Homonyms and antonyms

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Homonyms and antonyms

“Words identical in form but quite different in their meaning and distribution are called homonyms” [1, 74]. “Homonym is a word that is spelt like another word (or pronounced like it) but which has a different meaning” [2, 464]. The term is derided from Greek “homonymous” (homos – “the same” and onoma – “name”) and thus expresses very well the sameness of name combined with the difference in meaning The traditional formal classification of homonyms is as follows: 1. Homonyms proper which are identical both in sound and spelling, e.g. ball (м’яч) – ball (бал), hail (град) – hail (окликати). 2. Partial homonyms are subdivided into:

1) Homographs which are identical in spelling but different in sound, e.g. bow/bou/(лук)-bow/bau/(ніс корабля), lead /led/ (свинець) – lead/li:d/ (вести). 2) Homophones which are identical in sound but different in spelling, e.g. key (ключ) – quay (набережна), sow (сіяти) – sew (шити) [1, 74]. Homonyms may be classified by the type of their meaning. In this case one should distinguish between: 1. Lexical homonyms which belong to the same part of speech, e.g. plane n. (літак) – plain n. (рівнина), light a. (світлий) – light a. (легкий). 2. Grammatical homonyms which belong to different parts of speech, e.g. row v. (гребти) – row n.(ряд), weather n. (погода) – whether conj. (чи). 3. Homoforms which are identical only in some paradigm constituents, e.g. scent n. – sent (Past Ind. and Past Part. of send), seize v. – sees (Pr.Ind., 3d p.sing. of see) [1, 74].

Professor A.I. Smirnitsky classified homonyms into two large classes: 1)Full homonyms are words, which represent the same category of parts of speech and have the same paradigm, e.g. wren n. (a member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service) – wren n. (a bird). 2)Partial homonyms are subdivided into three subgroups: a) Simple lexico-grammatical partial homonyms are words, which belong to the same category of parts of speech. Their paradigms have only one identical form, but it is never the same form, e.g. (to) found v. – found v. (past indef., past part. of to find), (to) lay .v – lay .v (past indef. of to lie). b) Complex lexico-grammatical partial homonyms are words of different categories of parts of speech, which have identical form in their paradigms, e.g. rose n. – rose v. (past indef. of to rise), maid n – made v (past indef., past part. of to make). c) Partial lexical homonyms are words of the same category of parts of speech which are identical only in their corresponding forms, e.g. to lie (lay, lain) v. – to lie (lied, lied) v., to hang (hung, hung) v. – to hang (hanged, hanged) v [1,74].


1) “It’s made out of wood. The skaters would normally perform their stunts and tricks there,” May explains (5, 12). 2) “A half – pipe can be dangerous. Skateboarders wear protective gear,” May points out. “Staying safe is important,” Buzz agrees. “Now where is my notebook?”(5, 13). 3) “Good luck!” Buzz tells May. “Go take the lead in this competition!” “I feel nervous”, May says. “My legs feel as if they are made of lead” (5, 24). 4) “May I sail with you in May?” (9, 31).

5) Mouse: Deer, I’m very glad to have such dear friends (6, 12). 6) But he’s unable to see that Oscar prefer his presence to his presents once in a while…(11). 7) “It’s my birthday present to him.” “I can fill in,” Ollie says. “I’d be happy to present the Big Air Jam, with Buzz” (5, 18). 8) “Dad, buy me a ball!”

“Bye, Osc, I’m in a hurry,” answered Mark and hung on (11, 135). 9) “What a nice scent, Nicky! Hilary Duff “With love?” asked Ally. “Ughmn. My father sent it to me last Christmas,” said Nicky climbing the ladder (11, 66). (10)“I’d like to go to the sea. I think it’s amazing to see the autumn sunset,” said Carolyn a bit enigmatically (12, 45).


“Words that have directly opposite meanings are called antonyms” [1, 73]. “Antonym is a word with a meaning that is opposite to the meaning of another word” [3, 58]. Antonyms fall into two main groups: 1. Root antonyms (those which are different root), e.g. long – short, up – down, to start – to finish, etc. 2. Affixal antonyms (in which special affixes or their absence express semantic opposition), e.g. hopeful – hopeless, happy – unhappy, appear – disappear, etc. [1, 73]. Polysemantic words usually have antonyms for each of their lexico-semantic variants: a dull knife – a sharp knife, a dull boy – a bright boy, etc. Examples:

1) “Flash Wiggins makes scoring look easy,” Harold tells Cassy. “But beating the goalie is difficult” (8, 210). 2) “Krupp and Smythe worked together to even the score,” Harold adds. “Nothing can tear them apart!” (8, 77). 3) “You can help me make this rough ice smooth again!” says the driver (8, 93). 4) Father Bear “I’m Father Bear, and I sit in this great big chair.” Baby Bear “I’m Baby Bear and I sit in that little chair” (10, 23). 5) “Ah, but sometimes it is more courageous to do the right thing, than rebel and do the wrong thing, you know,” she said softly, meeting my eye (11, 119).

6) He blushed and suddenly paled from nerves at the situation he was in (11, 25). 7) “Oh, no, Nicky!! For you it’s hard, but for me…it’s very easy. I have known him for ages” (11, 81). 8) “And then we couldn’t sleep in the spacious room after being promised. But I suppose, it will be better to sleep in narrow rooms” (4, 211). 9) Anne had a young, brighter face and more delicate features than the others; Marilla saw at her and felt herself old enough to change her life (4, 267). 10) “I can; and A-n-n looks dreadful, but A – n – n – e looks so much more distinguished, but call me Cordelia! It looks wonderful!” (4, 43).

List of literature

1. Квеселевич Д.І., Сасіна В.П. Практикум з лексикології сучасної англійської мови: Навч. Посібник. – Вінниця: Видавництво «Нова книга», 2001. – 117 с. 2. Agnes M. Webster’s New World College Dictionary / M. Agnes, D. B.Guralnik. – Cleveland : IDG Books Worldwide Ink., 2000. – 1716 p. 3. Oxford Paperback Thesaurus / Maurice Waite. – Oxford – New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. – 930 p. 4. Л.М. Монтгомері, Анна з Грін Гейблз: Книга для читання англійською мовою для студентів факультетів іноземних мов і філологічних факультетів/обробка тексту, комплекс вправ, тестів і завдань, довідкові матеріали і філологічний коментар В.В. Євченко, С.І. Сидоренко. – Вінниця: Нова Книга, 2008. – 440 с. 5. Anna Prokos. Half-Pipe Homonyms / Prokos Anna. – Gareth Stevens, 2009. – 27 p. 6. Any Talbot. Deer and His Dear Friends: a tale from India / Talbot Any. – Benchmark Education Company, 2006. – 16 p. 7. Catherine Alliot. The Real Thing / Alliot Catherine. – Headline Book Publishing, 1996. – 471 p. 8. Claudia Pattison. Wow! / Pattison Claudia. – Pan Books, 2001. – 374 p. 9. Judy Goodard. Fun with homonyms / Goodard Judy. – Industry Way Westminster, 2005. – 43 p. 10. Karma Wilson. Bear stays up for Christmas / Wilson Karma. – Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2011. – 40 p. 11. Melissa Nathan. Learning Curve / Nathan Melissa. – Arrow Books, 2006. – 549 p. 12. Robert Waller. The Bridges of Madison County / Waller Robert. – Great Britain: Mandarin Paperbacks, 1995. – 171 p.


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 1 November 2016

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