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Semantics

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  • 1. SEMANTICS PRESENTED BY: Muhammad Sajid us Salam Mphil Linguistics Islamia University Bahawalpur [email_address]
  • 2. What is semantics?
    • Semantics is the study of meanings of words, phrases and sentences.
    • In semantic analysis there is always an attempt to focus on what the words conventionally mean, rather than on what a speaker might want the words on a particular occasion .
  • 3. Conceptual meanings
    • Conceptual meaning covers those basic essential components of meaning which are conveyed by the literal use of a word.
    • For Example : Some of the basic components of a word like needle in English might include “ thin sharp steel instrument”.
  • 4. Associative meanings
    • In associative meaning you may have ‘associations’ or ‘connotations’ attached to a word,
    • For example : like needle which lead you to think of ‘painful’ whenever you encounter the said word.
    • This ‘association’ is not treated as a conceptual meaning of needle .
  • 5. Conceptual vs Associative meaning
    • When linguists investigate the meaning of words in a language they are normally interested in characterizing the conceptual meaning and less concerned with the associative meaning of words.
    • However, poets and advertisers are very interested in using terms in such a way that their associative meanings are evoked.
    • For example: In the ad of Pepsi “generation next” or in Zong advertisement “sub keh do”.
  • 6. Semantic Features
    • How does semantic approach help us to understand the nature of language?
    • It might be helpful as a means of accounting for the ‘ oddness ’ which we experience when we read English sentences such as the follows:
    • For example: 1- The hamburger ate the man. 2- My cat studied linguistics. 3- A table was listening to some music.
    • Above sentences are syntactically right but semantically odd.
  • 7.
    • According to some basic syntactic rules for forming English sentences we have well structured sentences .
    • The hamburger ate the man NP V NP
    • This sentence is syntactically good, but semantically odd. Since the sentence “The man ate the hamburger” is perfectly acceptable.
    • The kind of noun which can be subjects of the verb ‘ate’ must denote entities which are capable of eating.
    • The noun ‘hamburger’ does not have this property and man has .
  • 8.  
  • 9. SEMANTIC ROLES
    • Words are not just a “containers” of meanings. They fulfill different “roles” within the situation described by a sentence.
    • For example: If the situation is a simple event such as The boy kicked the ball The verb ‘kicked’ describes an action.
    • The noun phrases ‘The boy’ and ‘the ball’ describe the roles of entities such as people and things involved in the action.
  • 10. Agent
    • The entity that performs the action is technically known as “agent”.
    • For example: The boy kicked the ball.
    • As in the sentence one role is taken by the boy and the boy performs the action, so it is agent.
    • Although agents are typically human, they can also be non-human forces, machines or creatures.
    • For example: The wind blew the ball away. The car ran over the ball. The dog caught the ball.
  • 11. THEME
    • The entity that is involved in or affected by the action is technically known as “theme”.
    • For example: The boy kicked the ball.
    • In this sentence “ball” is the theme because it is affected by the action performed by the ‘agent’.
    • The theme can also be an entity that is simply being described, for example, The ball was red.
    • The theme can also be human. Indeed the same physical entity can appear in two semantic roles.
    • For example: The boy kicked himself. Here boy is agent and himself is theme.
  • 12. INSTRUMENT
    • If an agent uses another entity in performing an action, that other entity fills the role of instrument.
    • For example: She hit the bug with the magazine.
    • In “writing with a pen” or “eating with a spoon” the phrases “a pen” and “a spoon” have the semantic role of instrument.
  • 13. EXPERIENCER
    • 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.
    • If we see, know or enjoy something, we do not perform any action. In this way we are in the role of experiencer.
    • For example: Did you hear that noise?
    • The experiencer is “you” and theme is “that noise”.
  • 14. LOCATION
    • When an entity is in the description of the event then it fills the role of Location . (on the table, in the room etc).
    • For example: Mary saw a mosquito on the wall. In this sentence “on the wall” is location.
  • 15. SOURCE & GOAL
    • Where an entity moves from is the Source and where it moves to is the Goal .
    • For example: When we talk about transferring money from ‘savings’ to ‘checking’, the source is “savings” and goal is “checking”.
  • 16. LEXICAL RELATIONS
    • Words are not only the ‘containers’ or as fulfilling ‘roles’. They can also have ‘relationships’. We describe the meanings of words in terms of their relationships.
    • For example :if we are asked the meanings of word ‘conceal’ we might reply it is same as ‘hide’.
    • The meaning of ‘shallow’ as ‘the opposite of deep’.
    • The meaning of ‘daffodil’ as ‘it is a kind of flower’.
    • In doing so we are characterizing the meaning of a word not in terms of component features, but in terms of relationship to other words.
  • 17. The types of lexical relations
    • SYNONYMY
    • Synonyms are two or more forms with very closely related meanings, which are often, but not always, intersubstitutable in sentences.
    • For example: broad=wide, hide=conceal,
    • almost=nearly, cab=taxi, liberty=freedom, answer=reply. [e.g. of synonyms are in pairs]
    • The idea of ‘sameness of meaning’ used in discussing synonymy is not necessarily ‘total sameness’ .
    • For example: Cathy had only one ‘answer’ correct in the test. Its near synonymy would ‘reply’ would sound odd.
  • 18. ANTONYMY
    • Two forms with opposite meanings are called antonyms.
    • For example: quick=slow, big=small, long=short, rich=poor, happy=sad, hot=cold, old=young, male=female, true=false, alive=dead.
    • Antonyms are divided into two parts.
    • Gradable antonyms: such as the pair big=small, can be used in comparative constructions like bigger than =smaller than.
