ISSUE 4 / 2007


  • Renata Bronikowska : On the Semantic Difference between the Adjectives szorstki (Rough) and chropowaty (Scruffy)
    The article is devoted to the meanings of two adjectives defining the surface of an object: szorstki and chropowaty. Except the common elements in the basic meaning (both the lexemes denote the quality of uneven surface experienced by touch), the semantic analysis reveals differences in their typical connections, the system of their semantic relations and their connotations. The author suggests two ways of describing semantic difference between the two adjectives. One of them is to add to the definition of chropowaty the information about its connections with firm objects only (e.g. chropowaty mur – scruffy wall) and parts of the body, e.g. chropowata skóra – rough skin. Another way consists in distinguishing two meanings of the adjective szorstki: szorstki1 %with uneven surface’ (e.g. szorstki mur – rough wall) and szorstki2 %spiky’, e.g. szorstka sierść – rough hair.
  • Katarzyna Dróżdż-Łuszczyk : The Uniqueness of ktoś (Somebody) as an Indefinite Pronoun
    The article contains a description of the pronoun ktoś. The pronoun under discussion has been described in literature as indefinite. The article presents quite a different approach. The main idea is that the pronoun ktoś should not be classified as indefinite, especially in the dictionaries. The author gives arguments for this approach and presents examples excerpted from bibliography referring to the subject.
  • Marta Falkowska : The Picture of wina (Fault) in Polish Church Songs for Lent and Easter
    The article is devoted to conceptualization of the notion %wina’ (fault) in Polish church songs for Lent and Easter. The songs are about fault, sin and forgiving and are based on such metaphors as: fault is dirt, fault is burden or fault is debt. The metaphors usually originate from the Bible and are registered in Christian culture. Furthermore, one may point to the fact that some of them are based on pre-conceptual image pattern of SCALE, associated with axiological parameters of GOOD/BAD.
  • Marta Gugała : On Semantic Qualities of chcieć się (to Want)
    In the article, there is a semantic analysis of the phrase chcieć się (to want) in expressions directly pointing to the subject, like: Jankowi chce się pić – Johnny wants to drink (unlike expressions with a generalized or hidden subject, e.g. Można pić, ile się chce – One may drink as much as one wants). Two meanings have been distinguished in the phrase chcieć się. One meaning, defined as physiological – emotional, refers to states associated with the needs of human (sometimes animal) organism, physiological reactions to various feelings. Another meaning, volitional derives from the meaning of the phrase nie chcieć się (not want); it introduces the perspective of the sender – viewer and element evaluating the subject’s actions. The analysis of the negative phrase usage has shown its lack of symmetry with the positive version of the phrase. The analysis shows semantic differences between chcieć się and chcieć. However, it has not been stated clearly whether chcieć się is a separate lexeme or a syntactic structure based on chcieć.
  • Marek Łaziński : The Moor (Negro) Has Done his Job, Must the Moor (Negro) Go? The History and the Future of the Word Murzyn in Polish
    The article presents the history of the Polish word Murzyn (Negro), especially the already forgotten connotations of the old meaning not associated with slavery. There is a repetitive question coming up in publicist sources, how to replace Murzyn, if Polish is to follow western languages, in which the word Negro has come out of usage. Connotations of the word Czarny (black) referring to a person, read in PWN Polish Language Corpus are no better than connotations of Murzyn. What matters more than coping with the word and replacing Murzyn with Czarny, is avoiding racial identification of black people, whenever it is not necessary.
  • Agnieszka Mikołajczuk : How Much Joy Is in radość (Joy)? On the Models of „Joy-like” Feelings Associated with the Noun radość
    The main goal of the research resented in the article was checking models of “joy-like” feelings that can be found in textual material of medium PWN Polish Language Corpus, where the noun radość (joy) was mentioned almost 5000 times. As the analysis shows, there are five major models of joy: I. “factual” (“reactive”) joy, II. joy “felt in action”, III. “festive” joy, IV. “comic” joy and V. joy “without any actual reason”. Moreover, among detailed variants of the models, there are: A. joy “because of someone else’s being unlucky”, B. “rational” and/or “conventional” joy, C. “sensual” joy and D. “sacrificial” joy. Such a great number of models may be one of the reasons why lexicographers find it difficult to make a clear definition of radość, which is why they often choose the method of description of the meaning using a range of synonyms. The similarities and differences among the models prove that, beside the repetitive aspect of the positive evaluation of the reason for the feeling, and the feeling itself, a significant role in conceptualization of joy belongs to the quality of activeness of the subject, which should be also exposed in lexicographic definitions.
  • Jadwiga Puzynina : On a Certain Important Principle of Values
    In its initial part, the article includes suggestions on how to treat values and their names in axio-linguistic works. The author suggests distinguishing values in the direct sense (i.e. in the sense of spiritual values) and in the broader sense (including values based on biological qualities), but also understanding values as qualities and as carriers of evaluating qualities. The main part of the article is devoted to the value of brotherly love (or: the feeling of people’s solidarity), its role in the society, factors awakening it in a man and the way to prove its reason to exist as a value norm. In conclusion, the author points to the great role of philologists, which consists in interpreting and drawing public attention to the language and works including elements of values which are crucial for the man and for the society.
  • Elżbieta Wierzbicka-Piotrowska : God Knows Who, God Knows What, or on Phrases which May Function as Indefinite Pronouns

