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Semantics

Chapter Three
by

Jennifer Kowaczek

on 7 August 2013

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Transcript of Semantics

Semantics
The Study of Linguistic Meaning
- Words
- Phrases
- Sentences
Sense
Speaker
Reference
Truth
Contributions from
Summary
Linguistic
pragmatic
referent
extension
prototype
stereotype
coreference
anaphora
deixis (dike-sis)
Embodied in the Sentence
Relationship between Sentences
Analytic
Contradictory
Synthetic

Entailment
Presupposition

Necessarily true based on the words in the sentence.
Analytic Sentence
Ex. A bachelor is an unmarried man.
The
flower
is pretty.
Examples
referent
-
referring
expression
extension
-

set
of
all
potential referring

expressions
The
flower
is pretty.
You are
referring
to the flower.
You are referring to the flower in relation to a
set
of
all
flowers.
Necessarily false based on the words in the sentence
Contradictory Sentences
prototype
- a
typical member
of the
extension
of a referring expression
The
flower
is pretty. (i.e. a daisy or lily)
You are referencing a
specific
flower.
stereotype
-

a
list
of characteristics
describing
a prototype
The
flower
is pretty. (
i.e.
has yellow petals, long-stemmed rose, ...etc.
)
Essential
Questions
How do we explain the meanings of words and sentences?
What impact does the speaker bring to the meaning?
Synthetic Sentences
These sentences are not true or false because of the words, but rather by how they do or do not accurately describe the state of the world.
Entailment
A proposition (in a sentence) that follows necessarily from another sentence.
Presupposition
A proposition (in a sentence) that must be assumed to be true to judge the truth or falsity of another sentence.
Sense is the study of meaning and is divided in two areas:
Speaker Sense: The intention to create expression. This is part of pragmatics.
Linguistic Expression: Is the literal meaning of words. The linguistic expression is divided into properties.

Lexical
Ambiguity
Lexical ambiguity is the identification of multiple meaning words and their variant uses in context; for example, the phrase
Waldo saw a fly
. The word
fly
has three ambiguous meanings each bearing a lexical entry (dictionary listing).
1.
fly
- an insect
a. The term fly in this phrase would be interpreted as the lexical entry representative of an insect.
2.
fly
- a zipper
b. The terms lexical entry would indicate that Waldo saw a zipper. The zipper placement is undetermined.
3.
fly
- a ball
c. In this case the lexical entry is interpreted as Waldo witnessing a game of baseball in which the ball is an out, a hit, or a home run.
Note: There are some case in which ambiguity is not lexical.
Ex: American history teacher
Can mean:
A teacher of American history
or
A history teacher who is American
Examples of cases
of
lexical ambiguity
However...
American
history
teacher
None of these words
have more than one
sense.
Synonymy
Words are synonymous if they have the same sense, which in turn, has the same value; however, it does not resonate differences in
connotations
, and also differs in
register.
Connotations
Register
Other Types of Linguistic-References
Hyponymy
coreferences
-
2
linguistic expressions that
refer
to the
same real-world
existence
Antonymy
Overlap
anaphora
-
a
linguistic expression that
refers
to
another
linguistic expression
deixis
- has
1 meaning
, but can
refer
to
different entities
depending on
speaker and their spatial/temporal relation
.
Glenwood is a city in Illinois.
Glenwood

and
city
refer
to the
same
thing, the city of Glenwood, IL.
The
father
thought that
he
would be called next.
Father
and
he
refer to the
same
person.
Barbara is speaking to Bill:
I
wish
you
would pick up that jacket over
there
.
Can be
reversed
if Bill is speaking to Barbara.
Connotations demonstrate the attitude of the speaker; for example:
Senior citizen
Old coot
Positive
Derogatory
Both terms denote the same entity; however,
one has a
positive
connotation while the other is
negative
or
derogatory.
Linguists
Philosophers
sense
of linguistic expressions
lexical decomposition
semantic features
lexical ambiguity
synonymy
hyponymy
overlap
antonymy
reference
of linguistic expressions
referent
extension
prototype
stereotype
coreference
anaphora
deixis

