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Semantics
 

Semantics

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    Semantics Semantics Document Transcript

    • Application of Lexical Relation on ‘THE KITE’ short storyINTRODUCTION:Semantics concerns knowledge of the meanings of lexical items and how the meanings of grammaticalcombinations of lexical items, including sentences, depend upon the meanings of their structure and constituents.Semantics thus concerns knowledge of expression types that competent speakers bring to particular contexts oflanguage use. Semantics investigation of language operates at two grammatical ranks; word rank and sentencerank . at word rank semantics explore the relationships which words have with each other within the language as awhole. This constitutes their SENSE, that s , the meaning which word has by virtue of its place in the linguisticsystem.Although semantics is consider a rather young branch of linguistics, interest in today‟s problems of semantics wasalive already in ancient times. Semantics (as the study of meaning) is central to the study of communication; andas communication becomes more and more a crucial factor in social organization, the need to understand itbecomes more and more pressing. Semantics is also at the centre of human mind – thought processes, cognition,conceptualization – all these are strongly connected to the way in which we classify and convey our experience ofthe world through language.Semantics can be defined as a branch of linguistics; it is an area of study parallel to, and interacting with syntaxand phonology. While syntax and phonology study the structure of expressive possibilities in language, semanticsstudies the meaning that can be expressed. Nearly all linguists have accepted a linguistic model in which semanticsis at one end and phonetics at the other, with grammar somewhere in the middle. However, until recently,semantics has been the „Cinderella‟ of linguistics, a branch that had been abandoned to philosophers andanthropologists. But in the past20 –25 years there has been a swing away from the view that semantics is amessy, unstructured intellectual no-man‟s-land on the fringes of linguistics, and little by little it has acquired acentral position in linguistic studies. The concentration on semantics has come not only from linguists, but fromlogicians, too. Consequently, in semantics we witness an unusual convergence of disciplines; the techniques andinvestigations of philosophy and cognitive psychology, in particular, have helped to lay a more solid foundation forlinguistic studies. Semantics further includes semantic roles, dimensions of meaning, lexical relations etc.Literature Review : Lexical relations are relations between pairs of lexemes which are sufficiently common to constitute a generalpattern. In Lexical Relations Words are not only the „containers‟ or as fulfilling „roles‟. They can also have„relationships‟. It‟s like the meanings of words in terms of their relationships. For example: if is has been asked themeanings of word „conceal‟ it can b replied same as „hide‟. The meaning of „shallow‟ as „the opposite of deep‟. Themeaning of „daffodil‟ as „it is a kind of flower‟. Lexical relations can also be defined as characterizing the meaning ofa word not in terms of component features, but in terms of relationship to other words. The branch of semanticsthat deals with the word meaning is called lexical semantics. It is the study of systematic, meaning relatedstructures of words. Lexical field or semantic field is the organization of related words and expressions in to asystem, which shows their relationship with one another. e.g. set angry, sad, happy, depressed, afraid. This set ofword is a lexical field all its words refer to emotional states.Lexical semantics examines relationships among word meanings. It is the study of how the lexicon is organizedand how the lexical meanings of lexical items are interrelated, and it‟s principle goal is to build a model for thestructure of the lexicon by categorizing the types of relationships between words.There are further two approaches of lexical relations i.e semantic field theory and truth conditional semantics ….SEMANTIC FIELDS THEORY (SFT)Semantic field theory is “An area of meaning containing words with related SENSES”1 .semantic field theoryderives very largely from the work of German and Swiss scholars in the 1920s and 1930s.according to this theory ,meanings of words cluster together to form fields of meaning which turn cluster onto even larger fields until entirelanguage is encompassed . Semantic Field theory is an attempt to classify lexemes according to shared anddifferentiating features.Sets1 Linguistic terms and concepts by Geoffrey Finch 1
