Adverbs of Place List Alphabetical List of Common Single-Word Place Adverbs About Above Abroad Anywhere Away Back Backwards (Also Backward) Behind Below Down Downstairs East (Etc) Elsewhere Far Here in Indoors Inside
Semantic and Lexical Relation By Kifah Talib Tawfiq This seminar consists of the following paragraphs 1-Introduction 2- Definition of the terms (Semantic and lexical) 3- The relation between the two terms 4-Conclusion 1- Introduction What is Semantics and lexical? 1- What is semantics? Semantics is the study of meaning. It is a wide subject within the general study of language. An understanding of semantics is essential to the study of language acquisition (how language users acquire a sense of meaning, as speakers and writers, listeners and readers) and of language change (how meanings alter over time).
It is important for understanding language in social contexts, as these are likely to affect meaning, and for understanding varieties of English and effects of style. It is thus one of the most fundamental concepts in linguistics. The study of semantics includes the study of how meaning is constructed, interpreted, clarified, obscured, illustrated, simplified negotiated, contradicted and paraphrased. The branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning.
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The two main areas are logical semantics, concerned with matters such as sense and reference and presupposition and implication, and lexical semantics, concerned with the analysis of word meanings and relations between them. Lexical and semantics are terms used in relation to aspects of language. Semantic fields In studying the lexicon of English (or any language) we may group together lexemes which inter-relate, in the sense that we need them to define or describe each other. For example we can see how such lexemes as cat, feline, moggy, puss, kitten, tom, queen and miaow occupy the same semantic field.
We can also see that some lexemes will occupy many fields: noise will appear in semantic fields for acoustics, pain or discomfort and electronics (noise = “interference”). Although such fields are not clear-cut and coherent, they are akin to the kind of groupings children make for themselves in learning a language. An entertaining way to see how we organize the lexicon for ourselves is to play word-association games. 2- What is lexical Lexical is concerned with the structure of language. Lexical is a matter of the logical or grammatical form of sentences, rather than what they refer to or mean.
Semantics is concerned with the meaning of words and sentences. Semantics is a matter of the content or meaning of sentences, often in relation to their truth and falsehood. ‘Moths speak ravenously’ is syntactically correct as it has a valid ‘noun verb adverb’ structure, but it is senseless (semantically null). ‘Boys play roughly’ has both proper syntax and a clear semantic content. This argument-mapping exercise is a powerful way to appreciate the difference between syntax and semantics. It has four steps: Step 1
Make a reasoning map of the argument in the box below. This argument has correct syntax and is semantically clear. We have made the logical structure of the argument more apparent by highlighting ‘indicators’ that signal reasons and objections. Lexical semantics is a subfield of linguistic semantics. It is the study of how and what the words of a language denote (Pustejovsky, 1995). Words may either be taken to denote things in the world or concepts, depending on the particular approach to lexical semantics.
The units of meaning in lexical semantics are lexical units, which a speaker can continually add to throughout their life, learning new words and their meanings. By contrast, one can only easily learn the grammatical rules of one’s native language during a critical period when one is young. Lexical semantics covers theories of the classification and decomposition of word meaning, the differences and similarities in lexical semantic structure between different languages, and the relationship of word meaning to sentence meaning and syntax .
One question that lexical semantics explores is whether the meaning of a lexical unit is established by looking at its neighbourhood in the semantic net (by looking at the other words it occurs with in natural sentences), or if the meaning is already locally contained in the lexical unit. Another topic that is explored is the mapping of words to concepts. As tools, lexical relations (defined as patterns of association that exist between lexical items in a language A study of Semantics Lexical Relations Lexicology and lexicography
Lexicology is the systematic historical (diachronic) and contemporary (synchronic) study of the lexicon or vocabulary of a language. Lexicologists study semantics on a mass scale. Lexicography is the art and science of dictionary making. Lexicography also has a history. Although dictionary compilers today, as in the past, wish to create an authoritative reference work, their knowledge and understanding of language has changed radically. Different dictionaries serve very different purposes – some only give information about semantics (word meanings, descriptions or definitions) and orthography (standard spellings).
