Lexico-Semantic Features of Antonyms in Modern English

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Lexico-Semantic Features of Antonyms in Modern English


IntroductionI. Lexico-Semantic Features of Antonyms in Modern English

.1 The Concept of Polarity of Meaning

1.2 Morphological Classification of Antonyms

1.2.1 Derivational Antonyms

1.3 Semantic Classification of Antonyms

1.3.1 Antonyms Proper

1.3.2 Complementaries

1.3.3 Converives

Chapter 2. Textual Presentation of Antonyms in Modern English

2.1 Textual Presentation of Antonyms in Modern English

2.1.1 Root Antonyms in language

2.1.2 Derivational antonyms in language

2.2 Differences of meaning of antonyms

2.3 Using antonyms pair in proverbs and sayings

Chapter 3. Synonym in English language

.1 Kinds of synonyms and their specific features

.2 Distributional features of the English synonyms

.3 Changeability and substitution of meanings

.4 Semantic and functional relationship in synonyms

.5 Interchangeable character of words and their synonymy

.6 Combinability of synonyms

.7 Peculiar features of semantics and combinability of the English verbs on the examples of the synonyms to amuse, to entertain, to grip, to interest, to thrill

.8 Conceptual synonymy

.9 Synonymy and collocative meaning

.10 Semantic peculiarities of synonyms



Synonyms and Antonyms form an integral part of the English Language.

The subject-matter of the Course Paper is to investigate lexico-semantic features of antonyms and synonyms in modern English.

The topicality of the problem under investigation results from the necessity to update basic assumption provided by different linguists in order to be able to establish the classification of antonyms and synonyms depending on their morphological and semantic classifications in Modern English.

The novelty of the problem arises from the necessity of a profound scientific investigation of antonyms and synonyms.

The main aim of the Course Paper is to summarize and systemize different approaches to the study of antonyms and synonyms in Modern English.

The aim of the course Paper presupposes the solutions of the following tasks:

· To expand and update the definition of the terms antonym and synonym

· To reveal characteristic features of modern cognitive linguistics

· To establish the difference between different kinds of antonyms

· To have some skills of recognizing all categories of antonyms

According the tasks of the Course Paper its structure is arranged in the following way:

Introduction, the Main Part, Conclusion, Literature.

In the Introduction we provide the explanation of the theme choice, state the topicality of it, establish the main aim, and the practical tasks of the Paper.

In the main part we analyze the character features of modern the classification of antonyms and synonyms depending on their morphological and semantic classifications, differences between absolute (or root) antonyms, synonyms and derivational antonyms and synonyms, main characteristics of antonyms proper, complementaries and converives.

In conclusion we generalize the results achieved.practical significance of the work can be concluded in the following items:)The work could serve as a good source of learning English by young teachers at schools and colleges.)The lexicologists could find a lot of interesting information for themselves.)Those who would like to communicate with the English-speaking people through the Internet will be able to use the up-to-date words with the help of our qualification work.building processes involve not only qualitative but also quantitative changes. Thus, derivation and compounding represent addition, as affixes and free stems, respectively, are added to the underlying form. Shortening, on the other hand, may be represented as significant subtraction, in which part of the original word is taken away.

Part 1. Lexico-Semantic Features of Antonyms in Modern English

to the differences between our two hemispheres of our brains (emotional and rational), we react to different thing in a different way, but we do that more readily to the emotional than the rational. Similarity or polarity of meaning catches our attention and stick it with what we see and feel with our right brain too. That's why many different systems which describe semantic features of antonyms in modern English have been appeared. But the investigation problems of the concept of polarity of meaning is not the main task of this Course Paper, therefore this problem has been described briefly.

Stylistic features of words and problems of stylistic stratification in general were discussed in connection with different types of meaning. Synonyms and antonyms are usually felt to be correlative notions: firstly because the criterion of synonyms is semantic similarity which is in exact opposition to the criterion of antonyms - semantic polarity; secondly because synonyms and antonyms seem to overlap in a number of cases. When we speak of the words daddy and parent as synonyms, we do so because of the similarity of their denotation meaning and polarity of their stylistic reference (ex. daddy - colloquial, parent - bookish).

In most cases the grammatical features of a word reveals itself in a context. There are, however, words which do not acquire grammatical meaning even in the context. We will speak of them when we analyze the relations between lexical and grammatical meanings in words. Our subject-matter is lexico-Semantic meaning of a word. It is possible to distinguish three essential types of lexical meaning of words:

· Nominative meaning determined by reality. The direct nominative meaning stand in one-to-one relationship with a word. For instance: cat, table, sun.

· Phraseologically bound meaning of words depending on the peculiarities of their usage in a given language, e.g. to take care, to have a smoke, to catch cold.

· Syntactically conditioned meanings of words are those which change with the change of the environment. For instance: to look - to look for - to look after. [18]

In the structure of lexical meaning of a word we distinguish two main components:

· Denotative;

· Connotative

Denotative meaning is the conceptual nuclear of the word meaning. Denotative meaning is bound up with its referent. Referent is an object or phenomenon in our world which the given word names. Denotative meaning may have one constant referent. (moon), but also it can have several referents (ex. a hand - firstly its referen tis a part of human arm; its second referent is the pointer on a clock; its third referent is a person (workman)).

Denotative meaning may have diffusive character, as in the case with the words: good, bad, clever, progressive. The denotative meaning is sometimes called: logical meaning; referential meaning, cognitive meaning; conceptual meaning or simply speaking, the literal meaning of a word.

If the denotative meaning is the nuclear part of the lexical meaning of a word, then the connotative meaning is its shell. Simply speaking, the connotative meaning is what we call additional, non-literal meaning of a word. It contains various shades. For example, the denotative component of the lexical meaning of the word awful, is "very bad".

According to the subject-matter of the Course Paper, let us examine a question the Concept of Polarity of Meaning.

1.1 The Concept of Polarity of Meaning

investigation problems of the concept of polarity of meaning is not the main task, therefore this problem has been described briefly. The term polarity exists in such fields of human knowledge as physics, mathematics, chemistry, psychology and etc. In linguistic this term can be found in semantic classification of the words.

The problem of the polarity of semantic meaning may be viewed in the Course Paper as a theoretical base to describe some classifications in various ways. The matter is that semantic classifications are generally based on the semantic similarity (or polarity) of words (or their component - morphemes).

Semantic similarity or polarity of words may be observed in the similarity of their denotational or connotational meaning. Similarity or polarity of the denotational component of lexical meaning is to be found in lexical groups of synonyms and antonyms. Similarity or polarity of the connotational components serves as the basis for stylistic stratification of vocabulary units.

Antonymic pairs are usually listed in a special dictionary called thesaurus. Yet there are other criteria according to which it is possible to reveal antonyms. The most important of them are: contextual criterion, the possibility of substitution, and identical lexical valency.

According to the contextual criterion two words are considered antonyms if they are regularly contrasted in actual speech. The use of antonyms in the same contexts has produced fixed antonymic constructions, such as: a higher degree of abstraction or more generalized character.

Unlike synonyms antonyms do not differ in style, or emotional coloring (they express, as a rule, emotional characteristics of the same intensity.

So, we can base on the definition antonyms as two or more words belonging to the same pat of speech, contradictory or contrary in meaning, and interchangeable at least at some contexts.

Group of antonyms is the type of semantic relation between lexical units having opposite meanings. Antonyms do not simply involve complete difference in meanings. It involves a sense opposition which can be applied to the same object or phenomenon.

Antonyms (Greek anti - opposite, onyma - name) are words belonging to the same part of speech, identical in style and having opposite denotative meanings. For example: light - dark; happiness - sorrow; up - down. Antonyms are usually believed to appear in pairs. Yet, this is not true in reality. For instance, the adjective cold may be said to have warm for its second antonym, and the noun sorrow may be very well contrasted with gaiety. [18, p.28]

However, polysemantic word may have an antonym or several antonyms for each of its meanings. So, the adjective dull has the antonym interesting, amusing, entertaining and active for its meaning of deficient in interest, and clever, bright, capable for its meaning of deficient in intellect and active for its meaning of deficient in activity. Antonyms are not evenly distributed among the categories of parts of speech. Most antonyms are adjectives, which seems to be natural, because qualitative characteristics are easily compared and contrasted. For example: high- low, strong - weak, wide - narrow, friendly - hostile. Verbs take the second place, so far as antonym is concerned. For example: to lose - to find, to live - to die, to open - to close. Nouns are not rich in antonyms. For example: good - evil, love - hatred.

Antonymic adverbs can be subdivided into two groups:

a) adverbs derived from adjectives: warmly - coldly, loudly - softly;

This gives up rights to speak about morphological classification of antonyms.

1.2 Morphological Classification of Antonyms

have traditionally been defined as words of opposite meaning. This definition, however, is not sufficiently accurate as it only shifts the problem to the question of what words may be regarded as words of opposite meaning. Therefore the latest linguistic investigations emphasize, that antonyms are similar as words belonging to the same part of speech and the same semantic field, having the same grammatical meaning and functions, as well as similar collocations. [14]

According to their morphological structure antonyms may be classified into:

· root antonyms (having different roots): to love - to hate, long - short, day - night;

· derivational antonyms (having the same roots but different derivational affixes): regular - irregular, fruitful - fruitless. [18, 14, 26 ]

Absolute or Root Antonyms So, V.N. Comissarov in his dictionary of antonyms classified them into two groups: absolute or root antonyms and derivational antonyms.

Absolute antonyms have different roots and derivational antonyms have the same roots but different affixes. [60]

We can find in Collins Cobuild dictionary such definition: The antonym of word is another word which means the opposite. [78]

There is another term, which is quit interesting to our opinion: Words that are antonymous are opposite in meaning.

Such, the pair of words should be called antonymous, but one of them, which is not always just one, has a name antonym. Kinds and examples of root antonyms are observed in the second part of the Course Paper. But in the theoretical part we want to refer to a very interesting source.

In dealing with antonymic oppositions it may be helpful to treat antonyms in terms of marked and unmarked members. The unmarked member can be more widely used and very often can include the referents of the marked member but not vice versa. This proves that their meanings have some components in common. In the antonymic pair `old - young the unmarked member is old. We've found an interesting example on one of studied sources:

It is possible to ask: How old is the girl?, without implying that she is no longer young. [76] Some authors, J.Lyons among them, suggest a different terminology. They distinguish antonyms proper and complementary antonyms. The chief characteristic feature of antonyms proper is that they are regularly gradable. Antonyms proper, therefore, represent contrary notions. Grading is based on the operation of comparison. One can compare the intensity of feeling as in love -- attachment -- liking -- indifference -- antipathy -- hate. Whenever a sentence contains an antonym or an antonymic pair, it implicitly or explicitly contains comparison.

Thus, discussing the group of root antonyms, we should to speak about complementary antonyms and contrary notions, a semantic classification of antonyms.

1.2.1 Derivational Antonyms

Derivetional antonyms are more difficult to study. As we mentioned above, derivational antonyms have the same roots but different affixes.

Negative prefixes for antonyms are un-, dis-, non-, but sometimes they are formed by means of suffixes -ful and -less. The number of antonyms with the suffixes -ful and -less is not very large, e.g. "successful" -"unsuccessful", "selfless" - "selfish". The same is true about antonyms with negative prefixes, e.g. "to man" is not an antonym of the word "to unman", "to disappoint" is not an antonym of the word "to appoint".

