[Lingtyp] Does bipolar polysemy exist?

Sebastian Nordhoff sebastian.nordhoff at glottotopia.de
Thu May 31 07:37:58 EDT 2018


On 05/31/2018 01:18 PM, David Gil wrote:
> A point of logic.  "Not X" and "Antonym (X)" are distinct notions, and
> the original query by Ian Joo pertains to the former, not the latter. 

but is there any (monomorphemic) lexeme which expresses not-X which is
not the antonym of X?

And the original questions seems to imply that negation has to be found
in the lexeme itself. I am not sure I fully get the question, but I feel
that the following examples from French might be relevant

(1) Inquiète-toi! `you better worry'
(2) T'inquiète! `Don't worry'

The lexeme is the same, but the position of the clitic changes the
polarity. (This only works for this particular lexeme).

The original claim was

> /There exists no lexeme that can mean X and the negation of X./

I am not sure about the meaning of "mean" here, but if we rephrase this
as "There exists no lexeme which can be used to make a proposition
containing it evaluate to both true and false", I feel that some of the
examples from the Wikipedia article would fit the bill.

I believe, however, that most theories of semantics would claim that in
all the cases mentioned on Wikipedia, we are actually dealing with
homophonous lexemes, not with one lexeme.

Best wishes
Sebastian




> Hence, the Wikipedia entry on "auto-antonym", however interesting in its
> own right, is not directly relevant to the original query.
> 
> From a narrow truth-functional perspective, "X or not X" is a tautology,
> and hence any meaningless expression in a language (e.g. an exclamation
> expressing an affective state) would be equivalent to, say, "go or not
> go".  But somehow, I suspect that this is not what Ian Joo is looking
> for ...
> 
> 
> On 31/05/2018 12:57, Joo Ian wrote:
>>
>> Dear all,
>>
>> I would like to know if the following universal claim holds:
>>
>> /There exists no lexeme that can mean X and the negation of X. (For
>> example, no lexeme can express “to go” and “to not go”)./
>>
>> I wonder if such “bipolar polysemy” exists in any lexeme, because I
>> cannot think of any, and whether this claim is truly universal.
>>
>> I would appreciate to know if there is any counter-evidence.
>>
>> From Hong Kong,
>>
>> Ian Joo
>>
>> http://ianjoo.academia.edu
>>
>>
>>
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> 
> 
> 
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