LINGUIST List 6.167

Tue 07 Feb 1995

Disc: Words that are their own opposites

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  1. Anthea F Gupta, Re: 6.108 Sum: Words that are their own opposites (part 2)
  2. "Max Wheeler", Re: 6.139 Words that are their own opposites
  3. Hala'sz Sa'ndor, Re: 6.139 Words that are their own opposites

Message 1: Re: 6.108 Sum: Words that are their own opposites (part 2)

Date: Thu, 2 Feb 1995 14:55:47 +Re: 6.108 Sum: Words that are their own opposites (part 2)
From: Anthea F Gupta <ellguptaleonis.nus.sg>
Subject: Re: 6.108 Sum: Words that are their own opposites (part 2)


) BRUCE NEVIN reminds us of an intercontinental auto-antonym pair: "public
) school" in Britain is "private school" in the USA and vice versa.
)
Well hardly. And certainly not vice-versa. The British public schools
are a subset of the private schools. Contrary to American impressions
the term "private school" is widely used in UK, as is "independent
school" in the same meaning. Not all private schools are public
schools. The term "state school" is the usual term for a school that is
free for all pupils.

Anthea Fraser GUPTA

English Language & Literature
National University of Singapore
Kent Ridge e-mail: ellguptanus.sg
Singapore 0511 telephone: (65) 772 3933
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Message 2: Re: 6.139 Words that are their own opposites

Date: Fri, 3 Feb 1995 14:05:10 +Re: 6.139 Words that are their own opposites
From: "Max Wheeler" <maxwcogs.susx.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: 6.139 Words that are their own opposites

Benji Wald (6.139) writes:

) But one that I have long wondered about is
) "risk" as in "he risked winning the game". I was shocked (as a teenager)
) the first time I saw "he risked losing the game" (or something like that)
) in print, because I previously thought (and am still inclined toward)
) the complement of risk being the desirable result, not the undesirable
) one. Whether or not this fits into this discussion, I wonder if anyone
) else has had a similar (or opposite) reaction or any thoughts
) about what's going on in the case of "risk".

My intuition is certainly the opposite one; `he risked winning the game'
sounds ironical - makes sense only via the inference that winning the game is
an undesirable result. For me `risk' is synonymous with `take the risk of'. Is
that also true for those who share Benji's intuition? To use the morpheme
_risk_ in a construction which has Benji's interpretation of `he risked
winning the game', I would need to say `he put winning the game at risk'. Is
there a dialect difference here?

Max Wheeler
School of Cognitive & Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Falmer
Brighton BN1 9QH
UK
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Message 3: Re: 6.139 Words that are their own opposites

Date: Fri, 3 Feb 95 11:57:53 CSTRe: 6.139 Words that are their own opposites
From: Hala'sz Sa'ndor <halaszkewszeg.norden1.com>
Subject: Re: 6.139 Words that are their own opposites

Then there is the curious case of the word "yet", which, as far as I know,
formerly meant almost the same as German "noch", but has shifted, through
"not yet", esp. in questions, to German "schon". But here in Toledo there are
people (my wife), who uze it in both meanings--the syntax alone shows which.
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