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    Semantic groups in Present day English vocabula..


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Synonyms are two or more words of the same language, belonging to the same part of speech and possessing one or more identical or nearly identical meanings, interchangeable, at least in some contexts without any considerable alteration in sense, but differing in morphemic composition, phonemic shape, shades of meaning, connotations, style, valency and idiomatic use. Example: strange – queer – odd – quaint.

Synonymic, adj [sInenImik].

Synonymous, adj [sinOnimes].

Synonymic dominant is the central term of a synonymic set possessing the following characteristic features:

- high frequency of usage

- broad combinability, ability to be used in combinations with various classes of words

- broad general meaning

lack of connotations (this goes for stylistic connotations as well, so that stylistic neutrality is also a typical feature of the dominant synonym)

- it may substitute for other synonyms at least in some contexts

- it is often used to define other synonyms in dictionary definitions.

In the synonymic set strange – queer – odd – quaint, the synonymic dominant is strange.

Ideographic synonyms are words conveying the same concept, but differing in shades of meaning. For instance, the verbs cry – weep – sob – wail – whimper are ideographic synonyms. These verbs mean to make inarticulate sounds of grief, unhappiness, or pain. Cry has the widest use and may be a result of unhappiness, joy or, especially with babies, of physical discomfort. Cry and weep both imply the shedding of tears, but cry more strongly implies accompanying sound. In comparison with cry, weep can suggest stronger emotions. Sob describes crying or a mixture of broken speech and crying marked by irregular and noisy breathing. Wail indicates long noisy crying in grief or complaint. Whimper refers to low, broken or repressed cries; children whimper with fear o r in complaint.

Stylistic synonyms are words differing in their stylistic characteristics, sky (neutral) – welkin (bookish), head (neutral) – attic (slang).

Absolute synonyms are words coinciding in all their shades of meaning and in all their stylistic characteristics, word-building – word-formation.

Contextual synonyms are words which are similar in meaning only under some specific contextual conditions. The verbs to buy and to get are not synonymous, but they are synonyms in the examples offered by J. Lyo ns: I’ll go to the shop and buy some bread and I’ll go to the shop and get some bread.

Double scale of synonyms reflects one of the two basic principles according to which synonyms are organized in English (the 2nd deals with a triple scale). It is a pair of synonyms where a native term is opposed to one borrowed from French, Latin or Greek. In most cases the native word is more informal, whereas the foreign one often has a learned, abstract or even abstruse character. There may also be an emotive differen ce: the native word is apt to be warmer and homelier. Phonetically, the borrowed word is usually longer. Examples: bodily - corporeal; to buy – to purchase; fiddle – violin.

Triple scale of synonyms is a set of synonyms in which one word is native, the second word is French and the third synonym is Latin or Greek. In most of such sets, the native synonym is the simplest and most common of the three terms, the Latin or Greek one is learned, abstract, whereas the French one stands between the two extremes. Examples: to begin – to commence – to initiate; to end – to finish – to conclude.

Euphemism [‘ju:fimizm] is a word which is thought to be less offensive or unpleasant than another word. Example: intoxication is a euphemistic substitution for drunkenness.

Dysphemism [‘disfimizm] is a word which is the substitution of a harsh, disarranging or unpleasant expression for a more neutral one. Example: to peg out is a dysphemism for to die.

Antonyms are words belonging to 1 part of speech sharing certain common sem. properties and single out mostly on the basis of the sem. relations of contrast. Like synonyms, perfect or complete antonyms are rare. One cannot contrast antonyms if one does not see something common between them. (black- white).= colour common m-g.

There are 2 types of sem. opposition: polar opposition and relative opposition.

Polar opposition rests only on 1 sem. feature. (reach- poor, dead- alive, kind-cruel).

Relative opposition rests on a number of sem. features. (to leave=to go away- to arrive= to reach a place, esp, at the end of long trip).

It ’s usual to find the relations of antonymy restricted to certain contexts. (thick-thin).

It’s more or less universally recognized that among the cases that are traditionally described as antonyms there are at least the following 4 groups:

Contradictories which represent the type of semantic relations that exist between pairs like dead-alive, single-married, perfect-imperfect

To use one of the terms is to contradict the other and to use not before one of them is to make it semantically equivalent to the other (not dead- alive, not single- married)

It’s also usual for one member of each pair to always function as the unmarked or generic term for the common quality involved in both members: age, sizethis generalized denotational meaning comes to the fore in certain contexts. (How old is baby?- we do not imply that the baby is old.)

Contraries differ from contradictories mainly because contradictories admit of no possibility between them. One is either single or married, either dead or alive whereas contraries admit such possibilities. This may be observed in cold-hot, and cool-warm which seem to be intermediate members. Thus, we may regard as antonyms not only cold-hot but also cold-warm. Contraries may be opposed to each other by the absence or presence of one of the components of meaning like sex and age. (man- woman, man- boy).

Incompatibles. Semantic relations of incompatibility exist among the antonyms with the common component of meaning and may be described as the reverse of hyponymy the relations of exclusion but not of contradiction. To say morning is to say not afternoon, not evening, not night. The negation of one number of this set does not imply semantic equivalence with the other but excludes the possibility of the other words of this set. A relation of incompatibility may be observed between colour terms since the choice of red entails the exclusion of black, blue, yellowNaturally not all colour terms are incompatible. (scarlet-red= hyponymy)

Interchangeability in certain contexts analysed in connection with synonyms is typical of antonyms as well. In a context where one membe of the antonymous pair can be used, it’s, as a rule, interchangeable with the other member.(a wet shirt- a dry shirt).This is not to imply that the same antonyms are interchangeable in all contexts. (dry air- damp air, dry lips- moist lips).

Conversives denote 1 or the same thing referent as viewed from different points of view. (to cause- to suffer, to give- to receive)

Antonyms is a general term that serves to describe words different in sound –form and characterized by different types of sem. contrast of denotational meaning and interchangeability at least in some contexts.

Homophones are words which are identical in sound but different in spelling and meaning. (brake n – break v)

Homographs are words which are the same in spelling but different in sound and meaning. (row – row)

Full (complete) homonyms are 2 (or more) words which coincide in all their forms (their paradigms are identical) (blow – blows – blowing – blew – blown)

Partial homonyms are words which coincide only in some of their forms. (lie –lies – lying – lay – lain) – (lie – lies – lying – lied – lied)

Lexical homonyms are words which belong to the same part of speech but differ in lexical meaning. (bank-bank)

Lexico-grammatical homonyms are words which differ in their lexical and grammatical meaning. (bear n – bear v) (right adj – writte v)

Grammatical homonyms are homonymous word-forms of one and the same word differing in grammatical meaning. (cats – cat’s – cats’) (played past ind – played past part)

Paronyms are words that are often kindred in origin, very close in sound form and therefore liable to be mixed but in fact different in meaning and usage and consequently mistakenly interchanged. Paronyms may be briefl y defined as false homonyms.