The use of the whole paradigm of conversives in the text is a rare phenomenon. It is a specific expressive means that emphasizes the significance of a certain opinion: In the hostile struggle the victory of one part is the defeat of another. Compare also the stylistic means that is based on the implied conversive relations of the figurative nature that are "hidden" in the paradigm:
"The novel possessed brevity, but there was a lack of its brother" (O. Donskoy). Cf. Brevity is a sister of talent. Talent is a brother of brevity.
Conversive correlation as a lexico- grammatical category is the linguistic expression of the converse relations with the help of different words (or lexico-semantic variants), the opposite sememes of which enable such words to express subjective-objective relations in the sentences that denote the same situation, i.e. have the same denotatum [25, p.214]. Being a mainly "onomasiological" category, like synonymy and antonymy, it is characterized (in contrast to the above-mentioned two kinds of correlation) by the "remote" usage of lexical units.
The following example will help illustrate the basic features of conversive correlation and conversives. The semantically equal sentences "She sells the house to us" and "We buy the house from her" express the same situation, which is viewed from the points of view of its participants (actors). The conversive predicates "to sell" and "to buy" express the two-sided subject-object relations (which is the necessary condition of conversive correlation), as though presenting the same contents in two directions - (1) from A to B and (2) from B to A:
(1) sells to (R = x)
(R - 1) buys from (2)
From the point of view of the situation, the predicates have the same meaning: selling the house to one of the participants is the same as buying it by that participant from the seller.
In the syntactic respect, such lexical pairs are characterized by the presence of correlative direct and converse role structures [25, p.215]. It should be added that the predicates X and Y are supposed to have converse role structures, if they have at least two semantic valencies that satisfy the following conditions:
a) the set of roles for these valencies is the same;
b) in the "semantic trees" of X and Y the valencies with the same number correspond to different roles.
In accordance with this fact, the subject of the initial statement becomes the object in the conversed one. Consequently, the word that expresses the subject-object relatons in the sentence is substituted in the conversed sentence by its conversive:
A sells to B B buys from A
It is obvious that the participants of such statements have the ability to exchange the roles of the antecedent (the preceding element) and the consequent (the subsequent element), while the conversives themselves are acting as pairs of lexical units (words) with the conversed role structures.
Denoting the same fact of reality, conversives possess at me same time different significative meanings. In the componential respect, conversives are much like synonyms and antonyms. They are differentiated by their distinction - i.e. the opposition of contradictous semes: e.g. to win - to lose, to sell - to buy, to export - to import, etc. Therefore the conversives, like antonyms, correspond to the logically incompatible notions. However, in contrast to the latter (that can be univalent) conversives are necessarily bivalent and express subject-object relations of different kinds. Therefore the conversives' semes are not only incompatible, but can enable them (due to the reversed role structures) to give both "direct" and "conversed" reflection of the same action. It can be illustrated by the common, coinciding structure of the conversives: e.g. A wins (gains a victory over B), but B loses, i.e. gives the victory up to A.
Consequently, the initial and conversed statements are synonymic. However, like lexical synonyms, they possess some semantic nuances: with the help of conversives the differences in the logical emphasis of the utterance can be conveyed, as well as the semes of definiteness and undefiniteness that cannot be expressed in Ukrainian (cf. the definite and indefinite articles in the English language). E.g. in the sentence "The novice defeated the pro " the success of the novice is emphasized, whereas the conversed statement "The pro lost to the novice" points out the poor performance on the behalf of the pro changing the roles of the actants.
Thus, it should be mentioned that the interaction between conversives and synonyms, as well as formation of the former on the basis of the latter is impossible due to their different role structures (i.e. conversed and identical accordingly). On the contrary, conversives and antonyms interact fruitfully: a number of conversives are based on the certain use of antonyms (e.g. young - old: X is younger than Y Y is older than X, etc).
As conversives are united into a paradigm according to their associative features and as they are the units the component contents of which is extremely close and homogeneous, they are differentiated only by the opposite sememes that makes it impossible for the conversives to be used in the same context. It was already mentioned that 1) the substitution between the subject and the object of the action and 2) certain syntactic changes (that are required by the conversives' features) are necessary for the transformation of the statement.
Also, it should be observed that the words that constitute a semantic field receive their meaning only as a part of corresponding field. The speaker of a certain language fully knows the meaning of the word only if he knows the meanings of the other words belonging to the same field. Similarly, it is impossible to separate the meaning of the constituent of the conversive pair from the word opposed to it.
Conversives are not to be mistaken for the so-called correlative, or nominal sentences [17, p. 339]. Such constructions are peculiar to proverbs and sayings and are considered by many linguists to be the relic of the nominal sentences that were obviously more frequent in the Indo-European language than in modern ones. Thus, the components of the German proverb "Neuer Arzt neuer Friedhof" ("New doctor - new cemetery") can not be transposed, as we get quite another meaning of the