Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. Examples and Observations "Homonyms are illustrated from the various meanings of the word bear animal, carry or ear of body, of corn. In these examples, the identity covers both the spoken and written forms, but it is possible to have partial homonymy—or heteronymy —where the identity is within a single medium, as in homophony and homography. When there is ambiguity between homonyms whether non-deliberate or contrived, as in riddles and puns , a homonymic clash or conflict is said to have occurred.
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Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. Examples and Observations "Homonyms are illustrated from the various meanings of the word bear animal, carry or ear of body, of corn. In these examples, the identity covers both the spoken and written forms, but it is possible to have partial homonymy—or heteronymy —where the identity is within a single medium, as in homophony and homography.
When there is ambiguity between homonyms whether non-deliberate or contrived, as in riddles and puns , a homonymic clash or conflict is said to have occurred. A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics, 6th ed.
Pearson, Homonymy and Polysemy "Homonymy and polysemy both involve one lexical form that is associated with multiple senses and as such both are possible sources of lexical ambiguity.
But while homonyms are distinct lexemes that happen to share the same form, in polysemy a single lexeme is associated with multiple senses. The distinction between homonymy and polysemy is usually made on the basis of the relatedness of the senses: polysemy involves related senses, whereas the senses associated with homonymous lexemes are not related.
Continuum "Linguists have long distinguished between polysemy and homonymy e. Usually, an account like the following is given. Since it is not easy to say when two meanings are totally different or unrelated as in homonymy or when they are just a little different and related as in polysemy , it has been customary to adduce additional, more easily decidable criteria.
There are cases where we may think that the meanings are clearly distinct and that we therefore have homonymy, but which cannot be distinguished by the given linguistic formal criteria, e. Traditional linguistic criteria for distinguishing homonymy from polysemy, although no doubt helpful, in the end turn out to be insufficient.
Walter de Gruyter, "Dictionaries recognize the distinction between polysemy and homonymy by making a polysemous item a single dictionary entry and making homophonous lexemes two or more separate entries. Thus head is one entry and bank is entered twice.
Producers of dictionaries often make a decision in this regard on the basis of etymology , which is not necessarily relevant, and in fact separate entries are necessary in some instances when two lexemes have a common origin. The distinction between homonymy and polysemy is not an easy one to make. Two lexemes are either identical in form or not, but relatedness of meaning is not a matter of yes or no; it is a matter of more or less.
Kreidler, Introducing English Semantics. Routledge, Aristotle on Homonymy "Those things are called homonymous of which the name alone is common, but the account of being corresponding to the name is different Those things are called synonymous of which the name is common, and the account of being corresponding to the name is the same.
He appeals to homonymy in virtually every area of his philosophy. Along with being and goodness, Aristotle also accepts or at times accepts the homonymy or multivocity of: life, oneness, cause, source or principle, nature, necessity, substance, the body, friendship, part, whole, priority, posteriority, genus, species, the state, justice, and many others.
Indeed, he dedicates an entire book of the Metaphysics to a recording and partial sorting of the many ways core philosophical notions are said to be. His preoccupation with homonymy influences his approach to almost every subject of inquiry he considers, and it clearly structures the philosophical methodology that he employs both when criticizing others and when advancing his own positive theories. Oxford University Press,
Homonymy: Examples and Definition
Polysemes[ edit ] A polyseme is a word or phrase with different, but related senses. Since the test for polysemy is the vague concept of the relatedness, judgments of polysemy can be difficult to make. English has many polysemous words. In linear or vertical polysemy, one sense of a word is a subset of the other. These are examples of hyponymy and hypernymy , and are sometimes called autohyponyms. Alan Cruse identifies four types of linear polysemy:  autohyponymy, where the basic sense leads to a specialised sense from "drinking anything " to "drinking alcohol " automeronymy, where the basic sense leads to a subpart sense from "door whole structure " to "door panel " autohyperonymy or autosuperordination, where the basic sense leads to a wider sense from " female cow" to "cow of either sex " autoholonymy, where the basic sense leads to a larger sense from "leg thigh and calf " to "leg thigh, calf, knee and foot " In non-linear polysemy, the original sense of a word is used figuratively to provide a different way of looking at the new subject. Alan Cruse identifies three types of non-linear polysemy:  metonymy , where one sense "stands for" another from "hands body part " to "hands manual labourers " metaphor , where there is a resemblance between senses from "swallowing a pill " to "swallowing an argument " other construals for example, from "month of the year " to "month four weeks " There are several tests for polysemy, but one of them is zeugma : if one word seems to exhibit zeugma when applied in different contexts , it is likely that the contexts bring out different polysemes of the same word.
Difference Between Polysemy and Homonymy
Euler diagram showing the relationships between homonyms between blue and green and related linguistic concepts. Several similar linguistic concepts are related to homonymy. These include: Homographs literally "same writing" are usually defined as words that share the same spelling, regardless of how they are pronounced. If they are pronounced differently then they are also heteronyms — for example, bow the front of a ship and bow a ranged weapon. Homophones literally "same sound" are usually defined as words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of how they are spelled. Homographic examples include rose flower and rose past tense of rise. Due to their similar yet non-identical pronunciation in American English, ladder and latter do not qualify as homophones, but rather synophones.