[Lingtyp] Does bipolar polysemy exist?

Maia Ponsonnet maia.ponsonnet at uwa.edu.au
Thu May 31 08:01:08 EDT 2018


I certainly see the nuance between "not X" and "antonym (X)", as the latter is really quite common


As for the former, as a native speaker of French "inquiète-toi" vs "t'inquiète" doesn't work for me.


In the latter the negation is simply elided, and this is flagged by the "t'". The full form "t'inquiète pas" is still very common and even if the short form became opaque, the reflexive instead of full O pronoun would be a clear difference in my opinion ?


Cheers, Maïa



Dr Maïa Ponsonnet
Senior Lecturer in Linguistics
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________________________________
From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of Sebastian Nordhoff <sebastian.nordhoff at glottotopia.de>
Sent: Thursday, 31 May 2018 7:37 PM
To: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] Does bipolar polysemy exist?

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
Ian Joo<http://ianjoo.academia.edu/>
ianjoo.academia.edu
Affiliations. National Chiao Tung University, Linguistics, Graduate Student



>>
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