Others give information about etymology, variants and change of meaning over time. An unfortunate by-product of English teaching in the UK is a preoccupation with standard spelling forms to the exclusion of much else. Children are encouraged to use dictionaries for spell checking and not to learn about the language more generally. You should, with any dictionary, read the introduction to discover which principles have been used in compiling it, what models of language the compilers works from. Is it, for example, broadly prescriptive or descriptive? Is it encyclopaedic, or does it exclude proper nouns?
What variety or varieties of English does it include? In checking an etymology cited above (git) I used three dictionaries – Funk and Wagnall’s New Practical Standard (US, 1946) the Pocket Oxford (1969) and the complete (1979) Oxford English Dictionary. None of these listed git. Modern dictionaries may well give a range of world Englishes. Dictionary functions built into computer software give the user a choice of different varieties – UK, US, Australia/New Zealand or International English. To a first approximation, lexemes are words, so lexical semantics is the study of word meaning.
The main reason why word-level semantics is especially interesting from a cognitive point of view is that words are names for individual concepts. Thus lexical semantics is the study of those concepts that have names. The question What can words mean? , then, amounts to the question What concepts can have names? There are many more or less familiar concepts that can be expressed by language but for which there is no corresponding word. There is no single word in English that specifically names the smell of a peach, or the region of soft skin on the underside of the forearm, though presumably there could be.
Furthermore, it is common for one language to choose to lexicalize a slightly different set of concepts than another. American speakers do not have a noun that is exactly equivalent to the British toff `conceited person’, nor does every language have a verb equivalent to the American bean `to hit on the head with a baseball’. The branch of semantics that deals with the word meaning is called lexical semantics. It is the study of systematic, meaning related structures of words. Lexical field or semantic field is the organization of related words and expressions in to a system, which shows their relationship with one another. . g. .set 1 angry, sad, happy, depressed, afraid. This set of word is a lexical field all its words refer to emotional states. Lexical semantics examines relationships among word meanings. It is the study of how the lexicon is organized and how the lexical meanings of lexical items are interrelated, and it’s principle goal is to build a model for the structure of the lexicon by categorizing the types of relationships between words. There are different types of lexical relations- 1- Hyponymy 2-Homonymy 3-Polysemy, 4-Synonymy, 5-Antonymy and -Metonymy. Hyponymy Hyponymy is a relationship between two words in which the meaning of one of the words includes the meaning of the other word. The lexical relation corresponding to the inclusion of one class in another is hyponymy. A hyponym is a subordinate, specific term whose referent is included in the referent of super ordinate term. e. g. Blue, green are kinds of color they are specific colors and color is the general term for them. Therefore color is called the super ordinate term and blue, red, green, yellow, etc. are called hyponyms.
A super ordinate can have many hyponyms. Hyponymy is the relationship between each lower term and the higher term(super ordinate). It is sense relation. Hyponymy is defined in terms of the inclusion of the sense of one item in the sense of another. e. g. The sense of animal is included in the sense of lion. Hyponymy is not restricted to objects, abstract concepts, or nouns. It can be identified in many other areas of the lexicon. e. g. the verb cook has many hyponyms. In a lexical field, hyponymy may exist at more than one level.
A word may have both a hyponym and a super ordinate term. We thus have Sparrow, hawk, crow , fowl as hyponyms of bird and bird in turn is a hyponym of living beings . So there is a hierarchy of terms related to each other through hyponymic relations. Two or more terms which share the same super ordinate terms are co-hyponyms. Hyponymy involves the logical relationship of entailment. e. g. ‘There is a horse’ entails that ‘There is an animal’ Hyponymy often functions in discourse as a means of lexical cohesion by establishing referential equivalence to avoid repetition. Homonymy
Homonymy is ambiguous words whose different senses are far apart from each other and not obviously related to each other in any way. Words like tale and tail are homonyms. There is no conceptual connection between its two meanings. The word ‘homonym’ has been derived from Greek term Homoios which means identical and onoma means means name. Homonyms are the words that have same phonetoc form (homophones) or orthographic form(homographs) but different unrelated meanings. e. g. Thev word bear as a verb means to carry and as a noun it means a large animal. An example of homonym, which is both homophone and homograph, is fluke.
