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identically sounding language units that, unlike polysemous units, lack common semantic elements.

Derivational and syntactic markers are not decisive objective criteria for distinguishing homonymy from polysemy. Lexical homonyms may arise as a result of the identical pronunciation of words of different origin (for example, Russian rys’, “trot,” and rys’, “lynx”) or as a result of a complete divergence in the meanings of a polysemous word (for example, Russian mir, “world,” and mir, “peace”). They may also be the result of parallel word formation from the same stem (for example, Russian troika, “troika,” and troika, “C” [a grade in school]).

The interpretation of a homonym, like the meanings of polysemous words, is determined by context. However, the absence of common semantic elements in homonyms makes it impossible to combine their meanings, with the exception of unintentional or deliberate ambiguity. The existence of borderline cases makes it difficult to determine whether a word is polysemous or whether it is a homonym. Some linguists restrict the concept of homonymy to only the first of the above types and relegate the concept of homonymy to the history of a language. Some linguists consider all the separate meanings of polysemous words to be homonyms. The distinction between homonymy and polysemy is highly important in lexicography.


Smirnitskii, A. I. “K voprosu o slove: Problema ‘tozhdestva slova’.” Trudy instituta iazykoznaniia, vol. 4. Moscow, 1954.
Akhmanova, O. S. Ocherki po obshchei i russkoi leksikologii. Moscow, 1957.
Kurylowicz, J. “Zametki o znachenii slova.” Ocherki po lingvistike. Moscow, 1962.
Shmelev, D. N. Problemy semanticheskogo analiza leksiki. Moscow, 1973.


References in periodicals archive ?
Conversely, it will be shown that another homonym of "chino" arose in Philippines as a synonym of Sangley, the Tagalog name of the merchants from Cathay (the Middle Kingdom).
In addition, the system must also be able to properly interpret homonym variants spoken by the user.
I then examine the relationship of this phrase to his homonyms, to significata having the same "name" that are "related to one and the same thing," and to "is said homonymously.
The improvement of word selection was almost satisfactory at this stage, but the main problem was related to homonyms in the source language.
The concept of a radical as being an extended etymon also explains homonyms in Semitic.
The spelling helps with common homonyms and spelltraps are invaluable as an additional ready reference guide.
passim) are in fact homonyms and that, while the latter is most probably
That in itself suffices, perhaps, to make her a "bad mayor," as the novel's title suggests, punning on the French homonyms maire and mere, "mayor" and "mother.
When they used sentences with homonyms, which require more complicated semantic processing, the appropriate parts of her brain lit up, again just like healthy brains.
The 802 entries are grouped into two sections--587 true cognates and 215 false--but with the inclusion of homonyms, synonyms, augmentatives, diminutives, and words of the same family, the total number of cognates for either language is some 9,500.
Soon cable will have a reality show about the backstage bickering of fourth- and fifth-grade contestants, or popular TV stars will compete in a "Celebrity Spelling" show, with losers commiserating about the homonyms or prefixes that tripped them up.
a poem on homonyms (the spell checker of "my pea sea") and a model of colon use: "Little Red Riding Hood had a heart of gold: her grandmother didn't live to see it.