What is Lexis?

This posting is going to give you an explanation about Lexis. Lexis is popular among grammarian. Learning Lexis is useful to understand grammar of foreign language.

Lexis belongs to some individual words or sets of words (vocabulary items) that have a specific meaning e.g. house, mango, finally.

How to interpret or translate vocabulary items?

Vocabulary items have different kind of meaning. There is the meaning that describes the thing e.g. a house is a building to live in. We called it denotation meaning. Then there is figurative meaning e.g. full house, housewife. The two examples are different from denotation. There is also contextual meaning e.g. He is wearing glasses. In this sentence we know that 'glasses' here is not household for drinking but it is kind of accecories. How do we know that? The word 'wearing' makes the contextual meaning of the word 'glasses'.

The meaning of some vocabulary items is formed by adding prefixes or suffixes to base words e.g. unhappy, beutiful. We also find words formed by making compound words e.g. motorcycle, drugstore, or collocation e.g. go swimming, take a bath.

How to distinguish meaning of words from other related words?

To distinguish meaning of words, we can use words interpretation e.g. denotation, synonim, antonym, lexical sets, compound, collocation. Example: what is husband? We can answer "it is a man with a wife", or we can say "it's the opposite of wife".

Reference: The TKT coursebook

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