Fluke is a fish as well as a flatworm. Other examples-bank, an anchor,etc. Metaphor, simile and symbol Metaphors are well known as a stylistic feature of literature, but in fact are found in almost all language use, other than simple explanations of physical events in the material world. All abstract vocabulary is metaphorical, but in most cases the original language hides the metaphor from us. Depends means “hanging from” (in Latin), pornography means “writing of prostitutes” (in Greek) and even the hippopotamus has a metaphor in its name, which is Greek for “river horse”.
A metaphor compares things, but does not show this with forms such as as, like, or more [+qualifier] than. These appear in similes: fat as a pig, like two peas in a pod. Everyday speech is marked by frequent use of metaphor. Consider the humble preposition on. Its primary meaning can be found in such phrases as on the roof, on the toilet, on top. But what relationship does it express in such phrases as on the fiddle, on call, on demand, on the phone, on the game, on telly, on fire, on heat, on purpose? Why not in?
Launch denotes the naming of a ship and its entering service, but what does it mean to launch an attack, launch a new product, launch a new share-issue or even launch oneself at the ball in the penalty area? Homophony Homophony is the case where two words are pronounced identically but they have different written forms. They sound alike but are written differently and often have different meanings. e. g. no, know and led, lead and would, wood. etc. Homograph Homograph is a word which is spelled the same as another word and might be pronounced the same or differently but which has a different meanings.
E. g. bear,to bear. when homonyms are spelled the same they are homographs but not all homonyms are homographs. Polysemy When a word has several very closely related senses or meanings . Polysemous word is a word having two or more meanings. e. g. foot in :He hurt his foot She stood at the foot of the stairs. A well-known problem in semantics is how to decide whether we are dealing with a single polysemous word or with two or more homonyms. F. R. Palmer concluded saying that finally multiplicity of meaning is a very general characteristic of language.
Polysemy is used in semantics and lexical analysis to describe the word with multiple meanings. Crystal and Dick Hebdige (1979) also defined polysemy. Lexical ambiguity depends upon homonymy and polysemy. Synonymy Synonymy is used to mean sameness of meaning. Synonym is a word, which has the same or nearly the same meaning as another word. There are several ways in which they differ 1. Some set of synonyms belong to different dialects of language, e. g. Fall – used in united states, Autumn-used in some western countries. 2.
There is a similar situation but are more problematic one with words that are used in different styles or registers. 3. Some words may be said to differ only in their emotive or evaluative meanings. 4. Words are collocationally restricted they occur only in conjunction with other words. 5. Synonyms are often said to differ only in their connotation. Examples-hid, conceal, It is very hard to list absolute synonyms: words, which are identical both in denotation and connotation. Antonymy The word antonymy derives from the greek root anti(opposite) and denotes opposition in meaning.
Antonymy or oppositeness of meaning has long been recognized as one of the most important semantic relations . e. g. quick-slow, big-small, long-short, rich-poor, etc. Antonyms are divided in to several types-1. gradable antonyms/pairs, 2. nongradable antonyms/complementaries, and 3. reversives 4. converse pairs 1. gradable antonyms/pairs-They can be used in comparative constructions like bigger than or smaller than, etc. Also the negative of one member of the gradable pair does not necessarily imply the opposite. e. g. not hot does not mean cold. 2. nongradable ntonyms/complementaries- The relation of oppositeness is that which holds between the pairs as single:married, man:woman,etc. The denial of one implies the assertion of the other and the assertion of one implies the denial of the other. It is the characteristic of complimentaries. 3. reversives-It is important to avoid most antonym pairs as one word meaning the negative of another. e. g. tie-untie. 4. converse pairs –Another kind of antonymy is forming converse pairs. e. g. Converseness is used to refer to the relationship between buy and sell. Metonymy
A metonym substitutes for the object that is meant the name of an attribute or concept associated with the object. The use of ‘crown’ for ‘king’ is an e. g. of metonymy. This term has been derived from Greek word meta means after and onoma means substitution for name. e. g. gray hair can be used for old age. The distinction between metonymy and metaphor is made in linguistics. For instance, the phrase ‘to fish pearls’ metonymy is used and in the phrase ‘fishing for information’ metaphor is used. In cognitive linguistics, the word metonymy stands for the use of one basic characteristic to identify a more complex entity.
