Homonyms: Words of the Same Form

(pp. 166 – 175)

1. Which words do we call homonyms?

2. The traditional classification of homonyms.

3. The classification of homonyms suggested by Professor A.I.Smirnitsky.

4. Sources of homonyms.

5. Homonymy and polysemy.

1. Homonymsare words which are identical in sound and spelling (or, at least, in one of these aspects), but different in their meaning, e Homonyms: Words of the Same Form.g.: bank, n. – a shore; bank, n. – an institution for receiving, lending, exchanging money.

If groups of synonyms and pairs of antonyms are created by the vocabulary system and can be regarded as the treasury of the language’s expressive resources, homonyms are accidental creations, and therefore purposeless Homonyms: Words of the Same Form. In the process of communication they are more of an encumbrance, leading sometimes to confusion and misunderstanding.

2.Homonyms which are the same in sound and spelling are traditionallytermed homonyms proper:spring – весна, spring – пружина, spring – источник, источник.

The second type of homonyms is called homophones– these are words the sameinsound but Homonyms: Words of the Same Form different in spelling: night – ночь, knight – рыцарь; peace – мир, piece – кусочек, right – правый, write – писать, rite – ритуал.

The third type of homonyms is called homographs. These are words which arethe same in spelling but different in sound:bow – лук, bow – поклон; tear n –слеза, tear v –рвать; wind n – ветер Homonyms: Words of the Same Form, wind v – заводить часы.

3.Professor A.I.Smirnitsky classified homonyms into two large classes: I. Full lexical homonyms, II. Partial homonyms.

Full lexical homonymsare words which represent the same category of parts of speech and have the same paradigm, e.g. match, n – a game, a contest; match, n Homonyms: Words of the Same Form – a short piece of wood used for producing fire.

Partial homonymsare subdivided into three subgroups:

A. Simple lexico-grammatical partial homonymsare words which belong to the same category of parts of speech. Their paradigms have one identical form, but it is never the same form, as Homonyms: Words of the Same Form will be seen from the examples: (to) found, v - found, v (Past Simple, Past Part. of to find); to lay (класть, положить), v (Past Simple – laid) - lay, v (Past Simple of to lie) – лежать.

B. Complex lexico-grammatical partial homonymsare words of different categories of parts of speech which Homonyms: Words of the Same Form have one identical form in their paradigms. E.g. rose, n – rose, v (Past Simple of to rise); left, adj. – left, v (Past Simple, Past Part. of to leave)

C. Partial lexical homonymsare words of the same category of parts of speech which are identical only in their corresponding forms Homonyms: Words of the Same Form. E.g. to lie (lay, lain), v – to lie (lied,lied),v – врать.

Sources of homonyms

1). One source of homonyms are phonetic changeswhich words undergo in the course of their historical development. As a result of such changes, two or more words which were formely pronounced differently may develop identical Homonyms: Words of the Same Form sound forms and thus become homonyms. Night (ночь) and knight (рыцарь), for instance, were not homonyms in Old English as the initial k in the second word was pronounced, and not dropped as it is in its modern sound form.

2) Borrowingis another source of homonyms. A borrowed word may duplicate Homonyms: Words of the Same Form in form either a native word or another borrowing. So, in the group of homonyms rite, n (ритуал) – to write, v – right, adj. the second and third words are of native origin whereas rite (ритуал) is a Latin borrowing.

3). Word-building also contributes significantly to the growth of homonymy, and Homonyms: Words of the Same Form the most important type in this respect is conversion.Such pairs of words as comb, n (гребень) – to comb, v (расчёсывать); to make, v (делать) – make, n (работа) are numerous in the vocabulary. Homonyms of this type, which are the same in sound and spelling but refer to different Homonyms: Words of the Same Form categories of parts of speech, are called lexico-grammatical homonyms.

4). Shorteningis a further type of word-building which increases the number of homonyms. E.g. fan, n in the sense of “an admirer of some kind of спорт or of an actor, singer” is a shortening produced from fanatic Homonyms: Words of the Same Form. Its homonym is a Latin borrowing fan, n which denotes an implement for waving lightly to produce a cool current of air.

