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T,71

Lingua ~r~ IIq$2F ~91-3~J7


Nt~rlfi-Hul[Lmd PuhlJ.sl]ir]~. Coml~;In~

HOMONYMS, SEMANTIC DIVERGENCE AND VALENCY*

Peler PAUL
Mt,',q,:.r,V~Oid~erailL ,4:~s~-alda

Re~ei,e~l May [982


The delqrtilion ~f a le~'rrte ts ~-m-oally based ,j~t ~ nctmb~ ~1" paramt:iez~ lu i~ar{:
il~ eei+crLnene~ versus r,thcr te~emcs Ihar_ ma} shah" s~me btq nm qll c~[ i~s rL,~mrc~.
]hL~ I~,1~ ~.o Lira ,.mazlti~ally bn~-~ddisliIK;Zion of xynonyul~i, ~.z]lLon~lls. ;.L'. Hcm,~{r.
~'requenlq, the shade~ cr meaning dial differemialLc I'~Xi~LIIi~e~'+ ,'Lr" subtle and Ihe
disliatin bctwt~n ~nulne t~ly~rrn? and mere ',tmnt~iaticmal di~rgent'e hect~rnr'~ ~+
Thi~ pul~r diaereses tt number af von-.~mnantie ~mtmet~;s ihall ITl|ly he nnskler~
to r~vl~ IJ~is ctibmm~t au,d in ~m:~;-t~lar ~_~a:s ;or t'nkn~y lt~ be included in ltl e
analy~l.~ c~f le~emes thai h,~<ve ~h~ rc~tnrL'..

I.

In any i[nguislie analy~iz that is concerned with Ihe iexieul level, seuner
or later the question arises which two lexical items constitute homonyms
and

which,

in s p i t e o f t~ieir a p p a r e n l

d i f f e r e n c e in

meaning,

eons0tute

merely instant+ vr t ~ same lexme.


Any altt~mpl al answering

Ibis q u e s t i o n

must

lake

into

acc~[mt

the

number of" possible relations between form and meaning. A priori we have
here the follvwing four po~jbilfli'+:
(i) Form and meaning ale the ,~lme for both; we have inx~ances of the
s a m e le~eme,
(i[) l~arm and meaning ditTer: we have two diMu~rl lexamr~,~'.

* "rMs i~per kas Ironfitted in Eimll2,' w~,yz lrmu di~u-,..~itm.,-with Kcilb Allan. Uhinliq
Chan~ and Graham M a l l i n ~ n .

Q024+3841/82~~/~02.75

~ 19~9. N o r t h - H o l l a n d

(iii) The Lwo ]~ic~d items differ in fnrm but share meaning; we are dealing
with ,~y~,OmS. t
(iv) The two lexica2 items diner in meaning hat are identical in form; they
are c'otr.ridc,red to ~, ho.,ncmyms. ~
In this p~per ~ve shall concerti ourselves with this last group. After
discussing tile nc~-[ f o r l i g h l c n J n ~ u p the d e f i n i t i o n o f what co.slitutes a
"different meaning', we ~h~iI propose a ,aunaber of form01 erilcna which
allow homonyms ~o Ix &fined with a greater degree of' preegion thart
doeg the defi, ition s~,e:~ested above

In order to arrive at a definition of what constitutes ~different meaning'.


let us ccmsider the follt~wing examl31es:
( l ) W+ p~,e J~mm]~ + 3itlTe plea:hr.
(2) ~.. ga+m the 5.'+Ivi+tion Ar~,Y $~.
O n Lhe b~asis o f m e i | n i n g it m i g h t n o g ' he

argued thaL

we have here two

different verbs, viz. ~o g~ve~ men.lug "to give a gift to an individual" and
ro gh'e~ "to eontribvte by way oi a 8LI'[ to n fund'~ |n suppori 0~" s~h a n
intuitive diffeccntiatic~n it could be claimed that it is possibte to pacaph='ase
the second e:+amp]e ~ ' I2a). but that the same paraphrase would entail a
difference in meaning if applied t~ the first example. ( C f (lu}; furthermore
(in) sounds rather odd, Where an exampl~ no longer has the same meaning
as znother one it is bein 8 compared Io. we signal lhis by an exclamation
markl!L T~: value j~dgments arc based on Educated Australian English.)
(] ~.) !We dvn~ted a lit~,b ~~,rrt to J~mmy.
(2kt) ~'e donated S~ m the galua:iL~, Army.

We shall Teturn to the quesUan ~i" meaning diffcT~ntiatinn hy p~raphrase


Farther on.
M~anwhi]e we must ask ourscl'ves how r~aL is the type of intuhiv~
differevtlalion n ~ m i o n e d above. If '~'e accept such a disl~ction and if
' I[ shotHd he nl3[k~ h~e ~haz some de~nffitms of what e~slitutt's a synonym insi.~l oR
complel i~r~,i13,of" taeaaing, ~hffe others are merely b~ed n,~ partial identi|y,
Lik~ lilt- aotien vJ syHm]~.tlly. ~at of tlomor~yll|~,' is d~filled in several, sometiines ~:v~fli~ltng ~ayg CI" Lyons i977: ~$0-5~ for ,~ detnile~ disettgsion

~'. ~rrt? lhmmJz~.m.~ .~'~'Hhpe~tlc ~/ru'c,:'9,,dr~-ct' (ald l'J~,'.nPe'l'

