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Answers To The Question: What Is Polysemy In The Field Of Linguistics?

POLYSEMY – In this article, we will learn about what polysemy is and its importance in linguistics.

Polysemy - What Are Polysemy Words In The Field Of Linguistics?
Image from: Carleton University

When one word is linked or associated with two or more words, that is what you call a polysemy. Therefore, a polyseme is a word or phrase that has multiple meanings.

It is derived from the greek word “poly” and “sema”. Directly translated to English, poly and sema means “many signs”.

According to linguistic experts, more than 40 percent of the words in the English language have multiple meanings. This shows that semantic changes add meaning to the language without subtracting any.

For example, according to ThoughtCo, the word good has different meanings. For example, a man that can shoot his grandfather from 500 yards is “a good shot”, but not a “good man”.

In this context, the word good was used both in a positive sense and a negative sense. Depending on the usage and context, certain words derive different meanings.

There are also words that are related but have entirely different meanings. For example, bat (item) and bat (animal).

Polysemy - What Are Polysemy Words In The Field Of Linguistics?
Images from: Shutterstock

You could also take pupil (eye) and pupil (student) as another example. These words are may seem tricky, but with the right context are easy to differentiate.

There are also complementary polysemy’s that we could use. A great example of this is the word “record”.

Both record (a physical object) and record (music) complement each other. This is because once a singer finishes recording, he can then produce a record (physical copy of the music) to be sold.

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Like this article? READ ALSO: Lexicology – Why Is This Branch Of Study Important?(Answers)

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