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What is a whole-part lexical relation?

 

Definition
 

The whole-part lexical relation is an association between a lexical unit representing a part and a lexical unit representing its corresponding whole.

 
Source:

Cruse 1986 157

Discussion
 

Another name for the whole-part lexical relation is meronymy. A meronymy is a non-hierarchical relationship between lexical units that deals with the significant parts of a whole.

 

Meronymy may be represented by the following frame:

 
  • Y has X(s). An X is a part of Y.

    Example:

    "An arm has an elbow. An elbow is a part of an arm."

  •  
    Source:

    Cruse 1986:160, 178

    Examples
     

    Whole

    Parts

  • Arm
  • House
  • Head
  • Trunk
  • Elbow, forearm, wrist
  • Roof, wall
  • Eyes, mouth, nose
  • Chest, back
  • Underlying structure
     

    The underlying structure of a whole-part lexical relation set is a tree.

    Frames
     

    Here are some frames for testing and eliciting a whole-part lexical relation:

     
    • A Y has an X and an X is a part of Y.
    • A Y has Xs and an X is a part of Y.
    • The parts of a Y include the X(s), the Z(s), etc.
    • The X(s) and the Z(s) are parts of a Y.

    Context for this page:

    Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

    Page content last modified: 5 January 2004

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