~t,ll.~

there is IlU ~LheT, cu~comiLanL dilTerenc belweeu the t w o verbs, there is

r~o reasorl wh~, we could nol a]~o distinguish Ix:tweet the cases where Lhe
gift ~a_>nsisls o f money or o f f o o d , o r any other such ~tisLir;,ction; or a]lerr
nali~c])' ~, could dilTerenLi~le between the giving o a gift I!:tween social
equals~ or from one so~'ially supc,[or to his social inleriar o r vice ~,c~'.~a.
In each ea,e ther~ itre iae]#ua~s w h k h do make distinctions at" tile kind
meridians.x:], or simiiur O n e S r ~ In tinct only the limits o f our im;)gin~t(ion
prevent us from findia[z further plausibl~- disdnctior~s.
However. whether o r ~ot ~[ think there arc such distiuctions, En~ish does
not Force us to form,'~_lly expres.~ thena. :rod these different "readings" are
not maniYc.~cd 3y an) Ibrmal d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n .
hi the ~hsel]~_~ of any f~rmal differences, wE may ha're potentJaI homotyros, which dil'/i:r onty with regard to their perceived meaning. Thi,~
situatiou is Exemplified h~,, pairs o f h o m o n y m s like ./lag "at~trtmellt" e,iJd
./IW~ "low-tyixng plmn': ,,emp&,~ <flint part on eidhcr ~ide o f tbrchcad" and
te#~:#eb "b~ilding t'or worship'- and even trsplets like r~mA'a "iype or small
furred h,.~rrnwia~ animal', mok'~ 'small protuberant spot on skin" and
male~ 'breakw~teL eausewayL (The use o f tnoh" ira thu m e a n i , g u l "spy'
appcax~ to be a metaphoric use o f ~ / c : , as th~ spy is seen as burrowing,
inlo the enemy's i~teilig~nce netwo_rk.~ la each or these cases, ho~'CvEc.
the meaning o f the homornym~ v.ppears to b sufficicntiy differcntime[ for
there to be t~o (]i.~pute as ~o whe~.her or hal these sluH~[d I~* considered
soparole Icxical ut~i~t~ on the basis o f ~emantic difference alone.
~urtherlnore, of" course, all oJ" these are etymulogJ~lly different and
lexicographers usually accord separate entries to such atymologicalty distinct
]lOll'lOll~ill.';. e ~ r ~ Iho[Lgh sttch considerations are r-'trel), rele~,anl Io the
average native speaker o f the lan~ua$c,*
For instatn~e. TEal di~,jn~u~'~he$ JD*t.~rc'ell I'O'Lt'~,~'[,D, gjVC to ~orncbO(JyOf p~4qstly el' ~'~,.-ll
sta.tu~i', a~.i.-p "lu.~i~,u ~o ~ p~.,'rsu,n o ] res;p~t bttt nnl of priestly o r royal $1alpJ5'. h(~! "on give
(among c,~mmt,ners~'. The acliOtt Ol" gr~'iqg b~.' mmebe,.fy of royat ~,t,~v,.~ ~.e a ',..~,,~Ul~.llI,Anll.ri~u~pre~,se.dby li,~: eerb p'rur~.:;r~:,L In JaVaile.~ sire)lot d:slincliniq.~ are made: th,~; the
n~eanirtg '~, $ive' is re~dered by ~P,P/|cJJ~li~,~ruU~qr~|JlLOr OJ~LP-Pgt ~epcn din~ o.n the ~4:t'ial rlati~n.~ip
hetu.'ell II1 ~e-.tker anti his inlcrl~t;tn~r. I wish IO IhatlL Bly o~ti~'e ~peakcr iTl[O.rTllalllS,
'iuwilm F~nns.~irlil I~r Ih~ illlLn-matioll ,~1~.Tlnai and gah;{mki KL~U~.i i~r thai u,n J:want's,J.
.n The ~lrengLh ~0f'the iniluenee el~ etltnnoMg"y en leti, o#raph~' can he gauged hy ~he I'ad
thai ~,1[i'~e ~lietH~]~5 ~p~l~lted IBrowlli~ 8 1947 Ulbridgu ]9,~1 ; Go,,' i~7E-" I-[er]]b~ 1974,
Onions 1944.), all five provided separate ener[es for the ei~moloo~]ca;]ydistinct ~'lo~,~ a sr~c~."
i~,[ll~ I'~'r'l[;'~" "~Vl ~ A CiOlli~ouP~ ~IEI~'. w ~ e a ~ , all but Ofl grub~d I~,V,ttEcp' c,,,'r/t., "tlinV~,'
stick as ~enlmn, eke,' and dubt, 'a~oui~liua Otl~opl "e,i~.h a ~nnru~n j:~u~s~', iu spit,~ o[
the on~idemb]e diff'crenee in m~ning, hetv,etm zh~e two I~xcmes. The exception, sign~fie~mly.
Was H~ n3 ~'y.

2~)4

P. Paul . HtDFrt~PP,|'PIpv, sl'nfe.ll|I/C ,~f4'~'~i'tff'~' g~ltt ~-~I1'1~-~'1'

In faeL the use of the etymological edteri|m is not without problems


as Lyon~ poinl~ out when he rigMly draws our ~tttcntion to the Pact that
a pair I~ke p,~rta "h;trbrmr" and l~t~ "~trong sweel wine' are ctymologicaHy
distinct only if we ~.ruee them back tv L~tin pm'rus and Portuguese tqnho
d'Oporto respectively. If ,~'e take the name of the Portttgae~ city back to
its Latin origin, then they arc etym0logically the same (Lyons 1977: 551),
Nor is this criterion relevnnt to those languages that lack a well-dioeumet~led
history and ~here the etymolvgy of words is difficult to establish,
This now leaves us with Ihe ,~as! number of cases ~here we zre deML~g
~,itl~ homonyms whose analysis a; disoete Lex~cal units is enlirely dependent
o,1 an app:~rent difference in meaning, a difference ftJrlhermore that is
rtot as absoLute as to impose itself without some debate.
Such a diflbrence i~ pa~ieulatty difficult to establlzh where we are clearly
dealing with a 'frozen' metaphoric u ~ g e and where two tymotogicaliy
related ]exem~s have subsequenlb' acqtfired distinct inca.tugs. An example
is German ,'~timme which ma~ mean "voice" or "vote',
At this stage it ~ill be necessary tc examine closely the iziiuence of the
conxex|, on the perceived mear~ing of the le~eme, in ~rcier to separate that
influence From the le~;~mte~sintrinsic meaning, it ~,~;obvious that any two
lexical item~ which are idermcal in form and which share their intrinsic
meaning will need to be considered t~o different instance~ of the same uniL
Thi~ applies regardless of whether the. circumstances under which they are
i]~d are identical or t~ul
In a dil'ferertt.,~t orcircemstanees the conno,.ation of the lexiea] units might
he affected; howe~'er, thi~ is over ~nd abo~,e the intrinsic meaning of that
unit. in other words, here.re we can decide whefll,r t~o given lexicai units
have the saree meaning or not. ~e have to exclude any influence the
parti~iar o0ntcxt may have, he the context ~iluatic~nal or textual.
Thus. sentence (3) used in the context of (4~ might ~mply a sentence
like (5)~ while in the ~ n t e x l of (6) i~ might imply iT),
(3) it was re~tlty big.
( ~ l ]l ~-~ r~Lly big, 11 '~'~ aLnnst throe .and u half m~res high al lh r' shoulders,
(6) H a w big wa; 1he a~.t'~
( 7 ) t{ wu~ rr,lly bll~, It ~'ds almost 25 millimetr~s lang.

