Contrastive lexicology is a new type studies aimed at establishing differences and similarities between languages in the course of their systematic description. It is concerned with the analysis of language vocabularies and lexical items in respect of their structural, semantic and functional features. Contrastive analyses are for the most part synchronic and compare both related and unrelated languages.
Lexicology is a branch of linguistics which studies the "lexis" of a given language. Lexis of a natural human language includes an endless number and variety of items traditionally described as words. Its basic task is description of words and complex word-equivalents in respect of their origin, development and current use. Complex word equivalents together with single words form the object of lexicology. And contrastive lexicology as a new type of studies aimed at establishing facts of typological similarities and differences between related and unrelated languages. It’s highly important to show the difference between «сравнительный», «сопоставительный» и «контрастивный»: the first adjective means the method which could be used in analysis of related languages; the second means the same thing about unrelated languages, and the third one is connected with functioning of a native and a foreign language in synchrony. We should also distinguish between general lexicology and so called particular lexicologies which deal with individual languages.
Lexicology studies the lexis, or vocabulary, of a given language, and includes historical lexicology, comparative lexicology, contrastive lexicology, applied lexicology. The subject of ‘new’ contrastive lexical studies is a systematic analysis of paradigmatic and syntagmatic relationships between words in the languages under investigation that allows for comparison of theirs structural-semantic properties, connotations, and functional peculiarities. Contrastive lexicology deals with lexis in contrast as manifested in the development of the two unrelated languages, as Russian and English. Lexis includes an endless number and variety of words, and words are endowed with meaning. The range of meanings of would-be equivalent words in different languages may not conclude.
Contrastive lexicology also covers a number of fundamental issues, such as lack of one-to-one correspondence between expression and content, divergences in the semantic structure of the lexicons, variation in usage. There are also some decisive criteria in trying to estimate the relative range of lexis in contrast: socio-historical circumstances, borrowings and their assimilation etc.