Antonymy and Related Terms

Abstract

The significance of the present work is two fold: first, to determine a borderline between a large web of relations that has been viewed in the field of lexical semantics as antonymy, opposition, oppositeness, contras t, etc. ,and second, to locate antonymy within an umbrella term, viz. incompatibility. Much theoretical knowledge in the present study has been derived from pioneers' works as Lehrer, Lyons, Cruse, Leech, Ljung and others. Diagnosing this large web of relations and terms is grounded on the following hypotheses: (1) earlier pilot work in lexical semantics indicated, to a greater or lesser degree, that the notions of oppositeness, opposition, and antonymy are used interchangeably. It is suggested here that the meaning of each of the notions differs,(2) it is also suggested that the relations holding between the 16 notions under investigation are not the same, and (3) building on hypothesis (2), it is presupposed that the meaning of the notions, though highly related, are different. Most of the discussion below is supported by congruencies and hierarchies which surely help in understanding the notions and their relations.