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erick reynaga

on 30 October 2012

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Transcript of Semantics

SEMANTICS: The Meaning of Language SEMANTICS ? TRUTH ENTAILMENT AND RELATED NOTIONS We use language to convey information to others, ask questions, give commands and express wishes We know when words and sentences are meaningful or meaningless...

Jack Swims.
Swims every the. ...when words and sentences have two meanings and when they have the same or opposite meaning. The study of the linguistic meaning of morphemes, words, phrases and sentences is called SEMANTICS. Compositional semantics calculates the truth value of a sentence by composing, or putting together, the meaning of smaller units. Jack swims Some sentences are always true. and some are always false regardless of their circumstances Circles are round.
The bachelor is married Much of what we know is deduced from what people say alongside our observations of the world. One sentence entails another, generally, in one direction. Jack swims beautifully
Jack swims Synonimous sentences

Jack put off the meeting.
Jack postponed the meeting.

Contradictory sentences

Jack is alive.
Jack is dead. COMPOSITIONAL SEMANTICS AMBIGUITY Our semantic knowledge tells us when words or phrases (including sentences)
have more than one meaning, that is, when they are ambiguous. The boy saw a man with a telescope To account for speaker’s knowledge of the truth, reference, entailment, and ambiguity of sentences, as well as for our ability to determine the meaning of a limitless number of expressions, we must suppose that the grammar contains semantic rules that combine the meanings of words into meaningful phrases and sentences. Semantic Rules Semantic rules are sensitive not only to the meaning of individual words but to the structure in which they occur, which makes them a powerful tool for investigating the semantical properties of natural languages. Rule No. 1 Rule I states that a sentence composed of a subject NP and a predicate VP is true if the subject NP refers to an individual who is among the members of the set that constitute the meaning of the VP. Got it?.. No? Let's analyze this! Jack swims
Jack kissed Laura Rule No. 2 The meaning of [vp=V+NP] is the set of individuals X such that X is the first member of any pair in the meaning of V whose second member is the meaning of NP. No? Ok. Let's look at it this way... Compositionality
goes wild Meanings may be obscured in many ways, or at least may require some imagination or special knowledge to be apprehended. There are cases in which there is a problem with words or with semantic rules. Anomaly Metaphor Idioms The semantic properties of words determine what other words they can be combined with. Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

Dark green leaves rustle furiously. He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought. When what appears to be an anomaly is nevertheless understood in terms of a meaningful concept, the expression becomes a metaphor. There is no strict line between anomalous and metaphorical expressions. Our doubts are traitors.

Time is money. Phrases that typically start out as metaphors that “catch on” and are repeated so often that they become fixtures in the language. Such expressionsare called idioms, or idiomatic phrases, as in these English examples: Snap out of it.
I will give him a piece of my mind.
He sold me down the river.
Lexical Semantics
(word meaning) “There’s glory for you!”
“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously.
“Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument,’ ” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
LEWIS CARROLL, Through the Looking-Glass, 1871 Lexical semantics is a sub field of linguistic semantics. It is the study of how and what the words of a language denote.
Meaning of a phrase or sentence = meaning of words it contains

Morphologically complex words = function of their components morphemes.

Word meaning is not the same as sentence meaning.
The meaning of entries in the mental lexicon is conventional; that is, speakers of a language implicitly agree on their meaning.
On the other hand, the meaning of most sentences must be constructed by the application of semantic rules
Meaning of a word may shift over time.
As individuals we are not free to change the meaning of words at will.

Each person knows thousands of words. It help us to express our thoughts and to understand the other’s thoughts.
Theories of word meaning. Lexical relations Semantic Features If the meaning of a word is not like a dictionary entry, what is it?
This question has been debated by philosophers and linguists for centuries. One proposal is that the meaning of a word or expression is its REFERENCE, its association with the object it refers to. This real world object is called the REFERENCE.
Reference Sense We have already determined that the meaning of proper names like Jack is its reference, that link between the word Jack and the person named Jack, which is its referent.
Proper names are noun phrases (NPs); you can substitute a proper name in any NP position in a sentence and preserve grammaticality. There are other NPs that refer to individuals as well.
For instance, NPs like the happy swimmer, my friend, and that guy can all be used to refer to Jack in the situation where you’ve observed Jack swimming.
If meaning were reference alone, then the meaning of words and expressions would be entirely dependent on the objects pointed out in the real world. For example, the meaning of dog would be tied to the set of canine objects. This theory of word meaning is attractive because it underscores the idea that meaning is a connection between language on the one hand, and objects and events in the world on the other.
However there are words that evoke different images. The sense has to do with the intended referent of the word. Words are semantically related to one another in a variety of ways. The words that describe these relations often end in the bound morpheme -nym. The best-known lexical relations are synonyms, and antonyms or opposites.
The meaning of adjectives in gradable pairs is related to the object they modify. The words do not provide an absolute scale.
Decir ejemplo No.1.
Another characteristic of certain pairs of gradable antonyms is that one is MARKED and the other UNMARKED. The unmarked member is the one used in questions of degree.

Decir ejemplo No.2.
Decomposing the meanings of words into semantic features can clarify how certain words relate to other words.
Decir ejemplo No.3
Semantic features are among the conceptual elements that are part of the meanings of words and sentence.
Evidence of semantic features Semantic Features and Grammar Semantic properties are not directly observable. Their existence must be inferred from linguistic evidence. For example in incorrect utterances taken from correct ones...
Correct utterance: When my gums bled

Incorrect utterance: When my tongues bled

What is the semantic feature they have in common?
Further evidence that words are composed of smaller bits of meaning is that semantic features interact with different aspects of the grammar such as morphology or syntax. These effects show up in both nouns and verbs.
Semantic Features of Nouns
The same semantic feature may be shared by many words.
“Female” is a semantic feature.
Tigress hen aunt maiden
doe mare debutante widow
ewe vixen girl woman
Semantic Features of Verbs
Verbs also have semantic features as part of their meaning.
Semantic feature “cause”.
Darken… cause to become dark
Kill… cause to die
Uglify… cause to become ugly
Argument Structure Transitive verbs: S + V + D.O
Find I found this ball
Hit I hit her
Intransitive verbs: S + V
Sleep I slept.
Arrive I arrived.
Distransitive verbs: S + V + D.O + I.O
Give.. I gave her a gift.
Throw I threw Mary the ball.
Thematic roles The boy rolled a red ball.
agent theme Agent: the “doer” of the rolling action.
Theme: the “undergoer” of the rolling action.
The boy threw the red ball to the girl agent theme goal Goal: the endpoint of a change in location or possession.
Relations such as agent and theme are called thematic roles.
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