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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Wise Wednesday Grammar: Homographs

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Figure of speech.



homograph (from the Greekὁμόςhomós, "same" and γράφω, gráphō, "write") is a word that shares the same written form as another word but has a different meaning. When spoken, the meanings may be distinguished by different pronunciations, in which case the words are also heteronyms. Words with the same writing and pronunciation (i.e. homographs and homophones) are considered homonyms. However, in a looser sense the term "homonym" may be applied to words with the same writing or pronunciation. Homograph disambiguation is critically important in speech synthesis,natural language processing and other fields. Identically-written different senses of what is judged to be fundamentally thesame word are called polysemes; for example, wood (substance) and wood (area covered with trees).


bear (verb) – to support or carry
bear (noun) – the animal
In (1) the words are identical in spelling and pronunciation (i.e. they are also homophones), but differ in meaning and grammatical function.

sow (verb) – to plant seed
sow (noun) – female pig
(2) is an example of two words spelt identically but pronounced differently. Here confusion is not possible in spoken language but can occasionally occur in written language.

Euler diagram showing the relationships between homographs (green) 
and related linguistic concepts.

       Venn diagram showing the relationships between homographs 
(yellow) and related linguistic concepts.

More examples
WordExample of first meaningExample of second meaning
leadGold is heavier than lead.The mother duck will lead her ducklings around.
close"Will you please close that door!"The tiger was now so close that I could smell it...
windThe wind howled through the woodlands.Wind your watch.

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