Chapter 6
Sense Relations and
Sematic Field
(6.1 ~ 6.3)
06002027 – 민광훈
6.1 Polysemy (다의성)
6.2 Homonymy (동음이의)
6.3 Synonymy (동의성)
Words are arbitrary symbols and are indepen dent identities so far as their outer facet
(spelling and pronunciation) is concerned.
But semantically, all words are related in one
way or another, hense sense relations
The subjects are polysemy, homonymy, synony
my, antonymy, hyponymy
6.1 Polysemy (다의성)
An overwhelming majority of words are
polysemous in modern English
Many words have two, three senses, or more
However, when a word is first coined, it is
always monosemic.
In the course of development, the same symbol
must be used to express more meanings. The
result is polysemy.
6. 1. 1 Two Approaches to Polysemy
Diachronic approach & Synchronic approach
1. Diachronic approach
Polysemy is assumed to be the result of growth
and development of the semantic structure of
one and same word.
At the time when the word was created, it was
endowed with only one meaning. This first mea
ning is the primary meaning.
With the advance of time, it took on more and
more meaning. These later meanings are called
derived meanings.
For example) Face
(1) The front of the head
(2) the expression of the countenance
(3) A surface of a thing
(4) The side or surface that is marked, as of a clock, domino
(5) The appearance; outward aspect; rsemblance
(6)[CH idiom] dignity; presitige, as in lose / save face
(7) The topography (of an area)
(8) The functional and striking surface (of a tool, golf club..)
(9)[colloquialism] effrontery, audacity
(10) What is shown by the language of a document
(11) [mining] the end of a tunnel
(12)[typography] the type surface on which a letter is cut
In many cases, the primary meaning became
obsolete or disappeared altogether.
 Harvest
The basic sense of word was ‘time of cutting’
Now it is used in the sense of ‘reaping and gathering
the crops’ or ‘ ‘ a season’s yield of grain or fruit.’
 Pain
The basic meaning was ‘Penalty or punishment’ now
This meaning is preserved only in such phrases as
‘pains and penalties’, ‘upon/under pain of’
The drived meanings ‘Suffering’, ‘great discomfort of
the body or mind’ have become prevalent
Synchronic approach
Synchronically, polysemy is viewed as the
coexistence of various meaning of the same
word in a certain historical period of time in
Modern English.
 In this way, the basic meaning of a word is
the core of word-meaning called the central
meaning. The derived meanings are second
ary in comparison.
But it does not necessarily mean that the secondary
meanings are secondary in importance.
There are cases where the central meaning has gradu
ally diminished and one of the derived meanings has
become dominant.
For example ‘gay’
(1) Joyous and lively; merry ; happy
(2) Bright ; brilliant
(3) Given to social life and pleasure
(4) Wanton ; licentious
(5) Homosexual
In both CCELD and LDCE, Sense (5) is arranged as No.
1, because it is rated as the most frequently used meani
6. 1. 2 Two processes of Development
radiation & concatenation.
The development of word meaning from monosemy
to polysemy follows two courses, known as radiati
on and concatenation.
They are closely related in many cases, they work to
gether, complementing each other
1. radiation is a semantic process in which the pri
mary meaning stands at the centre and secondary
meanings proceed out of it in every direction.
The meneaings are independent of one another, but
can all be traced back to the central meaning.
For example) Neck
(1) that part of man or animal joining the head to
the body.
(2) that part of the garment
(3) The neck of an animal used as food
(4) A narrow part between the head and body ex) t
he neck of a violin
(5) The narrowest part of anything : bottle
The primary meaning is (1).
They don’t have the same meaning, but they are all
related to the central meaning.
2. Concatenation, meaning ‘linking together’,
is the semantic process in which the meaning of
a word moves gradually away from its first sens
in many cases, by succesive shifts, there is not
sigh of connection between the final sense and
the beginning term.
For example) Treacle
(1) Wild beast
(2) Remedy for bites of venomous beasts
(3) Antidote for poison or remedy for poison
(4) effective remedy (BrE)
(5) molasses (당밀)
(1),(2) are entirely lost; (3),(4) are obsolete
And only (5) remains common is use
6.2 Homonymy (동음이의)
Homonyms(동음이의어) are generally defined
as words different in meaning.