The difference between derivational and root antonyms is not only in their structure, but in semantics as well. Group of derivational antonyms express contradictory notions, one of them excludes the other, e.g. "active"- "inactive". Absolute antonyms express contrary notions. If some notions can be arranged in a group of more than two members, the most distant members of the group will be absolute antonyms, e.g. "ugly", "plain", "good-looking", "pretty", "beautiful", the antonyms are "ugly" and "beautiful".

Leonard Lipka in the book Outline of English Lexicology defines types of oppositeness, which we study in the next chapter of this Course Paper. Thus, we should to study now some characteristics of Semantic Classification of Antonyms.

1.3 Semantic Classification of Antonyms

Lipka is one of the linguists, who describes different types of oppositeness, and subdivides them into three types:

a) complementary, e.g. male -female, married -single,

b) antonyms, e.g. good -bad,

c) converseness, e.g. to buy - to sell.

He does that in the following way. The denial of the one implies, the assertion of the other, and vice versa. John is not married implies that John is single. The type of oppositeness is based on yes/no decision. This concerns pairs of lexical units.

Antonyms are the second class of oppositeness. It is distinguished from complimentarity by being based on different logical relationships. For pairs of antonyms like good - bad, big - small only the second one of the above mentioned relations of implication holds. The assertion containing one member implies the negation of the other, but not vice versa. John is good implies that John is not bad, but John is not good does not imply that John is bad. The negation of one term does not necessarily implies the assertion of the other.

Converseness is mirror-image relations or functions, e.g. husband - wife, pupil - teacher, precede - follow, above - below, before - after etc. [80]

L. Lipka also describes the type which is called as:

· directional opposition, ex. up - down;

· consiquence opposition, ex. learn - know;

· antipodal opposition, ex. North - South, East - West, ( it is based on contrary motion, in opposite directions.)

· oppositions, which involve motion in different directions, ex. come - go, arrive -depart.[80]

L. Lipka also points out non-binary contrast or many-member lexical sets. Here he points out serially ordered sets, such as:

· scales, ex. hot- warm, cool - cold ;

· colour words, ex. black, grey, white ;

· ranks, ex. marshal, general, colonel, major, captain etc.;

· gradable examination marks, ex. excellent, good, average, fair, poor;

· units of time, ex. spring, summer, autumn, winter . [80]

Thus, let's investigate the complementary, proper antonyms, and converseness differences in details.

1.3.1 Antonyms Proper

Some authors, J.Lyons among them, suggest a different terminology. They distinguish antonyms proper and complementary antonyms. The chief characteristic feature of antonyms proper is that they are regularly gradable. This kind of antonyms proper represents contrary notions. They say, that grading is based on the operation of comparison. The group of words, which name intensity of feeling, ex. love -- attachment -- liking -- indifference -- antipathy -- hate, can be compared. [27]

Whenever a sentence contains an antonym or an antonymic pair, it contains comparison. J. Lyons discusses an interesting example of antonyms also dealing with elephants: A small elephant is a large animal. The size-norm for elephants is not the same as that for all animals in general: the elephant which is small in comparison with other elephants may be big in comparison with animals as a class.

This example may also serve to show the difference and parallelism between antonyms proper and complementarity (expressing contradictory notions). The semantic polarity in antonyms proper is relative, the opposition is gradual, it may embrace several elements characterized by different degrees of the same property. The comparison they imply is clear from the context. Large and little denote polar degrees of the same notion. The same referent which may be small as an elephant is a comparatively big animal, but it cannot be male as an elephant and female as an animal: a male elephant is a male animal.

Having noted the difference between complementary antonyms and antonyms proper, we must also take into consideration that they have much in common so that in a wider sense both groups are taken as antonyms.

1.3.2 Complementaries

J.Lyons among also describes complementaries. Like other antonyms they are regularly contrasted in speech (ex. male- female), and the elements of a complementary pair have similar distribution. According to him, the assertion of a sentence containing an antonymous or complementary term implies the denial of a corresponding sentence containing the other antonym or complementary:

The poem is good > The poem is not bad (good : : bad -- antonyms proper) This is prose > This is not poetry (prose : : poetry -- complementaries)

As to the difference in negation it is optional with antonyms proper: by saying that the poem is not good the speaker does not always mean that it is positively bad. Though more often we are inclined to take into consideration only the opposite ends of the scale and by saying that something is not bad we even, using litotes, say it is good. So complementaries are a subset of antonyms taken in a wider sense.

The complementary opposite, sometimes is known as the contradictory. Like the gradable adjectives, the complementary adjectives share a semantic dimension, but it is a dimension which has no middle values. As Cruse describes it:

The essence of a pair of complementaries is that between them they exhaustively divide some conceptual domain into two mutually exclusive compartments, so that what does not fall into one of the compartments must necessarily fall into the other".

It is sometimes hard to decide whether a pair of opposites belongs in the set of gradable adjectives or in the set of complementaries. But, as Cruse says, in addition to adjectives, verbs such as pass - fail and obey - disobey, nouns such as day - night, prepositions such as in - out, and adverbs such as backwards - forwards are also sometimes considered examples of complementaries.

Although by definition, complementaries are pairs which allow no logical middle term, in actual use, complementaries are sometimes used like gradable adjectives; for example, we can say that something is almost true, or that someone is barely alive.

However, as Lyons (1977) points out, in these cases it may be the "secondary implications" of the words that are being graded rather than the main sense. That is, someone who is barely alive is actually entirely alive, but s/he is not as lively or energetic as most people are. Directional opposites are another type of opposite, described in Lyons (1977) and in greater detail in Cruse (1986). These are generally adverbs or prepositions and include pairs such as up - down, in - out, and clockwise - anticlockwise.

Reersive opposites, described in Lehrer and Lehrer (1982) and Egan (1968), are yet another type of opposite, Egan describes reversive opposites in this way:

These comprise adjectives or adverbs which signify a quality or verbs or nouns which signify an act or state that reverse or undo the quality, act, or state of the other. Although they are neither contradictory nor contrary terms, they present a clear opposition.

This class contains many verbs, for example, tie - untie, marry - divorce, enter - leave, appear - disappear. Cruse and Lyons consider the reversive verbs to be a subtype of directional opposites, because they all describe activities which result in an object undergoing a change from one state to another. Thus Cruse says the opposition seen in pairs of reversive verbs is similar to the kind of opposition in pairs of directional prepositions such as to - from.

1.3.3 Converives

Relational opposites is the term given by Cruse [26] also called relative terms according to Egan [27] and conversive terms difined by Lyons [27], include pairs such as above - below, predecessor - successor, parent - child and teacher - student.

Egan describes these as pairs of words which indicate such a relationship that one of them cannot be used without suggesting the other.

Cruse considers this class to also be a subclass of the directional opposites. He says that these pairs "express a relationship between two entities by specifying the direction of one relative to the other along some axis." In examples such as above - below, this axis is spatial, but other examples (e.g. ancestor - descendant) involve "an analogical or metaphorical extension of spatial dimensions".

Lyons points out that many opposites of this type involve social roles (teacher - student, doctor - patient) or kinship relations (father - mother), and these types of reciprocal relations have been wll documented in many languages in the anthropological literature.

Conversives (or relational opposites) as F.R. Palmer calls them denote one and the same referent or situation as viewed from different points of view, with a reversal of the order of participants and their roles. The interchangeability and contextual behaviour are specific. The relation is closely connected with grammar, namely with grammatical contrast of active and passive. The substitution of a conversive does not change the meaning of a sentence if it is combined with appropriate regular morphological and syntactical changes and selection of appropriate prepositions, ex. He gave her flowers. She received flowers from him. = She was given flowers by him.

An important point setting them apart is that conversive relations are possible within the semantic structure of one and the same word. M.V. Nikitin mentions such verbs as wear, sell, tire, smell, etc. and such adjectives as glad, sad, dubious, lucky and others. It should be noted that sell in this case is not only the conversive of buy, it means be sold, find buyers. The same contrast of active and passive sense is observed in adjectives: sad saddening and saddened, dubious and doubtful mean feeling doubt and inspiring doubt.

So, semantically antonyms can be classified as gradable antonyms (describing something, which can be measured and compared with something else), complementary antonyms (which are matter of being either one thing or another), and converse antonyms (these antonyms always depend on each other). Morphological classification of antonyms includes two types of antonyms:

· Absolute or Root Antonyms (with root polarity), and

· Derivational antonyms (which has morphems with polar meanings).

Taking into account the main aims of these investigation, all these points of scientific view should be worked out and analyzed in the next part of the Course Paper.

Lexico-Semantic meaning of words distinguishes three essential types of lexical meaning of words: nominative meaning determined by reality, phraseologically bound meaning of words depending on the peculiarities of their usage in a given language, and syntactically conditioned meanings of words are those which change with the change of the environment.the structure of lexical meaning of a word we distinguish two main components: denotative and connotative.

Polysemantic word may have an antonym or several antonyms for each of its meanings. Antonyms are not evenly distributed among the categories of parts of speech.

Antonyms are similar as words belonging to the same part of speech and the same semantic field, having the same grammatical meaning and functions, as well as similar collocations. According to their morphological structure antonyms may be classified into: root antonyms and derivational antonyms (having the same roots but different derivational affixes).

Part 2. Textual Presentation of Antonyms in Modern English

.1 Textual Presentation of Antonyms in Modern English

's time to study examples of antonyms in detail.

Arnold handles a problem of using of antonyms in a literary as means of giving emphasise to some contrast. Antonyms create emotional tension as in the following lines from Romeo and Juliet (Act I, Scene V):

My only love sprang from my only hate

Too early seen unknown, and known too late!

The opposition is obvious: each component of these pairs means the opposite of the other. Some other examples:

1. If you've obeyed all the rules good and bad, and you still come out at the dirty end ... then I say the rules are no good (M. Wilson).

2. He was alive, not dead (Shaw).

3. You will see if you were right or wrong (Cronin)

4. The whole was big, oneself was little (Galsworthy)...

Another important example is the possibility of substitution and identical lexical valency [60]. This possibility of identical contexts is very clearly seen in the following lines:

1. There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, That it hardly becomes any of us To talk about the rest of us (Hock).

As for the same antonymic pair, they reveal nearly identical spheres of collocation. Examples: the adjective hot in its figurative meaning of angry and excited is chiefly combined with names of unpleasant emotions: anger, resentment, scorn, etc. Its antonym cold occurs with the same words.

The example with Elephant mentioned in the theoretical part, gives us an interesting notice such words as young - old; big - small; good - bad do not refer to independent absolute qualities but to some-implicit norm, they are relative.

The Elephant

When people call this beast to mind,

They marvel more and more

At such a little tail behind,

So large a trunk before.

The tail of an elephant is little only in comparison with his trunk and the rest of his body. For a mouse it would have been quite big. J. Lyons discusses an interesting example of antonyms also dealing with elephants: A small elephant is a large animal. The implicit size-norm for elephants is not the same as that for all animals in general: the elephant which is small in comparison with other elephants may be big in comparison with animals as a class.

Almost every word can have one or more synonyms. Comparatively few have antonyms. This type of opposition is especially characteristic of qualitative adjectives. E. g. in W. Shakespeare's Sonnet LXXVI":

For as the sun is daily new and old, So is my love still telling what is told.