Jr, spite of the obvious difference in meaning h ~ n


(5) and (7), the word
bi~ itself has not changed it:~ imrinsic memlirLg: "larL~e of site (relative to

P Prod

/+I,#+w+Lw.+..s'+vnmPl, dh~,r~,wce ~m,( ra!,.e:c,r

~'V~

what is m~,nna[ or ~xpect~d~k s Nrvrrlhleg~ rlml it,+rlasic meaning is influenccd by lh inroi'mation Lhe oml~+ supplies with r$ard Io the 'normal
si~.e', A similar inLluenc of the context applied to examples (i) and (2)
~b0v.
Whcrc s~jch cont~ttm] {Itl'ormulion j+ regularly :~s~ociar~d wilh a Birch
]esical i~m, i: m'~y I~eneratc a high degrcc of .~crnanti expc~:tancy Ic~tding
Lo a lel~drno~; of' assuming a narro~'er (less extensive) rneaJllng l'or such a
lexieal unit than car] be justified on morphosymactic grotmds,
If we were to paraphrase e~amples {8)-(I0), ~l~e verb in these examples
~ould n'. os~ h Lcly be assign~ to di I!"erent synonyras, lbr Jn+tmm: (~;'~}-( I t)~):
(~)
($a~
(9)
(Do)
(tO),

Tl+~ ~'-,im.'~ the sur+gll .ship Io lh+: ~urlh~:c.


'r~uy hauk'd lhe sllnlicr] ~h~. ~t~ the ~urlhcc,
~ul~'l/ Vict,~riit tt~+s,:d IDJsi'qcli t 111 pccr+k~.
Queen Vich+riu -'K'wfled ]~i+lU.U[; L++ +tJ+c p+er+~,
He raised II;~' flag_~
(lOg) fie pu[l~.t ~.h; fjag righ! up Ct+ Ih+ IL)p Of 1,111Cl14a+c.

AI 1h same time. however, the '~crb w raise is in no way tinkcd to


difference i=[ sy~flactic behaviour in ;=ny Of" these exampk~.. From rl~is
o[0s~r~,,J.~-t.lioi~ 'we h$~,'~ [o cOl'~C]Lld r.h[/ll~ the c~tcnsio~ oi" the imrinslc meaning
of lhe verb .+o ra:+e is it= fac~ gm;~lci than that ~rC :~'+m~ oP ['l+llC +yJ+on~+rns
that can be substituted ['or it, +rod arty pcrcgJvP..~tdll~crcYlce in mcani+lg +s
merely due lu the influence of the conte;~t o+e the Jntrkqsi meaning of the
verb. Thus, ~h~ definition r~f the r,~eaning o f the v~rb m rai.~e must h=
~c~rol enough to accommodate Ih~ va+ious ~tc'l~ of "mt~ving somcthmg
or somebody From a lower position ro a higher position'.
In t;acl, il cotlld be validly argues lhai the apparc~nt difference hi meaning
between (9) and (.ll) is =tot part o1" t~.c mcanin[~ of to raise but that it is
lhc rsult of the conlexl, in as much a., it is dc-p~J~dr=~l upon the prc~e=~ce

~a~ It w a + , big ~+al~p~intrncru q;u~ris, elc.).


Ibj Hc i ~. u b~ lJ~lr.
Tltc ~llCStJeJl mark d~)leS scma.ei~ drri~n,~. ~~ also rn. I~J bejow.
+' As il is ~ o r m ~ lot B. flag to be r~tised ta the rnp of [he ma~t, thig fact i-~ not norm;;]] 7
mlflargm:l I~pon and '10 Ifl~ t+p of the m~+f or an .~qoi..'ale~ cxprc~.~i~,n is under+rood: this
is a eas," ur c..v.c~tmr~a] ,::hsi~; (['. PaLcrson and Paul 197~: Y')D~

of the al)ative e++prmsion r++ d+,+p~+~,ru~+<,in the c a ~ o f {9) aad that of the
Lzbl~live expression ./m~z rDe de~d in (! |),

i] i}

tl,~ n~L+d ih~ n~dr~ Pi'9,m IHc dead,

Syntactically neitll~r th~ oblalive prcposilion~+ phrase nor the allaiive o11~
is ~b[i ~41ory. though in a BJven onu=xt sometimes ~ne may b semantically
more expected thun Ih~ other.
ffurthcrmorc, it+ ~h absence of ~uch a Locative prepositional phrasL: the
~.erb is taken at the tnost literal (l'msic) meaning~ a metaphorical meaning
N:com~s communicativdy less acccplabl unless the additional information
supplied by l[t~ Iocuti,~e is made ~p]icit+ ( C f (8) anti (101 as against (9)
and (I L).I
la our earlJm- discussion uf (1 II and (2) wL- had ~+eit unable to estublish u
difl~ercn~: in imriasic m~amng, a finding which is furJher strengthened by
our discussion of (9) and ( I I ~.
The decision of whe+.her any two Igxicai items an: different lexcmcs or
merely Inslarlr~'es 0t~ ~,he same lexemc will therefore need Lo be based oil I~
definition o f ~hat ~ n s d t u t ~ s the ~ntrinsic mr,aning o f the l~ical item+ i~
question, as ~ p p o ~ d to their perce~ve~ meaning which m~y include con.

textuat r~anin~.
O1~'~ w~ ~ttve sm:c+'s~full~, established lh ~ist~n~e o f a signi+qcant difference in intrinsic m=ani~g, we m~Lyassume that we arc dealing with sep~=ratz
l~cmes. N0t that what c~mstitut~s such a 'significant difference will still
n~'ed to be defined Huwt0".;~z". that problem li~s outside lhe sc~p o~" lhe
present paper.

