Lexicology of the English Language

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a) complementary, e.g. male -female, married -single,

b) antonyms, e.g. good -bad,

c) converseness, e.g. to buy - to sell.

In his classification he describes complimentarity in the following way: the denial of the one implies the assertion of the other, and vice versa. John is not married implies that John is single. The type of oppositeness is based on yes/no decision. Incompatibility only concerns pairs of lexical units.

Antonymy is the second class of oppositeness. It is distinguished from complimentarity by being based on different logical relationships. For pairs of antonyms like good/bad, big/small only the second one of the above mentioned relations of implication holds. The assertion containing one member implies the negation of the other, but not vice versa. John is good implies that John is not bad, but John is not good does not imply that John is bad. The negation of one term does not necessarily implies the assertion of the other.

An important linguistic difference from complementaries is that antonyms are always fully gradable, e.g. hot, warm, tepid, cold.

Converseness is mirror-image relations or functions, e.g. husband/wife, pupil/teacher, preceed/follow, above/below, before/after etc.

John bought the car from Bill implies that Bill sold the car to John. Mirror-image sentences are in many ways similar to the relations between active and passive sentences. Also in the comparative form: Y is smaller than X, then X is larger than Y.

L. Lipka also gives the type which he calls directional opposition up/down, consiquence opposition learn/know, antipodal opposition North/South, East/West, ( it is based on contrary motion, in opposite directions.) The pairs come/go, arrive/depart involve motion in different directions. In the case up/down we have movement from a point P. In the case come/go we have movement from or to the speaker.

L. Lipka also points out non-binary contrast or many-member lexical sets. Here he points out serially ordered sets, such as scales / hot, warm, tepid, cool, cold/ ; colour words / black, grey, white/ ; ranks /marshal, general, colonel, major, captain etc./ There are gradable examination marks / excellent, good, average, fair, poor/. In such sets of words we can have outer and inner pairs of antonyms. He also points out cycles, such as units of time /spring, summer, autumn, winter/ . In this case there are no outermost members.

Not every word in a language can have antonyms. This type of opposition can be met in qualitative adjectives and their derivatives, e.g. beautiful- ugly, to beautify - to uglify, beauty - ugliness. It can be also met in words denoting feelings and states, e.g. respect - scorn, to respect - to scorn, respectful - scornful, to live - to die, alive - dead, life - death. It can be also met among words denoting direction in space and time, e.g. here - there, up - down , now - never, before - after, day - night, early - late etc.

If a word is polysemantic it can have several antonyms, e.g. the word bright has the antonyms dim, dull, sad.



On the British Isles there are some local varieties of English which developed from Old English local dialects. There are six groups of them: Lowland /Scottish/ , Northern, Western, Midland, Eastern, Southern. These varieties are used in oral speech by the local population. Only the Scottish dialect has its own literature /R. Berns/.

One of the best known dialects of British English is the dialect of London - Cockney. Some peculiarities of this dialect can be seen in the first act of Pigmalion by B. Shaw, such as : interchange of /v/ and /w/ e.g. wery vell; interchange of /f/ and /0/ , /v/ and / /, e. g/ fing /thing/ and fa:ve / father/; interchange of /h/ and /-/ , e.g. eart for heart and hart for art; substituting the diphthong /ai/ by /ei/ e.g. day is pronounced /dai/; substituting /au/ by /a:/ , e.g. house is pronounced /ha:s/,now /na:/ ; substituting /ou/ by /o:/ e.g. dont is pronounced /do:nt/ or substituting it by / / in unstressed positions, e.g. window is pronounced /wind /.

: 21/06/2009