Metonymy according to American Linguist Bloomfield is nearness in pace and time. More precisely it focuses on specific aspects of objects having direct physical association to what is being referred to. Semantics is the study of the meaning of linguistic expressions. The language can be a natural language, such as English or Navajo, or an artificial language, like a computer programming language. Meaning in natural languages is mainly studied by linguists. In fact, semantics is one of the main branches of contemporary linguistics.
Theoretical computer scientists and logicians think about artificial languages. In some areas of computer science, these divisions are crossed. In machine translation, for instance, computer scientists may want to relate natural language texts to abstract representations of their meanings; to do this, they have to design artificial languages for representing meanings. There are strong connections to philosophy. Earlier in this century, much work in semantics was done by philosophers, and some important work is still done by philosophers.
Anyone who speaks a language has a truly amazing capacity to reason about the meanings of texts. Take, for instance, the sentence (S) I can’t untie that knot with one hand. Even though you have probably never seen this sentence, you can easily see things like the following: The sentence is about the abilities of whoever spoke or wrote it. (Call this person the speaker. ) It’s also about a knot, maybe one that the speaker is pointing at. The sentence denies that the speaker has a certain ability. (This is the contribution of the word ‘can’t’. Untying is a way of making something not tied. The sentence doesn’t mean that the knot has one hand; it has to do with how many hands are used to do the untying. The meaning of a sentence is not just an unordered heap of the meanings of its words. If that were true, then ‘Cowboys ride horses’ and ‘Horses ride cowboys’ would mean the same thing. So we need to think about arrangements of meanings. Here is an arrangement that seems to bring out the relationships of the meanings in sentence (S). Not [ I [ Able [ [ [Make [Not [Tied]]] [That knot ] ] [With One Hand] ] ] ]
The unit [Make [Not [Tied]] here corresponds to the act of untying; it contains a subunit corresponding to the state of being untied. Larger units correspond to the act of untying-that-knot and to the act to-untie-that-knot-with-one-hand. Then this act combines with Able to make a larger unit, corresponding to the state of being-able-to-untie-that-knot-with-one-hand. This unit combines with I to make the thought that I have this state — that is, the thought that I-am-able-to-untie-that-knot-with-one-hand. Finally, this combines with Not and we get the denial of that thought.
This idea that meaningful units combine systematically to form larger meaningful units, and understanding sentences is a way of working out these combinations, has probably been the most important theme in contemporary semantics. Linguists who study semantics look for general rules that bring out the relationship between form, which is the observed arrangement of words in sentences and meaning. This is interesting and challenging, because these relationships are so complex. A semantic rule for English might say that a simple sentence involving the word ‘can’t’ always corresponds to a meaning arrangement like
Not [ Able … ], but never to one like Able [ Not … ]. For instance, ‘I can’t dance’ means that I’m unable to dance; it doesn’t mean that I’m able not to dance. To assign meanings to the sentences of a language, you need to know what they are. It is the job of another area of linguistics, called syntax, to answer this question, by providing rules that show how sentences and other expressions are built up out of smaller parts, and eventually out of words. The meaning of a sentence depends not only on the words it contains, but on its syntactic makeup: the sentence (S) That can hurt you, or instance, is ambiguous — it has two distinct meanings. These correspond to two distinct syntactic structures. In one structure ‘That’ is the subject and ‘can’ is an auxiliary verb (meaning “able”), and in the other ‘That can’ is the subject and ‘can’ is a noun (indicating a sort of container). Because the meaning of a sentence depends so closely on its syntactic structure, linguists have given a lot of thought to the relations between syntactic structure and meaning; in fact, evidence about ambiguity is one way of testing ideas about syntactic structure. You would expect an expert in semantics to know a lot about what meanings are.