The case is quile tlii~feretlt w h e r e w~- ]lave nol 1-mea able to establish a
sufficictltl~ Stoat difl~r~cc in the intrinsic meaning of' two lexical items.
Arc wc to ~msid+r the~,e ac,,~, as instam:~s of the same lcxem? This
decision obviously depends crucially on our definition o f whal constitutes
the" 'same farm'.
Any Iwo logical itcTas that ,'an b shown to differ in form can be rather
~'asily accounted I'or~ as they wLll b~ classified a~ separale lexames+
Fhus we find cases where ~h perceived difference ia meaning is parallelct
by a difference in spelling icf. 12 and 13)o~ in pronunciation (cP. 14 and 15):

[12) g~,uld yCLI like :~ I~'ar?


(13} WOulci ~,'ou likc a Imir'~
114) C ~ you ~,u ll~ I~ow" I luave I~tmd the arrows.
( ] 5 ) C~trl you ~ Ih~' bow'S' On I~qi~ side i~ p~rl. a~d on Ihe other slarhtnmrd.

lrJ c u s ~ like the prcc~xiin~, ones. where the difiereoc in meaning is a ~ o m patted by a t lea.~t some differen~ hi form, po~rulatlng twt~ discr~le tcxlcal

units does not normally ISO-~ any problem~ IWe disregaird Of c o u r s e any
difference ill form which is the resL,tL of an optional, though cowcntionaiized, choice between dil'l'erent w'a~s of pronouncing tnr oF spelling - without
arty concomiiant chang: in meaniag, An ,~ample of rim first is v i r h e r .
and o.F the second t e / ~ r c m r n z e / t v : e ~ e a ~ n . ) Thu~ we consider/,~ar 0rid pair
homophones and bot~' in (14) ~nd [ ~ in (15) homographs, and we shall
restrit'l the term homonym

t o lexrcal u n i t s w h i c h a r e ~ i m u l l a , ] e o u s I y h o m o -

phones and homographs.


Where w e ~tre dea[i~g with homonyms the sltu:u|[on [mcOlil~S l~s clear
tt~ here the I~iai Form is idel~i~a~ tar the t,x0 lexicM itcr~.% We are
obviously not concerned with ~my pa~adlgma|ic variation whid~ n'Jight al]'ect
tl~ morphological ~orm of a given icxcmc, c,g, ~hc dilTercn~ bc~w'~.~n ~hc
,ii~gular a~d i~tura] fem~s o f a not,~:
( ] 6 ) Th~ lhltc ~'d ~t,~- d;sapp-:irt.'tl.
( I T ) Tl~e lilt.it red ht~,.,~'.~"d[s~,ppeared.

AI Ibis slv~g~ Jl is appropria(~ to $o beyond the, considezation of Icxical


forth_ A difference i0. morphological Jealization (ef. b~u.~tc hruJ~s in e~amples
(16) and ([7)) obviously is no marc relevant to our prohlem than a
dilTcreacc in stt'uctaral function (~f, (18) and the same serltence as l~lrt oJ"
a subordinate clause in (19)):
{18) t~'c gave Jimm~ , prey:at.
(19) When ,t' ga~. J~wkv a ~r~.sem.

we [Viva I4~e ,me t~a.

One :he other hand, the a~ailabiliLy or un~vaitability or th~-se ~br a give]~
lexieal item m a y be used as the basis [br u relevant di~iinelion.

Wc ~Hll Ibererore now r~deline homonym~ as lexic~l item~ th~l sh~rc

Pr P(l+d '" HOI/+++@'Rt'+"3v/2tmffi+" tt:l'i'r~ett'+, alibi vt,',l~'rt"J"

the sam= leximni fi+rm, as definmt above, but which differ in intrinsic
me~niag, as well as m certain aSl~CtS of Iheir morphosyntactic l~haviour.
~,:t"i alternali~ solution wotfld have been to rcse~-e the tertn h o m o n y m
for teaical items tha~ differ in intrinsic me~nin$ but arc completely i~ntical
in -form+ In that case lexJca[ items that share thei,' lexical form bt]t not
their roorphosyntacti behavJ~ur would have to be given a new ttame+
Tta~, first type of+lexical items, i.e. those that share both leKical form and
morphosyntactic behaviour, would probably he very rare, and thes~ 'homoqyms" could then perhaps be atxrommt_tdated within +t wider, more encompav~sing d~finitiorx of the meaning of tim Lexical items in qtmstion, le~ding
tO the ~,-+tab]ishment oi" a +in~l~ l~cm~ for them. ( S ~ a ~ i n the d i s c ~ i o n
af examples (~) and (11); of. also file notion of potygemy as discussed by
L:~arts 1977.~

+.
Let us now kink at ,,+orae of the morphosyntactic aspects thai may he
used a~ formal criteria for cstablbhi~g homonyms.
In some languages one of the most obvious di['l'erclmcs not llnkod to a
difference in [ex~cal I+orm i++ that basL~d on l~tegory. Clearly, the noun ca~
in (20) wo~ild be c v n s i d ~ d to be a different lexeme from the verb ca~
in {?_.t l+
(211) He bought .-, cas~o[ tun~+.

A s~p~raLe ease is lhat of ai[lorial trans[ercncc, i.e. where a noun is used


as an adjectival, or a +~erh a.,~a nominal, ~tc., without any formal modifimfion;
such a Iran~l~renc~ is often sign~ilmi by word order (cf, 20 and 22)+
(2~) Jl I~UL~i~hl~ c~1~'oFncr.
Cale~ories~ unless they arc semantically defined, are slabli~hed on the
I~asis o f the syntactic bchaviour a n d : o r the morphological paradigm of a
given group of icxcmcs. Howcvc$~ frequently [ur~h~r ~ulx;a~gorizahon is
possible and we may find that two potential h o m o n y m s can be distinguished
by the fact that t h e ' I~lonll to two dill~cmt subcat~gorics,
This i~ the c a ~ whr a different meaning is associated with e, different
n~rpho|ogical paradigt~, ~.g.c.+n. "to be able to' and c,mh "to put inlo

metal ~c~ntalners'. Cute= has a restricted paradigm ~,nd on:ly two f~.,ns.
~iz. t~n ~nd e~t#d, while ~ hu.~ Ore normal p~radi~m of regulttr v~rhs,
i,o. t'f,','t~ ('dtl.~, etdzufftl,~

['t,'Hl~c'd.

