[Lingtyp] Does bipolar polysemy exist?

Luigi Talamo luigi.talamo at unibg.it
Thu May 31 07:55:36 EDT 2018


Dear all,
I just wanted to point out that some adjectives may have indeed both opposite meanings, as in the following examples from Italian:

un gatto pauroso: a fearful cat or a scary cat

Since the interpretation depends on the adjective argument structure (and in some languages on the adjective position),non-animate subjects tend to give just one meaning, which corresponds to a sort of causative agent I.e., ‘ Modified noun causing abstract property denoted by the adjective’

un film/ una notte/ libro pauroso: a scary movie/ night/ book

Best,
Luigi


—
Luigi Talamo, PhD

> On 31 May 2018, at 13:37, Sebastian Nordhoff <sebastian.nordhoff at glottotopia.de> wrote:
> 
>> 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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>>> Lingtyp mailing list
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>> 
>> 
>> 
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