THE STRUCTURE OF THE CATEGORY OF ANTONYMY IN THE ENGLISH AND GERMAN LANGUAGES IN COMPARATIVE ASPECT (BASED ON A SELECTION OF LINGUISTIC WORKS)
In this article, the notion of an artificial linguistic category has been defined. An artificial linguistic category consists of abstract elements and is identified by scholars in the field of linguistics in the course of their gnoseological activity (for instance, the categories “antonymy”, “synonymy”, “polysemy”). Artificial categories are notional (logical) formed at the conceptual level of categorization. The members of the artificial lexico-semantic category of antonymy are not separate lexical units, but pairs of language items (for example, long – short, ledig – verheiratet). The verbal content and the structure, particularly the central zone, of the lexico-semantic category of antonymy in the German language have been identified, using material from authentic German-language linguistic works, such as monographs, textbooks and linguistic dictionaries, and illustrative examples were selected from these sources. In order to facilitate the evaluation of the antonymous pairs given as examples in the linguistic works, we assigned a rank in the form of a simple fraction to each pair of items. The number of occurrences of a certain pair in the form of an illustrative example was indicated in the numerator, and the total number of linguistic sources in the denominator. Quantitative calculations enabled us to identify the total number of antonymous pairs which occurred in these sources (as examples), and to describe their distribution within the structure of the respective category (whether they belong to the central or peripheral zone). The obtained data was compared with the results of the analysis carried out on the illustrative material found in English-language linguistic works, particularly in monographs, textbooks and linguistic encyclopedias. The comparative analysis conducted has demonstrated clearly that there are close correlations in the structure, and in particular in the central zone, of the category under investigation in the English and in the German languages in terms of three criteria chosen for the study (semantic, lexicogrammatical and formal structural). The results of the semantic and functional analysis, as well as quantitative calculations enabled us to arrive at the conclusion that the central zone of the category of antonyms in the English and in the German languages is formed mainly by gradable (46% and 58% respectively) and complementary antonyms (28% and 32%), such as alive – dead, hot – cold, good – bad, male – female, long – short, true – false, love – hate, pass – fail; heiß – kalt, groß –klein, alt – jung, lang – kurz, tot – lebendig, glücklich – unglücklich, ledig – verheiratet, Vater – Mutter. The majority of the antonyms in both languages turned out to be morphologically unrelated (87% and 95%). The central zone consists of primarily adjectives (61% and 79%).
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