Semantic roles

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Semantic roles

  1. 1.  A sentence is a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it  Sentences are more knowable than thoughts Example:  We discuss about Semantics Roles  We walk in the park
  2. 2.  A proposition is something abstract but meaningful.  A proposition can be seen as consisting of a predicate and various phrases(referring expression)  A proposition can be expresesed in different sentences Example:  Our walk in the park => we enjoyed our walk in the park  We discuss about semantics roles => we don’t understand about semantics role so we discuss it
  3. 3.  Verb valency or valence refers to the number of arguments controlled by a verbal predicate  Valency refers to the capacity of a verb to take a specific number and type of arguments (noun phrase positions).  An account of the number of arguments that a predicate has is called the valency of the predicate.  Valency theory is a description of the semantic potential of predicates in terms of the number and types of arguments which may co-occur with them.
  4. 4.  It is snowing => valency zero  My brother snores => valency one  Chris is making an omelet => valency two
  5. 5.  Subject => it  Verb => snow  Subject does not correspond to anything in the underlying proposition.  We say that snow is a zero-argument verb. Other example  It’s raining
  6. 6.  Subject => my brother  Verb => snores  This sentence has a subject but n o object  They are intransitive verbs or, one-argument predicate Other example  The dog is sleeping
  7. 7.  Subject => Chris  Verb => make  Object => an omelet  Most verbs take a subject and an object, they are two arguments predicates.  One of them is “make” Other example  The cat killed a rat
  8. 8. We need to take account not only of how many arguments a verb may have but also how many it must have
  9. 9. Agnes wrote her mother a letter  It is possible to omit “her mother” or “a letter” or both of them and say just “Agnes wrote a letter” or “Agnes wrote (to) her mother” or “Agnes wrote”.  The sentence is less informative when it has fewer arguments, but it is a legitimate sentence and the meaning of write does not change.
  10. 10. A. We ate lunch (in the kitchen) B. We ate (in the kitchen) The verb “eat” is different. We see that “a” contains more specific information than “b”, but the meaning of “ate” is the same.  The predicate “eat” is inherently two- argument because the action “eat” refers to is two-argument.  if you eat, you eat something, but in English we can use the predicate “eat” without mention what is eaten.
  11. 11. a. Maureen bathed the baby (in the tub) b. Maureen bathed (in the tub)  Sentence “a” has two obvious arguments: Maureen, the actor and the baby the affected.  In sentence “b” the argument Maureen could be said to have two roles, actor and affected, since it is Maureen who bathes and Maureen who gets bathed.

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