"Tärkeä seikka" ja "keskeinen kysymys": Mitä korpuslingvistinen analyysi paljastaa lähisynonyymeista?

  • Jarmo H. Jantunen


What can corpus-linguistic analysis reveal about near synonyms? (englanti)

2/2001 (105)


Synonymy is a phenomenon of interest not only to linguists but to ordinary language users. Few instructions are available, however, for using synonyms. Dictionary definitions, for example, do not explain the differences and similarities of synonyms but simply give indicative, largely stylistic guidance. The article examines how synonyms can be distinguished from each other using corpus linguistics. The aim is to identify the rules by which a word is selected from amongst a group of synonyms with paradigmatic semantic relationships to be used in a relationship which is syntagmatic.

The article is based on the theory (e.g. Cruse 1986; de Jonge 1993) that synonyms have both features in common and features that distinguish them from each other. For this reason, the term near synonym (Lyons 1981) can better illustrate the relationship of the words to each other than the standard term synonym. Near synonyms are distinguished from each other either by extralinguistic selection criteria, such as the circumstances of communication and the associated aims, or intralinguistics selection criteria, such as text type, style and linguistic phenomena. The article focuses on intralinguistic criteria and especially the rules evident in the cotext of a node word.

The writer examines the phenomenon using two adjectives commonly found in academic texts in particular: trke and keskeinen (both meaning important, significant). Corpus-linguistic methods are used in the analysis of these adjectives, as the research material is a collection of texts in electronic form. Synonymy is examined by studying the cotext of node words and their properties. Use of near synonyms is guided by collocational (lexicon-related) and colligational (grammatical-category related) selection arising in the cotext. In addition, morphological variation evident in the cotext has a partial function in distinguishing near synonyms from each other. Analysis of node words, on the other hand, reveals properties related to the syntactic use and to the morphology of the adjectives as distinguishing features. Common features of the adjectives are also clearly distinguishable in the analysis, which is, of course, necessary if the words are to be considered near synonyms. The results obtained in each part of the analysis explain and support the observations made in the other parts. Syntactic instructions, for example, prove to be features explaining morphological variation.


keskeinen (kieli: suomi, sivulla: 180)
tärkeä (kieli: suomi, sivulla: 170)

Avainsanat: korpukset, sanastontutkimus (ks. myös lainasanat, leksikografia, sanahistoria), synonymia
tammi 2, 2001
Jantunen, J. H. (2001). "Tärkeä seikka" ja "keskeinen kysymys": Mitä korpuslingvistinen analyysi paljastaa lähisynonyymeista?. Virittäjä, 105(2), 170. Noudettu osoitteesta https://journal.fi/virittaja/article/view/40082