Antonymous frameworks in Serbian written discourse: Phrasal contexts of antonym co-occurrence in text
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This paper presents the results of a study that analyzes antonym co-occurrence in written texts in a corpus of contemporary Serbian language. It adopts the metalexical approach to paradigmatic semantic relations, which posits that semantic relations among words are represented as part of what we know about the words. Antonymy is within this theoretical framework viewed as a conceptual relation, derivable by a single relational principle. Contexts of antonym use in the sentence seem to be structured and can be explained if conceptual approach to antonymy is adopted. Two major, and four minor, functions of antonyms have been identified in discourse, matching the results of similar analyses in other languages, such as English, Japanese, Swedish and Dutch. Antonyms in Serbian written discourse are predominantly used with an aim to either maximize contrast or annul its existence. This “paradox” can be explained if we postulate that antonyms are minimally different (i.e. similar but for one relevant difference) which makes it possible for the language users to focus on either of these two properties when they use them in discourse. This paper describes the notion of antonymous framework and the roles that antonyms can have in these phrasal contexts. The conclusions provide support to conceptual approach to antonymy and contribute to investigations of antonyms from pragmatic perspective using corpus data.
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