Anoli~er case i~ Ih~l of byOlllvy,, 'male sibling" which has ~he plural ibrm

brotherw, while bvotli~'rh 'fellow member of a religiou~ grm,p" has brt'du'u,i


as ils phtral, Exampks of this type are not very common and in the s~x)nd
example this distinclion is very rnarginat, with the older form givi,'~g more
and more ~ r t o b r ~ h ~ ' , ~ ., IhLts grouping the two assumed homonyms into
a ~ingle lcxieal unit.
A more common l~rmal distinclion between homonyms is a diffcrenttadon
i3a~d on grammatical gender in those languages that h~,vc this feature.
Suctt a gender assignment m3y. of course, be automatic, l-~ing b a s ~ on
form; ia that case it t,.ould he t-,ulside the field of inl,~r~t of the prc~cnl
discmsion, units9 the same Ibrm car~ be linked to more than one gender.
On tl' other hand wh:re the meanint~ o~"a word automatically determines
its gender (ineludirt$ Lh~" assignment of "natural" gender in Englishl, Ibis
immediately gives a clea: indication of the pre.~ence of any hc~monyms,
signalhn$ their semantiz dilf~r~rt.
Thet~ remain, h,:,wevcr, those cases wh,.n~z we have a largely fortuitous
assignment of gender. Hc~c a simultaneous dillbrene irl m~raning and in
gende~ can he used to justify establishing separate homonyms, Example~
that could be qUOILM include : from German, Bund 'volume lmmc,]', "ribbon
[n~'uler]'; /tau,-~r "farmer [m~scl', "bird-cage [neuter]'; See "lake [masc.]',
~sea [rem.]'; and from French, voi,te ~veil [masc.]', "sail [~ern.l'; m,:ewhe
"hand~le lmase.]', 'sleeve [fem.]': m.~ma/re "memo, thesis, repor~ [mase.]',
'memory [feral',"
Simdarly, in Chinese the presence of" homonyms is frequently signalled
by the use of different classlfigrs, s However, because of the .- at least
partly - nlearfing-bu's~d nature of Ihe Chinese character script homonyms
are rare, ~ c ~ t in PinyJn and any other alphabetically written code of
C'hineze. "~
lrL Ih+ e'arly' 50~ die p~ment w~ril+r ,'~l~+r~'c,,.'] that +crl+in UpPer Bayer{an dial4:cts m+du
a r.zld.:r di~li~Lion b~-t'p~'~'~'butler .a~ a :Fub~-Ian" (~,tt,~r. fcm.) ~n~ '.~ Ismall{ ple~ ,~f
butter" (jl~l~Jl'[,t', m~nsc.l. On the alhg; h;llld. Bll;tt,r in Mutk:ru: Stand~t~l (Serll~.azt i~ always
~m.. u~hi/ in S ~ i a r t il is apparcttl~? m~e. (e.C Gtel~ 1173: 1_%~.
T wish [o Lhnnk Jerome Pal-hun He for hxs help with tl~ 'l,ine~ ~'Xi~tlipl~.
While ~ . y i ~ iS. I ~ d on promuneia~inn anti il~ httmogr,'lph~ IherePore diraCtl;,' r~Jltzzt
humo#non=s, the me of Ih [adLtional tE'hin~ script not only cd~iat~ ~his problem, hut
is eormtutly culled upon Lo ~ntTcr~nltatz hclt~wu ~+~op~aut'++a whi+h ar~ ~L~'O;X!r/lJcaJly in~
+nl'~cientt~" differelltliaLml, o.~. rt~net+ n~an-~ bt~h "~h~y (m,~.}" and "they if=m-)' but it~

3(1tl

P. Pued )tommOwt*, s~,ma~,z#' d:z'eo~Fem'~' ~m~ rub're',"

In onlrasl to Ulassical Lilm-ary Chinese whidt, while il bias few Ilmr~o~raphs, i~ fulL of (potential]l }zomophones, 'the ~pol<en languase avoids
thL.'~ by greater e~plieilness, Thus where lwo homophones ate not already
shown ~o be homon:~'ms by tt~ p~rl~ular classifier as,~oc/ated with each
of t~.em, we frT~ttlenlly find other disambigualing devie~.s operating, such as
ct~llocational re~trictions or affixing. For example h~:r rneanLng 'pot, ju~z' is
r~lricte~J to "~he use u~ ~ measure word, e.g. yl h~;' ~'/J~ "a pot of tea' or as
a eomp~tmdinl~ efement, e.~, )'ige r6dlu? ~a teapot'. !1~ "core, kernel" has
an allernali've fornz h?~r. Thus although k~) cat1 mean (i) 'pot, ju~', (it) "c~re,
kernel, ston,. Iof a I'ruh)" or (till lake', and alth0tzgh it will take, in any
of Lhese three, e~ses~ Ihq same classifier, Ihe different homopho~tes can be
clearly disting~ished by other factors even in the spoken langu~ge; furthermore they are not homographs in the Chinese script,

L~stly~ we may refer to the polenlJat 5ynRl[:lic [',ehaviotlr of lexical


items under consideraiion, in order to sttpport or IO refute ~tablishing
d ~ m ~ separate homonyms_ Titus the Yef[~ in (23) and (24t) does not
appear to share it~ ~emzntie definition with the verb m examples (25) nnd
(261~ nor its ~yntaelR" bel~aviour, z~s can he seen by tl~e f'~d that neither
(23) nor (?A) admi~, a tr~msloqative (el: 23~ and 2,1a),
( 2 3 ) T h ~ r~ked [] .~mrm of ~ote~l~
12-]lt) "l'hal rd~cd ~ ~orm oF prt~e~t :ell ti~e way ~ p~rliarnenl.
(24~ H~ rai~d ~ e r a l ~u~lJ~qs,
{24a) *He raised _se~ral ClUe~tiwn':[11 Ih~: s~.-aL~-r
{251 They rzi~cd Ihe ship to Ihe stzrfaee.
(263 Oue~ Vi=torka m i ~ d DJ~,TBdi tfl the pema~.

