Homonymy in Modern English. Split policemy

Homonyms are words which are identical in sound and spelling, or, at least, in one of these aspects, but different in their meaning.

bank, n.-a shore  bank, n.-an institution for receiving, lending, exchanging, and safeguarding money

ball, n. – a sphere; any spherical body   ball, n.-a large dancing party

In the process of communication they are more of an encumbrance, leading sometimes to confusion and misunderstanding. Yet it is this very characteristic which makes them one of the most important sources of popular humour. The pun is a joke based upon the play upon words of similar form but different meaning

Sources of Homonyms:

Phonetic changes which words- undergo in the course of their historical development. Night and knight,

Borrowing. A borrowed word may, in the final stage of its phonetic adaptation, duplicate in form either a native word or another borrowing. rite, n. – to write, v.- right, adj. the second and third words are of native origin whereas rite is a Latin borrowing (< Lat. ritus).

Conversion – comb, n.- to comb, v., pale, adj.- to pale, v., to make, v,- make, n. Homonyms of this type, which are the same in sound and spelling but refer to different categories of parts of speech, are called lexico-grammatical homonyms.

Shortening. E.g.  fan, n.   in the  sense  of “an  enthusiastic  admirer  of some  kind   of sport or of an actor, singer, etc.” is a shortening produced from  fanatic.

Words made by sound-imitation) can also form pairs of homonyms with other words: e, g. bang, n. (“a loud, sudden, explosive noise”) – bang, n. (“a fringe of hair combed

over   . the forehead”).

(Two or more homonyms can “originate from different meanings of the same word when, for some reason, the semantic structure of the word breaks into several parts. This type of formation of homonyms is called split polysemy.

Board – a long and thin piece of timber

Board – daily meals especially provided for pay.

Board – an official group of persons who direct or supervise some activity. A board of directors

All the meanings developed from the meaning ” a table”.

Classification of Homonyms

The subdivision of homonyms into:

homonyms proper – words same in sound and in spelling.  1.fit – perfectly fitting clothes. 2. fit – nervous spasm.

homophones -the same in sound, different in spelling.1. been 2.bean

homographs -the sane in spelling, different in sound 1.to lead – go before, show the way 2. lead – a heavy rather soft metal.




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