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  1. 1. English LexicologyMeaning Relations
  2. 2. We are going to discuss Words that have the “same” meaning: synonymy Words that have “opposite” meaning: antonymy Hierarchies of meaning: hyponymy and meronymy Meaning and word combination: collocation
  3. 3. Synonymy Synonymy is a relationship of ‘sameness of meaning’ that may hold between two words. Synonyms are traditionally defined as words having different form but identical or similar meaning.
  4. 4. Problems with the definition  It is possible that a polysemous word just shares one meaning with another word. Are the two words synonyms? There are no such the top of thing as true something synonymy.freedom head: the mentalof choice upper part ability of the bodya person a headmaster 1) chief a person who 2) boss leads 3) leader
  5. 5. Problems with the definition Besides the denotative meaning, a word may also have connotative meaning, stylistic meaning, and affective meaning. adult: [+human, +adult] formal grown-up: [+human, +adult] Informal/colloquial Denotative meaning is the same, but the stylistic meaning is different. Can they be called synonyms?
  6. 6. Strict (absolute) synonymy Linguists make a distinction between ‘strict’ or ‘absolute’ synonymy and ‘loose’ or ‘relative’ synonymy. Strict synonyms refer to two words which are identical in meaning in all its aspects. They are interchangeable in all contexts. Strict synonyms are very rare, and some linguists even argue that strict synonyms do not exist.
  7. 7. Strict (absolute) synonymy Strict synonymy is uneconomical; it creates unnecessary redundancy in a language. When two words are in danger of becoming strict synonyms, one of them would either  change its meaning, or  fade away from the language and become an archaic word.
  8. 8. Loose (relative) synonymy When we speak of synonymy, we mean ‘loose’ or ‘relative’ synonymy, where we find not only a significant overlap in meaning between two words, but also some contexts where they cannot be used interchangeably. discover: be the first one to come across something find: experience something in some wayJohn found/discovered the basketball in the grass.Maria Curie discovered radium in 1898.*Maria Curie found radium in 1898.
  9. 9. Differences between loose synonyms We often take the following things into consideration when we try to find the differences between synonyms.  Different English dialects  Different stylistic meanings  Different connotative meanings
  10. 10. Synonyms from different dialects Some synonym pairs differ in that they belong to different dialects of English. Here are some examples of synonyms from British and American English: BrE AmE BrE AmE lift elevator farm ranch lawyer attorney biscuit cookie rubbish garbage pavement sidewalk
  11. 11. Synonyms with differentstylistic meanings One of a pair of synonyms may be used in a more formal context than the other. Here are some examples of synonym pairs.Informal Formal Informal Formaldie decease daddy fatherblame chide guy manwest occidental praise eulogy
  12. 12. Synonyms with different connotativemeanings Synonyms may have different emotive associations (connotative meanings).famous notorious misuse abuse (disreputably (of privilege or ) power)ambiguous equivocal new novel (deliberately) (strikingly)hate loathe obtain procure (with disgust) (with effort)
  13. 13. Source of synonyms Why are there so many synonyms in English?  The primary reason for this has to do with the heavy borrowing from other languages, especially from French and Latin. English French Latin ask question interrogate time age epoch begin commence buy purchase
  14. 14. Antonymy Antonymy is a relationship of ‘meaning opposition’ that may hold between two words. Antonyms can be defined as words which are opposite in meaning. Major types of antonyms :  Gradable antonyms  Contradictory or complementary antonyms  Converse antonyms
  15. 15. Gradable antonyms Gradable antonyms include pairs like the following: These pairs are calledbeautiful ugly gradable antonymsexpensive cheap because they do not represent a more/lessfast slow relation. The words canhot cold be the end-points of along short continuum ( 连续体 ).rich poor Since they are gradable, they allow comparison.wide narrow
  16. 16. Contradictory (complementary)antonyms Contradictory antonyms include pairs like the following: These pairs are calledasleep awake contradictory antonyms becausedead alive they represent an either/oron off relation.remember forget If you permit some behavior,win lose then it is not forbidden.true false Since they are not gradable, they do not allow comparison.
  17. 17. Converse antonyms The following are examples of converse antonyms : Lend is the converse of borrowlend borrow and vice versa; i.e. thehusband wife substitution of one member forabove below the other does not change thebefore after meaning of a sentence if it isbehind in front of accompanied by the change ofbuy sell subject and object.give receiveparent child John lent Mary five dollars.speak listen Mary borrowed five dollars from John.
  18. 18. Contradictory antonyms vs. Converse antonyms Converse antonyms areThe bridge is above the river. relational antonyms.The river is below the bridge. Contradictory antonyms areThis behavior is allowed. either/or antonym.This behavior is not prohibited.Mary is John’s wife. John is Mary’s husband.? ? Mary is not John’s husband. I don’t forbidden you toI allow you to introduce Mary. introduce Mary.*You forbidden me to introduce Mary.
  19. 19. Hyponymy Hyponymy is the sense relationship that relates words hierarchically. The underlying observation is that some words have a more general meaning, while others have a more specific meaning, while referring to the same entity. We are not going to have any food today. FOOD We are not going to have any vegetables today. MEAT VEGETABLE
  20. 20. superordinate They are subordinate terms. They are hyponyms of the superordinate term FOOD. FOOD FRUIT MEAT VEGETABLE They are subordinate terms. They are hyponyms of the BEEF PORK MUTTON superordinate term MEAT. CABBAGE CELERY SPINACHAPPLE PEACH ORANGE Reading from the bottom of the hierarchy, ORANGE is a ‘kind of’ fruit, which is a kind of
  21. 21. Meronymy Metonymy ( 借喻修辞手法 )  simile; metaphor; metonym Meronymy (the part-of relation)
  22. 22. Metonymy Different from the kind-of relation displayed by hyponymy, meronymy involves part-whole relation between words.arm: body An arm is part of a body;wheel: car A wheel is part of a car.
  23. 23. 排球队 (volleyball team)二传 主攻 副攻 接应 自由人Setters Outside Middle Opposite Liberos hitters hitters hitters 排球队员 (volleyball player) Hyponyms of ??? 【 kind-of 】 Meronyms of ??? 【 part-of 】
  24. 24. Collocation: a structural relation Collocation refers to a structural or syntagmatic relation. It refers to meaning relations that a word has with other words in the same sentence. If the noun ‘kettle’ occurs in a sentence, there is a high chance that the verb ‘boil’ will also occur, e.g.I will boil a kettle.Is the kettle boiling now?
  25. 25. Collocation Collocation  Grammatical collocation (e.g. fond+of, want+to, etc.)  Meaning collocation (our focus) Collocation refers to a meaning relation of predictable co-occurrence. There is a mutual expectancy between two collocated words. The force may be weak or strong. We can use corpus to identify the collocation patterns.
  26. 26. Syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations … of his political life in … private professionalA word has the academic A word has thesyntagmatic paradigmatic relation …relation with its with other wordsneighboring which can be used inwords. It is a kind the same position in aof collocation sentence. It is a kindrelation. of substitution relation.