5). Words мейд by sound-imitationcan also form pairs of homonyms with other words: e.g. bang, n (a loud, sudden, explosive noise) – bang, n (a fringe Homonyms: Words of the Same Form of hair combed over the forehead – чёлка).

The above-described sources of homonyms have one important feature in common. In all the mentioned cases the homonyms developed from two or more different words, and their semilarity is purely accidental. In this respect, conversion presents an exception for in pairs Homonyms: Words of the Same Form of homonyms formed by conversion one word of the pair is produced from the other: a find < to find.

6). Now we come to a further source of homonyms which differs from all the above cases. Two or more homonyms can originate from different meanings of the same Homonyms: Words of the Same Form word when the semantic structure of the word breaks into several parts. This type of formation of homonyms is called split polysemy (распад полисемии). The semantic structure of a polysemantic word presents a system within which all its constituent meanings are held together by logical associations. In most cases, the function Homonyms: Words of the Same Form of the arrangement and the unity is determined by one of the meanings (e.g. the meaning “flame” in the noun fire). If this meaning happens to disappear from the word’s semantic structure, associations between the rest of the meanings may be severed, the semantic structure loses its unity and Homonyms: Words of the Same Form falls into two or more parts which then become accepted as independent lexical units.

Let us consider the history of three homonyms:

board, n – a long, thin piece of timber

board, n – daily meals provided for pay, e.g. room and board

board, n – an official group of persons who Homonyms: Words of the Same Form direct or supervise some activity, e.g. a

board of directors.

It is clear that the meanings of these three words are in no way associated with one another. Yet, most larger dictionaries still enter a meaning of board that once held together all these other meanings ”table”. It Homonyms: Words of the Same Form developed from the meaning “a piece of timber” by transference based on contiguity(association of an object and the material from which it is мейд). The meanings “meals” and “an official group of persons” developed from the meaning “table”, also by transference based on contiguity: meals are easily associated Homonyms: Words of the Same Form with a table on which they are served; an official group of people in authority are also likely to discuss their business round a table.

Nowadays, however, the item of furniture, on which meals are served and round which boards of directors meet, is no longer denoted by Homonyms: Words of the Same Form the word board but by the French Norman borrowing table, and board in this meaning, though still registered by some dictionaries, can be marked as archaic as it is no longer used in common speech. That is why, with the intrusion of the borrowed table, the word board lost its corresponding Homonyms: Words of the Same Form meaning.

Homonymy and polysemy

It should be stressed, however, that split polysemy as a source of homonyms is not accepted by some scholars. It is really difficult sometimes to decide whether a certain word has or has not been subjected to the split of the semantic structure and whether we are dealing Homonyms: Words of the Same Form with different meanings of the same word or with homonyms, for the criteria are subjective and imprecise. The imprecision is recodered in the data of different dictionaries which often contradict each other on this very issue, so that board is represented as two homonyms in Müller’s Homonyms: Words of the Same Form dictionary and as one and the same word in Hornby’s dictionary.

Answer these questions.

1. Which words do we call homonyms?

2. Why can`t homonyms be regarded as expressive means of the language?

3. What is the traditional classification of homonyms? Illustrate your answer with examples.

4. What are the distinctive Homonyms: Words of the Same Form features of the classification of homonyms suggested by Professor A.I.Smirnitsky?

5. What are the main sources of homonyms? Give examples.

6. In what respect does split polysemy stand apart from other sources of homonyms?

7. Prove that the language units board (“a long and thin piece of timber”) and board (“daily Homonyms: Words of the Same Form meals”) are two different meanings of one and the same word.

Vocabulary

encumbranceпрепятствие

homographsомографы

homonymомоним

proper homonymsфактически омонимы, полные омонимы

homophonesомофоны

impreciseнеточный, imprecisionнекорректность

implementприбор

intrusionвторжение

severразрывать

split polysemyраспад полисемии

Lecture 11

Synonyms

(pp. 184 – 197)

1. Which words do we call synonyms?

2. Synonyms are one of the language’s most important expressive means.

3. The problem of criteria of synonymy.

4. The dominant synonym. Its characteristic Homonyms: Words of the Same Form features.

5. Classification system for synonyms established by V.V.Vinogradov.

6. Classification of synonyms based on difference in connotations.


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