It is also manifest in words derived from qualitative adjectives, e. g. gladly - sadly; gladness - sadness. Irrespective of the part of speech, they are mostly words connected with feelings or state: triumph - disaster; hope - despair. Antonymic pairs, also irrespective of part of speech, concern direction (hither and thither) (L.A. Novikov calls these vectorial antonyms"), and position in space and time (far and near).

Nothing so difficult as a beginning,

In poetry, unless perhaps the end (Byron).

There are also day - night, late - early, over - under.

2.1.1 Root Antonyms in language

As we said in the first part, antonyms and conversives reflect polarity. We'll try to show that using antonyms. We've used

So, all antonyms can be divided into two big groups: root antonyms and derivational. First let us found a group of root antonyms. These are words, roots of which have opposite meanings.

· New - old

The new town of Whitney Clay had swallowed up the old village.

New - not existing before; introduced, made, invented, etc. recently or for the first time. Old - having been in existence or use for a long time.

· We can see that these pairs of words are pairs of antonyms, whereas the particle not is an element of formation of antonyms. We can find it using chain of meanings if the words. Distant - near

It may be near, it may be distant; while the road lasts nothing turns me.

· The meanings of these words enclose opposite semes, such as distant - near= far away - short, therefore they are antonyms. Our next examples illustrate pair of words, which are antonymous pairs: Guilty - innocent

So the law assumed there must be one guilty party, and one innocent party who has been wronged by desertion of the matrimonial bed.

· Loathe - love

· If a man and woman sinned, let them go for into the desert to love or loathe each other there. Giant - pigmy

So you think your friend in the city will be hard upon me, if i fail a payment? - says the trooper, looking down upon him like a giant. My dear friend, I am afraid he will, - returns the old man looking up at him like a pigmy.

2.1.2 Derivational antonyms in language

The second group of antonyms (derivations) can be made with: un -, in -; (il -; im -; ir -;); dis -, and -less. Some examples of derivationals:

· Approve - disapprove

Who am I to approve or disapprove?

· Tied - untied

People get tied up, and sometimes they stay tied - because they want to stay or because they haven't the will power to break or others become untied and make a new start.

· Engage - disengage

How soon will you be disengaged? I didn't say you i was engaged.

· Just - unjust

The A.F. of L. port leaders, as loyal servitors of capitalism, unquestionable support all wars, just or unjust, declared by the capitalist class and its government.

· Audible - inaudible

Little audible links, they are chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes.

· Concerned - unconcerned

It concerned her in some way, but she herself was unconcerned, and she slid without effort into the position of mistress of the farm. So, it's easy to find these examples in Modern English. Their meanings are quite clever and understandable.

2.2 Differences of meaning of antonyms

, the meanings can sometimes be different. Let us to analyze the verb agree. This verb has five meanings, but only three of them have antonyms.

Agree - v. 1.to say yes, ex: I asked for a pay rise and she agreed. - refuse; 2.to have a similar opinion to somebody, ex: I agree with his analysis of the situation. - disagree; 3.to be consisted with something; to match, ex: You account of the affair doesn't agree with hers. - disagree.

Order - n. The word has fourteen meanings, but only two of them have antonyms:

1.the state that exists when people obey the laws, rules or authority, ex: The police are trying to restore public order. - disorder;

2.the state of being carefully and neatly arranged, ex: Get your ideas into some kind of order before beginning to write. - disorder.

Black - adj. The word has nine meanings, but only three of them have antonyms:

1.of the very darkest colour, ex: A big black cloud appeared. - white.

2.without milk, ex: Two black coffees, please. - white. 3.of a race that has dark skin, ex: Many black people emigrated to Britain it the 1950s. - white.

Active - adj. The word has six meanings, but only two of them have antonyms: 1.doing things; lively, ex: She takes an active part in local politics.; -inactive.;

2.of the form of a verb whose subject is the person or thing that performs the action (grammar), as in He was driving the car and the children have eaten the cake. - passive.

Down - adv. The word has nine meanings, but only four of them have antonyms:

1.from the upright position to a lower level, ex: He bent down to pick up his gloves.- up.;

2.indicating a lower place or state, ex: The bread is on the third shelf down. - up.;

3.to be read from top to bottom, not from side to side, ex: I can't do 3 down. - across.;

4.away from a university (Brit), ex: going down at the end of the year. - up.

1. in defence or support of somebody/something, ex: I'm all for pubs staying open all day. - against.

2.3 Using antonyms pair in proverbs and sayings

main field of use pairs of antonyms is proverbs and sayings. Proverbs are phenomenon of thout, language, art. The main sense of proverbs and sayings is not the information given but artistic pattern, meaning content. Some examples:

The time passes away but sayings remain.

After a storm comes fair weather, after sorrow comes joy.

An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening.

There'd be no good fortune if misfortune hadn't helped.

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

Breaking is not making.

Knowledge is light, ignorance is darkness.

You started speaking with delight and finished with a sorry sight!

Native dogs are fighting here, foreign ones should not interfere.

Greet him according to the clothes, take leave according to what he knows.[59]

Thus, based on the examples given above , we can say that antonyms are resource of a category opposition.

We have found a confirmation that antonyms can be expressed:

· as words with different roots;

· as words, which are formed with negative prefixes.

Almost every word can have one or more synonyms. Comparatively few have antonyms. The main field of use pairs of antonyms is proverbs and sayings. The main sense of proverbs and sayings is not the information given but artistic pattern, meaning content. We have found a confirmation that antonyms can be expressed: as words with different roots and as words, which are formed with negative prefixes.

The main criterion of antonyms is steady using their pairs in contexts. Antonym pairs thread Modern English. However, antonyms imply polarity of one of the semantic components of the words showing us the same main point. But understanding antonyms as polarity of the several semantic components of the words showing two polarity main points is possible.

Chapter 3. Synonym in English language


are words different in their outer aspects, but identical or similar in their inner aspects. In English there are a lot of synonyms, because there are many borrowings, e.g. hearty / native/ - cordial/ borrowing/. After a word is borrowed it undergoes desynonymization, because absolute synonyms are unnecessary for a language. However, there are some absolute synonyms in the language, which have exactly the same meaning and belong to the same style, e.g. to moan, to groan; homeland, motherland etc. In cases of desynonymization one of the absolute synonyms can specialize in its meaning and we get semantic synonyms, e.g. «city» /borrowed/, «town» /native/. The French borrowing «city» is specialized. In other cases native words can be specialized in their meanings, e.g. «stool» /native/, «chair» /French/.

Sometimes one of the absolute synonyms is specialized in its usage and we get stylistic synonyms, e.g. «to begin»/ native/, «to commence» /borrowing/. Here the French word is specialized. In some cases the native word is specialized, e.g. «welkin» /bookish/, «sky» /neutral/.

Stylistic synonyms can also appear by means of abbreviation. In most cases the abbreviated form belongs to the colloquial style, and the full form to the neutral style, e.g. «examination', «exam».

Among stylistic synonyms we can point out a special group of words which are called euphemisms. These are words used to substitute some unpleasant or offensive words, e.g. «the late» instead of «dead», «to perspire» instead of «to sweat» etc.

There are also phraseological synonyms, these words are identical in their meanings and styles but different in their combining with other words in the sentence, e.g. «to be late for a lecture» but «to miss the train», «to visit museums» but «to attend lectures» etc.

In each group of synonyms there is a word with the most general meaning, which can substitute any word in the group, e.g. «piece» is the synonymic dominant in the group «slice», «lump», «morsel». The verb « to look at» is the synonymic dominant in the group «to stare», «to glance», «to peep». The adjective «red' is the synonymic dominant in the group «purple», «scarlet», «crimson».

When speaking about the sources of synonyms, besides desynonymization and abbreviation, we can also mention the formation of phrasal verbs, e.g. «to give up» - «to abandon», «to cut down» - «to diminish». Grouping of words is based upon similarities and contrasts and is usually called as synonymic row. Taking up similarity of meaning and contrasts of phonetic shape we observe that every language has in its vocabulary a variety of words, kindred in meaning but distinct in morphemic composition, phonemic shape and usage, ensuring the expression of the most delicate shades of thought, feeling and imagination. The more developed the language, the richer the diversity and therefore the greater the possibilities of lexical choice enhancing the effectiveness and precision of speech.

The way synonyms function may be seen from the following example: Already in this half-hour of bombardment hundreds upon hundreds of men would have been violently slain, smashed, torn, gouged, crusted, and mutilated.

The synonymous words smash and crush are semantic-ally very close; they combine to give a forceful representation of the atrocities of war. Richness and clearness of language are of paramount importance in so far as they promote precision of thought. Even this preliminary example makes it obvious that the still very common definitions of synonyms as words of the same language having the same meaning or as different words that stand for the same notion are by no means accurate and even in a way misleading. By the very nature of language every word has its own history, its own peculiar motivation, and its own typical contexts. And besides there is always some hidden possibility of different connotation arid which is feeling in each of them. Moreover, words of the same meaning would be useless for communication: they would encumber the language, not enrich it.

If two words exactly coincide in meaning and use, the natural tendency is for one of them to change its meaning or drop out of the language. Thus synonyms are words only similar but not identical in meaning-. This definition is correct but vague. A more precise linguistic definition should be based on a workable notion of tie semantic structure of the word and of the complex nature of every separate meaning in a polysemantic word. Each separate lexical meaning of a word has been described in Chapter VII as consisting of a denotational component identifying the notion or the object and reflecting the essential features of the notion named, shades of meaning reflecting its secondary features, additional connotations resulting from typical contexts in which the word is used, its emotional component arid stylistic coloring; connotations are not necessarily present in every word. The basis of a synonymic opposition is formed by the first of the above named components, i.e. the denotational component. It will be remembered that the term opposition means the relationship of partial difference between two partially similar elements of a language. A common denotational component brings the words together into a synonymic group. All the other components can vary and thus form the distinctive features of the synonymic oppositions.

Synonyms can therefore be defined in terms of linguistics as two or more words of the same language, belonging to the same part of speech and possessing one or more identical or nearly identical denotational meanings, interchangeable, at least in some contexts, without any considerable alteration in denotational meaning, hut differing in morphemic composition, phonemic shape, shades of meaning, connotations, affective value, style, valence and idiomatic use. Additional characteristics of style, emotional coloring and valence peculiar to one of the elements in a synonymic group may be absent in one or all of the others.

The definition is of necessity very bulky and needs some commenting upon. By pointing out the fact that synonyms belong to the same part of speech the definition makes it clear that synonymic grouping is really a special case of lexico-grammatical grouping based on semantic proximity of words.

To have something tangible to work upon it is convenient to compare some synonyms within their group, so as to make obvious the reasons of the definition. The verbs experience, undergo, sustain and suffer, for example, come together because all four render the notion of experiencing something. The verb and the noun experience indicate actual living through something and coming to know it first hand rather than from hearsay. Undergo applies chiefly to what someone or something bears or is subjected to, as in to undergo an operation, to undergo changes. Compare also the following example from L. P. Smith: The French language has undergone considerable and more recent changes since the date when the Normans brought it into England. In the above example the verb undergo can be replaced by its synonyms without any change of the sentence meaning. This may be easily proved if a similar context is found for some other synonym in the same group. For instance: These Latin words suffered many transformations in becoming French.

