Results 1 to 5 of 5
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 61
    #1

    Linguistics terminology

    I am always interested to learn that a particular construction or pattern in English has an official term.

    I am curious about the tendency to use what would ordinarily be a negative term to indicate approval or something otherwise positive.

    For instance, "sick" has become popular for describing something which excites the speaker or otherwise meets with approval: "That was SICK!"

    Same for "ridiculous." Instead of the traditional definition, it means pretty much the exact opposite.

    Any thoughts? Is there an "official" term for such usages?

    Matt
    Last edited by mfwills; 24-Jul-2009 at 10:15. Reason: add info

  1. Soup's Avatar
    VIP Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,882
    #2

    Re: Linguistics terminology

    I know it as "reversal", or reversed connotation, and Semantic Inversion: turning words into their opposite; e.g., stupid means excellent.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 61
    #3

    Re: Linguistics terminology

    Works for me.

    Thanks.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,910
    #4

    Re: Linguistics terminology

    Words like cleave that have opposite meanings are autoantonyms. I am not sure how well-established the meanings have to be, so whether sick or literally qualify yet is probably debatable.

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 5,158
    #5

    Re: Linguistics terminology

    I think of them as a particular sort of metaphor, not quite reversed or complete antonyms.

    In the 1980s we began saying "bad" to mean "great," but only because "bad" icons seemed confident, stylish, and so on.

    In the 1990s we began hearing "sick" to mean "super-cool," but only because extreme media became popular, in which the disgusting, the exciting and the improbable were all deemed very worth watching.

Similar Threads

  1. Systemic Functional Linguistics
    By Jack in Tokyo in forum Linguistics
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 22-Jan-2010, 14:47
  2. Books or classes for English Terminology please
    By sadieuk in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 14-May-2009, 23:38
  3. applied linguistics
    By fulan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-Apr-2009, 17:33
  4. Sentence diagramming and terminology
    By Dawnstorm in forum Analysing and Diagramming Sentences
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 30-Mar-2007, 12:02
  5. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-Jan-2007, 01:50

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •