Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Desert (Abandon) the Desert (Sandy Place)

After leaving the Sacred Harp singing last night, Mike, Chris, Lydia and I started talking about blogs. And, Mike brought up a suggestion of what I should write about on mine soon: homographs. I thought, 'Yeah! That would be a good idea!' Little did I know that my brain would be bombarded by direct hits and near misses on the subject over the next seventeen hours (in between sleep, meetings, and conference calls), and I can't shake them.

For those who don't quite remember what homographs are, I did a little research (without looking up tons of examples) to provide a review of a few terms.

homophone: words that sound the same but are spelled differently
Example: Two, to, too

homonym: words that have the same spelling and sound but different meanings
Example: Stalk (corn stalk) and stalk (excessively follow someone)

homograph: also words that have the same spelling but have different meanings (similar to, if not the same as, homonym)
Example: Cleave (can mean separate/divide or can mean adhere to)

Last night, we kept using the word homograph for the words we were exchanging back and forth. But, in my research, it seems I have found a more exact name.

Heteronym (also sometimes called heterophone): words that are spelled the same but have different pronunciations and meanings. (In other words, they are homographs which differ in pronunciation or, technically, homographs which are not homophones.)
Example: Desert (abandon) and desert (sandy place)
Again, same spellings, different pronunciations, different meanings.

So, the challenge is to think of heteronyms (known as homographs or heterophones to some)...but to NOT LOOK THEM UP ON THE INTERNET OR IN BOOKS! You, of course, can look at the Wikipedia page where I did my "research"... but try to refrain from looking at the links on that page or at other sites. From my experience in the past seventeen hours, it is exciting to think of them on one's own. See what you can discover.

My meager findings so far (as examples):
sow (female pig) and sow (planting seeds)
dove (past tense of dive) and dove (bird)
bass (fish) and bass (instrument or singing voice)
close (proximity) and close (shut the door)
dingy (dirty) and dingy (small boat)
address (speech) and address (mailing location)

Bonus fact: I also liked reading about capitonyms, which I had never heard of before.
Capitonym: words that are spelled the same but have different meanings when capitalized (and may or may not have different pronunciations.)
Example: polish (to make shiny) and Polish (from Poland)

22 comments:

Dani said...

wow (as an interjection of joy) and wow (as an impressed sound)

both of which apply here. :)

gonefishin said...

Shingles- roofing
Shingles-skin disorder

Coat- layer of paint
Coat- garment

John Yadamec said...

I'm gonna go with scour here.

strem said...

Some VERY CLEVER examples of homonyms (or homographs)...but can you think of any heteronyms that have the same spelling but sound differently (like the examples I listed at the end of my post)?

I thought of the following when talking to John last night:

Appropriate (adj. suitable) and appropriate (verb set apart or take possession of)

mikee said...

Heteronyms! Thanks for the clarification. I wasn't too far off -- all heteronyms are homographs, but not all homographs are heteronyms. :)

tear (drop), tear (rip)
entrance (door), entrance (hypnosis)
live (v. the act of living), live (adj. happening presently)

mikee said...

offense (in battle or a ball game), offense (a transgression)
...also works with offensive.

compound (a mixture), compound (to add to)

mikee said...

wind (breeze), wind (to twist or turn)

strem said...

How about...
object (thing) and object (disapproval)

axes (chopping instrument) and axes (plural of axis, as in x and y)

strem said...

If we're going to stick with -ject words...I guess the following works, also.

project (throw forward or speak loudly) and project (school or work assignment)

(Sometimes, writing the definition seems almost more difficult than finding the heteronyms.)

Piano Man said...

How about read (understanding written words)and read (past tense of the same or "a book being read to someone")?

Sandy-san said...

Oh! I got one! How about "crude"? It could be either like crude oil, which is an unrefined oil, OR it could be someone being offensive in their talk.

Sandy-san said...

Well, by your definition, it's not a heteronym, but it is a homograph. Hmmm... *still thinking*

Sandy-san said...

Okay, I thought of another one:

wound (to wind up) or wound (an injury)

mikee said...

reject (noun), reject (verb)

process (a system), process (to move forward, as in a processional)

proceeds (money taken in), proceeds (moves forward)

strem said...

I thought of sow right away...but didn't think of BOW until now.

bow (ribbon tied) and bow (bend over after a performance)

Also... number (1, 2, 3,...) and number (more numb in comparison)

strem said...

Does (3rd person singular form of do) and does (multiple female deer)

I have been reading a lot...and some of these words are popping off the page. I just have to rush to find a pen and some paper so I don't forget them.

Sandy-san said...

How about fire (someone being removed from their job, and fire (spoken like fahr... my Grandma always said, "... into the Lake of fahr") for, well, the miserably hot lake of fire? Does dialect count?

... just wonderin'

=)

lydia said...

perfect(adj.) and perfect(verb)

motive(desire) and motive(musical; a part of a theme) - - maybe?

lydia said...

Here's an example of a capitonym for ya...

done(finished) and Done(the last name of my best friend, Brittney; pronounced like "bone")

A little stretch, but it's the best I can do.

Piano Man said...

While trying to come up with a pun for the Pumpkin post, I thought of produce (noun as in the "produce" found at the farmers' market) and produce (verb as in "to produce" a play or movie).

mikee said...

perfect (adj. flawless), perfect (v. to make flawless)

present (a gift or state of being), present (to show or give)

strem said...

minute (small) and minute (1/60 of an hour)