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ERIC Number: ED126708
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
The Meaning of Meaning, Etc.
Nilsen, Don L. F.
This paper attempts to dispel a number of misconceptions about the nature of meaning, namely that: (1) synonyms are words that have the same meanings, (2) antonyms are words that have opposite meanings, (3) homonyms are words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings, (4) converses are antonyms rather than synonyms, (5) ambiguity is bad, (6) standard formal English is more logical or more grammatical than are its nonstandard counterparts, and (6) a piece of writing can be evaluated regardless of audience or situation. Synonymy and paraphrase may have the same truth value, but not the same distribution of old and new information, nor the same emotional effect. Antonyms are basically the same but polar opposites on one semantic dimension only. Homonyms are divided into two classes, homographs and homophones. Converses, such as "buy" and "sell" are exactly alike in meaning and are used to describe the same situation, but with a different point of view and with a different treatment of syntactic information. Ambiguity is the basis for metaphor, satire, humor, and advertising. Non-standard English is typically more logical and internally consistent than is standard English. Appropriateness to the situation is a primary factor in the evaluation of any language corpus. (Author/CLK)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Revised version of a paper presented at a meeting of the Iowa Council of Teachers of English (Iowa Central Community College, Fort Dodge, Iowa)