Different English Sense Relations Between Words

Topics: Semantics, Lexical semantics, Word Pages: 7 (1729 words) Published: December 21, 2010
Dictionary.com defines a lexeme as a lexical unit in a language, as a word or base. Further a vocabulary item. Merriam-webster.com on the other hand defines lexical as pertaining or relating to words or the vocabulary of a language as distinguished from its grammar and construction. Sense is defined as “a meaning conveyed or intended, especially one of a set of meanings a word or phrase may have/bear.” Relation is an existing connection; a significant association between or among things.

Lexical sense relations are therefore the relationships between meaning of words, in either their similarity or contrast in a language. It (Lexical sense relations) is used in lexical semantics to t describe the relationship between terms (words), as Semantics largely deals with word meaning.

Lexical sense relations exist in the English language in different spheres. Lexical/semantic field organizes words and expressions into a system which shows their relationship within one another. Thus, angry, sad, afraid and depressed, is a set of words in a lexical field that shows emotions. Lexical semantics therefore examines relationship among word meanings. It studies organisation of the lexicon (vocabulary:-word and expressions of a language) and how the lexical meanings of lexical items are interrelated, and its principal goal is to build a model for the structure of the lexicon by categorizing the types of relationships between words. The relationships include such broad classes as hyponymy, homonymy, polysemy, synonymy, antonymy as well as metonymy.

Hyponymy involves the logical relationship of entailment; sense of one word is included in (hypo 'under') the sense of the other. It also involves the notion of class inclusion. For instance, the meaning of “animal” is included in the meaning of lion, goat, dog and so on. The term “animal” is the upper term known as the SUPERORDINATE while the lower term is called the HYPONYM.

Superordinate TermsHyponyms
Reptileslizards, geckos, snakes, chameleons, Crocodiles, Colour blue, red, green, white, yellow etc
Stationery books, biros, pencils, rulers,
Flower tulip, rose, hibiscus.

It is also possible to talk of supra-superordinate terms. The supra-superordinate terms cover a wider scope than the superordinate terms. In the example above, flower is a superordinate term. The same word, ‘flower’, may come under the supra-superordinate term, ‘plant’. The word ‘plant’ is wider in scope than ‘flower’. The word, ‘vertebrate’ will also serve as supra-superordinate term for the word, ‘reptile.’

Homonymy involves the unrelated senses of the same (phonological) word. It is a situation in which one word-form has two or more different meanings. Derived from the Greek term ‘Homois’ meaning identical and ‘onoma’ meaning name, homonymy therefore deals with words that have same phonetic form(homophones) or orthographic form(homographs), but with different meaning. Homonymy also involves ambiguous words whose different senses are far apart from each other and are not obviously related to each other in any way. Words such as tale and tail are homonyms as there is no conceptual connection between them.

Homonymy as seen also involves word-form in pronunciation (phonemic articulation) and word structure (morphological structure) in:-

a. Homophony
Here two words are pronounced identically but have different written forms. They sound alike but are written differently and often have different meaning. The words can also be termed to have similar sound pattern (phonetic) but unrelated semantic meaning e.g. i. Norefusing

Knowhaving an understanding ii. Ledpast tense of lead
Leadof a metal
b. Homography
Words are spelled/have same morphological structure but might either be...

Bibliography: www.buzzle.com
1982, The World Book Encyclopedia, S Vol. 17: Childcraft International Inc. Chicago
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