Lexical repulsion between sense-related pairs
This paper builds on the groundwork and setting up of methods for an innovative approach to analysing text. We have proposed that there is a hitherto unexplored textual feature, which we call ‘repulsion’, which operates on the construction of meaning in an opposing way to that of word collocation. To illustrate, we do not say cheerfully happy even though we say blissfully happy. We focus on ‘lexical repulsion’, by which we mean the intuitively-observed tendency in conventional language use for certain pairs of words not to occur together, for no apparent reason other than convention. Our goal is to establish how repulsion as a whole operates and whether it can be assigned the status of an objectively measurable ‘force’. It is anticipated that this approach will have wide implications for corpus linguistics and NLP. In this paper, we take the particular case of repulsion between sense-related word pairs.
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