HOMONYMY, POLYSEMY AND SEMANTIC AMBIGUITY IDENTIFIED BY THE LEARNERS OF ENGLISH

H. Vancova

Trnava University in Trnava (SLOVAKIA)
Semantically ambiguous words have been investigated due to their frequent use in language, however, it is not transparent how the separate word meanings are stored and accessed by the language users. There are two principal concepts dealing with semantically ambiguous words. The first concept is polysemy that may be based in metonymy or metaphor, which expresses different but related meanings by one word. The second concept is homonymy, which communicates two distant, unrelated meanings by the same acoustic or orthographic form. Homonymy may be accidental and rooted etymology of these words. Each language user perceives the relative proximity or distance of lexical units differently due to varying mental representations of these words. The aim of the paper is to present the data collected from the third-year university students of English after completing an English Lexicology course. In this survey the participants were asked to identify the proximity of these words after their presentation in class. This paper was supported by the Rector’s grant scheme for research projects (Trnava University in Trnava, no. 14/TU/2018 Homonymy in English).