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English is considered to be an international language used in the many field. It
has been taught in Vietnam for decades. Recently the learning and teaching
of English have been paid much attention to. English is, nowadays, widely
recognized as the key language in the intergrating process into the world.
To have a good command of English, Vietnamese leaners have to face a lot
of difficulties such as using English grammar, using vocabulary ,etc. In
English , the word is not always used directly or literally. Traditionally,
linguists have refered to the meaning of words in two part that are denotation
and connotation. For example, when someone gives you a rose.we need that a
rose in denotative meaning is a red rose with a green stem, but in the
connotative meaning ,it is a symbol of passion and love – so when they give
you a rose ,it mean that they love you. But sometime we don‘t pay attention
about that and sometimes we misunderstand and get confused

de_tai_a_study_on_denotation_and_connotation_in_english

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BỘ GIÁO DỤC VÀ ĐÀO TẠO
TRƯỜNG ĐẠI HỌC DÂN LẬP HẢI PHÒNG
——————————-
ISO 9001 : 2008
KHÓA LUẬN TỐT NGHIỆP
NGÀNH: NGOẠI NGỮ
HẢI PHÒNG – 2010
HAIPHONG PRIVATE UNIVESITY
FOREIGN LANGUAGES DEPARTMENT
———————————–
GRADUATION PAPER
A STUDY ON DENOTATION AND CONNOTATION IN
ENGLISH
By:
Nguyễn Thị Thanh Thảo
Class:
Na1001
Supervisor:
Nguyễn Thị Yến Thoa, M.A
HAI PHONG – 2010
BỘ GIÁO DỤC VÀ ĐÀO TẠO
TRƯỜNG ĐẠI HỌC DÂN LẬP HẢI PHÒNG
————————————–
Nhiệm vụ đề tài tốt nghiệp
Sinh viên:……………………………………………………Mãsố:……………………….
Lớp:………………………..Ngành:…………………………………………………………
Tên đề tài: …………………………………………………………………………………….
……………………………………………………………………………………..
…………………………………………………………………………………….
…………………………………………………………………………………
Nhiệm vụ đề tài
1. Nội dung và các yêu cầu cần giải quyết trong nhiệm vụ đề tài tốt
nghiệp
( về lý luận, thực tiễn, các số liệu cần tính toán và các bản vẽ).
..
..
..
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2. Các số liệu cần thiết để thiết kế, tính toán.
..
..
..
..
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..
..
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3. Địa điểm thực tập tốt nghiệp.
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CÁN BỘ HƯỚNG DẪN ĐỀ TÀI
Người hướng dẫn thứ nhất:
Họ và tên:…………………………………………………………………………………
Học hàm, học vị:………………………………………………………………………..
Cơ quan công tác:………………………………………………………………………
Nội dung hướng dẫn:………………………………………………………………….
Người hướng dẫn thứ hai:
Họ và tên:…………………………………………………………………………………
Học hàm, học vị:………………………………………………………………………..
Cơ quan công tác:………………………………………………………………………
Nội dung hướng dẫn:………………………………………………………………….
Đề tài tốt nghiệp được giao ngày 12 tháng 04 năm 2010
Yêu cầu phải hoàn thành xong trước ngày 10 tháng 07 năm 2010
Đã nhận nhiệm vụ ĐTTN Đã giao nhiệm vụ ĐTTN
Sinh viên Người hướng dẫn
Hải Phòng, ngày tháng năm 2010
HIỆU TRƯỞNG
GS.TS.NGƯT Trần Hữu Nghị
PHẦN NHẬN XÉT TÓM TẮT CỦA CÁN BỘ HƯỚNG DẪN
1. Tinh thần thái độ của sinh viên trong quá trình làm đề tài tốt
nghiệp:
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2. Đánh giá chất lượng của khóa luận (so với nội dung yêu cầu đã đề ra
trong nhiệm vụ Đ.T. T.N trên các mặt lý luận, thực tiễn, tính toán số
liệu):
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
3. Cho điểm của cán bộ hướng dẫn (ghi bằng cả số và chữ):
..
..
..
