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5.3 Wording Meaning. The Third Week. Key Points:. Componential analysis Homonymy Synonymy Antonymy Hyponymy. Difficulties:. Homonymy Synonymy Antonymy Hyponymy Meronymy. 5.3.3 Semantic Field. Semantic or lexical field is a set of words with an identifiable semantic connection.

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5 3 wording meaning

5.3 Wording Meaning

The Third Week

key points
Key Points:
  • Componential analysis
  • Homonymy
  • Synonymy
  • Antonymy
  • Hyponymy
  • Homonymy
  • Synonymy
  • Antonymy
  • Hyponymy
  • Meronymy
5 3 3 semantic field
5.3.3 Semantic Field
  • Semantic or lexical field is a set of words with an identifiable semantic connection.
lexical gap
Lexical gap
  • The absence of a word in a particular place in a semantic field of a language is called lexical gap.
  • horse ---stallion and mare

uncle---叔叔, 舅舅, 姑父,表叔

marked and unmarked item
Marked and Unmarked Item
  • A marked item is a member word in a semantic field that its conceptual meaning is specific and limited compared to its synonym with a more general meaning.
An unmarked item is a member word in a semantic field that its conceptual meaning is more general and inclusive.
5 3 4 componential analysis
5.3.4 Componential analysis
  • All lexical items can be analyzed into a set of semantic features or semantic components which may be universal. This semantic theory is called Componential Analysis (CA).
  • How old are you?
  • How big is the picture?
  • How big the picture is!
  • How old the grandpa is!
  • How powerful are your glasses?
  • How powerful the cannon is!
  • big/small
  • powerful/weak
  • tall/short
definition of ca
Definition of CA:
  • CA is a way proposed by the structural semanticists to analyze word meaning. It believes that the meaning of a word can be dissected into meaning components called semantic features.
example of the kinship terms
Example of the kinship terms
  • Father + + - +
  • Mother -
  • Uncle
  • Aunt
  • Brother
  • Sister
  • Son
  • Daughter
  • Nephew
  • Niece
  • Cousin
advantage of ca
Advantage of CA:
  • CA allows a highly explicit and economical account of meaning relations such as hyponymy and incompatibility.
  • Woman: + HUAMN +ADULT + FEMALE
  • Thus, spinster is incompatible with bachelor by contrast of gender specification; and with wife by the marital specification.
problem with ca
Problem with CA:
  • It is not easy to work out the set of features which could be widely acclaimed and accepted.
5 3 5 semantic relationships between words
5.3.5 Semantic relationships between words
  • Homonymy
  • Polysemy
  • Synonymy
  • Antonymy
  • Hyponymy
  • Meronymy
5 3 5 1 homonymy Homonymy(同音异义关系)
  • It refers to the phenomenon that words has one form, either in spelling or in pronunciation, or both, but more than one unrelated meanings. These words are called homonyms.
  • When two words are identical in pronunciation, but different in spelling and meaning, they are called homophones.
  • Samples:

rain/reign night/knight piece/peace

bare/bear sun/son flour/flower

  • When two words are identical in spelling, but different in pronunciation and meaning, they are homographs.
  • Samples:

bow n./bow v. tear n./tear v.

lead n./lead v. close v./close adj.

complete homonyms
Complete homonyms:
  • When two words are identical in both pronunciation and spelling, but different in meaning, they are called complete homonyms.
  • fast/fast scale/scale bank/bank

pupil/pupil mole/mole

5 3 5 2 polysemy Polysemy (多义关系)
  • When a word has two or more meanings that are related conceptually or historically, it is said to be a polysemous or polysemic word. The phenomenon is termed as polysemy.
the distinction between homonymy and polysemy
The distinction between homonymy and polysemy:
  • One indication of the distinction can be found in the typical dictionary entry for words. If a word has two or more meanings (polysemic), then there will be a single entry, with a numbered list of the different meanings of the word. If two words are treated as homonyms, they will typically have two separate entries.
5 3 5 4 synonymy Synonymy
  • Words that sound different but have the same meaning are called synonyms, and the sense relation of “sameness of meaning” is called synonymy.
  • Ex. answer/reply big/large


Synonyms maybe different in dialect, style, emotion and collocation.
  • elevator/lift
  • start/commence
  • did/offspring
  • economical/ stingy
  • accuse of/charge with
5 3 5 5 antonymy Antonymy
  • Words that are opposite in meaning are often called antonyms. The oppositeness of meaning is called antonymy.
  • They can be grouped into 3 types: gradable, complementary, and relational antonyms.
(1) Gradable antonyms
  • The members of a pair differ in terms of degree. The denial of one is not necessarily the assertion of the other. Ex. Rich---poor; high---low; wide---narrow; heavy---light; good---bad
2 complementary antonyms
(2) Complementary antonyms
  • The members of a pair in this type are complementary to each other. Not only the assertion of one means the denial of the other, the denial of one also means the assertion of the other. Ex. male/female alive/dead


3 relational antonyms
(3) Relational antonyms
  • They show the reversal of a relationship between two entities.
  • Ex. Husband/wife father/son teacher/pupil doctor/patient

buy/sell let/rent above/below


Antonyms often do not have equal status with respect of markedness. In certain pairs of gradable antonyms, one word is marked and the other unmarked. That is, usually the term for the higher degree serves as the cover term.

  • Ex. a “How old are you?” is instead of “How young are you?”, the word old is used here to cover both old (unmarked) and young(unmarked).
  • b. “How heavy is it?”(unmarked) ---light (marked)
  • c. “How tall are you?”(unmarked)---short (marked)
  • d. “How hot is it?”(unmarked)---cold (marked)
5 3 5 6 hyponymy Hyponymy(上、下义关系)
  • Hyponymy is a matter of class membership which indicates a category to which the words all belong.
The upper term in this sense relation, i.e. the class name, is called SUPERORDINATE, and the lover terms, the members, HYPONYMS. A superordinate usually has several hyponyms, these members of the same class are CO-HYPONYMS.
for example
For example
  • Vegetable
  • potato cabbage carrot
5 3 5 7 meronymy Meronymy (整体部分关系)
  • Meronymy refers to the phenomenon that a word means a part of another.
  • Samples:

body/neck drawer/desk

distinction between meronymy and hyponymy
Distinction between meronymy and hyponymy
  • Meronymy can be expressed by the pattern “X is a part of Y”, whereas hyponymy is by the pattern “X is a kind of Y”. For example, head is a part of body, but not a kind of body, while potato is a kind of vegetable, but not a part of vegetable.