man - individual, answer - respond.
Neutral wordsare used in every sphere of communication and constitute the overwhelming part of the vocabulary: the, he, they, do, town, dog, think, etc.
1. Colloquial wordsinclude: colloquial words proper: dad (father), chap (fellow), exam (examination); phonetic variants of neutral words: gaffer (grand-father), feller (fellow), baccy (tobacco); diminutives of neutral (or of colloquial) words: Johny, Annie, antie, granny; colloquial meanings of polysemantic words: spoon (a man of low mentality), card (a man, a type) handful (smb. or smth. causing trouble).
2. Jargon wordsare informal, often humorous substitutes of neutral or formal lexical unites which may express disrespect.
As every professional group has its own jargon we distinguish students' jargon, soldiers' jargon, medical jargon, lawyers' jargon, etc.: a crib (шпаргалка), to cut a lesson (убежать с урока), a screamer (смешная комедия), walkie-talkie (переносный телефон).
The term jargonis often confused with the term slang. To clarify the point it is appropriate to apply jargon to professional and social spheres and to refer slangto all communicative situations where we are striving for novelty of expression, manifesting protest against established conventions. Slangy synonymic groups are very rich: MONEY:jack, tin, brass, oof, slippery, stuff; FOOD: chuck, chow, grub, hash.
3. Vulgar wordsare words which are considered to be too offensive for polite usage. They may express ideas unmentionable in civilized society: various oaths, the so-called "four-letter words", units of low slang.
Plurality of meaning (POLYSEMY)
The majority of words in English have a wide range of meanings, they are polysemous. Thus the word family, a simple and well-known word has such meanings, realized in the following contexts: 1. She lost both her families. 2. My family comes from Oregon. 3. English belongs to the West-Germanic family of languages. 4. The cat family includes lions and tigers.
A certain amount of words are monosemantic: kidney, month, epithet. The majority of them belong to terminology.
In a polysemantic word different meanings are closely interrelated. Now that the meaning is global it cannot be presented as a set of semantic variants or multipliers. Such highly polysemantic words as SEE, GO, DO as used in a variety of meanings still preserve their semantic identity. In spite of the fact that the number of meanings in such words has a tendency to grow they remain global units. This quality makes it possible to portray polysemy in a playful way.
The word's meaning can be regarded as a semantic structure where new and old meanings are interrelated forming a hierarchy. If we take a number of lexical-semantic variants of the verb to weight we receive:
1) to measure how heavy smth. is by means of scales;
2) to show a certain weight ("How much do you weigh?");
3) to consider carefully the relative value or importance of smth.;
4) to lift an anchor out of the water;
5) to be considered important when smth./smb. is being judged.
We should also relate meaning to pragmatics - the way in which sentences are actually used and interpreted in speaker-hearer communication - the context of usage helps to realize a number of additional meanings.