Hải Phòng, ngày .. tháng .. năm 2010
Cán bộ hướng dẫn
(họ tên và chữ ký)
NHẬN XÉT ĐÁNH GIÁ
CỦA NGƯỜI CHẤM PHẢN BIỆN ĐỀ TÀI TỐT NGHIỆP
1. Đánh giá chất lượng đề tài tốt nghiệp về các mặt thu thập và phân tích tài
liệu, số liệu ban đầu, giá trị lí luận và thực tiễn của đề tài.
2. Cho điểm của người chấm phản biện :
(Điểm ghi bằng số và chữ)
Ngày………. tháng……… năm 2010
Người chấm phản biện
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
In the process of completing this research , I have received a lot of help,
guidance as well as encouragement from lots of teachers and friends
First of all, I would like to express my deepest thanks to Mrs. Nguyen Thi
Yen Thoa. MA, who has been given me helpful suggestions. During the
process of research, she has always been most willing and ready to give me
valuable advice and detailed comments on this research paper
In addition, I am also graceful to many teachers in foreign languages
department in Hai phong private university who helps me have ideas and
knowledge to found this research
Last but not least, I am really thankful to my family and all my friends who
always help and encourage me. Without their support, I could not complete
this research
Hai Phong, June, 2010
Student
Nguyen Thi Thanh Thao
Table of contents
Acknowledgements
part 1 : introduction ………………………………………………………………………….. 1
1.Rationale of the study ……………………………………………………………… 1
2.Aims of the study ……………………………………………………………………. 1
3.Scope of the study …………………………………………………………………… 2
4.Method of the study ………………………………………………………………… 2
5.Design of the study …………………………………………………………………. 2
Part2: development …………………………………………………………………………… 4
Chapter1: Theoretical background ……………………………………… 4
1. Word meaning ……………………………………………………………………………….. 4
1.1What is word meaning ………………………………………………………………. 4
1.2.Types of word meaning …………………………………………………………….. 5
1.2.1. Literal meaning …………………………………………………………………….. 5
1.2.2 Figurative meaning ……………………………………………………………….. 6
1.3. Components of word meaning …………………………………………………… 7
1.3.1. Denotative meaning ………………………………………………………………. 7
a.Conceptual meaning……………………………………………………………. 9
b.Referential meaning ……………………………………………………………. 9
1.3.1.1. Denotation and reference …………………………………………………… 10
1.3.1.2. Denotation and sense ………………………………………………………… 10
1.3.2. Connotative meaning …………………………………………………………….. 12
a.Stylistic meaning ………………………………………………………………. 14
b.Affective meaning ……………………………………………………………. 14
c.Evaluative meaning …………………………………………………………… 14
d.Intensifying meaning ………………………………………………………… 14
1.3.3 Structural meaning ………………………………………………………………… 15
a. Reflected meaning ……………………………………………………………… 15
b. Collocative meaning ………………………………………………………….. 15
c. Associative meaning ………………………………………………………….. 15
d. Thematic meaning ……………………………………………………………… 16
1.3.4. Categorical meaning………………………………………………………………. 16
Chapter 2: An insight into denotation and connotation in
English ………………………………………………………………………………. 17
2.1.Relatedness between denotation and connotation ……………………….. 17
2.2. Distinction between denotation and connotation ………………………… 27
Chapter 3: Some problems facing students in studying
denotation and connotation and suggested solutions to overcome
them: ………………………………………………………………………………….. 40
3.1.Some problems facing students in studying denotation and
connotation ………………………………………………………………………………………. 40
3.2.Some suggested solutions to overcome them ………………………………. 42
part 3 : conclusion: …………………………………………………………. 44
1. Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………….. 44
2. Suggestion for further study ………………………………………………….. 44
1
PART 1: INTRODUCTION
1.Rationale of the study
English is considered to be an international language used in the many field. It
has been taught in Vietnam for decades. Recently the learning and teaching
of English have been paid much attention to. English is, nowadays, widely
recognized as the key language in the intergrating process into the world.
