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Semantics ppt


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Semantics ppt

  2. 2. BASIC IDEAS IN SEMANTICS SEMANTICS is the study of MEANING in LANGUAGE. Hopelessly I hope to convince you that by careful thought about language you speak and the way it is used, definite conclusions CAN be arrived at concerning meaning.
  3. 3. SPEAKER MEANING is what a speaker means (i.e. intends to convey) when he uses a piece of language. SENTENCE MEANING (or WORD MEANING) is what a sentence or word means, i.e. what it counts as the equivalent of in the language concerned.
  4. 4. A THEORY is a precisely specified coherent and economical framework of interdependent statements and definitions, constructed so that as large a number as possible of particular basic facts can either be seen to follow from it or be describable in terms of it.
  5. 5. SENTENCE, UTTERANCES AND PROPOSITIONS An UTTERANCE is any stretch of talk, by one person, before and after which there is silence on the part of that person. An utterance is the use by a particular speaker, on a particular occasion, of a piece of language, such as a sequence of sentences, or a single word.
  6. 6. A SENTENCE is neither a physical event nor a physical object. It is conceived abstractly, a string of words put together by the grammatical rules of a language. A sentence can be thought of as the IDEAL string of words behind various realizations in utterances and inscriptions.
  7. 7. A SENTENCE is a grammatically complete string of words expressing a complete thought. Example : I would like a cup of tea.
  8. 8. A PROPOSITION is that part of the meaning of the utterance of a declarative sentence which describes some state of affairs. True proposition correspond to facts, in the ordinary sense of the word fact. False propositions do not correspond to facts.
  9. 9. REFERENCE AND SENSE By means of reference, a speaker indicates which things in the world (including persons) are being talked about. Example : “My friends is in the court”
  10. 10. A SENCE of an expression is its place in a system of semantics relationships with other expressions in the language. Example : I {almost/ nearly} fell over
  11. 11. REFERRING EXPRESSIONS REFERRING EXPRESSION is any expression used in an utterance to refer to something or someone (used with a particular referent in mind). Fred in ‘Fred hit me’, but not in ‘There’s no Fred at this address’. • Indefinite noun phrases can be referring expressions, depending on the context: a man in ‘A man came looking for you’, but not in ‘A man has to watch his back’.ambiguos cases- resolved by the use of certain following the indefinite article. • Definite noun phrases (proper names, personal pronouns, longer descriptiveexpressions) are most frequently used as referring expressions, but not always (the Fred example)
  12. 12. OPAQUE CONTEXT- part of a sentence which could be made into a complete sentence by adding a referring expression, but where the addition of different referring • expressions, even though they refer to the same thing or person, will result in sentences with different meanings. O. contexts usually involve verbs such as want, think, believe, wonder about. • Laura Bush thinks a genius- opaque context resolved by adding e.g. President or the Leader of the Republican Party. If Laura erroneously believes that the President is not the Leader of the Republican Party, then the sentences have different meanings.
  13. 13. EQUATIVE SENTENCE- used to assert the identity of the referents of two referring expressions , i.e. to assert that two referring expressions have the same referent. Equative sentences can be false. • Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is the President of the Indonesia. • George W. Bush is the President of the United States.
  14. 14. PREDICATES 2 major semantic roles of simple declarative sentences’ subparts: role of argument(s) (played by referring expression(s)) and role of predicator • Despite some overlap, semantic analysis of a sentence into predicator and argument(s) # grammatical analysis into subject and predicate. • PREDICATOR of a simple declarative sentence is the word or group of words which does not belong to any of the referring expressions and which, of the remainder, makes the most specific contribution to the meaning of the sentence. It describes the state or process in which the referring expressions are involved. genius in Einstein was a genius, in in Jakarta is in Indonesia are predicators • Nouns, (main) verbs, adjectives and prepositions can function as predicators, but conjunctions and articles cannot
  15. 15. PREDICATE is any word or sequence of words which (in a given single sense) can function as the predicator of a sentence • ‘sequence of words’- wait for, in front of • ‘in a given single sense’- bank1, bank2- two different predicates • predicate vs. predicators- predicate identifies elements in the language independently of particular example sentences; predicator identifies the semantic role played by a particular word or words in a particular sentence. A tall, handsome stranger entered the saloon – enter the only predicator, at the sametime predicate along with tall, handsome, stranger, room which can function as predicators in other sentences. (He is tall, He is handsome, He is a stranger, That building is a saloon)
  16. 16. DEGREE of the predicate is a number indicating the number of arguments it is normally understood to have in simple sentences asleep is a predicate of degree one (one-place predicate) love is a predicate of degree two (two-place predicate) give is a predicate of degree three (three-place predicate) • The majority of adjectives are one-place predicates (John is tall), except for adjectives which require prepositions (Cars are different from bikes) and are two-place predicates. • The majority of nouns are one-place predicates (John is a teacher), except for a few ‘inherently relational’ nouns: father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, neighbour, etc. which are two-place predicates (John is the brother of the current President).
