Monday, January 10, 2005

More on contranyms

Karl Abel (1884) quoted in Freud's "The Antithetical Meaning of Primal Words":

Now in the Egyptian language, this sole relic of a primitive world, there are a fair number of words with two meanings, one of which is the exact opposite of the other. Let us suppose, if such an obvious piece of nonsense can be imagined, that in German the word “strong” meant both “strong” and “weak”; that in Berlin the noun “light” was used to mean both “light,” and "darkness"; that one Munich citizen called beer “beer,” while another used the same word to speak of water.
...
But Egypt was anything but a home of nonsense. On the contrary, it was one of the cradles of the development of human reason.

Okay, let's cleave to this idea for a minute.

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