Exploring Semantic Nuances in English Synonyms through Multimodal Analysis

Lei Yu


In foreign language education, distinguishing English synonyms has long posed a formidable challenge due to context-dependent usage, often leading ESL learners to perplexity. Learners commonly attempt differentiation based on subtle emotional nuances, evaluative connotations, and semantic intensity. This study employs the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), along with image and audio data, to scrutinize the semantic nuances of the synonyms: “reveal”, “disclose”, and “expose”. The investigation unveils the subsequent pivotal discoveries: “Reveal” exhibits greater prevalence relative to “disclose” and “expose”, frequently associating with abstract nouns, whereas the latter two demonstrate a proclivity for specific terms. These terms display collocational variations, signifying distinctive contextual preferences. Through the integration of image and audio data, the study further underscores the subtle distinctions among these synonyms on both visual and auditory levels. This research contributes a novel methodology for a nuanced comprehension of these synonyms, allowing for a multidimensional understanding facilitated by the amalgamation of multimodal data. It provides educators with a more enriched pedagogical approach to assist learners in employing these synonyms with greater precision.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/eltls.v5n4p71


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