The denotational meaning is obviously the same. Synonyms, then, are interchangeable under certain conditions specific to each group. This seems to call forth an analogy with phonological neutralization. Now, it will be remembered that neutralization is the absence in some contexts of a phonetic contrast found elsewhere or formerly in the language, as the absence of contrast between final [s] and [z] after [t]. It appears we are justified in calling s e-m antic neutralization the suspension of an otherwise functioning semantic opposition that occurs in some lexical contexts.

And yet suffer in this meaning (`to undergo'), but not in the example above, is characterized by connotations implying wrong or injury. No semantic neutralization occurs in phrases like to suffer atrocities, to suffer heavy losses. The implication is of course caused by the existence of the main intransitive meaning of the same word, not synonymous with the group, i. e. `feel pain'. Sustain as an element of this group differs from both in shade of meaning and style. It is an official word and it suggests undergoing affliction without giving way.

A further illustration will be supplied by a group of synonymous nouns: hope, expectation, and anticipation. They are considered to be synonymous because they all three mean `having something in mind which is likely to happen'. They are, however, much less interchangeable than the previous group because of more strongly pronounced difference in shades of meaning. Expectation may be either of good or of evil. Anticipation, as a rule, is a pleasurable expectation of something good. Hope is not only a belief but a desire that some event would happen. The stylistic difference is also quite marked. The Romance words anticipation and expectation are formal literary words used only by educated speakers, whereas the native monosyllabic hope is stylistically neutral. Moreover, they differ in idiomatic usage. Only hope is possible in such set expressions as: to hope against, hope, to lose hope, to pin one's hopes on smth. Neither expectation nor anticipation could be substituted into the following quotation from T. S. Eliot: You do not know what hope is until you have lost it.

Taking into consideration the corresponding series of synonymous verbs and verbal set expressions: to hope, for anticipate, to expect, to look forward to, we shall see that separate words may be compared to whole set expressions. To look forward also worthy of note because it forms a definitely colloquial counterpart to the rest. It can easily be shown, on the evidence of examples, that each synonymic group comprises a dominant element. This synonymic dominant is the most general term of its kind potentially containing the specific features rendered by all the other members' of the group, as, for instance, undergo and hope in the above.

In the series leave, depart, quit, retire, clear out the verb leave, being general and both stylistically and emotionally neutral, can stand for each of the other four terms. The other four can replace leave only when some specific semantic component must prevail over the general notion. When we want to stress the idea of giving up employment and stopping work quit is preferable because in this word this particular notion dominates over the more general idea common to the whole group. Some of these verbs may be used transitively, e. g. He has left me... Abandoned me! Quitted me! (BENNETT). Arnold I.V. The English Word M. High School 1986 pp. 143-149 In this synonymic series therefore the dominant term is leave. Other dominants are, for instance, get, a verb that can stand for the verbs obtain, acquire, gain, win, earn; also ask, the most general term of its group, viz. inquire, question or interrogate. The synonymic dominant should not be confused with a generic term. A generic term is relative. It serves as the name for the notion of the genus as distinguished from the names of the species. For instance, animal is a generic term as compared to the specific names wolf, dog or mouse (which are not synonymous). Dog, in its turn, may serve as a generic term for different breeds such as bull-dog, collie, poodle, etc.

The definition on p. 224 states that synonyms possess one or more identical or nearly identical meanings. To realize the significance of this, one must bear in mind that the majority of frequent words are polysemantic, and that it is precisely the frequent words that have many synonyms. The result is that one and the same word may belong in its various meanings to several different synonymic groups. The verb appear in ...an old brown cat without a tail appeared from nowhere (MANSFIELD) Jespersen ,Otto. Growth and Structure of the English Language. Oxford, 1982 pp.246-249 is synonymous with come into sight, emerge. On the other hand, when Gr. Greene depicts the far-off figures of the parachutists who ...appeared stationary, appeared is synonymous with look or seem, their common component being `give the impression of. Appear, then, often applies to erroneous impressions.

Compare the following .groups synonymous to five different meanings of the adjective fresh, as revealed by characteristic contexts: To begin a fresh paragraph--fresh: another : different : new.

Fresh air -- fresh: pure : invigorating.

A freshman --fresh: inexperienced : green : raw.

To be fresh with smb --fresh: impertinent : rude.

The semantic structures of two polysemantic words sometimes coincide in more than one meaning, but never completely.may also differ in emotional coloring which may be present in one element of the group and absent in all or some of the others. Lonely as compared with alone is emotional as is easily seen from the following examples: ...a very lonely boy lost between them and aware at ten that his mother had no interest in him, and that his father was a stranger. (ALDEIDGE) Shall be alone as my secretary doesn't come to-day (M. DICKENS). Both words denote being apart from others, but lonely besides the general meaning implies longing for company, feeling sad because of the lack of sympathy and companionship. Alone does not necessarily suggest any sadness at being by oneself.

If the difference in the meaning of synonyms concerns the notion or the emotion expressed, as was the case in the groups discussed above, the synonyms are classed as ideographic synonyms, and the opposition created in contrasting them may be called an ideographic opposition. The opposition is formulated with the help of a clear definitive statement of the semantic component present in all the members of the group. The analysis proceeds as a definition by comparison with the standard that is thus settled. It is not enough to tell something about each word. The thing to tell is how each word is related to others in this particular group. 3 The establishment of differential features proves very helpful, whereas sliding from one synonym to another with no definite point of departure creates a haphazard approach with no chance of tracing the system. In analyzing the group consisting of the words glance n, look n and glimpse n we state that all three denote a conscious and direct endeavor to see, the distinctive feature is based on the time and quickness of the action. A glance is `a look which is quick and sudden' and a glimpse is quicker still, implying only momentary sight.

In a stylistic opposition of synonyms the basis of comparison is again the denotational meaning and the distinctive feature is the presence or absence of a stylistic coloring which may also be accompanied a difference in emotional coloring.

It has become quite a tradition with linguists : when discussing synonyms to quote a passage from As You Like It (Act V, Scene I) to illustrate the social differentiation of vocabulary and the stylistic relationship existing1 in the English language between simple, mostly native, words and their dignified and elaborate synonyms borrowed from the French. We shall keep to this time-honored convention, Speaking to a country fellow William, the jester Touchstone says: Therefore, you clown, abandon, -- which is in the vulgar leave, -- the society, -- which in the boorish is company, -- of this female, -- which in the common is woman; which together is abandon the society of this female, or, clown, thou perishes t; or to thy better understanding diets; or, to wit, I kill thee, make thee away, translate thy life into death.

The general effect of poetic or learned .synonyms when used in prose or in everyday speech is that of creating alit elevated tone. The point may be proved by the very first example in this chapter (see p. 223) Smirnitsky A.I. Synonyms in English M.1977 pp.57-59,89-90 where the poetic and archaic verb slays is-substituted for the neutral kill. We must be on our guard too against the idea that the stylistic effect may exist without influencing the meaning: in fact it never does. The verb slay not only lends to the whole a poetical and solemn ring, it also shows the writer's and his hero's attitude to the fact, their horror and repugnance of war and their feeling for its victims.

The phrases they are killed, they are slain, they are made away with may refer to the same event hut they are different ill meaning, in so far as they reveal a different attitude to the subject in question on the part of the speaker.study of synonyms is a borderline province between semantics and stylistics on the one hand and semantics arid phraseology on the other because of the synonymic collocations serving as_ a means of emphasis. The following example from A Taste of Honey, j remarkable for the truthfulness of its dialogue, shows how they are used in modern speech;

Helen: ...The devil looks after his own, - they say.


pairs like wear and tear are very numerous in modern English and often used both in everyday speech and in literature. They show all the typical features of idiomatic phrases that ensure their memorable ness such as rhythm, alliteration, rhyme and the use of archaic words seldom occurring elsewhere.

The examples are numerous: hale and hearty, with might and main, nevertheless and notwithstanding, modes and manners, stress and strain, rack and ruin, really and truly, hue and cry, wane and pale, without let or hindrance, act and deed. There are many others which show neither rhyme nor alliteration, and consist of two words equally modern. They are pleonastic, i. e. they emphasize the idea by just stating it twice, and possess a certain rhythmical quality which probably enhances their unity and makes them easily remembered. These are: by leaps and bounds, to pick and choose, pure and simple, stuff and nonsense, bright and shining, far and away, proud and haughty and many more.

In a great number of cases the semantic difference between two OP more synonyms is supported by the difference in valence. Distributional oppositions between synonyms have never been studied systematically, although the amount of data collected is very impressive. The difference in distribution maybe syntactical, morphological, lexical, and surely deserves more attention than has been so far given to it. It is, for instance, known that bare in reference to persons is used only predicatively while naked occurs both predicatively and attributively. The same is true about alone, which, irrespectively of referent, is used only predicatively, whereas its synonyms solitary and lonely occur in both functions. The function is predicative in the following sentence: you are idle, be not solitary, if you are solitary be not idle. (s. JOHNSON) Akhmanova O.S. Lexicology: Theory and Method. M. 1972 pp. 59-66 It has been repeatedly mentioned that begin and commence differ stylistically, ft must be noted, however, that their distributional difference is not less important. Begin is generalized in its lexical meaning and becomes a semi-auxiliary when used with an infinitive. It follows naturally that begin and not commence is the right word before an infinitive even in formal style. Seem and appear may be followed by an infinitive or a that-claw. see whereas look which is stylistically equivalent to them is never used in these constructions. Aware and conscious are followed either by an o/-phrase or by a subordinate clause, e. g. to be aware of one's failure, to be aware that one's failure is inevitable. Their synonym sensible is preferably used with an o/-phrase.

Very often the distributional difference between synonyms concerns the use of prepositions: e. g. to answer a question, but to reply to a question. The adjectives anxious and uneasy are followed by the preposition about, their synonym concerned permits a choice and is variously combined with about, at, for, with. The misuse of prepositions is one of the most common mistakes not only with foreigners but with native speakers as well.

Lexical difference in distribution is based on the difference in valence. An example of this is offered by the verbs win and gain. Both may be used in combination with the noun victory: to win a victory, to gain a victory. But with the word war only win is possible: to win a war. We are here trespassing on the domain of set expressions, a problem that has already been treated in an earlier chapter. Here it will suffice to point out that the phraseological combining possibilities of words are extremely varied.