    The article offers a description of constructions like Bóg wie co, czort wie gdzie, licho wie kiedy, diabli wiedzą po co etc. (God knows what, devil knows where, evil knows when, devils know what for), which are differently written and pronounced, depending on the context and the speaker’s intentions. They are used in three ways: as connections of three lexical units, e.g. Bóg wie, co zrobił Kain, a co Abel, i ocenił to (God knows what Cain did and what Abel did, and evaluated that), marked in the article with the letter A, as connections of two lexical units, e.g. Bóg wie, co jeszcze wymyślą (God knows what else they will think out), marked in the article with the letter B, and as a single lexical unit, e.g. Zrobili to Bóg wie po co (They did it God knows why), marked in the article with the letter C. The A, B, and C phrases have slight differences in meanings, though they belong to the same semantic categories, namely contradictions: knowledge : lack of knowledge; positive evaluation : negative evaluation; the usual : the unusual; self-assurance of the sender : lack of self-assurance of the sender; indifference of the sender : the sender’s putting things into perspective.

    The occurrence of the three types of phrases may result from stopping each of them at a different level of grammaticalization process of sentences including the semantic component %nie wiadomo’ (it is unknown). The analysis shows that some of them undergo the process of lexicalization, which has resulted in the appearance of the noun bógwico in spoken Polish, resent in the Polish language corpus and registered in the latest dictionaries.

  • Joanna Zaucha : The Meaning of Standard Comparisons
    The aim of the article is to specify the semantic capacity of the phrases: głupi jak but, łysy jak kolano, ciężki jak ołów (stupid like a shoe, bald like a knee, heavy like lead) called here standard comparisons (in the Polish abbreviation PSs). As the detailed analysis shows, the existing suggestions for explications are not equivalent of PSs. The author suggests a special formula as a representation of the meaning of intensifying constructions with the structure x jest jakiś jak y (x is –adjective– like y):
    if, only for a joke, we presume, that ys are strikingly –adjective–,
    (i)it resembles y at that, (ii) because it is strikingly –adjective–.
  • Magdalena Zawisławska : Sources of the Metaphor DNA Is the Book of Life
    The main goal of the article is to analyze the most frequent metaphors of DNA: DNA IS A CODE / LANGUAGE / BOOK. First the history of origin of those metaphors is discussed, then connections of the metaphor DNA IS A BOOK with biblical beliefs (Book of Life mentioned in the Bible). The next issue is the influence of the metaphor DNA IS A BOOK OF LIFE, widespread by media, on the consciousness of non-specialists. Some examples from the common language are quoted and the poem by Czeslaw Milosz An Alcoholic enters the Gates of Heaven is analyzed.