  17. 17. PREDICATES, REFERRING EXPRESSIONS, AND UNIVERSE OF DISCOURSE GENERIC SENTENCE is sentence in which some statement is made about a whole unrestricted class of individuals, as opposed to any particular individual. They can be introduced by either a or the (or neither). • Man is mortal, but not That man is mortal.
  18. 18. UNIVERSE OF DISCOURSE is (defined for any utterance as) the particular world, real or imaginary, that the speaker assumes he is talking about at the time although not accepted by all semanticists, any expression that can be used to refer to an entity in the real world or in any imaginary world can be thought of as a referring expression (unicorn, God) • interlocutors need to have the same u. of discourse if communication is to be successful
  19. 19. DEIXIS AND DEFINITENESS DEIXIS (Greek ‘pointing’)- occurrence of deictic words • DEICTIC WORD is word which which takes some element of its meaning from the context or situation (speaker, addressee, time, place) of the utterance (e.g. personal pronouns, demonstratives, adverbs of time and place, some predicates like come- ‘toward the speaker’). • Besides deictic words, there are in English and other languages grammatical devicestenses which are also regarded deictic because past, present, and future times are defined by reference to the time of the utterance: My sister wrote you a letter. (my sister wrote the letter before the time of my utterance) • In reported speech, deictic terms occurring in the original utterance may be translated into other, possibly non-deictic, terms in order to preserve the original reference.
  20. 20. The CONTEXT of an utterances is a small subpart of the universe of discourse shared by speaker and hearer, and includes facts about the topic of the conversation in which the utterances occurs, and also facts about the situation in which the conversation itself takes place.
  21. 21. DEFINITENESS is a feature of a noun phrase selected by a speaker to convey his assumption that the hearer will be able to identify the referent of the noun phrase, usually because it is the only thing of its kind in the context of the utterance, or because it is unique in the universe of discourse (this/the book, the Earth). • However, the use of e.g. definite articles does not guarantee semantic definiteness: The whale is a mammal vs The whale just bit off my friend’s leg!
  22. 22. WORDS AND THINGS: EXTENSIONS AND PROTOTYPES EXTENSION of a one place predicate is the set of all individuals to which that predicate can truthfully be applied. It is the set of things which can potentially be referred to by using an expression whose main element is that predicate. Example : The extension of windows is the set of all windows in the universe The extension of cat is the set of all cats in the universe
  23. 23. A PROTOTYPE of a predicate is an object which is held to be very typical of the kind of object which can be referred to by an expression containing the predicate. Example : A man of medium height and average build, between 25 and 30 years old, with blonde hair, with no particularly distinctive characteristics of defects could be a prototype of the predicate MAN in certain areas of the world.
  24. 24. SENSE PROPERTIES AND STEREOTYPES An ANALYTIC sentence is one that is necessarily TRUE, as a result of the sense of the words in it. An SYNTHETIC sentence is one which is NOT analytic, but may be either true or false, depending on the way the world is. Example : Analytic : all whale are mammal. (the true of the sentence follow from the senses of whale and mammal Synthetic : Billy is handsome. (there is nothing in the sense of Billy or Handsome which makes this necessarily true or false.
  25. 25. A CONTRADICTION is a sentence that is necessarily FALSE, as a an result of the sense of the words in it. Thus a contradiction is in a way the opposite of analytic sentence. Example : Bambang is a man. (this mush be false, because Bambang is a woman, not a man)
  26. 26. A NECESSARY CONDITION on the sense of a predicate is a condition which a thing MUST meet in order to qualify as being correctly described by that predicate. A SUFFICIENT SET OF CONDITIONS on the sense of a predicate is a set of condition which, if they are met by a thing, are enough in themselves to GUARANTEE that the predicate correctly describes that thing
  27. 27. The STEREOTYPE of a predicate is a list of the typical characteristics of things to which the predicate may be applied. Example : The stereotype of cat would be something like : Quadruped, domesticated, either black, or white, or grey, or tortoise shell, or marmalade in colour, or some combination of these colours, adult speciments about 50 cm long from nose to tip of tail, furry, with sharp retractable claws, etc.
  28. 28. SENSE RELATIONS SYNONYMS is the similarity of meaning. The definition of synonymy as a relationship between the senses of words requires a clear separation of all the (closely related/different) senses of a word. The sense of a word does not depend entirely onits part of speech. Example: stubborn and obstinate are synonyms (in most dialects of English)
  29. 29. HYPONYMY is a sense relation betweenpredicates (or sometimes longer phrases) suchthat the meaning of one predicate (or phrase) isincluded in the meaning of the other. The meaning of red is included in the meaning of scarlet. Red is the superordinate term. more general or inclusive in meaning, abstract, or schematic thanits hyponyms. scarlet is a hyponym of red. more specific in the kind of colour it describes Example : The meaning of RED is included in the meaning of Scarlet. Red is the superordinate term; scarlet is a hyponym of red
  30. 30. A sentence which expresses the same propositionas another sentence is a PARAPHRASE of thatsentence (assuming the same referents for anyreferring expressions involved). Paraphrase is to SENTENCES (on individual interpretations) as SYNONYMY is to PREDICATES (though some semanticists talk loosely of synonymy in the case of sentences as well) e.g. Bachelors prefer redhaired girls is aparaphrase of Girls with red hair