Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Antithetical Meaning of Primal Words

I've been interested in The Antithetical Meaning of Primal Words for quite a while now. This is the title of an essay by Sigmund Freud and also a concept to which Christopher Ricks has been drawn more than a couple of times. Since it's also somewhat obscure, I've been using it as a way of comparing web search engines. It's interesting to see what comes up when you search the phrase in Google, Yahoo, A9, or whatever (try it, if you like). Recently I was pointed to a new search engine called Muse (it's still in development and is being marketed to the likes of the Library of Congress as a "federated search" tool -- a piece of software to search across a huge, complex site like LC's and make sense of the results. Of couse I tried my antithetical search in Muse and was surprised to find my post on Derrida ("Derrida Dead") as one of the first hits. Amazing. The Muse search is derived from Google, but you won't notice my post in the Google results because it's not in the top group. The relevancy ranking algorythm that Muse uses put me up top.

The concept is a meaty one, but Freud didn't make much of it and neither have his successors.


The essay in book form
Freud, Sigmund, (1910) The Antithetical Meaning of Primal Words.
SE 11, 155-161, also in
Collected Papers, vol iv, London: Hogarth Press, 1957, pp. 184-91.

An online version of the essay
The Antithetical Meaning Of Primal Words
Posted on Thursday 17 October @ 00:51:35
Ethnopoetics An article by Sigmund Freud explaining intriguing findings from his own analytical work.

A way-out take-off on the essay
"antithetical meaning of primal guitars"

A dissertation linking the concept to Derrida
Eric W. Anders, Ph.D., Psy.D.

An essay by a translator
Language Ambiguity: A Curse and a Blessing
By Cecilia Quiroga-Clare

A discussion in the Linguist discussion list
LINGUIST List 6.465
Tue 28 Mar 1995
Disc: Words that are their own opposites

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