Semantics: The Meaning of Language


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Semantics: The Meaning of Language

  1. 1. Meaning of Language: Semantic Lovely Mae Prieto Ye Jin Kim
  2. 2. Terms• Semantics • Enduring• Pragmatics • Element• Ambiguity • Entity• Entailment • Feature• Contradictory • Agent• Compositionality • Theme• Anomaly • Denote• Metaphor • Instrument• Idioms • Experiencer• Pragmatics • Designate• Speech acts • perception• Conversational implication• Deixis
  3. 3. Characteristics of semantics• Semantics - study of the meaning of linguistic expressions - aims to account for what is linguistically encoded - linguistic meaning: made up from the sum of the meanings of its parts - meaning of sentence: words + syntactic makeup - focus on literal meaning (non-literal meaning for pragmatics)• Meaning of a sentence : 2 truth values: true and false - negation: truth valued is switched.• Ambiguous: more than one meaning - words: lexically ambiguous - phrases: lexically ambiguous and/or structurally ambiguous• Entailment - “I dance gracefully.” entails “I dance.”• Contradictory - entails the negation of the other sentence.
  4. 4. Principle of compositionality• “expression is composed of the meanings of its parts and how they are combined structurally.”• Semantic rule : determine the meaning of a phrase or sentence based on its composition. - Rule one: meaning of NP (an individual) is a member of the meaning of VP (a set of individuals), then the S is true, otherwise it is false. Ex. “I dance” - Rule two: meaning of ( V NP) is the set of individual VP X such that X is the first member of any pair in the meaning of V whose second member is the meaning of NP. Ex. “Jack kissed James”
  5. 5. Exceptions to principle of compositionality• Anomaly: One or more words in a sentence do not have a meaning, so we can‟t understand the sentence and when individual words have meanings but cannot be combined together. Ex. “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”• Metaphor: requires a lot of creativity and imagination to the the meaning of the expression. Ex. “Time is money”• Idioms: have fixed non-compositional meanings Ex. “It is raining cats and dogs”
  6. 6. Lexical semanticsSubfield of semantics that studies word meanings in a sentence and their relationships with each otherExample: “I saw my mother just now.”
  7. 7. Semantic FeaturesTells about the characteristics and properties of a word Example: Mother Father +human +human +adult +adult +married +married -male +male
  8. 8. Semantic Roles (thematic roles)The noun phrases such as people and thing in the sentence at describes the role entities and that involves action Agent and Theme Instrument and Experiencer Location, Source and Goal
  9. 9. Lexical Relations• Synonymy• Antonymy – Gradable Pairs – Complimentary Pairs• Hyponymy• Polysemy• Metonymy• Homonyms• Homophones• Homographs• Heteronyms
  10. 10. Theories of meanings• Reference• Sense• Coreferential
  11. 11. Pragmatics• Understanding of language in context• Aspect of meaning which cannot be found in the plain sense of words or structure.• Speech Acts: many utterances are equivalent to actions - Locutionary acts: speech acts that have taken place - Illocutionary acts: real actions which are performed by utterance - Perlocutionary acts: effects of the utterance on the listener• Conversational implication: how the hearers manage to work out the complete message when speaker mean more that they say Ex. “Have you got any cash on you?”
  12. 12. Pragmatics-cont.• Deixis: concerns the way in which languages encode and thus also concerns ways in which the interpretation of utterance depends on the analysis of that context of utterance „verbal pointing‟ - Deictic expressions . Personal or possessive pronouns (I, you, mine, yours) . Demonstrative pronouns (this, that) . Spatial or temporal adverbs (here, there, now) . Other pro-forms (so, do) . Personal or possessive adjectives (my, your) . Demonstrative adjective (my, your) . Article (the) - primary deixis (deixis): used to point to a situation outside a text (situational deixis) or to the speaker‟s and hearer‟s (shared) knowledge of the world (knowledge deixis). - secondary deixis (endophoric deixis): refer either backwards or forwards to other elements in a text . Anaphoric deixis: backward pointing (such, said, similar, same) . Cataphoric deixis: forward pointing (the following, certain, some, this, these, several)
  13. 13. Reference1. Saeed, J. I. (2009). Semantics third edition. West Sussex, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.2. Yule, G. (2010). The study of Language fourth edition. New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.3. Fromkin, V., Rodman, R. & Hyams, N. (2010). Introduction to Linguistic Philippine Edition. Pasig city, Philippines: Cenage learning Asia Pte. Ltd. (Philippines branch).4. Thomason, R. H. (1996, December). What is semantics?. Retrieved November 30, 2011 from the World Wide Web: semantics.html.5. Clark, B. Sentence Meaning. Retrieved November 30, 2011 from the World Wide Web: Bach, K. Ambiguity. Retrieved November 30, 2011 from the World Wide Web: Moore, A. (1999, March). Pragmatics and speech acts. Retrieved December 1, 2011 from the World Wide Web: O‟Grady, W., Dobrovolsky, M. & Katamba, F. (1997). Contemporary Linguistics an Introduction. Hong Kong: Longman Asia Limited.