Stage 5 Stage 6

Tanto la polisemia como la homonimia engloban aquellos signos lingüísticos en los que existe un significante con más de un significado. La diferencia fundamental entre ambos fenómenos la establece la etimología de dichos signos, es decir, su origen.

Un signo o palabra puede tener varias acepciones, sin embargo, en el fenómeno de la polisemia el origen es único, y por tanto, se trata de una misma palabra que con el tiempo ha llegado a adquirir significados muy distintos. (Ej. Banco: 1. Asiento largo, 2. Entidad de crédito, 3. Elevación arenosa, 4. Conjunto de datos…) La homonimia, en sus varias vertientes, incluye unidades léxicas de diferente etimología que han coincidido en la forma. (Ej. Hinojo: 1. Planta medicinal [finoculum] 2. Rodilla [genuculum]).

Como fenómeno lingüístico la homonimia léxica es del todo universal. Un ejemplo de homonimia en inglés, del todo clásico, lo constituye el sustantivo “ear” (oído, oreja, espiga, asa…), El hecho de que el inglés no cuente con género gramatical y el artículo sea invariable, hace posible infinidad de ambigüedades, juegos de palabras, y otros recursos léxicos que se amparan en la polisemia y, muy especialmente, en la homonimia.

En el contenido gramatical que sigue, veremos un claro ejemplo de homonimia en la palabra EVEN; la cual, actuando de adverbio, verbo o adjetivo, ofrece significados muy diversos.

Fuentes: Wikilengua – CVC Cervantes – Isabel de la Cruz (UAH)

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As mentioned in this week’s Tip of the Week, we’ll be talking about the word ‘even’ and its different uses and meanings. It can be a cause of dread: “Please teacher, don’t ask me for an example of the word ‘even!’” Never fear, because I’m here to help you navigate the troubled waters that surround the island paradise that is ‘even.’ Let’s jump right in.

‘Even’ has a similar meaning to the word ‘also.’ So you must be wondering: what’s the difference between the two? We use the word ‘even’ for something surprising. For example:

~ He plays the guitar, the drums, and even the octobass.

Wow! The octobass! That’s very, very surprising. I didn’t see that one coming.

We can also use the word ‘even’ to emphasize something extreme. When we do so, it’s normally used in negative sentences. Let’s look at a couple examples:

~ He doesn’t even know the capital of his own country!

~ I’ve got no money to spare at the moment; I can’t even buy a cup of coffee.

Before, we mentioned the fact that the word ‘even’ is used for something surprising. If we look to the Spanish translation for help, in certain sentences ‘even’ has the meaning of ‘including.’ For example:

~ It never gets very hot in Scandinavia, even in the middle of summer.

~ Jack uses his toothbrush for everything, even to clean behind his ears.

Now we’re going to change gears a bit, and look at a couple phrases that utilize the word ‘even.’ The first one we’ll go over is the phrase ‘even as,’ which means the same as ‘at the same time as.’ We use it when two things are happening at the same time. For example:

~ Even as they were checking their tickets, the plane was taking off.

~ He listens to everything the teacher says, even as he looks out the window.

Another expression with ‘even’ is ‘even if.’ This phrase means the same as ‘despite the fact that.’ Note that we can also use the phrase ‘even though.’ While ‘even though’ is used to substitute ‘although,’ we use ‘even if’ in slightly different situations. Knowing when to use each one is a question of practice. Consider the following examples:

~ I still say Neymar is a great footballer, even if many people hate him.

~ Even if we had the money to go to the cinema, we don’t have time to go!

~ Even though I wasn’t hungry, I ate dinner.

~ I’m going to trade my car for a cupcake, even though you told me not to.

As we see in the sentences above, the sentences that contain ‘even though’ could substitute that phrase with the word ‘although.’ The sentences with ‘even if’ can’t. In those sentences, we use ‘even if’ to illustrate or make a point.

There are many phrases in which we use ‘even,’ and here we’ve reviewed a few of them. To practice what you’ve learned, try the exercise!


A. Edstrom

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