To have a good command of English, Vietnamese leaners have to face a lot
of difficulties such as using English grammar, using vocabulary ,etc. In
English , the word is not always used directly or literally. Traditionally,
linguists have refered to the meaning of words in two part that are denotation
and connotation. For example, when someone gives you a rose.we need that a
rose in denotative meaning is a red rose with a green stem, but in the
connotative meaning ,it is a symbol of passion and love – so when they give
you a rose ,it mean that they love you. But sometime we don‘t pay attention
about that and sometimes we misunderstand and get confused
Clearly, studying semantics in general and the components of word meaning (
denotation and connotation) in particular is necessary for students of English
so that they can understand and use them better. That is reason why the author
decide to choose the reasearch titled ― A study on denotation and
connotation in English‖
2. Aims of the study
This study aims at several points:
Firstly, its aims to help students distinguish between denotation and
connotation clearly.
2
Secondly, it can enhance knowledge about denotation and connotation for
students. So students can apply them well and use them easily and avoid
misunderstanding and confusion
Finally, it discusses some problems learners of English face when studying
denotation and connotation; and suggests some solutions to overcome those
problems
The author hope that this study will be an useful material for the English
students who are interested in semantics especially denotation and
connotation
3. Scope of the study
Within the shortage of time, experience, and references, my graduation paper
can not cover all aspects of word meaning. Its mainly focuses on the main
features of denotation and connotation in English and give typical examples
for illustration
4. Method of the study
This research is carried out basing on the main method which analyzes and
gives examples for denotation and connotation.
Firstly , to do this research, the author essentially collected my knowledgment
about semantic , especially about denotation and connotaion . And then, the
author systemized them and analyzed them. Morover, the author
differentiated denotation and connotation. After that, the author illustrate
them by some examples. Besides it, to do this research, the author refered so
websites online , dictionary and different books on semantics
5. Design of the study
The research paper comes into three parts in which the second is the most
important
3
The first, INTRODUCTION , writes about the rationale, aim, scope, method,
and design of the study
The second, namely DEVELOPMENT, consists of three chapters:
Chapter 1: the theoretical background informs readers about basic
knowledge of denotation and connotation, the types of denotation and
connotation and examples
Chapter 2 : discusses denotation and connotation to distinguish them
clearly
Chapter 3: some problems in studying denotation and connotation , and
sugsested solutions
The third, CONCLUSION, summarizes what have been investigated in the
previous section and suggetions for further study
4
PART 2: DEVELOPMENT
Chapter1: Theoretical Background
1.Word meaning
1.1. What is word meaning?
The issue of defining the meaning of the words is by no means an easy task.
There has been quite a number of attempts designed to define what the
meaning of the word is. For example, one of the oldest views is that the word
in a language stands for, or refers to an object. In other words, words are
names or labels for things- hence the theory of naming
However, there are certain facts of which we can be reasonably sure, and one
of them is that the very function of the word as a unit of communication is
made possible by its possessing a meaning.Therefore, among the word‘s
various characteristic, word meaning is certainly the most important
According to Nguyen Manh Hung (English lexicology,2000:34) : Generally
speaking, ― meaning can be more or less described as a component of the
word through which a concept is communicated, in this way endowing the
word with the ability of denoting real objects, qualities, actions and abstract
notions‖
The complex and somewhat mysterious relationships between referent,
concept and word are traditionally represented by the following triangle
5
Thought or reference
symbol referent
On the other hand, there is a hypothesis, according to which concepts can
only be realized through words. It seems that thought is dormant till the word
wakens it up
The mechanism by which concepts are converted into words and the reverse
process by which a heard or a printed word is converted into a kind of mental
picture are not yet understood or described
1.2. Types of word meaning
1.2.1. Literal meaning:
According to the website www.philosophy.hku.hk: ―Literal meaning is a
property of linguistic expressions. Roughly speaking, the literal meaning of a
complex sequence of words is determined by its grammatical properties and
the meanings that are conventionally assigned to those words. The literal
meaning of a statement should be distinguished from its conversational
implicature – the information that is implicitly conveyed in a particular
conversational context, distinct from the literal meaning of the statement.‖
For example, suppose we ask Lily whether she wants to go to the cinema and
she replies, “I am very tired.” Naturally we would infer that Lily does not
want to go to the cinema. But this is not part of the literal meaning of what is
said. Rather, the information that she does not want to go is conveyed in an
6
implicit manner. Similarly, suppose we hear Lala says, “Po likes books”. We
might perhaps take Lala to be saying that Po likes to read. But this is only the
conversational implicature, and not part of the literal meaning of what is
being said. It might turn out that Po hates reading and she likes books only
because she regards them as good investment. But even if this is the case,
Lala’s assertion is still true.