But linguists haven’t directly answered this question very successfully. This may seem like bad news for semantics, but it is actually not that uncommon for the basic concepts of a successful science to remain problematic: a physicist will probably have trouble telling you what time is. The nature of meaning, and the nature of time, are foundational questions that are debated by philosophers. We can simplify the problem a little by saying that, whatever meanings are, we are interested in literal meaning. Often, much more than the meaning of a sentence is conveyed when someone uses it.
Suppose that Carol says ‘I have to study’ in answer to ‘Can you go to the movies tonight? ’. She means that she has to study that night, and that this is a reason why she can’t go to the movies. But the sentence she used literally means only that she has to study. Nonliteral meanings are studied in pragmatics, an area of linguistics that deals with discourse and contextual effects. But what is a literal meaning? There are four sorts of answers: (1) you can dodge the question, or (2) appeal to usage, or (3) appeal to psychology, or (4) treat meanings as real objects. 1) The first idea would involve trying to reconstruct semantics so that it can be done without actually referring to meanings. It turns out to be hard to do this — at least, if you want a theory that does what linguistic semanticists would like a theory to do. But the idea was popular earlier in the twentieth century, especially in the 1940s and 1950s, and has been revived several times since then, because many philosophers would prefer to do without meanings if at all possible. But these attempts tend to ignore the linguistic requirements, and for various technical reasons have not been very successful. 2) When an English speaker says ‘It’s raining’ and a French speaker says ‘Il pleut’ you can say that there is a common pattern of usage here. But no one really knows how to characterize what the two utterances have in common without somehow invoking a common meaning. (In this case, the meaning that it’s raining. ) So this idea doesn’t seem to really explain what meanings are. (3) Here, you would try to explain meanings as ideas. This is an old idea, and is still popular; nowadays, it takes the form of developing an artificial language that is supposed to capture the “inner cognitive representations” of an ideal thinking and speaking agent.
The problem with this approach is that the methods of contemporary psychology don’t provide much help in telling us in general what these inner representations are like. This idea doesn’t seem yet to lead to a methodology that can produce a workable semantic theory. (4) If you say that the meaning of ‘Mars’ is a certain planet, at least you have a meaning relation that you can come to grips with. There is the word ‘Mars’ on the one hand, and on the other hand there is this big ball of matter circling around the sun.
This clarity is good, but it is hard to see how you could cover all of language this way. It doesn’t help us very much in saying what sentences mean, for instance. And what about the other meaning of ‘Mars’? Do we have to believe in the Roman god to say that ‘Mars’ is meaningful? And what about ‘the largest number’? The approach that most semanticists endorse is a combination of (1) and (4). Using techniques similar to those used by mathematicians, you can build up a complex universe of abstract objects that can serve as meanings (or denotations) of various sorts of linguistic expressions.
Since sentences can be either true or false, the meanings of sentences usually involve the two truth values true and false. You can make up artificial languages for talking about these objects; some semanticists claim that these languages can be used to capture inner cognitive representations. If so, this would also incorporate elements of (3), the psychological approach to meanings. Finally, by restricting your attention to selected parts of natural language, you can often avoid hard questions about what meanings in general are. This is why this approach to some extent dodges the general question of what meanings are.
The hope would be, however, that as more linguistic constructions are covered, better and more adequate representations of meaning would emerge. Though “truth values” may seem artificial as components of meaning, they are very handy in talking about the meaning of things like negation; the semantic rule for negative sentences says that their meanings are like that of the corresponding positive sentences, except that the truth value is switched, false for true and true for false. ‘It isn’t raining’ is true if ‘It is raining’ is false, and false if ‘It is raining’ is true.
