Monday, 30 April 2018

Homographs and heteronyms

A homograph is a word that has more than one meaning.  
Where its pronunciation differs with the second meaning, it is called a heteronym or a heterophone. 
Sometimes they can appear in one sentence with different meanings and sounds. 
One might be a verb, the other a noun. 

As with figures of speech like paraprosdokians[i], homographs provide further amusing evidence of the subtle richness and quirkiness of the English language.
As a demonstration, here are examples in single sentences used in both senses:-

·         The bandage was wound around the wound;
·         I bow to the creative genius of bow tie couturiers;
·         the debating competition judges were content with the content of my speech;
·         the entrance to the archaeological site of Petra in Jordan cannot fail but to entrance the visitor;
·         the motorcyclist moped when he realised that a thief had taken his moped;
·         the verbose judge spoke in one long sentence after another, announcing that his verdict was to sentence the criminal to life in prison;
·         the dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse;
·         we must polish the Polish furniture; 
·         the soldier decided to desert his platoon in the desert; 
·         since there is no time like the present, he thought it was opportune to deliver the present; 
·         a sea bass was painted on the head of the rock band’s bass drum; 
·         I did not object to the object;  
·         the insurance for the invalid was declared invalid after passing its expiry date; 
·         there was a row among the oarsmen about how to row; 
·         they were too close to the door to close it; 
·         the buck does strange things when the does are present; 
·         a seamstress and her sewer fell down into a sewer line;
·         the wind was too strong to wind down the sail; 
·         upon seeing the vandal’s tear on the painting, I shed a tear; 
·         I had to subject the subject to a series of tests;
·         how can I intimate this family secret to my most intimate friend?

©Michael McSorley 2018


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