Equivocation, homonymy and polysemy

A homophone or homophone ( gr ομόφωνος " the equal Chime ", " Unanimous " ) is a word that has the same or similar pronunciation has different meanings. There are different definitions of the term, which include or exclude, for example, homophones with different genera, such as the manager / the ladder.

After Alfred Raab include words with the same spelling not to homophones. After Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics include words different meanings for the same spelling of the homophones. With the same notation they are also homographs.

One can distinguish polysemous and homonymous homophone.

How conjugates can also homophones cause confusion. That comes but rarely. The meaning of the homophones arises in the oral language out of context. In the written language, a distinction, if necessary, by various spellings.

Examples of homophones in English

In the homophones of the German language is to be noted: Regional and the high-level language by Theodor screen they are often not pronounced homophonic. For example, words with ä and e are pronounced regional differences, differentiated different sound nuances of vowels in the high-level language ( "open" and "closed " o for example ).

Examples of homophones in English

Examples of homophones in French

Homophones in East Asian languages

Particularly rich in homophones are, for example, Japanese and Chinese language.

A poem by Zhao Yuanren, which consists only of the phonetic syllable " shi " and varies only in the tonal values ​​, Chinese is of course using only the characters:


「石室 诗 士 施 氏,嗜 狮,誓 食 十 狮.氏 时时 适 市 ​​视 狮.十 时,适 十 狮 适 市.是 时,适 施 氏 适 市. 」

Text in Pinyin