Truth values also provide a connection to validity and to valid reasoning. (It is valid to infer a sentence S2 from S1 in case S2 couldn’t possibly be true when S1 is false. ) This interest in valid reasoning provides a strong connection to work in the semantics of artificial languages, since these languages are usually designed with some reasoning task in mind. Logical languages are designed to model theoretical reasoning such as mathematical proofs, while computer languages are intended to model a variety of general and special purpose reasoning tasks.
Validity is useful in working with proofs because it gives us a criterion for correctness. It is useful in much the same way with computer programs, where it can sometimes be used to either prove a program correct, or (if the proof fails) to discover flaws in programs. These ideas (which really come from logic) have proved to be very powerful in providing a theory of how the meanings of natural-language sentences depend on the meanings of the words they contain and their syntactic structure. Over the last forty years or so, there has been a lot of progress in working this out, not only for English, but for a wide variety of languages.
This is made much easier by the fact that human languages are very similarin the kinds of rules that are needed for projecting meanings from words to sentences; they mainly differ in their words, and in the details of their syntactic rules. Recently, there has been more interest in lexical semantics — that is, in the semantics of words. Lexical semantics is not so much a matter of trying to write an “ideal dictionary”. (Dictionaries contain a lot of useful information, but don’t really provide a theory of meaning or good representations of meanings. Rather, lexical semantics is concerned with systematic relations in the meanings of words, and in recurring patterns among different meanings of the same word. It is no accident, for instance, that you can say ‘Sam ate a grape’ and ‘Sam ate’, the former saying what Sam ate and the latter merely saying that Sam ate something. This same pattern occurs with many verbs. Logic is a help in lexical semantics, but lexical semantics is full of cases in which meanings depend subtly on context, and there are exceptions to many generalizations. (To undermine something is to mine under it; but to understand something is not to stand under it. So logic doesn’t carry us as far here as it seems to carry us in the semantics of sentences. Natural-language semantics is important in trying to make computers better able to deal directly with human languages. In one typical application, there is a program people need to use. Running the program requires using an artificial language (usually, a special-purpose command language or query-language) that tells the computer how to do some useful reasoning or question-answering task. But it is frustrating and time-consuming to teach this language to everyone who may want to interact with the program.
So it is often worthwhile to write a second program, a natural language interface, that mediates between simple commands in a human language and the artificial language that the computer understands. Here, there is certainly no confusion about what a meaning is; the meanings you want to attach to natural language commands are the corresponding expressions of the programming language that the machine understands. Many computer scientists believe that natural language semantics is useful in designing programs of this sort. But it is only part of the picture.
It turns out that most English sentences are ambiguous to a depressing extent. (If a sentence has just five words, and each of these words has four meanings, this alone gives potentially 1,024 possible combined meanings. ) Generally, only a few of these potential meanings will be at all plausible. People are very good at focusing on these plausible meanings, without being swamped by the unintended meanings. But this takes common sense, and at present we do not have a very good idea of how to get computers to imitate this sort of common sense.
Researchers in the area of computer science known as Artificial Intelligence are working on that. Meanwhile, in building natural-language interfaces, you can exploit the fact that a specific application (like retrieving answers from a database) constrains the things that a user is likely to say. Using this, and other clever techniques, it is possible to build special purpose natural-language interfaces that perform remarkably well, even though we are still a long way from figuring out how to get computers to do general-purpose natural-language understanding.
Semantics probably won’t help you find out the meaning of a word you don’t understand, though it does have a lot to say about the patterns of meaningfulness that you find in words. It certainly can’t help you understand the meaning of one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, since poetic meaning is so different from literal meaning. But as we learn more about semantics, we are finding out a lot about how the world’s languages match forms to meanings. And in doing that, we are learning a lot about ourselves and how we think, as well as acquiring knowledge that is useful in many different fields and applications.
Lexical relations (meaning in relation to other words) There are two main modes for exploring word meaning: in relation to other words (this section), and in relation to the world (see below). The traditional method used in dictionaries is to define a word in terms of other words. Ultimately, this strategy is circular, since we must then define the words we use in the definition, and in their definitions, until finally we must either run out of words or re-use one of the words we are trying to define.
