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  • Enantiosemy, or the occurrence of two opposite meanings for one and the same word, was first treated in special monographs by the Arabian grammarians, ....

    In the interesting and suggestive introduction (pp. 10-30) Dr. Landau examines the various attempts at an explanation of the problem from a linguistic, logical and psychological standpoint. He himself ascribes the enantiosemy to nine factors: 1) objective reasons which are inherent in the things themselves (i. e., an object may be viewed and described from opposite sides), 2) polarity of certain ideas which are thus subject to differentiation, 3) present phonetic identity of originally phonetic variation, 4) contrast of association of ideas, 5) the tropical nature of language. For the Semitic languages in particular: 6) lack of compounds and abundance of denominatives, 7) the tendency of the Orientals to wit and irony, 8) our imperfect knowledge of the Oriental mode of thinking, and 9) the difference between the Orientals and Occidentals in the manner of expression. From The American journal of Semitic languages and literatures, Volume 13

    September 3, 2010