Discourse Functions of Antonymy
In his 2002 study
using a newspaper corpus, Steven Jones described several classes of antonyms and their function in discourse. We are involved in several projects applying his insights to a wider range of languages and linguistic contexts .
- Murphy and Jones have been working on child language, investigating the discourse functions of antonyms in both child-directed and child-produced speech in the CHILDES corpus. See Jones and Murphy 2005.
- Paradis, Willners, and Murphy are currently replicating Jones (2002) with Swedish data from the PAROLE corpus . They are looking at the translational equivalents of his 56 antonym pairs and categorizing them according to the same criteria.
- Muehleisen has just started to investigate antonymy in Japanese using a small newspaper corpus and an on-line corpus of fiction.
- Paradis and Willners have done a study on antonymy and negation, a psycholinguistic study of the the interpretation of both
unbounded and bounded antonyms with and without negation in a given
context. An article on this
called "Antonymy and negation: the boundedness hypothesis" has been
submitted to the Journal of Pragmatics.
What distinguishes canonical antonyms (such as light/dark
)from other pairs of words with contrasting meaning (such as pale/dark
Paradis, Willners, and Murphy are working to answer this with psycholinguistic studies of of English and Swedish antonyms. They have done judgement experimenta and elicitation experiments with native
English speakers and with native Swedish speakers on the strength
of the goodness of the oppositeness relations.
- Jones, Murphy, Paradis, and Willners are developing a technique to investigate canonicity with Google, using the web as a corpus and using the antonym frames of Jones 2002 as search terms.
The members of this group all share a fascination with antonyms--their innate characteristics and the way these manifest in speech and writing, of children, adults, and language learners.
We've studied antonymns in English and Swedish, and recently, in Japanese, and we hope to expand our research to include other languages and other lexical relations.
- Steven Jones has published a corpus-based monograph which introduces and quantifies the key discourse functions of antonymy in text.
- Lynne Murphy has written a book on semantic relations and the lexicon and has examined antonym occurrence in child language.
- Carita Paradis has studied binary and scalar antonymy in the area of adjectives and degree modifiers using corpora of adult and teenage speech.
- Caroline Willners has conducted corpus-based studies of Swedish antonyms.
- Victoria Muehleisen has done a corpus-based study of antonymy in English and is now working on functions of antonyms in Japanese text.
Resources for Comparative Lexicography
About Our Funders
We would like to thank the institutions below for funding various research projects of the Complexica Project.
In the U.K.