Expression here as more general term for lexeme. It includes “the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonics” or “The Granite City”
Lyons (1981: 50-51)
Absolute synonymy in the sense defined here is extremely rare in natural language (Lyons 1981: 50).
We could of course try to argue that there is really some lexical difference between these wordsin any case which would make them near synonyms rather than partial synonyms. Often this can be done but not always.
Word MeaningLexical Relations
Lexical meaning (wordmeaning)• What do we mean when we say thatwe know the meaning of a word?• We know one or more of the following:dictionary meaning, mental image,referential meaning, componentialmeaning (semantic features), lexicalrelations, semantic roles andpragmatic content• All these constitute our LEXICON.
What is a word?• Word form– Any sequence of letters, which in normaltypographical practice, is bounded on either sideby a space.• Lexeme– Abstract meaning unit underlying suchsemantically related word-forms as had andhaving, she and her, or conversation andconversations.• Citation form– The form of the lexeme that is conventionallyemployed to refer to it in standard dictionariesand grammars of the language.
Typographicalconventions• The words (i.e. word forms) found andfind are different forms of the sameword (i.e. lexeme).• Find and found are forms of “find”(=citation form).• The word bank is ambiguous between“bank”1 ‘financial institution’ and “bank”2‘sloping side of a river’.
Examples• He walks like a duck.• He’s walking like a duck.• He walked like a duck.• 3 different grammatical words representing onesemantic word – same lexeme “walk”• The inverse is possible – several lexemes can bepresented by one phonological and grammaticalword• He scored with his left foot.• They made the camp at the foot of the mountain.• I ate a sandwich with a foot long frankfurter.• 3 senses of the word ‘foot’• Part of the leg below the ankle, base or bottom ofsomething, one third of a yard
• Once we have established our lexemes, thelexicon will be a listing of them with arepresentation of:• The lexeme‘s pronunciation• Its grammatical status• Its meaning• Its meaning relations with other lexemes
Lexical (semantic)relations• The lexicon as a network rather than alisting of words as in a published dictionary• Knowing the meaning of lexemes in anylanguage is the recognition that 2 or morelexemes may have semantic relationship• 2 approaches – semantic lexical field & truthconditional semantic• Lexical field – a group of lexemes whichbelong to a particular activity or area ofspecial knowledge• Truth conditional semantics – comparepredications that can be made about thesame referring expressions
Lexical fields• We can define a lexeme by telling what set itbelongs to and how it differs from other members ofthe same set. Ex:• Sport (tennis, badminton, golf, soccer, basketball…)• Creative writings (poem, novel, short story,biography, essay…)• Some lexical sets involve part-whole relationship(arms include hand; which includes finger andthumbs). Some sets are sequential (numbers 1,2, 3or cyclical Jan, Feb; Monday, Tuesday; spring,summer)• The determination of features – componentialanalysis
• Let’s consider these nouns: stool chair bench sofa• These have in common a component (piece offurniture) that is also shared by table, but not bydoor• How do the four items differ form one another?• Let’s say that chair differs from stool in the feature(having a back)• Bench and sofa?• The important point here is the recognition of 2kinds of features: distinctive & non-distinctive
Truth conditionalsemantics• There are tulips in thevase.• There are flowers inthe vase.• Rover is a collie.• Rover is a dog.• Tulip is a hyponym offlower; collie is ahyponym of dog.Flower and dog,respectively, aresuperordinates(hyperonym) of tulipand collie
Hyponyms are senses that are related toeach other through inclusion. Theserelationships of inclusion are oftenrepresented by tree diagrams:• animal is the superordinate item (or the item that determines the field)• the other items are all hyponyms of animal and any other items higher up in thehierarchy (hypo- means ‘under’)• items under one branch and on the same level (e.g. dog, cat, hamster) are called co-hyponyms.