1.2.2. Figurative meaning
According to the website www.learnoutlive.com :―Figurative‖ has the same
root as ―figure,‖ which is another word for a diagram, display; an image or
illustration. A ―figurative‖ meaning is a meaning that is not literal; the
meaning used is not the meaning of the word or phrase itself, but a different
meaning implied by it. This meaning is dependent on culture and history. This
is the ―indirect‖ meaning.
For example, one expression for a bad excuse is ―the dog ate my homework.‖
The reference is not usually to a child literally, that is, in reality, claiming that
his homework was eaten by his family dog. This excuse is considered
representative of all bad excuses, because it is very unlikely a dog actually ate
your homework! Far more likely is that you (or the child, rather) was lazy and
unmotivated and simply did not work hard enough to finish the homework on
time.
―The dog ate my homework‖ therefore has a figurative meaning of ―making a
ridiculous, bad excuse for failure.‖
Words used in their ―figurative‖ meanings like this are often called
metaphors, because they point elsewhere for their true meaning; expressions,
because they express an idea without having to be ―literal‖ and therefore
slower; and sayings, because they are ―things people say‖ to express ideas.
However, a ―saying‖ is usually a complete sentence; metaphors and
expressions can be smaller than a sentence.
7
1.3. Components of word meaning
1.3.1. Denotative meaning
The meaning of the word is very rich. It reflects culture and tradition of each
nation in the most reliable way. Hence, there are also many concepts of
denotation
However, it seems quite difficult to give a clear out definition to them,for it
possesses several meaning, which might cause us confusion. Some definitions
introduced as follows will help the reader answer the question what
denotation is.
According to Online dictionary Wikipedia: ―the denotation of a word or
phrase is a part of its meaning; however, the part referred to varies by
context: Denotation is often associated with symbolism, as the denotation of a
particular media text often represents something further; a hidden meaning
(or an Engima Code) is often encoded into a media text (such as the images
below)”.
Word meaning
Denotative
meaning
Connotative
meaning
Structural / associative
meaning
Categorical
meaning
8
the denotation of this example is a red rose with a green stem.
The denotation is a brown cross.
According to Hoang Tat Truong (Absic English lexicology,1993:54): ―The
denotative meaning indicates (denotes) or points out things, concepts, etc‖.
For instance, bird denote an animal that can fly. Father, dad and daddy denote
the male parent. Ran, shine denote the phenomena of nature.
According to About.com ―Denotation is the direct or dictionary meaning of
a word”.
E.g : The denotation of the word home is simply “a place where one lives”
Acording to Nguyen Hoa (understanding English semantic,2004, 98) : ―
Denotation is the ability of a word or expression to identify all the objects
covered by a word”
E.g : The word ―computer‖ is used to denote a wide range of computing
machines in different shapes and sizes, which may be called computers
According to Holt.Rinehart and Winston (An introduction to language,
205) : ―Denotation is what we have been discussing so far.It is that type of
meaning which may be described in terms of a set of semantic properties
which serves to identify the particular concept assosiated with the word in
question‖
The denotation include : conceptual meaning and referential meaning
9
a) Conceptual meaning:
According to Nguyen Hoa (understanding English semantic, 2004,51): ―
This kind of meaning is widely assumed to be the central factor in linguistic
communication. It has a complex and sophisticated organization (it is useful
to be reminded that there are two structural principles that seem to lie at the
basis of all linguistic parterning :contrastiveness and structure)”
E.g : A word ―chair‖ ; a piece of furniture designed for one person to sit upon
According to Online Dictionary Wikipedia :‖ A conceptual definition is an
element of the scientific research process, in which a specific concept is
defined as a measurable occurrence. It basically gives you the meaning of the
concept. It is mostly used in fields of philosophy, psychology, communication
studies. This is especially important when conducting a content analysis.”
E.g : A word ―weight‖ : A measurement of gravitational force acting on an
object

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