[Milton-L] language question

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 10 16:03:02 EST 2006

James, thanks for reminding me of the broader term,
"homonymic convergence." Is there a subcategory for
this sort of convergence when two converging words
have opposite meanings?

Jeffery Hodges


James Dougal Fleming wrote:

let it be noted that the homonymic explanation below,
whether or not correct, is diametrically opposed to
the "primal word" one.

there is an essay on metaphor (Harold Skulsky,
"Metaphorese," in Garfield and Kiteley, eds., _Meaning
and Truth_), in which the author claims that "in" is
sometimes homonymic. This so that its occurrence in
the phrase "in the phrase" or "in the mind" (or "in
the sense," or whatever) will not have to be
considered  figurative. One wonders whether the
epistemological commitments involved in such an
assertion could reliably be sequestered from the
etymologies that might be offered to support it. 

in any case, even if words like "cleave" and "let" and
"doubt" could all be shown to be the result of
homonymic convergence, the fact would remain that
language seems strangely comfortable with such
semiotic identities. 

thus theidentity-phenomenon would remain the fact to
be considered. JDF

On Fri, 10 Feb 2006 13:25:45 -0800 (PST)
milton-l at lists.richmond.edu 
> The word "cleave" comes from two different roots.
> http://www.thefreedictionary.com/cleave
> http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=cleave
> Unfortunately, I can't recall the linguistic term
> this, but two words have converged in sound, i.e.,
> "cleave," while retaining opposite meanings.
> In Coptic, there's the example of "E2PAI"
> [transliterated "ehrai"], which means both "up" and
> "down." Again, two words have converged in sound
> retaining opposite meanings.
> Jeffery Hodges

> , Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor of English,
> Simon Fraser University,
> (604) 291-4713
> cell: 778-865-0926
> Laissez parler les faits.
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University Degrees:

Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
(Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

Email Address:

jefferyhodges at yahoo.com



Office Address:

Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
Department of English Language and Literature
Korea University
136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
South Korea

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