Sense Relations in Arabic and English
Sense relations are the relations between words and other words; they focus on the relationship between words and their meaning inside the language, i.e. sense relations have nothing to do with the world outside the language, unlike reference, which is the relationship of words to the world. There are various types of sense relations, such as synonymy, antonymy, hyponymy, homonymy, and polysemy. They originally grabbed scholars’ attention because there was a fashion, mainly in the 17th Century, to find the perfect language. In the perfect language, some scholars argued, there would be a one-to-one relationship between word-form and concept – messy things like synonyms and homonyms would be outlawed.1 These types of sense relations were found in the Arabic language in the Noble Qur’an, in the Hadith of the prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, and in the Arabic poetry. Arab scholars have written many books about sense relations, and some of them wrote a whole book about only one type of sense relations. Arab scholars started writing about this subject more than a thousand years ago, and they still write about it now. They wrote whole books about the use of sense relations in the Noble Qur’an and generally in the Arabic language, e.g.: "الوجوه و النظائر في القران الكريم"— لمقاتل بن سليمان البلخي (ت150ه) "الألفاظ المترادفه و المتقاربه في المعنى"— لأبي الحسن علي بن عيسى الرماني (ت384ه) " الوجوه و النظائر في القران"— لهارون بن موسى الأزدي الأعور (ت170ه) "البيان في روائع القران"— د. تمام حسان , and many other books.
Types of sense relations:
Synonymy is the sense relation that exists between words with closely related meanings. When two words are similar in meaning, they are synonyms. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous. The word comes from Ancient Greek syn (σύν) ("with") and onoma (ὄνομα) ("name"). The words car and automobile are synonyms. Similarly, if we talk about a long time or an extended time, long and extended become synonyms, but there is no strict synonymy because no two words are ever completely inter-changeable, e.g.: a long arm is not the same as an extended arm2. If we want to look up the synonyms a word has, then we go to a Thesaurus, a reference book sometimes known as a reverse-dictionary because it is classified by meanings, not alphabetically, by word-forms. Synonymy is known in Arabic as (الترادف), it exists in the Noble Qur’an, and scholars have talked about it; they didn’t just mention that this word is synonym to that, but they also talked about some Ayat, where there are two synonymous words combined in the same Ayah, which is used to emphasize the meaning and to add a new meaning that doesn’t exist in each one of the two synonyms separately, e.g.: " إنما أشكو بثي و حزني الى الله"3
"فما وهنوا لما اصابهم في سبيل الله و ما ضعفوا"4 "فلا يخاف ظلما ولا هضما"5
"لا تخاف دركا و لا تخشى"6
شرعة و منهاجا, لا تبقي و لا تذر, الا دعاء و نداء, اطعنا سادتنا و كبراءنا , and many other Ayat, so we have بثيand حزني, وهنوا and ضعفوا , and all the underlined lexical items are synonyms. 2. Antonymy:
Antonymy is the opposite of synonymy; Antonymy is the sense relation that exists between words which are opposite in meaning. When two words have opposite meaning, they are antonyms, and words that are antonyms are said to be antonymous. The word, antonym, comes from Ancient Greek anti ("opposite") and onoma ("name"). Antonyms can be gradable and non-gradable, e.g.: gradable ------- non-gradable. big-small -------- alive-dead. long-short --------- male-female.
In Arabic, antonymy, which is called (التضاد or الطباق), has been studied by many scholars, e.g.: Ibn mungith, Ibn Almu’taz, alzarkashy, and others who talked about the use of (التضاد) in the Noble Qur’an, in the Hadith of the profit, and in the...
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