It has been repeatedly stated that synonyms cannot be substituted into set expressions; as a general rule each synonym has its own peculiarities of phraseological connections. The statement is only approximately correct. A. V. Koenig has shown that set expressions have special properties as regards synonymy, different from those observed in free phrases. l Some set expressions may vary in their lexical components without changing their meaning, e. g. cast (fling or throw] smth in smb's. teeth. Moreover, the meaning may remain unchanged even if the interchangeable components are not synonymous: to hang on by one's eyelashes (eyelids, eyebrows),-to bear or show a resemblance. The nouns glance, look and glimpse are indiscriminately used with the verbs give and have: to give a look (a glance, a glimpse), to have a look (a glance, a glimpse). With (he verbs cast arid take the word glimpse is not used, so that only the expressions to cast a glance (a look) or to take a glance (a look) are possible. With the verbs steal, shoot, throw the combining possibilities are further restricted, so that only the noun glance will occur in combination with these. It goes without saying that phraseological interchangeability is not frequent.


the exact meaning of each synonym is delimited by its interrelatedness with the other elements of the same group, comparison plays an important part in synonymic research. It has already been tentatively examined in the opening paragraph of this chapter; now we offer a slightly different angle of the same problem. The interchangeability and possible neutralization are tested by means of substitution, a procedure also profitably borrowed by semasiology from phonology. 1 The values of words 2 can best be defined by substituting them for one another and observing the resulting changes. When the landlady in John Waif's Hurry on down says to the main personage: And where do you work? I've asked you that two or three times, Mr. Lumley, but you've never given me any answer, the verb ask has a very general meaning of seeking information. Substituting its synonyms, question or interrogate, will require a change in the structure of the sentence (the omission of that), which shows the distributional opposition between these words, and also ushers in a change in meaning. These words will heighten the implication that the landlady has her doubts about Lumley and confesses that she finds his character suspicious. The verb question would mean that she is constantly asking her lodger searching questions. The substitution of interrogate would suggest systematic and thorough questioning by a person authorized to do so; the landlady could have used it only ironically and irony would have been completely out of keeping with her mentality and habits. Observations of this sort can be supported by statistical data. Most frequent combinations such as teachers question their pupils, fudges interrogate witnesses and the like also throw light on the semantic difference between synonyms.

Synonyms have certain common ground within which they are interchangeable without alteration of meaning or with a very slight loss in effectiveness. Ask and inquire, for instance, may be used indiscriminately when not followed by any object 3 as in the following: And where do you live now, Mr. Gillespie? Mrs. Pearson inquired rather archly and with her head on one side. (PRIESTLEY)

To this connection some more examples may be cited. The words strange, odd, queer, though different in connotations, are often interchangeable because they can be applied to define the same words or words naming similar notions: strange feeling (glance, business)', queer feeling (glance, business), odd feeling (glance, business). E. g.: It seems the queerest set-up I ever heard of. (WYNDHAM) Canon G. Historical Changes and English Wordformation: New Vocabulary items. N.Y., 1986. p.284 Compare also: she agreed to stay : she consented to stay; she seems annoyed : she appears annoyed : she looks annoyed; to discharge an employee : to sack an employee : to fire an employee (a servant, etc.).

It should be borne in mind that substitution in different contexts has for its object not only probing interchangeability but bringing into relief the difference in intellectual, emotional and stylistic value of each word. An additional procedure suggested by Ch. Bally consists in assigning to the words suitable antonyms. The difference between firm and hard, for example, is explained if we point out that firm contrasts with hose and flabby (firm ground: loose ground, firm chin : flabby chin), whereas the opposite of hard is soft (hard ground : soft ground).

The meaning of each word is conditioned the meaning of other words forming part of the same vocabulary system, and especially of those in semantic proximity. High and tall, for instance, could be defined not only from the point of view of their valence (tall is used about people) but also in relation to each other by stating how far they are interchangeable and what their respective antonyms are. A building may be high and it may be (all. High is a relative term signifying `greatly raised above the surface or the base', in comparison with what is usual for objects of the same kind. A table is high if it exceeds 75 cm; a hill of a hundred meters is not high. The same relativity is characteristic of its antonym low. As to the word tall, it is used about objects whose height is greatly in excess of their breadth or diameter and whose actual height is great for an object of its kind: a tall man, a tall tree. The antonym is short.

The area where substitution is possible is very limited and outside it all replacement either destroys the beauty and precision, or, more often, makes the utterance vague, ungrammatical and even unintelligible. This makes the knowledge of where each synonym differs from another of paramount importance for correctness of speech.

The distinctions between words similar in meaning are often very fine and elusive, so that some special instruction on the use of synonyms is necessary even for native speakers. This accounts for the great number of books of synonyms that serve as guides for those who aim at good style and precision and wish to choose the most appropriate terms from the varied stock of the English vocabulary. The study of synonyms is especially indispensable for those who learn English as a foreign language because what is the right word in one situation will be wrong in many other, apparently similar, contexts.

It is often convenient to explain the meaning of a new word with the help of its previously learned synonym. This forms additional associations in the student's mind, and the new word is better remembered. Moreover, it eliminates the necessity of bringing in a native word. And yet the discrimination of synonyms and words which may be confused is more important. -The teacher must show that synonyms are not identical in meaning or use and explain the difference between them by comparing and contrasting them, as well as by showing in what contexts one or the other may be most fitly used.

Translation cannot serve as a criterion of synonymy; there are cases when several English words of different distribution and valence are translated into Russian by one and the same word. Such words as also, too and as well, all translated by the Russian word mooted, are never interchangeable. A teacher of English should always stress the necessity of being on one's guard against mistakes of this kind.

Contextual synonyms are similar in meaning only under some specific distributional conditions. The verbs bear, suffer and stand are semantically different and not interchangeable except when used in the negative form; can't stand is equal to can't bear in the following words of an officer: Gas. I've swallowed too much of the beastly stuff: I can't stand it any longer. I'm going to the dressing-station. (ALDINGTON)

There are some other distinctions to be made with respect to different kinds of semantic similarity. Some authors, for instance, class groups like ask : beg : implore or like : love : adore, gift : talent : genius as synonymous, calling them relative synonyms. This attitude is open to discussion. In fact the difference in denotative meaning is unmistakable: the words name different notions, not various degrees of the same notion, and cannot substitute one another. An entirely different type of opposition is involved. Formerly we had oppositions based on the relationships between the members of the opposition, here we deal with proportional oppositions characterized by their relationship with the whole vocabulary system and based on a different degree of intensity of the relevant distinctive features. We shall not call such words synonymous as they do not fit the definition of synonyms given in the beginning of the chapter.

The same misunderstood conception of interchangeability lies at the bottom of considering different dialect names for the same plant, animal or agricultural implement and the like as total (absolute) synonyms. Thus a perennial plant with long clusters of dotted whitish or purple tubular flowers that the botanists refer to as genus Digitalis has several dialectal names such as foxglove, fairy bell, finger/lower, finger root, dead men's bells, ladies' fingers. But the names are not interchangeable in any particular speaker's idiolect. 1 The same is true about the cornflower (Centauries yeans), so called because it grows in cornfields; some people call it bluebottle according to the shape and color of its petals. Compare also gorse, furze and whim, different names used in different places for the same prickly yellow-flowered shrub.

The distinction between synchronistic and dichromatic treatment is so fundamental that it cannot be overemphasized, but the two aspects are interdependent and cannot be understood without one another. It is therefore essential after the descriptive analysis synonymy in present-day English to take up the historical line of approach and discuss the origin of synonyms and the causes of either abundance in English.

The majority of those who studied synonymy in the past have been cultivating both lines of approach without keeping them scrupulously apart, and focused their attention on the prominent part of foreign loan words in English synonymy, e. g. freedom : liberty or heaven : sky, where the first elements arc native and the second, French and Scandinavian respectively. O. Jazzperson and many others used to stress that the English language is peculiarly rich in synonyms because Britons, Romans, Saxons, Danes and Normans fighting and settling upon the soil of the British Isles could not but influence each other's speech. British scholars studied Greek and Latin and for centuries used Latin as a medium for communication on-scholarly topics.

Words borrowed from Latin to interrogate abdomen to collect vacuous to complete to ascend instruction Native English words to ask belly to gather empty to end to raise teaching Synonymy has its characteristic patterns in each language. Its peculiar feature in English is the contrast between simple native words stylistically neutral, literary words borrowed from French and learned words of Greco-Latin origin. This results in a sort of stylistically conditioned triple keyboard that can be illustrated by the following: Words borrowed from French to question stomach to assemble devoid to finish to mount guidance English also uses many pairs of synonymous derivatives, the one Hellenic and the other Romance, e. g.: periphery : circumference', hypothesis : supposition; sympathy : compassion; synthesis :; composition.

The pattern of stylistic relationship represented in the above table, although typical, is by no means universal. For example, the native words dale, deed, fair are the poetic equivalents of their much more frequent borrowed synonyms valley, act or the hybrid beautiful.

This subject of stylistic differentiation has been one of much controversy in recent years. It is universally accepted, however, that semantic and stylistic properties may change and synonyms which at one time formed a stylistic opposition only, may in the course of time become ideographically contrasted as well, and vice versa.

It would be linguistically naive to maintain that borrowing re-silts only in quantitative changes or those qualitative changes are purely stylistically. The introduction of a borrowed word almost invariably starts some alteration both in the newcomer and in the seminary tic structure of existing words that are close to it in meaning. When in the 13th century the word soil (For soil, soil) was hour-rowed into English its meaning was `a strip of land'. The upper layer of earth in which plants grow had been denoted since Old English by one of the synonyms: elope, land, folder. All these words had other central meanings so (hat the meaning in question was with (hem secondary. Avow, if two words coincide in meaning and use, the tendency is for one of them to drop out of the language. Folder had the same function and meaning as elope and in the fight for survival the latter won. The polysemantic word land underwent an intense semantic development in a different direction and so dropped out of this synonymic series. In this way it became quite natural for soil to fill the obvious lexical gap, receive its present meaning and become the main name for the corresponding notion, i.e. `the mould in which plants grow'. The noun earth retained (his meaning throughout its history, whereas the word ground in which this meaning was formerly absent, developed it. As a result this synonymic group comprises at present soil, earth and ground.

The fate of the word folder is not at all infrequent. Many other words now marked in the dictionaries as archaic or obsolete have dropped out in the same competition of synonyms: others survived with a meaning more or less removed from the original one. The process is called synonymic differentiation and is so current that M. Boreal regarded it as an inherent law of language development. It must be noted that -synonyms may influence each other semantically in two diametrically opposite ways: one of them is dissimilation, the other the reverse process, i. e. assimi1ation. The assimilation of synonyms consists in parallel development. An example of this is furnished by the sense development of Middle English adverbs meaning `swiftly', and subsequently `immediately'. This law was discovered and described by G. Stern. H. A. Treble and G. H. Villains give as examples the pejorative meanings acquired by the nouns wench, knave and churl which originally meant `girl', `boy' and `laborer' respectively, and point out that this loss of old dignity became linguistically possible because there were so many synonymous terms to hand. The important thing to remember is that it is not only borrowings from foreign languages hut, other sources as well that; have made increasing contributions to the stock of English synonyms. There are for instance words that come from dialects, and, in the last hundred years, from American English in particular. As a result speakers of British English may make use of both elements of the following pairs, the first element in each pair coming from the USA: gimmick : trick, dues : subscription, long distance (telephone) call : trunk call, radio : wireless. There are also synonyms that originate in numerous other dialects as, for instance, clover: shamrock, liquor ;: whiskey (from Irish), girl :; lass, lassie or charm : glamour (from Scottish).

The role of borrowings should not be overestimated. Synonyms are also created by means of all word-forming processes productive in the language at a given time of its history. The words already existing in the language develop new meanings. New words may be formed by affixation, or loss of affixes, conversion, compounding, shortening and so on, and being coined, form synonyms to those already in use.

Of special importance for those who are interested in the present-day trends and characteristic peculiarities of the English vocabulary are the synonymic oppositions due to shift of meaning, new combinations of verbs with postpositive and compound nouns formed from them, shortenings, set expressions and conversion.

