One further important objective of lexicological studies is the study of the vocabulary of a language as a system. The vocabulary can be studied synchronically, that is, at a given stage of its development, or diachronically, that is, in the context of the processes through which it grew, developed and acquired its modern form (see Ch. 3, 4). The opposition of the two approaches accepted in modern linguistics is nevertheless disputable as the vocabulary, as well as the word which is its fundamental unit, is not only what it is now, at this particular stage of the language's development, but, also, what it was centuries ago and has been throughout its history.
Consider your answers to the following.
In what way can one analyse a word a) socially, b) linguistically?
What are the structural aspects of the word?
What is the external structure of the word irresistible? What is the internal structure of this word?
What is understood by formal unity of a word? Why is it not quite correct to say that a word is indivisible?
Explain why the word blackboard can be considered a unity and why the combination of words a black board doesn't possess such a unity.
What is understood by the semantic unity of a word? Which of the following possesses semantic unity — a bluebell (R. колокольчик) or a blue bell (R. синий бубенчик).
Give a brief account of the main characteristics of a word.
What are the main problems of lexicology?
What are the main differences between studying words syntagmatically and paradigmatically?