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Language in Text & Reading Comprehension. Synonymy. Synonymy is identity of meaning. But, these are not synonyms. happily. glad. cheerfulness. sadness. unhappily. sorrowful. These, however, are synonyms:. happy : glad : cheerful. happiness : gladness : cheerfulness.

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Language in Text & Reading Comprehension

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Language in Text &Reading Comprehension

Synonymy


Synonymy isidentity of meaning


But, these are not synonyms.

happily

glad

cheerfulness

sadness

unhappily

sorrowful


These, however, are synonyms:

happy : glad : cheerful

happiness : gladness : cheerfulness

happily: gladly: cherfully

unhappy : sad: sorrowful

unhappiness : sadness : sorrowfulness

unhappily : sadly : sorrowfully


Types


1. Absolute Synonymy

  • The lexemes should have “the same distribution” and should be “completely synonymous in all their meanings and contexts of occurrence.”(Lyons 148)

  • Absolutely synonymous lexemes are nearly non-existant.

  • This type is “restricted to highly specialized vocabulary” such as medicine or biology. (ibid.)(example 1)


Example 1

caecitis = typhlitis

inflammation of the blind gut


What about the following pairs?

1. radio / wireless

2. aerodrome / airfield

Are they absolutely synonymous?


2. Complete Synonymy

  • The synonyms should have “the same descriptive, expressive and social meaning.”(ibid.)

  • Completely synonymous lexemes are rare.

    Example 2:

    nearly : almost


What about the following?

1. broad / wide

2. lavatory / toilet / loo / WC

Are they completely synonymous?


3. Descriptive Synonymy

  • It is referred to as cognitive synonymy or referential synonymy.

  • It stands for lexemes that have approximately the same meaning.

    Example 3:

    father / dad / daddy / pop


Conclusion

1. Synonymy = descriptive synonymy

= referential synonymy

= cognitive synonymy

2. Complete synonymy: rare

3. Absolute synonymy: almost non-existant


Works Consulted

  • Leech, Geoffrey. Semantics: The Study of Meaning. London: Penguin Books, 1981.

  • Lyons, John. Language and Linguistics: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press, 1992.


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