Synonymy• “Expressions with the same meaning aresynonymous” (Lyons 1981: 50)• Jack a seaman.• Jack is a sailor.• Seaman and sailor are synonyms.• If A is synonymous with B, A and B mean the samething, A can be paraphrased by B.• Synonymous words:• Postpone = put off• Vomit = throw up• Couch = sofa
Synonyms are words withthe same or similar senses.• English-French synonympairs:• Old English-NormanFrench• King – sovereign• Ox - beef• Sheep - mutton• Folk - people• Help - aid• Begin - commence• End - terminate• Hinder - prevent• Germanic-based phrasalverbs also often makesynonym pairs with Latin-based verbs:• Germanic - Latin• catch up with - reach• come back - return• give up - surrender• hold back - retain• let down - disappoint• make out - distinguish• pick up - collect• point out - indicate• put up with - tolerate
Synonymy• Expressions with the same meaningare– Fully synonymous• iff all their meanings are identical– Totally synonymous• iff they are synonymous in all contexts– Completely synonymous• iff they are identical on all (relevant)dimensions of meaningiff = ‘if and only if’
Synonyms• Absolute synonyms– Expressions that are fully, totally, andcompletely synonymous• Partial synonyms– Expressions that are synonymous but notabsolutely so.• Near synonyms– Expressions that are similar but notidentical in meaning
Not fully synonymous• Not all their meanings are identical• They live in a big/large house(synonymous)• My big/large sister (not synonymous)• I got good marks/a good grade for theessay (synonymous)• But “mark” also has the meaning ‘spot’or ‘symbol’
Not totally synonymous• Not in all contexts (i.e. collocationalrestrictions)• Flaw, blemish, defect• A flaw/blemish in someone’scomplexion (not defect)• A flaw/defect in someone’s argument(not blemish)
Not completelysynonymous• Same conceptual meaning butdifferent associative meanings– Statesman, politician– Small gifts, expensive presents, bribes– Loyal, blindly obedient
Register, social and geographical variationWhat do you call this?
toilet (BrE)lavatory (BrE), lav (informal)WC (BrE, used especially on signs in public places)the gents and the ladies (BrE, used for public conveniences)loo (BrE informal)bath/rest/washroom (AmE, cf. Italian ‘bagno’) = BrE toiletjohn (AmE informal)
Antonyms• 1a. Alvin is watching television now.• 1b. Alvin isn’t watching television now.• Two sentences that differ in polaritylike these are mutually contradictory. Ifone is true, the other one must befalse.• Antonyms are opposite in meaning.
AntonymsAntonyms• In its barest form, antonymy refers tothe condition of being opposites.– Complementary/contradictoryComplementary/contradictory• Complete/incomplete, married/single• Must be one or the other– Relational opposites/contrariesRelational opposites/contraries• Over/under, doctor/patient, stop/go• Can be neither, represent symmetrical relationships– Scalar antonyms/gradable pairsScalar antonyms/gradable pairs• Hot/cold, big/small, tall/short• Can be neither, represent extremes on a scale
AntonymsAntonyms• Complementary/contradictory pairs– Given XX and YY, every entity in the world iseither in X’sX’s set or in Y’sY’s set, but never inboth.• married/unmarriedmarried/unmarried• visible/invisiblevisible/invisible
Complementary antonyms• Complementary antonyms have arelationship where there is no middleground.• There are only two possibilities, either oneor the other.• Examples include: man and woman, pushand pull, dead and alive, off and on, raiseand lower, day and night, absent andpresent, exit and entrance, sink or float, trueor false, pass and fail, former and latter,input and output, inhale and exhale, andinterior and exterior.
Complementarityeither X or Y, not both – non gradable conceptssingle vs. marrieddead vs. alivelegal vs. illegalasleep vs. awaketrue vs. falsemale vs. femalepregnant vs. not pregnanton vs. offpass vs. fail
Relational opposites /Contraries/Converseness– Given X and Y, everything in the world isin X’s set, in Y’s set, or in neither set, butnever in both sets.• over/underover/under– An object can be over or under another,but never both. It could also be NEXT TOanother object.• married/bachelormarried/bachelor– A man can be married or a bachelor, butnot both. He could also be a divorcé or awidower.
• Relational antonyms are sometimesconsidered a subcategory of complementaryantonyms.• With these pairs, for there to be arelationship, both must exist.• Examples are: husband and wife, doctorand patient, buy and sell, parent and child,predator and prey, above and below, giveand receive, teach and learn, instructor andpupil, servant and master, borrow and lend,come and go, toward and away, and divisorand dividend.