The verbs in these examples could jttstifiab|y be considered homonyms,


thus leading to the di~lin~:t~on between r. ruisea 'to emlse, to bring forth
s~mething" a~d re o;svb "to move ~omething or s~mebody from a lower
po~ition tu a higher one'.
We ha' so far spoken quite Ioc~el~v of '-~vntactic beha,viour', it is now
time Io define briefly whpl we understand by IhJs n o t i o n While the. place
accorded to this phenomenon ~n ~a partheulat linguistic model may vary,
dlll~r~ztLi~d in Chhl~.- ~ r i p ; by the t l ~ of ~, dilfcreqt ra~iea| iJ~,,~llmg il as "mdu" ur
~female'.

il is g~n~rally recogniz~:d Ihal lexer~e.s ass~cia|~ with atlmr ie~um~Js accnrdiug


to certain dcfirlil:e rules. These sy.~;|tic rules dil]~r from lansuage to
I:mguag~ and may b~ of basically different types. T h ~ ,nay he ,'ales th;,t
obtain I~:lwecn given :ategorie+ (e.8~ ~hc rule governiu~ the posilio, ur
the relative ~;tause in [elation to ils head-NP in English) or they lnmy be
rules that sifl~al lhe thn~Ecm of a given eatc~.ry Jn the screener in question
(e.g. the [unction or subject of ~ ttec]urallve ill English which is signalled
by the pro-verbal position of d~= noun phra~).
Howeeer, b~'sicle~ these very ge_n,er~d rvles thor apply unil'onl+ly to the
rehltJO~ls between calcgories (viz noun phra+c, relative clause, adjectival,
verbal ct~.k, there are ~ynhtetic rule~, ~ha.~ arc ~peciffc to a given lexen|e.
These, by virtue of what Transformalior~al Grammar refers to as ~trict
+ub~.'~tegorizatitm [e.g. Huddlestoi~ [97fi: 243f), generally affect a
somelimes quite smell -- subse+ c~f +. given eats:gory. It should be noted +hat we
are lalkir~g here ,3f ~ynlaCti rules, not Of semantic oars. Thus w ar nol
interested here in semantically I~sed seleetional r,_'slrictions of the kind
itl~.strat~.'~ by 127) and 128):
(27) The h~i+[,: Z'm I+~kir~g I~r is +r~,en
(.7.8) 3Fhe Ihou+ht tha'~ ~s~ed my mind +;IS 8rccn. z`>

Compare now the =mae~eptahility


deviance, wile that of (30) or (311:

ol ~

(28), which was based on semantic

12~) He gav~ ~he ~lvalion Army $311


i30) "lie dolmt~ ~he library fifty ~eoks.
131) "He co,trih,nud ~hu r,,]~ $20,

Here thm-~ is no ob,,ious r e a ~ why (29) should he acc~rnabl, and neithcr


(30) nor (31) should he. (29) ulso nlJows (29a) ~s an allernalive version;
but+ although there is lzo (~hviotJs reasnn why meh a synlactic restriczi~n
~ o u | d exist, the only acceptable versions for (30) and (31) are (SOw) [md
(Jla)+
|29~.) H~ go'.," Senti to l~h~ Salvation A t t y .
(30~t) He danaled filly baokm t~ ihe library.
(31a) H~ ~untr~bu~d $2~ to IEc f~lld
Jo -t-lit ;l.~li,0t+ nl~'k cl~n~les .eJJ~t~t~r de'fiance: the use of ih :lswJris~ i~ r+'sez,.'-J I-t~r
_;Mu~rde~fty ,J=viald ~ l u p ] c ~ . S~maJlekuLl~' ~l~.j+trtl x~mple~. are ot'mn open ta me~aphork'al
inler~tktdon~ while ~yatuelir.all~ d,'viunL a . ~ -',rr nut.

302

P. ?end : llaattmj'mg, .get~i~a~lh'div~'g~,mt" zlml i.J,.m:r

Lh~e migh~ suspccl d~at. lypioalb'. ~he recipient in a senten,' with do~tat
or rr.ntrib~ac must be an institution, while with give it is an individual,
bul ih actual exaraple (29) has~ like the other two .~entenccs. an institutional
recipient without ~ i s affecting Ihe a~-'eptabiLity of the indirect objed t
direct object onstructio.~.
Th~L~ syntacti phenomena have been widely ~tudied ia Europe under
the name of valency {e.g. Tesntere 1960; blelbig and Sdtenkel ]975; $chu~
reacher t976: Abraham 1975), atthough the distinction between semantically based restrictions and synt~.elic dependence has not always beot dea:'ly
t~bserved~ While the phenomenon of valency as a set of syntae~.ie dependency
rules is particularly evident in the ease t~r verbm it in by no means entirely
absent frmn other c-'~tegories. Ho~,vever, valency, in this deiiniti0n, is rather
simple in its effect on nouns or adverb~ ~nd i~ does not usually come to
the allenlion of the speaker. Thus ~tdverhs may cuter into modifier relalion
with a verb, an adjective or even another adverb, except wtlere there are
semantic or pragmatic ~est]-icli~n~.~
(32) He walked slnwly I,3 d~e eupt~ard,
(33) "the ~lo~q2, ~olotillg ~ti~ Lepl d]~giag i~s coiaur.
( ] 4 ) He wall~ed ~luile slowlL
( ~ > ,ffh fl,0~-l~,'gNett di~' 2ept Lqtallging i1~, brighlneSs_