Set expressions consisting of a verb with a postpositive are widely used in present-day English and may be called one of its characteristic features. l Many verbal synonymic groups contain such combinations as one of their elements. A few examples will illustrate this statement: to choose : to pick out; to abandon : to give up; to continue : to go on; to enter : to come in; to lift : to pick up; to postpone : to put off; to quarrel : to fall out; to return : to bring back. E.g. By the way, Toby has quite given up the idea of doing those animal cartoons. (PLOMER)

The vitality of these expressions is proved by the fact that they really supply material for further word-formation. Very many compound nouns denoting abstract notions, persons and events are correlated with them, also giving ways of expressing notions hitherto named by somewhat lengthy borrowed terms. There are, for instance, such synonymic pairs as arrangement : layout; conscription : call-up; precipitation : fall-out; regeneration : feedback; reproduction : playback; resistance : fight-back; treachery : sell-out.

An even more frequent type of new formations is that in which a noun with a verbal stem is combined with a verb of generic meaning (have, give, take, get, make] into a set expression which differs from the simple verb in aspect or emphasis: to laugh: to give a laugh; to sigh: lo give a sigh; to walk: to take a walk; to smoke: to have a smoke; to love: to fall in love. E.g. now we can all have a good read with our coffee. (SIMPSON) Bloomsbury Dictionary of New Words. M. 1996 стр.276-278

N. N. Amosova stresses the patterned character of the phrases in question, the regularity of connection between the structure of the phrase and the resulting semantic effect. She also points out that there may be cases when phrases of this pattern have undergone a shift of meaning and turned into phraseological units quite different in meaning from, and not synonymical with, the verbs of the same root. This is the case with to give a lift, to give somebody quite a turn, etc.

Quite frequently synonyms, mostly stylistically, hut sometimes ideographic as well, are due to shortening, e. g. memorandum : memo; vegetables : vegs; margarine : merge; microphone : mike; popular (song] : pop (song).

One should not overlook the fact that conversion may also be a source of synonymy; it accounts for such pairs as commandment: ceriman, laughter : laugh. The problem in this connection is whether such cases should be regarded as synonyms or as lexical variants of one arid the same word. It seems more logical to consider them, as lexical variants. Cf. also cases of different affixation: anxiety : anxiousness, effectively ;: effectiveness, and loss of affixes: amongst :; among or await : wait.

Essence of synonymy, synonymous relations between words yore attracted and still attracts the attention of linguists, who develop the problems of semasiology, since decision of the problems of synonymy is closely connected with antonym and polysemy and the studying of synonyms is important not only for semasiology, but as well as for lexicography, literature studying, methodic of teaching the English language, etc.spite of the existence of relatively large numbers of the studies, denoted to the opening of the different sides to synonymy, hitherto there is no a unity glance in respect to determinations of the synonyms, methods of their study, principles of the separation and categorizations of the synonyms, and borders of the synonymous row.majority of scholars share the opinion that synonymy presents by itself the microcircuit of the language, which is characterized by their own relations and that it falls into quality of the component part in lexical system of the language as a whole.it concerns the determinations of synonymy, there is no existence of the unity among the scholars' opinions: one researchers come from the generality of the meaning of synonyms, while the others - from the correlation of semantic and subject - logical begin in a word, while the thirds try to prove that synonyms are defined on the base of generality of the structured model of the use and alike combinability of the words.kind of analysis of these determinations happens to in the works of Russian philologists V.A. Pautynskaya, Review of the literature on question of the synonymy, V.A. Zvegintsev Semasiology, Questions to theories and histories of the language, Theoretical and applied linguistics and V.T. Valium About determinations of the synonymy and their synonymy in modern English.

english language synonym textual


chapter is denoted to the analysis of semantic and functional relationships and words and their synonymy in modern English. V.G. Vilyuman, in detail analyzing all signs of synonymy, comes to conclusion that necessary and sufficient for confession of the words as the synonymical ones features are general for the analyzed words semantic and functional signs, but, however, the problem of synonymy according to Volume's opinion is being lead to the discovering of resemblances and differences of the meanings and functions of the words on the base of their combinability. This idea might be truly supported by the investigations of other linguists such as A.V.Smirnitsky and G.Khidekel.must also notion here that the understanding of the essence of the synonymous relations is closely connected with the understanding of the essence and structures of the semantic structure of a word. We know different ways of interpretations of the semantic structure of the word in theories of lexicology. Let us give some of these suggestions below..G. Viluman defines the semantic structure of the word as a set of semantic signs, which are revealed at the determination of semantic adjacency of the synonymical words. According to his opinion, one of the possible ways of the determination of semantic adequacy of the words is offered by the analysis of the description of meanings for these words in explanatory dictionaries. Two words are considered as semantically correspondent to each other if their vocabulary meaning is explained one through another. The relationship between two words can also be direct and mediated. For example, having studied the semantic relationship between verbs which are united by the semantic meaning of to look, V.G. Vilyuman builds the matrix of the semantic structures of the synonymical verbs analyzed. The matrix presentation of the semantic structures serves not only as a demonstrative depiction of the material, but it also creates the picture a unit systems in a language - we mean synonymy, since the semantic structure of each word in the matrix is represented by itself as a ranked ensemble of importance's interconnected and opposed to each other.deep penetration to the essence of language phenomena, their nature and laws of the development is promoted by the collation of these phenomena in two and more languages.problems of the comparative study of lexicon in different languages have found their reflected images in the works of such kind famous lexicologists as A.V. Scherba, R.A. Budagov, V.G. Gak, B.A. Uspensky, V.N. Yartseva, Sh. Balley, S. Uliman, U. Veinrich, A.V.Smirnitsky and the others. Виноградов В. В. Лексикология и лексикография. Избранные труды. М. 1977 стр 119-122linguists consider as expedient to match the small systems between themselves, the members of which are semantically bound between itself. This enables us to define the lexical elements of each system by means of investigation, and to note the moments of the coincidences between them, as well as to explain why the semantic sidebars of each word or words, which have the alike subject reference in compared languages, are turned out to be different.comparative studies also serve as the base for typological investigations, the production of typological universals, since, as a result of such correspondences, are identically and non-identically fixed with the determined standpoint elements.example, the Russian linguist M.M. Makovskiy in his article Typology of Lexical-Semantic Systems emphasizes that the typological analysis of lexicon must not only be reduced to the external, mostly available establishments , which are often available for observation, but often casual in coincidences in their lexical and semantically meanings. In the course of studies we must necessary realize, if there general structured lexical-semantic models, common for many languages (Russian and Uzbek are included) exist, and if yes, what kind of peculiarities and laws are observed for this., we see that the problem of synonymy was studied and is being studied, but, regrettably, the majority of the studies in this area belong to the foreign lexicologists, especially by the Russian ones. In Uzbekistan the studding of the problem of synonymy is investigated by a relatively small quantity of lexicologists, except for Prof. Buranov and Prof. Muminov.following chapter of my qualification work studies the verbal synonymy, which is one of the most fewly studied problems concerned with linguistics at all and the problems of synonymy in particular.


the semantic generality of the lexical units and their partial interchangeability as the features of synonyms, that is to say, the compatibility of words in one contextual meaning and the inconsistency in others, we hereunder may confirm that two words interchangeable in all contexts are not synonyms, because when two words are used with no difference, there is no a problem of the choice between themlet us analyze this problem from the viewpoint of the Russian scholar S. Ulman. Citing on Aristotel, S. Uliman emphasizes that synonymy of the words - a stylistic category and the style always expects the choice between two words, at least, which are compatible or incompatible. Hence it follows that where there are no grounds for choice between two or more words, there are no grounds for speaking about synonymy of these words.the judgments about correlation of meanings in synonymy and their interchangeable character, there are such, which reduce the synonymy to unlimited interchange. For instance, A. Cherch writes that if two names (the question is about the names presented as combinations of the words) are synonyms (that is they have one and the same content), it is always possible for a linguist to change one of them into another. However, example, which A. Cherch gives on this cause, shows that the interchangeable character of synonyms is limited. This example looks as follows:.g. Sir Valiter Scott is the author of Veverleythis example we can see that though Sir Walter Scott is not a Veverley by its semantic content but Sir Walter Scott is Sir Walter Scott, though when we say a word Veverley we may mention Walter Scott as the author of the former.the linguistic literature on synonymy we can read that the interchangeable character of lexical units is considered as the effect to generalities of their lexical and grammatical importance. For support of this idea we can take the works of A.L. Demidova, who, concerning with synonymical pretext, comes to conclusion that some synonyms differ in their semantically meaning and cannot be interchanged to each other, while the others are of stylistic shade and can be interchanged into each other. I agree with A.L. Demidova's idea is that there also exists the third group of synonyms, which combines in itself the features of the first two previous groups. And, consequently, such synonyms are interchangeable in one case and not interchangeable in another.to concepts accepted by me , the synonymy exists only under the two above mentioned conditions of semantic generality, while the words which correspond only to one of these conditions, are not of synonymic character.


