Yoga Body, a book by Mark Singleton---Add "dharma"
saf at SAFARMER.COM
Thu Mar 10 05:15:54 UTC 2011
George Thompson writes:
> By the way, I ran the term "homonym" past my students today. Most
> of them,
> of course, didn't have a clue about what it meant. But a few of
> them did
> know that a homonym was a set of words that sounded alike but that
> different things.
> Are these students, art school students with no pretensions to being
> linguists, actually better linguists than Singleton of Doniger?
Maybe the Oxford English Dictionary rather than the students in your
women's art school -- at least as you report their views -- might be
viewed as a better authority?
As already noted, the primary definition of the word 'homonym' given
in the OED is "The same word or name used to signify different things."
That is of course correct etymologically as well, as further reflected
in the primary OED definition of 'homonymy', which the OED tells us
refers to "the use of the same name for different things."
Only secondarily, and only in specialized use in linguistics, is a
'homonym' equivalent to a 'homophone'. The OED defines (again
etymologically correct) as "Applied to words having the same sound,
but differing in meaning or derivation."
The terrible linguistic blunder you attribute to Singleton and Doniger
here isn't a blunder.
One of the earliest English uses of the word 'homonym' mentioned in
the OED is also correct both in usage and etymologically: "An
equivocation, or word of diverse significations."
But deep down none of this has anything whatsoever with Mark
Singleton's book or Wendy Doniger's review of it, which this totally
pointless discussion has diverted attention from.
A terrible waste of time, and time to end it, unless you can actually
come up with meaningful criticism of the book.
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