.~imdurlly, an ~tdjeclive may enler into a modifier relation with a noun an(,
again the symaeti rule is ~impl and straight-fo~'ard: il~ English th~
adjective precedes 1h~ noun, t~ ~owever, the situation is somewhat more
complex in the case or the predicative use o f the adiective and we find Ih~!
each adjective has a putential fog governing certain 'delmnd~nts" whose
(orra is not always predictable from ~heir meaning, nor from that of the
adieu'live, as may hO seen from the follov,'ing examples:
(~6) He was ~er~ intur~;led in ('on, *.1) ~11~coins.
(37)' He was very kt.,ea m, ('i[]. ~'~1) buying thma.
~3~) He h~,d ~her5 lhal he was very rnnd af (*in. "an),

N u t do all a d j ~ t i v ~ allow the adjuncdon or del~nd~nt~; thi~ is the ~ s c


for yo~rg~ olK, the olour ad)c'~tiv~ '~nd many others. (CE a l ~ Alexander
: These ~nelude lh~ dislinlin~ i ~ l ~ e n cati,~ Rnd nOnsl~fiv~ adjectlv5 (Lakol] 1970 ; 1211.
;ln~., similar dlsliaetien I:,tWee:t a~vcrb:;.
' : Far 1he fw ~ . ~ i ~ n 5 where the ud~e~Li~ ga,n b faund a l i a the nouu, ~-'~. Fur ][mlal~
Quirk et nL 1972: 19"~r_

and Kunz 19~4-r Aic~a,~dr ~nd ~:~ttl~c~,s l%4: Bridgcm+Ln 196:: W~Ick
~nd .'v]atthcws [96~.)
The valancy of verh~ J~ r~r~icularly compbx a~d he~c wc nccd to dis-

tinguish b+lwccn +.be qll~Inld~tive ++pecl~ oi" vulency, [.C ~IIC' nt,rnher or
del~r.dct~ts governed by the vc+, and its qualitative asp~ts, i.e. the acLual
ca~e.~orial realization o f l.hcsc om~4cmcm~ (cE also Patcrson und Puul
1979). Thus while (39) is sy.h~Ctically compl~te, (.0), (41~ and (41a) are
not. We therefore ~c~ard w a h ~ 'to bc asleep" as ~, 0nc-phJcc (m- monovalentl~ vex'b, /u ~,..vP'"Io r~r~e~ratc, ~o scver with an ed~cd iastrumcnr by
t h e s t l m c Iokc~l is tl I w o - p h l c e ( o r dJvalc~t~) v e r b a n d ~ gt,'e "ic+ l},-csc,,l,
to hand over' ~ :~hr~--r,lace (or trivalent) ~,e~rb.~-~
(39)
|40)
(4;)

He wa~ ~leepin:
!lie '~.'~% CLltlJr1~. l J
!Hv ,,,:u..s ~i~in~. '+

No~', if the alll~ed homonym~ arc dilTcrcniJaicd in turrns of their apgurcnl


~F'~.l~l't~l~y, WC m~i~lr still only have t,,+o di.rfc~]]l realizufion$ opliona]ly Lldmilled
I~ the valency of the .+am+ verb; the,~c may or may not carry (Jiffcn:nl
mc:min~:s in the t~rr~' ~;r~[ ;t!//~'r. e.~.

Hcr~ wc ~rc ol~iously d~ling wilh Ihe same verb It~ w/L but i~ 'xample

~-~ Or ~-outee Jn ca~ ~.'a,~,~ L~ilaJN e.rJdiLi~i),~ I.;p the ,.~zdcnc ~r~ IX]~l'~, hul th,:z '.re m
rm wuy ,~nditicma~ cm tl~ I~rhieular v~rE, ~ij~fl. il" at all d.l~nde,H, Ihey are ~u- cm ~,enmniie
g,ro~mjs, crg, in (,i0). icp~r Ir0ffl t l ~ ohJ,.'Cl L;~il which i~ sy,qaclic;ally ubligalo~-y, we coul'd
mcllJon an instrlJmcn(, i f '~e so d~il'~', u+ weft a.s the ~a.ec "~,rheFe the ~ccien loo~ pl'~.',e el.
O~ eke- uther har,d, iq 13~1. w~ilc we coqld a ~ i i l rncnlipn the p]a~c, Ih~ iii~lusicn ,al" a|ii
instrument i~ ha:rr.cd on semarJCic ~rc, uncl~.; Iur~hmrnnr~, th~' ir~u~.~n o1 "m ob.i~ r w~-u]d
I~ im~dmi~slhle both ~,n ~ l l i l p t i r a~d or~ +yntpll gr,~ul'~ds. TEe ~'rly ]ydtalli~lly a~c'~eptp~']~
oh y~.ct would be an iwrcr.m] c,b i,-'.cl, e.g.
4~,Qa) He ~l:ep~ the sleep ~r [he jusl.
~+ Hmc I~ rl~alli,z~ is dill~rll< ' (4L~) mcaJl~ 'He ma,d u i,uill,q rcz]ta~.'. (41P "He had a
gen,~roas r~alu m'.
LJ
H | ~ ) is p ~ b J c aS a ooz~-l-cll~rcd~ll elJil~i+:
(4]b) l'fe wa~ givin exl~n~i':," l~e~nl:;.
C~ P a g n o n and Paul 19";~1_rot a delailcd dis~,:~sion of the notior, rf" synts~ctie c~mp!cteness.

~4

F, Faad

~e~emu~'m.r. sg~e~llu~r~t~ diw.a',t~etPceumi u'~-~'ecu"

14~i ~me of the stnls is filled by a prepnsilJonal phrase with the relator
abraa, ~ In (431 the same slot is filled l~y a subordinate clause,
O , lh~ other harM, we may be fhoed by a co~.e~mitanl difference in 1he
me~ming of the tWO oceLJrrettccs of the verb. which are thus revealed to
be hon~onyms~ e.g.