    • Application of Lexical Relation on ‘THE KITE’ short story „A set of words (or lexemes) related in meaning‟. Linguist2has defined semantic field more specifically as "a set oflexemes which cover a certain conceptual domain and which bear certain specifiable relations to one another" Thanset is further divided into threePart Whole Relationship A part is one of the segments or portions into which something is regarded as divided; a part is less than a whole;together, parts constitute a whole. Some lexical sets involve part-whole relationship as shown in flow chart below; Body face arms legs head footSequential set /Cyclical set:A specific condition or situation following sequence or rotation in event like; week days ,months ,seasons etc . Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday ………. Friday Saturday …..so on.Paradigms: A set of forms all of which contain a particular element, especially the set of all inflected forms based on a singlestem or theme. For example man women girl boy all denote human so they form paradigms.Componential Analysis“Componential analysis (CA) is based on the presumption that the meaning of a word is composed of semanticcomponents. So the essential features that form the meaning are elementary units on semantic level. Bycomponential analysis, it is possible to state the smallest indivisible units of lexis or minimal components”3 . This is a very useful method of distinguishing members of a lexical set (words that are semantically related suchthat they overlap): Clean Pure Refined Chaste Clear Unmixed + + + - - Physical substance + + - - + Person + + - + - Washed + - - - - Visibility - - - - +Jackson in his book4 & Dan Nida in his book5categorize the types of components into two main types, i.e. commoncomponent and diagnostic or distinctive component.a. Common component.This is the central component which is shared by all the lexemes in the same semantic domain or lexical field.b. Diagnostic or distinctive components.They serve to distinguish the meaning from others from the same domain.2 Adrienne Lehrer (1985)3 (Aitchison, 2003: 92).4 “Words and their meaning” (1996: 83)5 “Componential Analysis of Meaning” (1975: 32) 2
    • Application of Lexical Relation on ‘THE KITE’ short storyA very simple example to explain these two types is provided by the words man, woman, boy, girl, and otherrelated words in English (Leech, 1976: 96). These words all belong to the semantic field of „human race‟ and therelations between them may be represented by the following matrix. Components Man Boy Women Girl Male + + - - Human + + + + Adult + _ + - Female - - + +In the semantic domain of man, woman, boy, and girl, [human] is the common component, and they aredistinguished by [adult], [male], [female] as the diagnostic components. The meanings of the individual items canthen be expressed by combinations of these features: Man +[human] +[adult] +[male] Woman +[human] +[adult] -[male] Boy +[human] -[adult] +[male] Girl +[human] -[adult] -[male]KinshipKinship systems make an interesting area for componential analysis. Kinship is universal since all humans arerelated to other humans through blood ties through marriage, but kinship systems differ from society to society.Kinship systems make an interesting area for componential analysis. A relationship is a kind of predicate. Sentencesuch as Akbar is Zia‟s father and Rabia is Ayesha‟s sister have a propositional; content that we represent this way: Theme Predicate Associate Akbar Father-of Zia Rabia Sister-of AyeshaSome of predicate relations in all kinship systems can be described with four primitive features:[parent],[offspring] and [spouse]. The components are [male], [female] , of course , which indicates as M and F ,respectively. Combining M and F with the four basic features gives definition of eight predicates: father = M parent, mother =F parent, brother= M sibling, sister = F sibling , son=M offspring, daughter = F offspring, husband = Mspouse , wife=F spouse, that‟s how kinship system is defined .Truth conditional semanticsTruth conditional semantics studies lexical relations by comparing predications that can be made about the samereferring expression. It task is to account for the meaning relations between different expressions in a language.Three such relations are given belowEntailment::A logical relationship between two sentences such that the truth of the second sentence necessarilyfollows from the truth of the first.Paraphrase: Paraphrase is the relation between two propositions.Contradictions: Is the relation between two propositions such that if either is true, the other Is necessarily false.Synonymy 3
    • Application of Lexical Relation on ‘THE KITE’ short storyTwo or more words with very closely related meanings are called synonymy. They can often, through not always,be substituted for each other in sentence . In the appropriate circumstances like what was her answer? Or whatwas his reply? With much the same meaning . Other common examples of synonyms are the Pairs : almost/nearly,Big/large, board/wide , buy/purchase, cab/taxi ,car/automobiles, couch/sofa, freedom/liberty .On other hand idea of „sameness‟ of meaning used in elaborating synonym is not necessarily “total sameness‟.There are many occasions when one word is appropriate in a sentence, but its synonymy would be odd. Use ofsynonyms also differs in terms of formal versus informal .The sentence My father purchased a largeautomobile has virtually the same meaning as My dad bought a big car , with four replacements, but thesecond version sounds more casual than the first.Antonyms:Two forms with opposite meanings are called antonyms or „Two sentences that differ in polarity ormutually contradictory are antonyms‟6. Some common examples are the pairs: alive/dead, big/small , fast/slow ,happy/sad , married/single, rich/poor , true/false.1a- she is alive.1b-she is dead.If one is true, the other must be false .two sentences that have the same subject and have predicates which areantonyms are also mutually contradictory.Binary and non binary antonyms :There are different type of antonymous relationship like on off are binary ofantonyms : an electric light or a radio or a television set is either on and off ; there is no middle ground .otherbinary pairs are open/shut , dead/alive , asleep/awake. The terms old and young are non-binary antonym‟s and soare wide and narrow. They are opposite ends of scale that includes various intermediate terms: Mr. Adnan may beneither old nor young , the road may be something between wide and narrow .