verbs which fall into one synonymous row, can possess the miscellaneous character of composing restrictions. The composing restrictions can be of lexical, semantic or referring character.lexical restriction reveals in the following fact: a synonym can be used only with determined circle of words. However, the verbal synonyms practically do not possess such type of restrictions, though there are some examples which might be suitable, to some degree, to the given type of restrictions:example, if we analyze the two synonyms - «to creep and to crawl, the latter, is more preferable in usage with the names of animals who are deprived with limbs (e.g. Snakes, gophers, etc.): The snakes crawled around the tree.to the above mentioned character, the semantic restriction is assigned by denotation of determined semantic feature, which a synonym must possess when correlating in syntactical relationship with the given word.instance, in the synonymic row «to escape, to flee, to fly, to abscond, to decamp in the meaning of избегать the first three synonyms possess a broad combinability, than the last twos. That is, in the case of semantic combinability the subject of the corresponding actions are both people and animals.. :His best tow dogs escaped from the camp, the dog fled into the forest., the subject action of the verbs to abscond and to decamp are only people.complicated than the previously mentioned groups are the synonyms with the referring combinability restrictions. The example of such restrictions can be shown on the following synonymic row: to reach - to achieve - to gain - to attain in the meaning of добавляться The following noun expressions which denote the purpose or the result of the action are of typical character for these three synonyms:reach / to achieve, to gain, to attain /one's aim ( e,g. the abject of one's desires, success, fame, glory), to reach (an understanding, agreement), to achieve the reputation for being rude, to achieve the realization of a dream, to gain / to attain / the attention of the clerk [ the confidence of the mountain people]. It should be borne in the mind that the last examples the verbs to gain and to attain mustn't be substituted onto the verbs to reach, or to achieve, because the noun expression to reach / to achieve / the attention of the clerk [the confidence of the mountain people] are wrong (and not only somewhat different in the meaning).more attentively to the nouns attention and confidence, which are capable to enter in the place of the direct object in the sentences with the verbs to gain and to attain, but not as the direct object to the verbs to reach and to achieve, we may notice the following interesting peculiar feature of the studied synonymical phrases: the subject for the state, marked by the words attention or confidence, do not correspond to the subject of the action, marked by the verbs to gain and to attain, i.e. the attention of the clerk is attracted not by the clerk himself , but by the other person, and the confidence of highlanders is achieved by someone different from highlanders., the verbs to gain and to attain are capable to match with the nouns, marking such conditions (the characteristics, situations), the subjects of which coincide with the subjects of actions corresponding to these subjects: that is in the case of the verbs to gain / to attain / one's aim [success, glory] the subject of the action of to gain / attain is one and the same person.now we can formulate the referring restriction for the verbs to reach and to achieve: they cannot be combined with the names of conditions, the subjects of which do not coincide with the subject of the action marked by these conditions.similar difference is presented in the pair of the synonyms to condescend - to deign ( in the meaning of снисходить): the first of them is combined both with the name of the action or property, the subject of which coincides with the subject for the verb to condescend (e.g. he condescend smile); and with the name or state the subject of which does not coincide with the subject for the verb to condescend (cf.: to condescend to smb's folly). Meantime, the verb to deign can be combined in its meaning only with the names of the proper actions or the characteristics of the subject:.: He didn't deign to smile, he didn't deign to their folly.differences in combinability between the synonyms can, like constructive differences, be motivated or non-motivated.us take into consideration, for instance, the synonyms to surprise - удивлять and to amaze, to astound - изумлять,поражать. They differ, in particular, on the feature of degree of a feeling. All the three synonyms can be combined with the adverbial modifiers of measure, but the verb to surprise can be combined with any circumstance of this class (cf.: he was a little [not a little, very much] sup), while to amaze and to astound can be combined only with those adverbial modifiers of measure, which mark the super high or the maximal degree of property, condition or feeling.least once unusual unless absolutely anomalous, word-combinations.the above mentioned case the differences in combinability are naturally removed from the differences in the meanings of synonyms. However, even the differences in combinability can be semantically non-motivated.we shall take into consideration some more several examples of differences in combinability between the synonyms.verb gather собираться differs from their synonyms to assemble and to congregate by the following: the subject for the verbs to assemble and to congregate can only be (in stylistically neutral text) only the living beings, but the subject for the verb to gather - can be expressed by any moving things:.g. The clouds are gathering, it will rain.verbs to ponder, to meditate» and to ruminate in the meaning of размышлять are combinable with the names of situation, characteristic, products of thoughts as object (the theme) of reflections:.: to ponder / to meditate/ upon the course of actions; to ruminate over the past; to ponder / to meditate, to ruminate/ the point.verbs to ponder and to meditate are combinable with the names of the person as object for reflections; the latter is characterized for the verb to ruminate:.: to ponder on modern young men, he meditated on all those people and the things they represented in his life.verbs to depress, to oppress and to weigh down (upon) in the meaning of угнетать can be combined with the names of feelings, actions, characteristics, etc. as the reasons for the oppressed condition:.: a feeling of isolation depressed / oppressed / her, she was oppressed by fear, oppressed / weighed down / by the heat. Besides, the verbs to depress and to oppress can be combined with the names of the concrete things and living beings in same meaning, which is not characteristic for the phrasal verb to weigh down (upon):.: the dim room depressed / oppressed / her, she depressed me. Abayev V.I. Synonyms and their Semantical Features T. O'qituvchi 1981 pp. 4-5, 8, 26-29


problems of semantics on - former call the rapt attention to themselves by the leading scientists of the whole world. At the modern stage of development of linguistically science the important meaningfulness is gained both in the questions of the determination and revision of the background notions of semasiology, and the narrower problems of the concrete studies which are finally also directed on solving of the global philosophical problems of the correlation between the language, thinking and reality.analyze this chapter from the viewpoint of the Russian philologist E.V.Drozd. According to this work E.V. Drozd has denoted the study of the semantics and the peculiarities of the combinability of the English verbs to amuse, to entertain, to grip, to interest, to thrillgiven group of verbs was chosen not accidentally. The verbs to amuse, to entertain, to grip, to interest, to thrill reflects the important social and psychological notions, connected with intellectual - cognitive and emotional sphere of human activity and this group differs in a rather big frequency of its usage. The interest to this group is also undutiful from the purely a linguistically standpoint because of its extent semantic structure, and the various possibilities for combinability.with the concrete procedure of analysis of semantic composition of the given verb, we put the following problems before ourselves:

)clearly delimit and describe the verbal word as a nominative and structured unit of the language, to analyze the peculiarities of the semantic structure of each verb and match them;

)to install on the base of semantic composition what the subject of the name comprises in itself: only the main verbal component of action, condition, motion or it comprises the accompanying features: the manner, the source, the purpose - and to compare the verbs on this parameters.our study we used the method of vocabulary definition, by means of which the set of seams of the given lexical importance was analyzed, and any vocabulary mark was taken for instruction on semantic component. The observations show that the vocabulary definition comprises in itself, on the one hand, the instruction on attribute to the more general semantic area, but, on the other hand, - the enumeration of individual semantic features of a word. Uniting the synonymous, (excluding the rare cases of usage) we have got the set of components for the meaning of each investigated verb (See: Table 1).Analysis shows that the general component for all the investigating verbs is a seam to affect the emotions, which gives us, as we seem, the right to refer the considered verbs to the category of the emotional ones. It is Interesting to note that no even one of the dictionaries, describing the meaning of the verbs to amuse and to entertain, gives the word emotion as such, but the presence of the component joy, happiness, revelry (purely emotional features) allows us to fix the presence of the component to affect the emotions in these verbs as well.general component for four from five considered verbs a was the following: to engage and keep the attention. According to the investigations, this element in miscellaneous degrees is expressed in the meanings of the analyzed words in the following number: for to amuse it is fixed in 14, for to entertain - 11, for to grip - 19, for to interest - in 25 dictionaries. The component of meaning of the verb to excite is met in four from five verbs, that puts the verb to trill in somewhat specific position. The other components are of purely specific character.conclusion, we may say that the verb, as no other part of speech, has a broad set of differential features, vastly complicating the semantics of it.the meaning of a verb there might be a denotation to the specifying of the denoted actions, to the conditions of persons, subjects, ways, types of the action, correlations to its communicators, modality of the content assignment of the utterance, time of the speech act, etc., we say that two words are synonymous if substituting one for the other in all contexts does not change the truth value of the sentence where the substitution is made. Synonymy dictionaries include something that native speakers have very clear intuitions about. They have the intuition that a number of words may express the same idea.: You can find `kill' as a synonym of `murder', and `strong' as a synonym of `powerful', but not the other way round:you say they A and B are synonymous because they express the same object, you expect also that if A is synonymous of B, B is also synonymous of A. but this isn't reflected in dictionaries. If A is a synonym of B and B is a synonym of A, these are true or absolute synonyms. They are interchangeable. But there are no absolute synonyms, it's an intellectual creation. Native speakers feel that some pairs of synonyms are more synonymous than others. This gives us the idea of a scale of synonymy. Obviously, the idea behind synonymy is that of sharing meaning that is that two words share (part of) their meaning. It has become a problem to establish how much overlapping do we need for two words for being considered synonyms.: truthful: honest they are synonyms although they share only part of their meaning; truthful: purple they are not at all synonyms.. Cruse says that an important thing here is contrast. When a speaker uses them indistinctively, he emphasizes their similarities not their differences.: kill: murder they share part of their meaninggreater the number of features two words share, the more synonyms they are.and B share almost all of their meaning components.: - creature animal dog + Alsatian philosophy tree cat Spaniel.' and `Spaniel' share more atoms of meaning than creature' and `philosophy' but they are not synonyms. So this claim is wrong, because we need two things for synonymy: we need overlapping of meaning and, at the same time, the two words do not have to be contrastive.says that synonyms must not only share high degree of semantic overlapping but also a low degree of implicit contractiveness. So, a high degree of semantic overlap results in a low degree of implicit contrast.: - John is honestis truthfulwas cashiered, that is to say, dismissed.was murdered, or rather executed' and `dismissed' are synonyms, while `murdered' and executed' are contrastive synonyms's got himself a dog -or more exactly, a cat.inherent relationship between `cat' and `dog' is that of contrast, for that reason this sentence is odd.is impossible to put an end in the scale of synonyms.: + rap: tap rap: knock rap: thwack - rap: bangare not prototypical synonyms. They are peripheral synonymsany study of synonymy is the idea of the quest for the establishment of true synonyms. Cruse reviews some apparently true synonyms.: begin: commence munch: chew hate: loathetakes into account the question of the contextual relations. For two words to be true synonymous we need two conditions: equivalence of meaning and equivalence of contextual relations. This is highly problematic because words don't behave like that. They tend to specialize in their contextual relations.: Begin and `commence' mean exactly the same but in terms of contextual relations they are not., tell Mummy when Playschool begins and she'll watch it with you., tell Mummy when Playschool commences and she'll watch it with you.is always chewing gum (+)is always munching gum (-)don't just hate him, I loathe him (+)don't just loathe him, I hate him (-)from this there are minus aspects we have to take into account: two syntactic terms have to behave syntactically the same

Ex: Where is he hiding?

Where is he concealing?' needs an argument (DO), where have you hidden Daddy's slippers? (+), where have you concealed Daddy's slippers? (-): you have to choose the correct sense of the word if you want to prove that two words are synonymous.: Arthur's more recent car is an old one (+)'s most recent car is a former one (-)had more responsibility in his old jobhad more responsibility in his former job


are felt to be synonymous independently of their contextual relations. Leech makes the distinction between synonymy and conceptual synonymy. The equivalence of meaning of synonymy has to adhere to the equivalence of concepts, independently from the stylistic overtones.: Steed (poetic) Horse (general) Nag (slang) Gee-gee (baby language) World Book Encyclopedia S part Macmillan Publisher 1996 p 134concept `horse' is evoked by these words. So these words are synonymous although they are different in their stylistic overtones. This has been strongly criticized because to prove that we all have the same concept is very doubted. Our system of conceptualization may be different from one speaker to other. The most evident example of this is baby language. When a baby says gee-gee he may be saying it to any animal that moves.conceptual synonymy is alright but it has faults and objections.says that it isn't possible to distinguish semantic meaning and factual meaning. Her lexicographic descriptions are very lengthy because she has into account all knowledge of the world that is, the habitat, size, appearance, behavior, and relation to people…analysis of conceptual synonymy.is an analysis very popular in the 1970's and turned itself to be very useful in the identification of atoms of meaning of words. One of the applications of componential analysis is in the identification of synonyms, because if two words share atoms of meaning, they are synonymous.: John is a bacheloris an unmarried mananalysis serves quite well for the analysis of fairly uncompleted words (nouns, adjectives, some verbs), but there are whole areas of the vocabulary of the language that don't lend themselves for componential analysis.Warren makes a distinction between synonyms and variants. She says that we have synonyms if the words have similar meaning and if they are interchangeable without affecting meaning in some context or contexts. Variants are words which have similar meaning but without the interchangeability in some contexts.: extending Deep far below; profound the surface.

