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Semantics - Lexical Structures and Adjectives

Ed. by Maienborn, Claudia / Heusinger, Klaus von / Portner, Paul

Series:Mouton Reader

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Publication Date:
February 2019
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7. Dual oppositions in lexical meaning

Löbner, Sebastian


Starting from well-known examples, a notion of duality is presented that overcomes the shortcomings of the traditional definition in terms of internal and external negation. Rather duality is defined as a logical relation in terms of equivalence and contradiction. Based on the definition, the notion of duality groups, or squares, is introduced along with examples from quantification, modality, aspectual modification and scalar predication (adjectives). The groups exhibit remarkable asymmetries as to the lexicalization of their four potential members. The lexical gaps become coherent if the members of duality groups are consistently assigned to four types, corresponding e.g. to some, all, no, and not all. Among these types, the first two are usually lexicalized, the third is only rarely and the fourth almost never. Using the example of the German schon (“already”) group, scalar adjectives and standard quantifiers, the notion of phase quantification is introduced as a general pattern of second-order predication which subsumes quantifiers as well as aspectual particles and scalar adjectives. Four interrelated types of phase quantifiers form a duality group. According to elementary monotonicity criteria the four types rank on a scale of markedness that accounts for the lexical distribution within the duality groups.

Citation Information

Sebastian Löbner (2019). 7. Dual oppositions in lexical meaning. In Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger, Paul Portner (Eds.), Semantics - Lexical Structures and Adjectives (pp. 201–235). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110626391-007

Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110626391

Online ISBN: 9783110626391

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/BostonGet Permission

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