'Opposites' in discourse: A comparison of antonym use across four domains

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The status of antonymy as a widespread and important feature of language has never been in question (see Lyons, 1977; Cruse, 1986, 2000, etc.). Using data from individual written corpora, the various discourse functions of 'opposites' have recently been identified (Justeson and Katz, 1991; Mettinger, 1994) and quantified (Jones, 2002; Jones and Murphy, 2005). Building on these studies, this paper presents a broader, comparative analysis of how antonyms operate in four different domains: Adult-Produced Writing (using a corpus of Independent newspaper data); Adult-Produced Speech (using the spoken component of the British National Corpus); Child-Produced Speech and Child-Directed Speech (both using selected corpora from the CHILDES database). The paper addresses issues relating to acquisition (such as the extent to which antonym output in childhood is input-dependent and age-related), considers inter-corpus differences between antonym use, and assesses the methodological value and limits of exploring linguistic phenomena across differently comprised corpora. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1105-1119
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • Antonymy (ancillary, coordinated)
  • BNC
  • Child language
  • Corpus linguistics
  • Discourse functions


Dive into the research topics of ''Opposites' in discourse: A comparison of antonym use across four domains'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this