Re: Binary Oppositions / Fanning

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Wed Apr 01 1998 - 07:17:36 EST

At 01:07 PM 3/31/98 +0000, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
>On Page 57, Fanning makes a point (not original to him) about binary
>oppositions. He states that a binary opposition (aspectual or otherwise) is
>made up of a marked and and unmarked member. No big deal. But then he says
>that the unmarked member is *not* the opposite of the marked member.

Fanning is NOT saying that this is the way he models aspect, he is making
the point that there are two possible ways to see a binary opposition, and
both have been used by linguists who discuss aspect.

"Equipollent oppositions" have two marked opposites: e.g. male/female. You
are either male or you are female. If you are "not male", then you are not
unmarked for male, you are female.

"Privative oppositions" are either marked or unmarked for a feature, as you
described in your post.

Fanning thinks that aspect involves equipollent oppositions. Mari Olsen
thinks it involves privative oppositions.


Jonathan Robie

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