Hypernymy and hyponymy
Hyperonymy indicates a hierarchical relationship of meaning that a higher word establishes with a lower word . The hyperonym is a hierarchically superior word because it has a broader meaning that encompasses the meaning of the hyponym, a hierarchically inferior word, with a more restricted meaning.
Hyponymy thus indicates this same hierarchical relationship of meaning . It focuses, however, on the perspective of the hierarchically inferior word – hyponym, which, at a semantic level, can be included in a superior class that encompasses its meaning – hypernym.
Country is a hyperonym of Brazil.
Mammal is a hyperonym of horse.
Game is hyperonym of chess.
Brazil is a hyponym of country.
Horse is a hyponym of mammal.
Chess is a hyponym of game.
- They present a comprehensive sense;
- They convey the idea of a whole;
- They represent the generic characteristics of a class;
- They allow the formation of subclasses associated with them.
- They have a restricted meaning;
- Convey the idea of an item or a part of a whole;
- They represent the specific characteristics of a subclass;
- They allow membership in a broader higher class.
Examples of hypernyms and hyponyms
|color||green, blue, yellow, red, white…|
|fruit||apple, banana, mango, pineapple, jackfruit,…|
|vehicle||car, automobile, motorcycle, bicycle, bus,…|
|sport||swimming, football, skating, athletics, fencing,…|
|animal||snake, jaguar, dog, vulture, bear…|
|flower||rose, daisy, marigold, hydrangea, orchid,…|
|appliance||refrigerator, mixer, blender, vacuum cleaner, iron,…|
|mobile||bookcase, cupboard, table, chair, sofa,…|
|tool||hammer, saw, pliers, hoe, screwdriver,…|
|bird||parrot, seagull, I saw you, macaw, owl…|
|illness||flu, measles, mumps, chickenpox, bronchitis,…|
Use of hypernyms and hyponyms
The use of hypernyms and hyponyms is essential for building good lexical cohesion in a text. Hyperonyms and hyponyms act as a cohesive lexical resource that allows approaching a theme avoiding vocabulary repetitions.
In addition, they play an anaphoric role in the text, referring to previously mentioned information without repeating it, through the use of generic and specific nouns.