(non binary antonyms are alsocalled polar antonyms ; like North and South poles, they are at opposite ends with territory between them.Analogously, binary antonyms might be called hemispheric antonyms; as with the northern and southernhemisphere [or the eastern or western hemisphere], there is no space in between , only a line of demarcation.Some semanticist t use the term „complementary antonyms‟ in place of „binary antonyms‟ and „contrary‟ instead of„non binary‟ ).Converse Antonyms :To illustrate synonyms ,hyponyms and antonyms in previous sessions it has been presentedpair sentences; each sentences of a pair had the same subject and different predicate; each predicate had avalency of – the was only a subject and no other referring expression. The next paired sentences contain conversepredicate, which necessary have a valency of two or more .HYPONONMY :A hierarchical SENSE RELATION which exists between two terms in which the SENSE of one isincluded in the other. Terms such as daisy, daffodils and rose all contain the meaning of flower. The moregeneral term is called super ordinate. Much of the vocabulary is linked by such systems of inclusion: red ishyponym of color, flute of musical instrument, and hammer of tool. Hyponymy is a vertical relationship whichis fundamental to the way in which one classifies things. Most dictionaries rely on it for the provision of definitions(„a chair is a type of furniture‟, „a flute is a type of musical instrument‟, and so on). The set of terms which arehyponyms of the same super ordinate term are co-hyponym.Introduction to text :We applied Lexical Relations on the short story The Kite by W. Somerset Maugham. This story revolves around themain character Herbert. In the common the local people fly kites on Saturday afternoon. Herbert was too young tofly a kite, so his father does the same Herbert holds the cord and enjoys the tug of the soaring kites. This rousesthe passion for kites in Samuel also. By and by they become the family kite fliers.One day Herbert tells his parents that he has invited a girl named Betty, to tea on the next day. On meeting her,His mother does not like the girl as she thinks that Betty is a rival for the affection of Herbert. She makes the girlfell uncomfortable in any way. One day Herbert tells her that he is going to marry Betty and will rent a home andlive there. Herbert then moved away. This made the relationship between Herbert and his mother no friendlier.6 Introducing English Semantics by Charles w. Kreidler page 100 4
    • Application of Lexical Relation on ‘THE KITE’ short storyOne day Mr. Sunbury told Herbert that he along with his mother used to fly kite and that his mother has learnt tofly it. This is the news for Herbert who arouses his passion again for the kite and next day he went to the sameplace where he used to fly kite. Betty begins to suspect that there is something more than that he told her so shefollows him to the common and finds him flying kite with his parents. On that day Betty and Herbert had a quarrelon this issue.At the end Betty lodges a complaint with the magistrate that his husband is not paying her. He calls Herbert andtried to settle between them but he refused to live with her at any cost. He refused and is imprisoned. He remainedin prison for long time without paying her the sum stipulated and enjoys the pleasure of thinking how much shemust have been suffering on account of the nonpayment of maintenance.ApplicationWe particularly applied truth conditional semantic on on short story „The Kite‟ . As Truth conditional semanticsstudies lexical relations by comparing predications that can be made about the same referring expression. It task isto account for the meaning relations between different expressions in a language.here below we have givenexamples taken from our selected text.TRUTH CONDITIONAL SEMANTIC:HYPONYMY: - “on principle the Sunburys were total abstainers, but on Sundays, when to make up for the frugallunch consisting of scone and butter with a glass of milk, which Samuel had during the week, Beatricegave him a good dinner of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding , for his health’s sake she liked him tohave a glass of beer”.From the statement given above it can be extracted that, food consisting of butter, milk and roast beef wereserved to Samuel Sunbury on sunday.We transform the statement in this way:a) Butter, milk and roast beef was served to Samuel in lunch.b) Food was served to Samuel on sunday.If we say that statement a) is true, then statement b) must be true, if we say that a) is not true then we cannotchallenge