• Reciprocal antonyms• Nouns: An example is husband and wife. If I amyour husband, you must be my wife.• Verbs: An example is buy and sell. If I buysomething from you, you must sell it to me.• Reversive antonyms• Verbs: An example is rise and fall. Note thedifference here with buy and sell. If the temperaturerises, this does not mean that something else falls!• Adverbs: An example is backwards and forwards.Again, if I am going backwards, this doesn’t meanthat you or anyone else is going forwards!
Scalar antonyms/Gradable pairs– Given X and Y, X and Y fulfill theconditions for being relational oppositesbut in addition can be interpreted asendpoints on some scale.• good/badgood/bad• hot/coldhot/cold• strong/weakstrong/weak– A good test for this kind of relationship isthe potential use of the modifier “quite”.
• Graded antonyms deal with levels of themeaning of the words, like if something isnot “good”, is may still not be “bad.”• There is a scale involved with some words,and besides good and bad there can beaverage, fair, excellent, terrible, poor, orsatisfactory.• Examples include: fat and skinny, youngand old, happy and sad, hard and soft, lastand first, foolish and wise, fast and slow,warm and cool, wide and narrow, abundantand scarce, joy and grief, dark and light,dangerous and safe, clever and foolish,early and late, and empty and full.
• Gradable antonyms have a few interestingproperties:• · Exactly how ‘hot’ is hot? This depends onwhat you are talking about: a hot day, a hot cup oftea, hot noodles, a hot shower, hot oil, hot air, etc.A hot cup of tea is likely to be much hotter than ahot day, for example.• · Gradable antonyms are often modified byadverbs to express higher and lower points on thescale: e.g. extremely hot, very hot, too hot, so hot,quite hot.• · There are often other adjectives expressingextreme and intermediate points on the scale: e.g.warm, tepid, lukewarm, cool, chilly, freezing.
• Dead and alive are good examples of non-gradableantonyms:• · They are not points on a scale. They areopposed states. This means that if you are dead,you are not alive. If you are alive, you are not dead.• · Non-gradable antonyms are not usuallymodified by adverbs. In colloquial English, we dosay almost dead (=about to die), half-dead (=verytired), so alive (=feeling very well), stone dead anddead as a doornail (emphatic/hyperbolic), but theseexpressions do not represent points on a scale.• · There are usually no adjectivesrepresenting intermediate states between non-gradable antonyms.
• Gradableantonyms• wet – dry• young – old• easy – difficult• happy – sad• big – small• long - short• Non-gradableantonyms• male – female• true – false• north – south• single – married• full – empty• before - after
gradable concepts (e.g. scalar adjectives)big vs. smallhigh vs. lowsmall vs. largewet vs. dryhot – warm – lukewarm – cool – cold
36Hyponymy• Inclusiveness• A is included in / a kind of B.• Cf.: chair and furniture, rose and flower– Superordinate/hypernym: the more generalterm– Hyponym: the more specific term– Co-hyponyms: members of the same class
Hyponymy (i.e. category membership)It may be problematic to identify the superordinate terms:brother & sister < sibling (formal)uncle & aunt < ?cow & bull < cow/cattle (collective)/bovine (technical)human being & animal < animal (vs. vegetable, mineral)fishsnapper trout bass [bæs] sole salmon [ sæm nˈ ə ]chinook [( )tˌ ʃɪ nuˈ ːk] spring coho [ kˈ əʊ həʊ] king sockeye [ sˈ ɒk aɪ]hypernym(co)hyponyms
Polysemy vs. Homophony• Polysememous word ‘hard’– meaning1 meaning2– “difficult” “durable, solid”• => Single lexical entry
Homophones andHomonyms• Homonymy: A word which has two or moreentirely distinct (unrelated) meanings,– e.g. bank: ‘financial institution’ ; ‘of a river’.– Bat: ‘flying creature’ or ‘used in sports’– Race: ‘contest of speed’ or ‘ethnic group’• Homophony: Different words pronounced thesame but spelled differently,– e.g. two, to and too.– Flour and flower– Meat and meet– Right and write
Polysemy• Polysemy: A word which has multiplemeanings related by extension,– e.g. bright: ‘shining’ ; ‘intelligent’– ‘Head’ of the body and the person at thetop of a company.– ‘Foot’ of a body and of a mountain and ofthe bed or chair.– ‘Run’ a person runs, the water runs