Semantic Roles


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Semantic Roles

  1. 1. <ul><li>Muhammad Sajid us Salam </li></ul><ul><li>MPhil Linguistics </li></ul><ul><li>The Islamia University Bahawalpur </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  2. 2. SEMANTIC ROLES <ul><li>Words are not just a “containers” of meanings. They fulfill different “roles” within the situation described by a sentence. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: If the situation is a simple event such as The boy kicked the ball The verb ‘kicked’ describes an action. </li></ul><ul><li>The noun phrases ‘The boy’ and ‘the ball’ describe the roles of entities such as people and things involved in the action. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Agent <ul><li>The entity that performs the action is technically known as “agent”. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: The boy kicked the ball. </li></ul><ul><li>As in the sentence one role is taken by the boy and the boy performs the action, so it is agent. </li></ul><ul><li>Although agents are typically human, they can also be non-human forces, machines or creatures. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: The wind blew the ball away. The car ran over the ball. The dog caught the ball. </li></ul>
  4. 4. THEME <ul><li>The entity that is involved in or affected by the action is technically known as “theme”. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: The boy kicked the ball. </li></ul><ul><li>In this sentence “ball” is the theme because it is affected by the action performed by the ‘agent’. </li></ul><ul><li>The theme can also be an entity that is simply being described, for example, The ball was red. </li></ul><ul><li>The theme can also be human. Indeed the same physical entity can appear in two semantic roles. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: The boy kicked himself. Here boy is agent and himself is theme. </li></ul>
  5. 5. INSTRUMENT <ul><li>If an agent uses another entity in performing an action, that other entity fills the role of instrument. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: She hit the bug with the magazine. </li></ul><ul><li>In “writing with a pen” or “eating with a spoon” the phrases “a pen” and “a spoon” have the semantic role of instrument. </li></ul>
  6. 6. EXPERIENCER <ul><li>When a noun phrase designates an entity as a person who has a feeling, a perception or a state, it fills the role of experiencer. </li></ul><ul><li>If we see, know or enjoy something, we do not perform any action. In this way we are in the role of experiencer. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: Did you hear that noise? </li></ul><ul><li>The experiencer is “you” and theme is “that noise”. </li></ul>
  7. 7. LOCATION <ul><li>When an entity is in the description of the event then it fills the role of Location . (on the table, in the room etc). </li></ul><ul><li>For example: Mary saw a mosquito on the wall. In this sentence “on the wall” is location. </li></ul>
  8. 8. SOURCE & GOAL <ul><li>Where an entity moves from is the Source and where it moves to is the Goal . </li></ul><ul><li>For example: When we talk about transferring money from ‘savings’ to ‘checking’, the source is “savings” and goal is “checking”. </li></ul>
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