Identical Twins, Different Wombs: A Literature Review on Attiba:q in Arabic and Antonymy in English


The current overview article seeks to diachronically compare the development of Arabic tiba:q and English ‘antonymy’ in the long run of literature and to track and review the theoretical and practical advancements of both phenomena in comparative contexts. The objective is twofold: (a) to comparatively identify points of similarity between the two phenomena in theory and (b) to comparatively identify points of dissimilarity between the two phenomena in practice. To do so, a comparative diagnostic approach is adopted. The study concludes that (1) both phenomena share several aspects in theory and practice, (2) they prove rather difficult to be defined operationally as the existing definitions overlap and denote a multiplicity of semantically versatile concepts, underpinning a case of polyonymy in reference to both notions, (3) the two phenomena are dichotomously approached: canonically vs. noncanonically, lexically vs. semantically, literally vs. nonliterally and textually vs. contextually, and (4) classifying both phenomena is triggered by the theoretical insights and practices of the classifiers; traditional classification is form-based and a context-free relation holds between opposites whereas more recent classification depends on syntax and a context-dependent relation holds between opposites. The scope of the two phenomena is currently widened to feature opposition between antonyms, contrasts, counterparts, incompatibles, analogs, and the like. Therefore, the study recommends further extensive research on the non-canonicity of both phenomena.


Hamada Hassanein


antonymy, Arabic, attiba:q, diachrony, English