LINGUIST List 6.191

Sat 11 Feb 1995

Disc: Words that are their own opposites

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  1. Ogden, Re: 6.108 Sum: Words that are their own opposites (part 2)
  2. "Jules Levin", RE: 6.108 Sum: Words that are their own opposites
  3. Ron Kuzar, Self-opposites
  4. Hartmut Haberland, 6.167 Words that are their own opposites
  5. "R.Hudson", words that are their own opposites
  6. greenman, RE: 6.167 Words that are their own opposites

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

Date: Tue, 7 Feb 1995 13:32:52 +Re: 6.108 Sum: Words that are their own opposites (part 2)
From: Ogden <C.M.Ogdenherts.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: 6.108 Sum: Words that are their own opposites (part 2)

A slight deviation from your subject, but very much related: What about
'buttering', 'salting', 'sugaring' as terms to imply addition and
'milking' meaning 'to take away milk' rather than 'to add milk'.

Regards
Caroline Ogden, University of Herts, 1st year.
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Message 2: RE: 6.108 Sum: Words that are their own opposites

Date: Thu, 9 Feb 95 20:47:30 PDTRE: 6.108 Sum: Words that are their own opposites
From: "Jules Levin" <jflevinucrac1.ucr.edu>
Subject: RE: 6.108 Sum: Words that are their own opposites

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Sorry I haven't commented earlier, but I have been collecting examples of
these words for several years without having a name for them.
I have one class or type with at least 3 members: Words that mean both
movement and inability to move. Examples: fast, bolt, bound
The last word yielded one of the all-time great movie song lyric puns, from
the Title song of "Road to Morroco": "Like Webster's Dictionary, we're
Morroco-bound..."!
I also believe the following word has not been mentioned: It now seems to
mean both to illuminate, clarify, and also to cast a shadow over...

Anyway, when I find my list, I'll have more.

As for other languages, Russian predat' means both to devote and to betray.

 --Jules Levin

University of California
Riverside, CA 92521
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Message 3: Self-opposites

Date: Wed, 8 Feb 1995 21:28:50 +Self-opposites
From: Ron Kuzar <rhle702research.haifa.ac.il>
Subject: Self-opposites

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Unless I missed something on the list, I think the well known semitic
phenomenon of words with contradictory meanings has not been mentioned.
Many of them exist, I can think now of:
the root y.sh.v in Hebrew 'to sit' and its Arabic counterpart w.th.b 'to
jump up from one's seat'. The root 'sh.kh.ch. (i.e. Kaf and Het) appears
in a word meaning 'to forget' as well as in another one meaning 'to
prevail'. The root p.q.d. appears in the verb 'nifqad' meaning 'to be
absent' as well as 'to be counted as present'. Originally meanings were
opposite in different languages but mutual loans and internal semantic
developments complicate matters.
I am sure that more active semitist can come up with many another more
famous stock examples. Oh, yes: sh.r.v. in Hebrew 'extreme heat/dry
weather' sh.r.b. in Arabic 'to drink'.

The double meaning of sh.kh.ch created a famous popular misinterpretation
of an Aramaic proverb:

chaval `al de-'avdin, we-la mishtakchin

This is said in eulogies, originally being a tautological paralellism,
meaning roughly:

Too bad that those are lost, and not present [anymore]

but today understood as:

Too bad that those are lost, and not to be forgotten.

Ron Kuzar
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Message 4: 6.167 Words that are their own opposites

Date: Thu, 9 Feb 1995 11:03:08 +6.167 Words that are their own opposites
From: Hartmut Haberland <hartmutruc.dk>
Subject: 6.167 Words that are their own opposites


I didn't follow this discussion, but my reaction is: 'altus' only means its
own opposite when translated into English (or other languages). 'altus'
means "altus", full stop. It's more a property of the sea (cf. German 'auf
hoher See') that it is 'high' and 'deep' at the same time, depending on
perspective; Latin choses to use the same expression for both
perspectives.
Hartmut Haberland
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Message 5: words that are their own opposites

Date: Thu, 09 Feb 95 08:49:29 +0words that are their own opposites
From: "R.Hudson" <uclyrahucl.ac.uk>
Subject: words that are their own opposites

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Re RISK, Chuck Fillmore has written terrifically insightfully about this
fascinating word, and discusses this question (along with others): see
Fillmore, C. and Atkins, S. 1992. Toward a frame-based lexicon: the
semantics of RISK and its neighbours. In Lehrer and Kittay (Eds), 75-102.
[Unfortunately I seem to have lost my card for Lehrer and Kittay 1992; if
anyone wants it I may be able to dig it out.] He and Sue Atkins point out
that the object of RISK can be either the good thing that you are putting
into jeopardy (risk your life) or the bad thing that lies in wait for you
(risk a telling off). Interestingly, as a side issue, it's the only case
I know of where a gerund is distinct from other NPs: you can risk missing
the plane (neg), but you can't risk catching it (pos), though you can risk
an accident (neg) or your life (pos).

Dick Hudson
Dept of Phonetics and Linguistics,
University College London,
Gower Street,
London WC1E 6BT
uclyrahucl.ac.uk
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Message 6: RE: 6.167 Words that are their own opposites

Date: Wed, 08 Feb 1995 23:42:52 RE: 6.167 Words that are their own opposites
From: greenman <rjs36014acuvax.acu.edu>
Subject: RE: 6.167 Words that are their own opposites

Content-Length: 849

Date sent: 8-FEB-1995 23:35:26
)
)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.

"noch" does mean yet, as in the sentance, "noch nicht," "not yet," But it
can also mean another, "moechtest du noch eine Tasse Wein" "would you like
another glass of wine." "Schon" is really "already", "ich studiere Deutsch
scho sieber Jahren" "I am studying German already four years [lit] " or
"hast du dass schon gemacht?" "have you already done that". Yes, syntax (
as usual) determines the meaning of a word, but I haven't heard "schon"
used for "not yet" unless accompanied with "nicht".
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