Discourse Analysis


‘There’s two types of favors, the big favor and the small favor. You can measure the size of the favor by the pause that a person takes after they ask you to “Do me a favor.” Small favor – small pause. “Can you do me a favor, hand me that pencil.” No pause at all. Big favors are, “Could you do me a favor …” Eight seconds go by. “Yeah? What?”

“… well.” The longer it takes them to get to it, the bigger the pain it’s going to be.

Humans are the only species that do favors. Animals don’t do favors. A lizard doesn’t go up to a cockroach and say, “Could you do me a favor and hold still, I’d like to eat you alive.” That’s a big favor even with no pause.

Seinfeld (1993)’

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 141

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Metonym‏ [Noun.]


‘The relatedness of meaning found in polysemy is essentially based on similarity. The head of a company is similar to the head of a person on top of and controlling the body. There is another relationship between words, based simply on a close connection in everyday experience. That close connection can be based on a container-contents relation (battle/water, can/juice), a whole-part relation (car/wheels, house/roof) or a representative-symbol relationship (king/crown, the President/the White House). Using one of these words to refer to the other is an example metonymy.’

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 121

Polysemy‏ [Noun.]


‘When we encounter two or more words with the same form and related meanings, we have what is technically known as polysemy. Polysemy can be defined as one form (written or spoken) having multiple meanings that are all related by extension. Examples are the word head, used to refer to the object on top of your body, froth on top of a glass of beer, person at the top of a company or department, and many other things.’

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 120

Homophone‏ [Noun.]


‘When two or more different (written) forms have the same pronunciation, they are described as homophones. Common examples are bare/bear, meat/meet, flour/flower, pail/pale, right/write, sew/so and to/two/too.’

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 120

Homonym‏ [Noun.]


‘We use the term homonyms when one form (written or spoken) has two or more  unrelated meanings, as in these examples:

bank (of a river) – bank (financial institution)
bat (flying creature) – bat (used in sports)
mole (on skin) – mole (small animal)
pupil (at school) – pupil (in the eye)
race (contest of speed) – race (ethnic group)’

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 120

Prototype‏ [Noun.]


‘The idea of “the characteristic instance” of a category is know as a prototype. The concept of a prototype helps explain the meaning of certain words, like bird, not in terms of component features (e.g. “has feathers,” “has wings”), but in terms of resemblance to the clearest example. […]

Given the category label furniture, we are quick to recognise chair as a better example than bench or stool. […] However, this is one area where individual experience can lead to substantial variation in interpretation and people may disagree over the categorisation of a word like avocado or tomato as fruit or vegetable.’

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 119

Hyponym‏ [Noun.]


‘When the meaning of the one form is included in the meaning of the another, the relationship is described as hyponymy. […] The concept of “inclusion” involved in this relationship is the idea that if an object is a rose, then it is necessarily a flower, so the meaning of flower is included in the meaning of rose. Or, rose is a hyponym of flower.
[…] We can also say that two or more words that share the same superordinate term are co-hyponyms.’

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 118-119

Synonym‏ [Noun.]


‘Two or more words with very closely related meanings are called synonyms. […] We should keep in mind that the idea of “sameness” of meaning used in discussing synonymy is not necessarily “total sameness.” There are many occasions when one word is appropriate in a sentence, but its synonym would be odd.”

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 117