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A study of the Terms girl, woman and lady
2002 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year))Student thesis
Abstract [en]

This paper examines the different meanings of the lexemes girl, woman and lady. In some cases a comparison has been made in order to determine similarities and divergences in the collocational possibilities of these lexemes. According to the result of the corpus-investigation, the lexeme girl is mostly used in the sense of ‘a female child’ or ‘a young woman’. The analysis of the lexeme woman resulted in the identification of two dominant meanings: ‘an adult female human being’ and ‘female or feminine’. The second meaning constitutes cases where the lexeme woman function as a modifier indicating that a situation is related particularly to women. The lexeme lady appears to be an old-fashioned term which is not frequently used in normal speech in English today. The term lady was mostly used as a title in front of personal names. Nevertheless, some cases were observed where the lexeme lady was used when referring to a woman of upper-class background or a polite and respected woman. There appear to be similarities as well as divergences in the collocational possibilities of the lexemes girl, woman and lady. It seems as if there are a few cases where these lexemes can be used interchangeably without causing any major changes, whereas a substitution of the lexemes in some contexts leads to a shift in meaning or even incompatibility. Lastly, the most evident feature of the terms girl, woman and lady appears to be differing connotations regarding age.

Abstract [en]

This paper examines the different meanings of the lexemes girl, woman and lady. In some cases a comparison has been made in order to determine similarities and divergences in the collocational possibilities of these lexemes. According to the result of the corpus-investigation, the lexeme girl is mostly used in the sense of ‘a female child’ or ‘a young woman’. The analysis of the lexeme woman resulted in the identification of two dominant meanings: ‘an adult female human being’ and ‘female or feminine’. The second meaning constitutes cases where the lexeme woman function as a modifier indicating that a situation is related particularly to women. The lexeme lady appears to be an old-fashioned term which is not frequently used in normal speech in English today. The term lady was mostly used as a title in front of personal names. Nevertheless, some cases were observed where the lexeme lady was used when referring to a woman of upper-class background or a polite and respected woman. There appear to be similarities as well as divergences in the collocational possibilities of the lexemes girl, woman and lady. It seems as if there are a few cases where these lexemes can be used interchangeably without causing any major changes, whereas a substitution of the lexemes in some contexts leads to a shift in meaning or even incompatibility. Lastly, the most evident feature of the terms girl, woman and lady appears to be differing connotations regarding age.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. , 31 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-53874Local ID: ENG D-12OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-53874DiVA: diva2:1102434
Subject / course
English
Available from: 2017-05-29 Created: 2017-05-29

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
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More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
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Output format
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