LINGUIST List 6.244

Sat 18 Feb 1995

Disc: Words that are their own opposites

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Directory

  1. "Paul Foulkes", Words that are their own opposites
  2. Joel M. Hoffman, Sentences that are their own opposite
  3. Henrietta Hung, Re: 6.234 Words that are their own opposites
  4. Dag Gundersen, Re: 6.209 Words that are their own opposites, cont.

Message 1: Words that are their own opposites

Date: Fri, 17 Feb 1995 10:59:10 Words that are their own opposites
From: "Paul Foulkes" <Paul.Foulkesnewcastle.ac.uk>
Subject: Words that are their own opposites

has anyone yet mentioned /reIz/ - as in (raise) versus <raze (to the
ground) ?

Paul.Foulkesnewcastle.ac.uk
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Message 2: Sentences that are their own opposite

Date: Fri, 17 Feb 95 10:10 EST
From: Joel M. Hoffman <joelwam.umd.edu>
Subject: Sentences that are their own opposite

While on the topic of autoantonymity, what about)sentences( that are
their own opposite? At least one comes to mind immediately:

(1) Don't be surpised if we don't finish by tomorrow.

The negation element can be stylistic or contentful, and so (1) is
it's own opposite.

It's in fact fairly common for some structure to allow a dummy
negation element. In Modern Hebrew, the same sort of thing happens,
but in a wider context:

(2) taxne efo se lo timca xanaya
 park where Comp Neg you-will-find parking
 `Park wherever you find a spot.'

While context makes it clean that the Neg in (2) is stylistic, it
certainly could mean "Park wherever you don't find a spot."

These raise serious issues for comprehension, as the only way to
understand (1) and (2) is already to have an expectation as to what
they mean, but the infamous "space constraints do not permit a full
discussion" applies.

-Joel Hoffman
(joelwam.umd.edu)
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Message 3: Re: 6.234 Words that are their own opposites

Date: Fri, 17 Feb 1995 10:32:44 Re: 6.234 Words that are their own opposites
From: Henrietta Hung <hhungaix1.uottawa.ca>
Subject: Re: 6.234 Words that are their own opposites

To those who have an interest in words that are their own opposites, I
refer you to a short article entitled 'Let your Yea be Nay' which
appeared in the Oct.8th/94 issue of The Economist (p.98). One of the
examples cited is 'table' which has opposite meanings on the two sides of
the Atlantic. Congress tables an item that it does not want to discuss;
Parliament tables one that it does.

There was also an entire New York Times Sunday crossword that was devoted
to these words, a few years back.

Henrietta J. Hung hhungaix1.uottawa.ca
Department of Linguistics phone: (613)564-9079
University of Ottawa fax: (613)564-9067
Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1N 6N5
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Message 4: Re: 6.209 Words that are their own opposites, cont.

Date: Thu, 16 Feb 1995 09:57:37 Re: 6.209 Words that are their own opposites, cont.
From: Dag Gundersen <dag.gunderseninl.uio.no>
Subject: Re: 6.209 Words that are their own opposites, cont.

Content-Length: 472

If any of you read Norwegian, I'll be glad to send you a copy of my
(unprinted) paper on this subject. We have a lot of such words. An American
crime novelist, Gene Thompson, has as his hero the lawyer Dade Cooley, who
has a running wager going with a colleague about who can find still another
ten of them. Like one of you he has "handicap", which I don't think fits
the bill. Anyway, he has a name for them: opponyms.
Dag G.(University of Oslo, Section of Lexicography)
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