    • Negative of one member of the gradable pair does not necessarily imply the other. For example: Dog is not old, it does not mean that dog is young.
  • 19.
    • Non-gradable Antonyms: Such antonyms have “complementary pairs, comparative constructions and negative of one member does imply the other.
    • For example : The person is not dead, does indeed mean that person is live.
    • Reversives: It actually means to reverse. For example: Tie= untie, enter= exit, pack= unpack, lengthen= shorten, raise= lower and dress= undress.
  • 20. HYPONYMY
    • When the meaning of one form is included in the meaning of another, the relationship is described as hyponym. For example: Daffodil= Flower, dog= animal, poodle= dog, carrot= vegetable, banyan= tree.
    • The concept of “inclusion’ involved here.
    • For example: If any object is a daffodil, then it is necessary a flower, so the meaning of flower is included in the meaning of daffodil. Daffodil is hyponym of a flower.
    • We look at the meaning of words in some type of hierarchical relationship. (Tree-Diagram).
  • 21. SEMANTIC ROLES
    • Words are not just a “containers” of meanings. They fulfill different “roles” within the situation described by a sentence.
    • For example: If the situation is a simple event such as The boy kicked the ball The verb ‘kicked’ describes an action.
    • The noun phrases ‘The boy’ and ‘the ball’ describe the roles of entities such as people and things involved in the action.
  • 22. Agent
    • The entity that performs the action is technically known as “agent”.
    • For example: The boy kicked the ball.
    • As in the sentence one role is taken by the boy and the boy performs the action, so it is agent.
    • Although agents are typically human, they can also be non-human forces, machines or creatures.
    • For example: The wind blew the ball away. The car ran over the ball. The dog caught the ball.
  • 23. THEME
    • The entity that is involved in or affected by the action is technically known as “theme”.
    • For example: The boy kicked the ball.
    • In this sentence “ball” is the theme because it is affected by the action performed by the ‘agent’.
    • The theme can also be an entity that is simply being described, for example, The ball was red.
    • The theme can also be human. Indeed the same physical entity can appear in two semantic roles.
    • For example: The boy kicked himself. Here boy is agent and himself is theme.
  • 24. INSTRUMENT
    • If an agent uses another entity in performing an action, that other entity fills the role of instrument.
    • For example: She hit the bug with the magazine.
    • In “writing with a pen” or “eating with a spoon” the phrases “a pen” and “a spoon” have the semantic role of instrument.
  • 25. EXPERIENCER
    • 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.
    • If we see, know or enjoy something, we do not perform any action. In this way we are in the role of experiencer.
    • For example: Did you hear that noise?
    • The experiencer is “you” and theme is “that noise”.
  • 26. LOCATION
    • When an entity is in the description of the event then it fills the role of Location . (on the table, in the room etc).
    • For example: Mary saw a mosquito on the wall. In this sentence “on the wall” is location.
  • 27. HOMOPHONY
    • When two or more different written forms have the same pronunciation, they are described as “Homophones”.
    • For example: Bare – Bear, Meat – Meet, Flour – Flower, Pail – Pale, Sew – So.
  • 28. HOMONYMY
    • Homonyms are words which have quite separate meanings, but which have accidentally come to have exactly the same form.
    • The term homonym is used when one form written or spoken has two or more unrelated meanings.
    • For example: 1- bank= (of a river) bank= (financial institution) 2- bat= (flying creature) bat= (used in sports) 3- race= (contest of speed) race= (ethic group)
  • 29. POLYSEMY
    • If a word has multiple meanings, that is called polysemic.
    • Relatedness of meaning accompanying identical form is technically known as polysemy.
    • For example: The word “head” is used to refer to the object on the top of our body, on top of a glass of beer, on top of a company or department.
    • Another word “foot” has multiple meanings such as foot of a person, of bed, of mountain etc.
  • 30. MENTONYMY
    • There is another type of relationship between words based simply on a close connection in everyday experience. That close connection can be based on a container- contents relation (bottle- coke; can- juice), a whole- part relation (car- wheels; house- roof) or a representative- symbol relationship (king- crown; The President- The White House).
  • 31. COLLOCATION
    • Frequently occurring together is known as collocation. Words tend to occur with other words.
    • For example: If you ask a thousand people what they think when you say ‘hammer’, more than half will say ‘nail’, if you say ‘table’ they will mostly say ‘chair’ and for ‘butter- bread, for needle- thread, for salt- pepper.
    • Some collocations are joined pairs of words such as salt and pepper or husband and wife.
  • 32. QUESTIONS
    • Q: What is semantics?
    • Ans: Semantics is the study of meanings of words, phrases and sentences.
    • Q: What do mean by conceptual meanings?
    • Ans: Conceptual meaning covers those basic essential components of meaning which are conveyed by the literal use of a word.
  • 33.
    • Q: What are associative meanings?
    • Ans: In associative meaning you may have ‘associations’ or ‘connotations’ attached to a word.
    • Q: Describe Agent?
    • Ans: The entity that performs the action is technically known as “agent”.
  • 34.
    • Q: What do you mean by Theme?
    • Ans: The entity that is involved in or affected by the action is technically known as “theme”.
    • For example: The boy kicked the ball.
    • Q: What is experiencer?
    • Ans: 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.
    • For example: Did you hear that noise?
  • 35.
    • Q: What is meant by Source and Goal?
    • Ans: Where an entity moves from is the Source and where it moves to is the Goal .
    • Q: How many types of Lexical relations have been discussed?
    • a) 5 b) 7 c) 6 d) 8
    • Ans: 8
  • 36. THANKS A LOT

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