Synonym transitivity

The problem of dictionary coherence is notably related to synonym transitivity: are synonyms transitive one with another? Usually, the response is negative. But isn’t this established wisdow questionable? Don’t we need to distinguish between:

  • quasi-synonyms which are untransitive
  • true synonyms, which are transitive: for example, the verb ‘finir’ in French (to end) translates indifferently into compie or finisce in Corsican ; in the same way, ‘demander’ (to ask) translates indifferently into dumandà or chere in Corsican ; ‘envoyer’ (to send), third, translates either into mandà or into invià: these are true synonyms, which are cross-language transitive

This casts lights on the fact that our notion of synonymy is cross-languages: if words A and B of a given language L1 are synonyms, and if a word C of another language L2 is synonym with A, then C is also synonym with B.

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