`Deep' and `profound' has always been considered synonyms and it's true they are interchangeable but it's also true that in some contexts one cannot replace the other.had a deep / profound understanding of the matterriver is deep / profound. They are not interchangeable in this context.: Sweet: candy dialectal variants: pop off stylistic variants: woman connotative variantsone context you use one word and in the other you use the other one.1) lady adult woman 2) female'point here is to try and prove that synonyms exist. The result of this research is quiet distressing. There are no synonyms following Warren's definition. What Person did was to scrutinize the use of `deep' and `profound'. His research is especially valid because he bases his research on lexicographic words, corpus data and importance. The wide range of sources and the number of them is what makes this valid.conclusions: `Deep' and `profound' show a difference in collocability, that is, they tend to collocate with different words. Deep tends to collocate with words of affection, conviction, feeling, regret, satisfaction, sorrow… Whereas `profound' tends to collocate with words of difference, distaste, effect, failure, influence… They enter different collocations because they mean slightly different things. They specialize in certain areas of meaning and that makes them slightly different. He also talks about metaphorical status. Metaphorically speaking, they can mean position on the one hand or quality of depth on the other. Only `deep' enters for the position metaphor, but the quality of depth can be expressed by both of them.: deep structure (profound structure)was deep (profound) in thoughtwas deep (profound) in the Middle Ages/ profound learning/ profound sleep- emotive dichotomy: `deep' and `profound' tend to relate respectively to intellectual and emotive words. The idea is that `deep' tends to collocate with emotive nouns, whereas `profound' tends to collocate with intellectual words.is a difference in the degree of depth and intensity of these words. `Profound' is deeper that `deep'. When both are possible, then there is a distinction.: He has a deep understanding of the matter (`pretty good')has a profound understanding of the matter (`very good') Maurer D.W. , High F.C. New Words - Where do they come from and where do they go. American Speech., 1982.p.171words associations give us a very useful way to prove this. There are nouns whose inherent meaning is superlative. With such a noun you can only have `profound' because it means deeper.: profound distaste *deep distasterepugnance *deep repugnancecourse in terms of truth-conditions one entails the other one but not vice versa, that is `profound' includes `deep' but not vice versa.: His profound insight into human nature has stood the test of centuriesdeep insight into human nature has stood the test of centuries.deep insight into human nature has stood the test of centuries. *profound insight into human nature has stood the test of centuriesis understood within mutual entailment (A-B) but `deep' and `profound' doesn't correspond to this. Native speakers feel that `profound' is stylistically more elevated or more formal that deep? So with all this evidence it is impossible to say that they are synonymous. This is why Person gives the following figure as the analysis for them.`situated, coming abstract; abstract from, or extending intellectual; emotive far below the strongly; surface emotive.Attributes (SA): informal SA; formal.Person's model we have three categories: CC, TA, SA. The thing is that not all words include SA box, so it's left open. Person also reviewed other examples analyzed by Warren.: child / brat child CC brat TA' and `brat' are an example of connotative variant in Warren. They are given as variants but if we apply the test of hyponymy we see that it works. `Brat' is a kind of `child' but not vice versa. `Brat' includes `child' plus the feature `bad-mannered. Person finds the collocation in which `brat' appears; it tends to appear with adjectives that reinforces this feature of bad-mannered what proves that that atom of meaning (…)same happens with `woman' and `lady'.: She is a woman, but she is not a lady.is a lady, but she is not a womanquestions the fact that two words can be synonymous out of the blue. He defends contextual information as the key to determine if two words are synonymous or not.: readable: legibleto what extent can we say that they are synonyms?


(of handwriting or point) able to be read easily'or interesting to read'


(of handwriting or print) `able to be read easily'are only synonymous when they mean `able to be read easily'

The child, quite obviously, would not be expected to produce a composition, but would be expected to know the alphabet, where the full stops and commas are used, and be able to write in a readable / legible manner, something like, `The cat sat on the mat'.

It is not easy to see why her memory should have faded, especially as she wrote a most readable / *legible autobiography which went quickly through several editions.; readable; able to with pleasure; be read' and /or; interest.share senses number 1 but to `readable' it's also added sense number 2. This claims that in some contexts they are fully interchangeable, but we have also to take into account their stylistic feature and the register.principle, scientific words have discrete meanings.: mercury: quicksilverappear as full synonyms because they say that their relationship is that of mutual inclusion (A-B), the concept `mercury' can be expressed with both words. However, style draws the line between both words. Native speakers and corpora of data give us what we have in the following figure:: formal, quicksilver; scientific whitish; fluid informal; metal.formal, scientific (Romance origin): Quicksilver informal (Saxon origin)something peculiar has happened with this words. The popular word `quicksilver' is starting to disappear and what usually happens is that the formal words are the one that disappears. But in this case, it is the contrary.: fagfagwithtobacco in slang'for smoking' `narrow, made of finely cut tobacco rolled in thin paper'figure contains not only CC but typical attributes too.


have been considered similar in meaning but never fully synonyms. They belong to the same categorical conceptby Leech: girl, boy, woman, flower, pretty garden, color, village, etc., man, car, vessel, handsome overcoat, airliner, typewriter, etc.found in the Lob and the British Corpora:, Batman, Case, Co-ed, Dress, Headdresses, Girl, Piece of seamanship, Quilt, Range of pram sets, Shoe, Shop, Sophie: Teacher (female ref.), Trick, Woman, Handsome, Cocktail cabinet, Connor Winslow, Face (male ref.), Man, Mayor, Offer, Pair of salad servers, Person (male ref.),(Red brocade) curtains, Son, Staircase, Sub-Alpine gloom, Trees, Vessel, Volume (book), Woman, `pretty' female nouns, `handsome' male nouns.is the first division we could make but there are more differences. It cannot be based on terms of male / female words.idea, then, is that if an adjective tends to collocate to certain nouns means that its partner is slightly different to it. So when they are applied to the same noun, the same rule is applied.: pretty: handsomeis a pretty womanis a handsome womanhandsome woman is more elegant that a pretty woman. She also has stronger facial features. A handsome woman isn't a pretty woman at the same time and vice versa. So they are exclusive terms.Street' but `handsome avenue'they are exclusive terms, they are nor synonyms but co-hyponymstwo items are closely synonymous, a coordination test will lead to a tautology.: Scientists have so far failed to find for this deadly and fatal disease.if we coordinate `pretty' and `handsome' what we have is a contradiction:woman is pretty and handsome

(Photocopy of definitions of `deep', `profound', `handsome', `lovely' and `beautiful')of the dictionaries specialize it more deeply than others.' in the Longman is defined as deep but not vice versa. This also happens in `lovely' and `beautiful'.; it doesn't give really the sense of the words.isn't correct because `profound' emphasizes stronger that `deep' and this isn't true. There is a contradiction there.of the notion of `delicacy' for defining a pretty woman.is the only dictionary which says that something pretty isn't something beautiful. They exclude each other. `Grand' is a feature of `handsome'.-`making a pleasant- impression on the pretty' -beautiful, `beautiful' and `pretty' appear as co-hyponyms so they have to exclude each other. The CC is actually the definition given for `beautiful', so it's the generic word for the four words. `Lovely' is slightly more intense than `beautiful'. (It's the same relationship `deep' and `profound' have)shows how language establishes degrees of intensity.


fields are the answer to the problem / question of structuring the lexicon of a language. Those who defend the existence of semantic fields believe that the language is structured. They say that the words can be classified in sets, which are related to conceptual fields and these words divide the semantic space / domain in different ways. It's to be preferred that the label to use here is field rather than theory because theories are supposed to be complete and have explicit definitions of the matter in question, and this isn't what happens in the semantic field approach. We just have ideas of how things seem to be. Moreover, the semantic field approach isn't formalized and it was born on the basis of just a handful of ideas of how words work.basic notion behind any semantic field approach is the notion of association: words are associated in different words. We also have the idea of a mosaic. The words form it in such a way that for it to be complete you need all the words in their correct place. We also have to distinguish between lexical and semantic fields. Semantic fields have something to do with prototypically. One of the main difficulties in the semantic field approach is to establish the exact number of words that are part of a set. Here is where Prototype Theory enters because it defines the basic features of a category.of focal points.and Key concluded that the basic words of a category are very easy to identify by a native speaker but they say that the interesting point is the area a native speaker doubts whether to call something A or B. There are concepts which cannot be expressed in words. From the psychological point of view there are concepts which cannot be verbalized but that really exist in the mind. The aim of this model is to identify the relationship between the lexical fields and the semantic fields. And there are fields where the relationship doesn't exist.idea behind semantic fields is the arrangement of words in sets depending on the organizing concepts. Many semantic linguists say that it's difficult to think of a word outside a semantic field because if you say that a word is outside a semantic field, you say it's outside the lexicon. The problem with this is what happens with words which don't evoke a concept. Many words in English are meaningful but don't have a concept: Even / onlywords clearly make a semantic contribution to the sentence. It's not the same to say: Only John drinks milk. Then: Even John drinks milk.


, the conclusion is that some words of a language don't lend themselves well to the analysis in terms of semantic fields. Other important idea is the difficulty of finding finite sets of words. In any case, there's an internal contradiction between the ideas of a set with the structuring of words of a language. A set is a close set. A word can belong to several fields depending on the organizing concept. Speakers of the language clearly identify the central example but not the peripheral ones. This doesn't mean that it would never happen that. The degree of flexibility in the discrepancy of the categorization of words is smaller.

Ex: Please give me some more tables (`Table' is here a mass noun meaning `space in a table').

E.G. Two races are grown in India. Here two races' refers to `two types of rice'

The idea behind this is that the dynamic character of a vocabulary cannot be reflected in the static character of the semantic fields, which are a static way of organizing the vocabulary of a language.analyzed the problem of synonymy in Modern English we could do the following conclusions:

a) The problem of synonymy in Modern English is very actual nowadays.

b) There are several kinds of analysis of synonyms: semantical, stylistic and componentional.

c) A number of famous linguists dealt with the problem of synonymy in Modern English. In particular, Profs. Ullmann and Broal emphasized the social reasons for synonymy, L. Lipka pointed out non-binary contrast or many-member lexical sets and gave the type which he called directional opposition, V.N. Comissarov and Walter Skeat proved the link of synonymy with other kinds of lexical devices.

d) The problem of synonymy is still waits for its detail investigation.

Having said about the perspectives of the work we hope that this work will find its worthy way of applying at schools, lyceums and colleges of high education by both teachers and students of English. We also express our hopes to take this work its worthy place among the lexicological works dedicated to synonymy.

In most cases the grammatical features of a word reveals itself in a context.are three essential types of lexical meaning of words:

Nominative meaning determined by reality.

Phraseologically bound meaning of words depending on the peculiarities of their usage in a given language.

Syntactically conditioned meanings of words are those which change with the change of the environment.the structure of lexical meaning of a word we distinguish two main components: denotative and connotativecan base on the definition antonyms as two or more words belonging to the same pat of speech, contradictory or contrary in meaning, and interchangeable at least at some contexts. However, polysemantic word may have an antonym or several antonyms for each of its meanings.for the same antonymic pair, they reveal nearly identical spheres of collocation. Almost every word can have one or more synonyms. Comparatively few have antonyms. Antonymic pairs, also irrespective of part of speech, concern direction and position in space and time.main sense of proverbs and sayings is not the information given but artistic pattern, meaning content. We have found a confirmation that antonyms can be expressed: as words with different roots and as words, which are formed with negative prefixes.main criterion of antonyms is steady using their pairs in contexts. Antonym pairs thread Modern English. However, antonyms imply polarity of one of the semantic components of the words showing us the same main point. But understanding antonyms as polarity of the several semantic components of the words showing two polarity main points is possible.


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