Corpus methods for the investigation of antonyms across languages

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


This chapter proposes an onomasiological research methodology for
cross-linguistic investigations of antonyms. The basic assumption is that there
is a number of strongly opposable lexical semantic pairings in all languages,
whose meanings are central to human existence, e.g. speed slow–fast, luminosity, dark–light, strength weak–strong, size small–large. There is also a large number of other pairings that are frequently used as antonyms in discourse, but for various different reasons they are not as strongly coupled as the canonical ones. The meaning dimensions of the canonical pairings, e.g. speed, luminosity, strength, size, are used as the point of departure for the typological research program to identify the use of the antonymic words in different combinations and in different semantic frames in a principled way across languages and cultures. Large scale studies carried out along the lines proposed will make it possible to produce a typological antonym atlas of the formal realization of antonym pairs and their usage patterns, at the same time as it will allow us to make statements about the role of binary opposition in language and cognition more generally.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe lexical typology of semantic shifts
EditorsMaria Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Päivi Juvonen
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherMouton de Gruyter
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-11-037767-5, 978-3-11-039306-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-11-037752-1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameCognitive linguistics research (CLR)
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
ISSN (Print)1861-4132

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