But either identical both in sound and spelling
or identical only sound or spelling
6.2.1 Type of homonyms
Based on the degree of similarity, homonyms
fall into three classes;
Perfect homonyms(완전동의어),
and homophones(이철어)
1. Perfect homonyms(완전동의어)
Perfect homonyms are words identical
both in sound and spelling, but diffifent in
- bear (n) : a large heavy animal
bear (v) : to put with, endure
- Date (n) : a kind of fruit (대추)
date(n) : a boy or girl friend
2. Homographs(동형이의어)
Homographs are words identical only in
spelling but different in sound and meaning
- bow /bau/ (n): bending the head as a greeting
bow /(AmE) bou , (BrE) bəu/ (n)
: the device used for shooting arrows
- sow / (AmE) sou , (BrE) səu/ (v):
: to scatter seeds
sow /sau/ (n) : female adult pig
3. Homophones (이철어)
Homophones are words identical only in
sound but different in spelling and meaning
- Dear /(AmE) diər, (BrE) diə/ (n)
: a loved person
Deer /(AmE) diər, (BrE) diə/ (n)
: a kind of animal
- Right /rait/ (a) : correct
write /rait/ (v) : to put down on paper with
a pen
rite / rait/ (v): a ceremonial procedure
6.2.2 Origins of homonyms
There are various sources of homonyms :
1. Change in sound and spelling gradually
made some words identical
long (adj) : not short, from lang(Old English)
long (verb) : to want very much from langian(OE)
2. Borrowing. Many words of foreign origin
coincide in sound and spelling with those of native
fair (n) : a market, borrowed from feria (L)
fair (a) : pretty, from fæger (OE)
3. Shortening. Many shortened forms of
words happen to be identical with other
words in spelling or sound
Ad (n) shortened from advertisement
Add (v) to cause an increase
6.2.3 Differentiantion of Homonyms(동음이의
from Polysemants(다의어)
Perfect homonyms(완전동의어) and
polysemants(다의어) are fully identical with
regard to spelling and pronunciation.
One important criterion is to see their
etymology(어원). Homonyms are from
different sources whereas a polysemant is from
the same sourece.
The second principal consideration is semantic
relatedness. The various meanings of a
ploysemant are corrected to one central
On the other hand, meanings of different
homonyms have nothing to do with one another
6.2.4 Rhetoric Features of Homonyms
As homonyms are identical in sound or spelling (particularly
homophones) they are often employed to create pun(말장난)s
for desired effect of, humor or ridicule
In restaurant
“You`re not eating your fish” the waitress said to him “Anything
wrong with it? ”
“Long time no sea” the man replied
‘Long time no see’ is usually said as a form of greeting.
In this conversation, Customer criticize the bad quality of food in
a humourous way. ‘long time no sea’ implies that ‘sea food kept
for a long time is not fit for eating’
6. 3 Synonymy (동의성)
English is known for its abundant amount of
For example, in Beowulf, there were at least
thirty-six words used for ‘hero’ and ‘prince’ ,
Seventeen expressions found used for ‘sea’
However, in present-day English, most of these
terms have disappeared because we no longer
need them
6. 3. 1 Definition of Synonyms
Synonyms(동의어) can be defined as
words different in sound and spelling but
most nearly alike or exactly the same in
But they denote similar concept, they differ
in stylistic appropriateness(문체상의 어울
6. 3. 2 Type of Synonyms
1. Absolute synonyms are words which are
identical in meaning in all its aspects.
scarlet-fever = scarlatina (세균성인후염)
2. Relative synonyms are similar or nearly
the same in denotation
stagger / reel/ totter (비틀거리다)
stagger implies unsteady movement in a
certain situation.
reel suggest swaying like a drunken man.
totter indicates the uncertain steps of an old
person or infant.
6. 3. 3. Source of Synonyms
native : room , Foreign : Chamber
2. Dialects and regional English
railway(BrE) , railroad(AmE)
3. Figurative and euphemistic use of
words(비유적이고 완곡한 표현)
occupation , walk of life (fig)
4. Coincidence with idiomatic
decide , make up one`s mind
help , lend one a hand
6. 3. 4 Discrimination of Synonyms
Difference in denotation(명시적 의미의 차이).
Synonyms may differ in the range and
intensity of meaning.
For example, timid and timorous are
synonymous, but the former is applied to
both the state of mind at the moment and
habitual disposition(성격)
And the latter only to the disposition
Synonyms may differ in degree of intensity
For example, rich man and a wealthy
lady are both rich, but the wealthy lady is
felt to possess more money and property
than rich man.
2. Difference in connotation(함축의 차이).
Some words share the same denotation but
differ in their stylistic appropriateness.
For example, the words borrowed from Fren
ch and Latin are generally more formal than
native words.
(Native / Latin)
Answer/ respond , handy/ manual
Homely/ domestic , storm/ tempest
Big and great
Big is generally used show the bigness of siz
e, volume, extent, weight and so on without
any emotive coloring
whereas great suggest ‘eminent’ , ‘outstandi
ng’ , etc
3. Difference in application(적용의 차이)
Many words are synonymous in meaning but di
fferent in usage in simple terms.
For example
allow and let are synonyms, but we allow sb to
do sth and let sb do sth
Empty and vacant. Empty implies that there i
s no one or nothing inside. Empty box, room
Vacant suggests that something or some place
is not occupied. Vacant seat, chair

similar documents