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#8261 - 10/16/00 12:29 PM Antonym for onomatopoeia?
sfordin Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 5
I've hit a bit of a stumbling block in the illimitable search for words that can be used to hammer nails, describe the upper lips of chickens, explain tautological inconsistencies, fill bowls with rice, and perform other day-to-day household chores faster and for less money. Specifically, can anyone suggest a good antonym for onomatopoeia?

One possibility is heterological, as used in Grelling's Paradox:

"If a homological adjective is one that is true of itself,
e.g., "polysyllabic", and a heterological adjective is one
which is not true of itself, e.g., "bisyllabic", then what
about "heterological?" Is it heterological or not?"


Another possibility is anamimesis, but I rejected this with its close relation anonomatopoeia because neither really addresses the roots of onomatopoeia; onomato (name) + poi (make). To be absent a name is not quite the point.

Perhaps moving the ana part in front of of the poi part -- onomatoanapoeia -- might be closer. I think the problem here is that onomatopoeia itself is rather a conceptual leap from its etymological roots. I expect if
there is an antonym, it will, like most antonyms, be constructed from different roots.

Finally, a couple of points to consider:

1) Should the antonym be for a word that doesn't sound like what it means, or a word that sounds like what it doesn't mean?

2) What if the word sounds like its antonym?

Thanks for any help!

Regards,

Scott


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#8262 - 10/16/00 05:18 PM Re: Antonym for onomatopoeia?
belMarduk Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/28/00
Posts: 2891
Allo Sfordin

I don't know if there is an anotnym for onomatopoeia. Is this not simply a word used to describe a certain manner in which a thing is named as in Cuckoo to name a bird that cuckoos.

Which brings up the question...does everything HAVE to have an antonym?


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#8263 - 10/16/00 06:10 PM Re: Antonym for onomatopoeia?
sfordin Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 5
Two points:

First, this question came up when a co-worker asked me to explain what the name of one of my workstations, anmut, meant. I told him it's a German word that means "grace, harmony in movement," among other things. He replied that it doesn't sound like it should mean that. He thought the word sounded, to an ear accustomed to English, too clunky, definitely ungraceful. He asked what the word is for something that doesn't sound like what it means, thus condemning me to this search for an antonym to onomatopoeia...

Second, your question about whether everything must have an antonym raises some really interesting (to me) points from philosophical and logical angles. Jumping immediately to mind are concepts like yin and yang, night and day, the binomial theorem, matter and antimatter. Is it possible for something to exist without some complementary non-existence? Is zero the opposite of one, and if so, is zero also the opposite of two? If negative one is the opposite of one, then where does zero fit in? What is the opposite of zero?

Whew! To quote Mr. Gumby, "My brain hurts!" Time to go hug the kids.


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#8264 - 10/16/00 07:28 PM Re: Antonym for onomatopoeia?
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
My brain hurts, too, so I'll tackle the only bit I'm able to wrap it around: the German language.

German is not noted for its melodiousness. "Anmut" ain't bad at all, relatively speaking. Take a look at "Gemütlichkeit": the quality of being cozy, homey, welcoming.


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#8265 - 10/16/00 08:11 PM Re: Antonym for onomatopoeia?
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10514
Loc: this too shall pass
>too clunky, definitely ungraceful

as Anna said (circumspectly), that sums up German quite well.


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#8266 - 10/16/00 10:59 PM Re: Antonym for onomatopoeia?
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10514
Loc: this too shall pass
but seriously, I can't answer your question; I lean towards Anna's response. but I would like to respond to a couple of other points...

Douglas Hofstadter says in "Godel, Escher, Bach..." that two words were coined specifically to talk about Grelling's paradox; here's the quote: "Divide the adjectives in English into two categories: those which are self-descriptive, such as "pentasyllabic", "awkwardnessful", and "recherche", and those which are not, such as "edible", "incomplete", and "bisyllabic". Now if we admit "non-selfdescriptive" as an adjective, to which class does it belong? If it seems questionable to include hyphenated words, we can use two terms invented specially for this paradox: autological [not homological] (= self-descriptive), and heterological (= non-self-descriptive). The question then becomes: "Is heterological heterological?" Try it!"

this is one of Hofstadter's examples of a strange loop (a thread I started elsewhen which went nowhere ;)

also, isn't the opposite of zero infinity, in mathematical terms?


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#8267 - 10/16/00 11:10 PM Re: Antonym for onomatopoeia?
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Non-self-descriptive is self-descriptive.
Now my brain hurts.


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#8268 - 10/17/00 01:00 AM Re: Antonym for onomatopoeia?
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
In reply to:

He thought the word sounded, to an ear accustomed to English, too clunky, definitely ungraceful.


David Crystal wrote an article in English Today called "Phonaesthetically Speaking", comparing which words sound beautiful in English, quite apart from their meaning. He came up with ten features, and the more of them a word had, the more beautiful the word sounded. The features were:

3+ syllables
stress on the first syllable
uses m
uses l
uses s, n, r, k, t, or d
doesn't use other consonants
3 or more different manners of articulation
only short vowels
more front vowels than centre or back vowels
more low than middle or high vowels

So, what words sound beautiful? What words sound beautiful but the meaning drags them down?

Bingley

_________________________
Bingley

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#8269 - 10/17/00 03:30 AM Re: Antonym for onomatopoeia?
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
David Crystal wrote an article in English Today called "Phonaesthetically Speaking", comparing which words sound beautiful in English, quite apart from their meaning. He came up with ten features, and the more of them a word had, the more beautiful the word sounded. The features were:

3+ syllables
stress on the first syllable
uses m
uses l
uses s, n, r, k, t, or d
doesn't use other consonants
3 or more different manners of articulation
only short vowels
more front vowels than centre or back vowels
more low than middle or high vowels


Is there any chance of finding this article on the Web? Failing that, could you post some of the exmples he used? Phonaesthetics sounds fascinating (no pun intended), and I would love to learn more, especially as it seems to me to be a very subjective field. "Beauty is in the ear of the beholder."


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#8270 - 10/17/00 04:27 AM Re: Antonym for onomatopoeia?
FishonaBike Offline
veteran

Registered: 10/11/00
Posts: 1346
Loc: Sussex, England
The problem is that if you define any term as not something else then you're really defining it as everything but that thing, and not just its polar opposite.

Only it's not really a problem, is it? More like close to the source of every paradox and pun, and most of what we find amusing, entertaining and enthralling.

You can't beat generalizations!

In fact, it's totally impossible.





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