1st Edition

Antonyms in Mind and Brain Evidence from English and German

By Sandra Kotzor Copyright 2022
    202 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    202 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Antonyms in Mind and Brain presents a multi-method empirical investigation of opposition with a particular focus on the processing of opposite pairs and their representation in the mental lexicon. Building on recent cognitive accounts of antonymy which highlight the fundamentally conceptual nature of antonymy, this book 

    • outlines previous literature to draw out criteria for good opposites and establish the state of the art on the question whether the strong connection of certain opposite pairs is primarily of a conceptual or lexical nature. 
    • presents a detailed cross-linguistic empirical study combining corpus data, speaker judgements and behavioural experiments for a wide range of central (e.g. big:little) and peripheral (e.g. buy:sell; wife:husband) opposite pairs to establish the contribution of individual factors. 
    • proposes a model of the representation of opposite pairs in the mental lexicon and illustrates how the processing consequences of such a model account for the patterns observed in the data.  

    The approach taken in this book highlights the importance of using a number of different methods to investigate complex phenomena such as antonymy. Such an approach forms the empirical foundation for a dynamic psycholinguistic model of opposition based on the conventionalisation and entrenchment of the conceptual and lexical relationship of antonyms.   

    PART I Theoretical foundations

    1. Introduction

    2. Previous perspectives on antonymy

    PART II Empirical investigation

    3. Antonymic and associative strength: evidence from English and German

    4. Processing opposite pairs: an antonym-decision task

    5. Case studies

    PART III Theoretical implications

    6. Antonyms in mind and brain: towards a psycholinguistic model of opposition

    7. Conclusions


    Sandra Kotzor is a Senior Researcher in the Language and Brain Laboratory at the University of Oxford and Senior Lecturer in English Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at Oxford Brookes University.