truth
of sentences
analytic
contradictory
synthetic
entailment
supposition
Ex. A triangle has four sides.
Knowing the definition of a triangle, we can judge the sentence as false.
Sometimes referred to as empirical truths: true or false by virtue of the extralinguistic world.
Ex. My neighbor has five children.
This sentence can only be verified by consulting the family.
The definition of BACHELOR is UNMARRIED MAN.
Test for entailment: Sentence (a) entails sentence (b) if the truth of (a) ensures the truth of (b) and if the falsity of (b) ensures the falsity of (a).
Ex. (a)Dilana aced English entails (b)Dilana passed English.
Dilana cannot 'ACE' English if she did not pass English.
Relation of entailment is unidirectional.
When the sentence order is reversed, the test does not necessarily work.
Ex. (b)Dilana passed English and (a) Dilana aced English.
Dilana passing English does not ensure that she aced English (maybe she received a C). If Dilana did not ace English, that does not ensure that she failed English.
Paraphrase
When a pair of sentences entail each other.
Ex. Dilana passed English and The class Dilana passed was English.
The sentences are saying the same thing in two different ways.
The register is the level of formality in which the synonymous words are associated; for example:
NOTE: Entailment describes the same relationship between sentences as hyponymy describes between words.
Paraphrase describes the same relationship between sentences as synonymy describes between words.
A guy walks into a bar...
A man walks into bar...
This would be considered the beginning phrasing of a joke. which in turn, would make it informal.
Formal or Informal...
That is the register.
Man v. Guy
This would be considered the beginning phrasing of a formal story indicating an adult male did walk into a bar.
The test: Depends on the fact of the sentence and it denial having the same set of presuppositions. Known as constancy under negation.
Ex. (a)Dilana aced English presupposes the sentence (b)Dilana took English. In additon, Dilana did not ace English also presupposes sentence (b).
NOTE: It is possible to begin with the negative statement and test for presupposition.
Presupposition Triggers
These are structures or words that assume the truth of the expressed proposition or the speaker's attitude about the proposition.
Wh-questions
Ex. When will you take me to the movies?
Assumes the truth of the expressed proposition 'You will take me to the movies.
Factive verbs (and verb phrases)
Dilana's teacher

demonstrates
that the new game is easy to learn.
Demonstrates
is the factive verb which presupposes the truth of the proposition 'the new game is easy to learn.'
Factive verbs include: acknowledge, be aware, bear in mind, demonstrate, grasp, make clear, note, prove, regret, resent, show, take into account, take into consideration
Nonfactive verbs include: allege, assert, assume, believe, charge, claim, conclude, conjecture, fancy, figure, maintain, suggest, suppose, think
Implicative verbs
1. Dilana failed to do her homework.
2. Dilana forgot to do her homework.
3. Dilana did not do her homework.
All three sentences express the proposition 'Dilana did not do her homework.' The implicative verbs go a step further, implying an unmet responsibility.
Avoid: negative act
Forget: unmet obligation, not intentional
Remember: obligation
Bother: no obligation
Neglect: unmet obligation
Fail: unmet obligation
Refrain: negative act
Manage: difficult and intentional act
Happen: accidental act
Partial list of Implicative verbs with presupposition
jk
jk
Reference
Parker, F. & Riley, K. (2010). Linguistics for non-linguists: A primer with exercises. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Created by
Nichole Harris
Muriel Hartwig
Jennifer Kowaczek
This pertains to a more general meaning of a word or the
superordinate.
It contains all the same values of another word and additional meanings.
Oak
Tree
Hyponymy
Superordinate
MH
Hyponymy is also referred to as
inclusion.
Included word
Including word
sow
boar
piglet
pig
Hyponymy
superordinate
Overlap occurs when two words overlap meanings while maintaining the same value. These words do not always have the same semantic features.
When the meaning of two words differs only in value for one semantic meaning.
Binary Antonym
Gradable Antonym
Converse Antonym
Lexical Decomposition
Semantic features
nh
Method representing the sense of words comprised of semantic features. Each value is represented + or - with the features in this example being adult and male.
[adult]
[male]
man woman boy girl
+ + - -
+ - + -
If you place the words sister, niece, aunt and mother, all intersect, but are not included within each other as in Hyponymy.
semantic
features
human
[male]
kin
sister niece aunt mother
+ + + +

- - - -
+ + + +
value
If we add the words nun and mistress as features, they once again overlap because all are human, but not always kin and never male.
semantic
features
human
male
kin
sister niece aunt mother nun mistress

+ + + + + +
- - - - - -
+ + + + - -
value
Now, add two more to the list, mare and sow. They overlap because none are male, and not all are kin or human.
semantic
features
human
male
kin
sister niece aunt mother nun mistress mare sow
+ + + + + + - -
+ + + + + + - -
+ + + + - - - -
value
dead alive
hot cold
above below
dead
alive
Non negotiable opposing terms
hot
cold
warm
cold
are opposites on a continuous dimension
A description of opposite perspectives.
below
above
x
x
y
y
MH
JK
NH
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