Antonymous adjectives in Japanese discourse

Victoria Muehleisen*, Maho Isono

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Following the research into discourse functions of antonyms in corpora of written English, spoken English, and written Swedish, this study examines the functions of antonymy in Japanese, a language which diverges significantly from both English and Swedish in terms of morphology, syntax, orthography, and discourse features. The study focuses on twelve pairs of 'basic' antonyms, including furui/atarashii 'old/new' and hiroi/semai 'wide/narrow', identifying the discourse functions and the common grammatical constructions in which they occur. It is found that the discourse functions previously identified for English and Swedish are apt for describing Japanese too, although there appear to be some differences in the frequency with which the various functions are used in a large Japanese corpus. Finally, it is shown how one of the common constructions identified in the study can be used to find more examples of antonyms in the Japanese corpus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2185-2203
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Nov


  • Adjectives
  • Antonyms
  • Corpus
  • Discourse functions
  • Japanese

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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