{~:~:I ff~' ~.l~ ~ " ,'~,~t~,

h tlliscase r~ r,d/., meaning Xo inform', may IX followed by u prepositional


phrase with the relaeoc ~Jfl as in (44), or with uhrmt, as in (42). In (45~, the
vcrl~ m t..lh, "to order' m~y not take ~i~her of ~l~'~c preposkional phrases,
but rnus! he ~'ol/c~wed instead by a Ira[~sl'[~l'~lll + infimfive ot~slrtictJon, ~]
Furthermore:. even thottgh both homonyms can be foLlow,x1 b:~' a [lim,
clause~ that suhordinale cl~,sc is not of the" ~ m e type: for to t,,/L, the
thin-clause must ~m a d~i~'nden! ~ca~mem. with the dependent ver~ in the
i~Micatlve, as is shown by (43L while t'or to t,'llt, Jt can only be a dependent
commartd ~vith the dependent, verb in tile sL~bjurtefiv,:, or, more commcmly,
in a subjuncli~,e type c~n.~ ;uction, a~ i[lastratcd by (46).
I4~} He L~:d Yr'll2 Ibm I ~h~tzld go,

In Pact. ir is arguable whether (46) represents a genuine example o f the


verb m tvlit, "t:o order" or '~'hqlhet it is simply a special use of to wit. 'to
inform', ~'here Ihe modal in the subordinate clause introduces the ~ d i tiona] meaning: the sentence could then be interpretcct '~s "be informed me
|hat it was hi..; opi~fiurl ;h,I i sh~uM go'.

.
in conclusion, it is evident that we must re~ard any two occttrr~nces of a
ie~,ical item as mere 'inslanee~" of the same lexeme if the) share both the
meaning and the tea:teal form. This definition is not aff~tel by lhe fal
that there is, nevertheless, tl~e possibility that those instances may Ix
clifferent~tcd by their morphological form (e,g, wc may be dealing with
the singular and the pharaq form of the same noun) or by their valency
i~- For a d~finilirj, oF the L~tm ~'~1or a,lcl I~e.ttbre.t as F.nc|ionJI m~s ~r p T e t ~ i t J o ~ .

realization (;as we had seen in examples (40)--(421, where the verb ;e; tell,,
"In inform' allows on;" of i~s dcpendeat:~ to be rculized as a p~-cOo.~itiorlal
phrase (of. 40 and 42) err aS a float-clause (of. 41). witSoul ;,ny change in
lhe verb's intrinsic memlin.~).
However, where ~c have Ihc same meaning but a difl;:renc in Icxical
form, whelhcr or rlol Ibis i~ aceompa:ncd by a difference ill valency or in
morpho]ogJea/ fbrnt+ we arc obviously/ dealing w/th synonyms, The truly
exception to IbiS, ,aS already noted, are the I~.~' instaJlces of t~plljorl;tt
alternative pronn~ciation or alternative spelling.
On the other h,~nd, it" theJe is ~1 difference in meamng, t/It211 We riced 1~3
consider carerul]y %LIlel]'leFthis perceived difference in m||ning. J,~ supported
by a dil'ferenee in lexical form and/or certmn other morphosyntneliq ~pects
hel"oce ,'e po~,lulute the status o1" lzomnnyms+ rather than n3erc in~:ances
o | t l l e sortie lexcme, for" ~uch ie~.ic.~l items Thc~e morphosynl~ctie l;rileriu,
as ,x,e haw- seen. include dilTerenccs reIatia~ 1o category, categorical tranzference, ni~rphoiogienF p,~radigm (UL'+ opposed tu mtlrpht~logica~ l~rm).
gender, cla~silTer, logical morphology and valency.
In those cases where the inl]uei3 of the context, has been excluded ~nd
a perceiv~ ditTeren~ in nle,niJ+g t-;mnOI be ShLlWl| to bc in any way
relaled to a difference in lelical Form nor to one in ~ny of itle morpho+
syatacli :aspcet~ menlionL-d nbo,ee, v,,e need 1o assume tirol we t~r dealing
with Jn.~.l~nee-,;of the same Icxerne; this lexem ma~' possibly have a wider
definition Ihun original]y assumed. Here we need to consider also +,he :rfl~cls
of Trozen' metaphork: usage which may h~tv extended the origimd raczniug.
of the iexeme.
The exclusion of" onlextual mem]in~ ,and the indusi~m of certain finherenll morphns~h,tlc a s s e t s of a |exicul ilera into the discussion of its
status as a )xeme should make it eaijer to ~oco0.1]l ~0]- tht Srlli/]~ aaraber
of cases thut shore [exieal form as well as a)i the morphosyntaetJe aspects.
including valency, bat differ nevertheless in intrinsic naetmiag.
Thus, dictionaries ~ill need to consider a greate~ amount of raorphosyntaclic informaffon than they do at present. Such an approach will no~
only. as we have seen, make it easie~ to defin~ the status of individual
lexieat items, it will also provide [ingnislie informahon neces.~ry for the
construction of welt-foamed ~nte~c~s. While information about category,
morphological paradi.~m, and gender or classifier group (where applic;:tble)
is normally included in all but a few d3etionar]cs, ire lnformatlon is asuafly
given about the ,.,atency. (or any equivalent $ubeat~,orizalion) of" those

Icxcmes where this is a p p r o p r i a t e ;

Ibis applies in p a r l l c u l a r t o verbs, b u l

a l s o to adjectives a n d t o c : r l a i n no::ns, t~

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,t

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Quirk. Ran&dph. ~;idne~ Ea'ccnb~n~, Geoffrey Leech. 19~2, A gramml:~ Of omemcorary

'~ Cb'a~i~ lh~ dishn~mn I~tween "iransda~,~ "~3"bf al~:L"iptr,~,n~;itlvev,~h ~, ue~al~ included
For ',a~'b~, ~ in~u~cimf and ma~' in s~me c a ~ be an indication of a p o ~ b l c valency
realizal~on ra,hor ;hart a delh~|tio~ of the itlheffEL, potential v a k ~ of ;~e ~~. in .ny ~ u
~u~h a di~tmcl~on Fails ~ ~4tlure Ihe qualilative aspecLs ~f valencF (cf. Paterson and Paul
te~?~l AN ~eeptiam to this lack of infnmmaficm nn vnlency are the verb enJries in Hat'ul~

1974 wiw il~lUcLc~ ~pli,~it rrf,r ~ :

to diffeJvPl ',.'erb patterns'.

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