Following the research into discourse functions of antonyms in corpora of written English, spoken English, and written Swedish, this study examines the functions of antonymy in Japanese, a language which diverges significantly from both English and Swedish in terms of morphology, syntax, orthography, and discourse features. The study focuses on twelve pairs of 'basic' antonyms, including furui/atarashii 'old/new' and hiroi/semai 'wide/narrow', identifying the discourse functions and the common grammatical constructions in which they occur. It is found that the discourse functions previously identified for English and Swedish are apt for describing Japanese too, although there appear to be some differences in the frequency with which the various functions are used in a large Japanese corpus. Finally, it is shown how one of the common constructions identified in the study can be used to find more examples of antonyms in the Japanese corpus.
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