On conceptual nature of antonymy: Evidence from corpus-based investigations
This paper provides an overview of corpus investigations in studying antonymy with an aim to argue in favour of the conceptual approach to antonymy. Antonymy is considered to play an important role in organizing languages’ vocabularies. However, there is no consensus in the literature on the issue of whether antonyms form a set of stored lexical associations (as the structuralists and the Princeton WordNet model propose), or whether the category of antonymy is a context-sensitive, conceptually grounded category (as conceptual models of meaning propose). On the basis of author’s recent investigations of antonymy in Serbian written discourse, this paper argues in favour of the conceptual approach to antonymy. This approach predicts a category with a continuum structure, with prototypical antonym partners as core members, and category members for which a partner is not available in a context-free environment. The theoretical implication of the investigations presented is that antonymy is primarily a conceptual relation, based on general cognitive processes. Keywords: antonymy, cognitive approach, conceptual relation.
International Burch University