the truth of b). We can infer that terms milk, butter and beef are hyponyms of food. We can also saythat beef is a food item and it is a hyponym of food and any lexeme (milk, scone, butter) can be substituted for afor a hyponym is also a hyponym, and milk, butter and scone are co-hyponyms of beef. “He was neat in his dress; he went to work in quiet grey trousers, a black coat and a bowler hat”.From the example given above it can be deduced that trousers, coat and hat confines within the dress or clothing.If coat is dress then trouser and hat are two hyponyms of dress and they are the co-hyponym of coat. “She gave him back three half-crowns for his lunch and ten shillings for pocket money”.The currency half-crowns and shillings falls within the category/ class of pounds, they are the hyponyms of pound,they are the co-hyponyms of each other and pound is their super ordinate. Pound is hyponym of currency and isco-hyponym of rupee, yen, dollar and euro.This can be illustrated that hyponymy is hierarchical; one term may be a super ordinate to various hyponyms andat the same time it may be a hyponym of some higher super ordinate.SYNONYMY: -1a) He just stood there for a while looking on and then strolled away.2b) He‟d told Betty he was just going for a walk to stretch his legs.Supposing that he refers to the same person in two sentences, then if a) is true then b) is also true, if a) is falsethen b) should be false. When two lexemes are use to predicate with the same referring expression, the predicateshave the same truth value. Lexemes smashed and ruined are synonyms and both sentences are paraphrase ofeach other.2) The kite, the new, expensive kite, was in fragments. It had been savagely attacked with the hatchet, thewoodwork was all in pieces, and the reel was hacked to bits.3) She was a little woman, but strong, active and wiry, with a sallow skin; sharp, regular features and small beady 5
    • Application of Lexical Relation on ‘THE KITE’ short storyeyes.4a) It was not without satisfaction that Mrs. Sunbury perceived that Betty was offended. 4b) „She said she‟d neverbeen so insulted in her life. I had a rare job pacifying her.5) There was a fresh breeze blowing and a number of kites small and large were sailing through the air.In these sentences given above strolled and walk, fragments and pieces, offended and insulted, breeze and air aresynonyms of each other. The underline words have the same sense in the given context, they are the instances ofsynonymy and they are synonymous to each other. Synonyms share the same meaning but they never have thesame range of syntactic occurrences. It can be noticed from the sentences given above that W. SomersetMaugham has expeditiously used synonyms in his literary piece, „The kite‟.6a) he (Herbert) had a good head for figures.6b) he was good in mathematics.The head for figures, the complex term is a paraphrase of the simple term mathematics, but not synonymous toeach other, because synonyms are typically single lexemes of the same weight.Antonym: - W. Somerset Maugham has explicitly used antonyms in his short story „The kite‟, which can be analyzed from thesentences cited below.1a) „Perhaps the acquaintance is a bit short for that,‟ said Mrs. Sunbury with a gracious smile.1b) „I hope so.‟ said Mrs. Sunbury with an acid smile, „I Wouldn‟t dream of letting you eat a piece of cake that‟sbeen on the floor.In the above sentences gracious smile and acid smile are mutually contradictory words. These have the samesubject and have predicates which are antonymous and contradictory. Both of the sentences were uttered by Mrs.Sunbury, but the act of smiling is opposite in each sentence.2) He was a stubborn boy and he wasn‟t going to be beaten. Something was wrong and it was up to him to put itright. 3) She hesitated. Mr. Sunbury fidgeted, he didn‟t know whether to stay or go.4) Mrs. Sunbury was anxious because she had never let him play with the children in the street. Evilcommunication corrupts good manners.5) They weren‟t flying the big kite which he was used to, but a new one, a box kite, a small one on the model forwhich he had made the designs for himself.In the sentences mentioned above, gracious and acid; wrong and right; stay and go; evil and good; big and smallare antonyms of each other. They differ in polarity and are mutually contradictory. They are antonymous and areinstances of antonymy.BINARY AND NON BINARY ANTONYMS: -BINARY ANTONYMS: -1a) „I‟m not going to let you, so that‟s that she shut the door and stood in front of it‟1b) She said, I‟ll see her. She opened the door. Betty was standing on threshold.Open and shut are binary antonyms because the door is either open or shut and there is no middle ground.2) It was an accident like she was sitting next me and she dropped her bag and I picked it up.In the above quoted sentence dropped and picked are binary antonyms.NON BINARY ANTONYMS: -1) They were contemptuous of smaller kites than theirs and envious of bigger ones.Small and big are non binary antonyms and they are having various intermediate terms. Non binary antonyms areeasily modified, like very big, quiet big, rather big, extremely small, very small, etc.2) “Just the right height, said his mother „Not too tall and not too short.”In the above statement tall and short are binary antonyms. 6