One strategy is to try to find a small set of SEMANTIC PRIMES: Wierzbicka identifies on the order of 50 or so concepts (such as GOOD, BAD, BEFORE, AFTER, I, YOU, PART, KIND… ) that allegedly suffice to express the meaning of all words (in any language). Whether this research program succeeds or not has important implications for the nature of linguistic conceptualization. In any case, speakers clearly have intuitions about meaning relations among words. The most familiar relations are synonymy and antinomy. Two words are SYNONYMS if they mean the same thing, e. g. , Filbert and hazelnut
Board and plank Two words are ANTONYMS if they mean opposite things: Black and white Lexical relations (meaning in relation to other words) There are two main modes for exploring word meaning: in relation to other words (this section), and in relation to the world (see below). The traditional method used in dictionaries is to define a word in terms of other words. Ultimately, this strategy is circular, since we must then define the words we use in the definition, and in their definitions, until finally we must either run out of words or re-use one of the words we are trying to define.
One strategy is to try to find a small set of SEMANTIC PRIMES: Wierzbicka identifies on the order of 50 or so concepts (such as GOOD, BAD, BEFORE, AFTER, I, YOU, PART, KIND… ) that allegedly suffice to express the meaning of all words (in any language). Whether this research program succeeds or not has important implications for the nature of linguistic conceptualization. In any case, speakers clearly have intuitions about meaning relations among words. The most familiar relations are synonymy and antinomy. Two words are SYNONYMS if they mean the same thing. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ; ; Conclusion Semantics (from Ancient Greek: ?????????? semantikos) is the study of meaning. It focuses on the relation between signifiers, like words, phrases, signs, and symbols, and what they stand for, their denotation. Linguistic semantics is the study of meaning that is used for understanding human expression through language. Other forms of semantics include the semantics of programming languages, formal logics, and semiotics. The word semantics itself denotes a range of ideas, from the popular to the highly technical.
It is often used in ordinary language for denoting a problem of understanding that comes down to word selection or connotation. This problem of understanding has been the subject of many formal enquiries, over a long period of time, most notably in the field of formal semantics. In linguistics, it is the study of interpretation of signs or symbols used in agents or communities within particular circumstances and contexts. Within this view, sounds, facial expressions, body language, and proxemics have semantic (meaningful) content, and each comprises several branches of study.
In written language, things like paragraph structure and punctuation bear semantic content; other forms of language bear other semantic content. The formal study of semantics intersects with many other fields of inquiry, including lexicology, syntax, pragmatics, etymology and others, although semantics is a well-defined field in its own right, often with synthetic properties. In philosophy of language, semantics and reference are closely connected. Further related fields include philology, communication, and semiotics. The formal study of semantics is therefore complex.
Lexical semantics is a subfield of linguistic semantics. It is the study of how and what the words of a language denote (Pustejovsky, 1995). Words may either be taken to denote things in the world or concepts, depending on the particular approach to lexical semantics. The units of meaning in lexical semantics are lexical units, which a speaker can continually add to throughout their life, learning new words and their meanings. By contrast, one can only easily learn the grammatical rules of one’s native language during a critical period when one is young.
Lexical semantics covers theories of the classification and decomposition of word meaning, the differences and similarities in lexical semantic structure between different languages, and the relationship of word meaning to sentence meaning and syntax . One question that lexical semantics explores is whether the meaning of a lexical unit is established by looking at its neighbourhood in the semantic net (by looking at the other words it occurs with in natural sentences), or if the meaning is already locally contained in the lexical unit.
Another topic that is explored is the mapping of words to concepts. As tools, lexical relations (defined as patterns of association that exist between lexical items in a language like synonymy, antonymy (opposites), hyponymy and hypernymy – and to a certain degree homonymy as well – are used in this field. Semantics contrasts with syntax, the study of the combinatorics of units of a language (without reference to their meaning), and pragmatics, the study of the relationships between the symbols of a language, their meaning, and the users of the language References 1.
Charles, W. G. The categorization of sentential contexts. J. Psycholinguistic Res. 17, 5 (Sept. 1988), 403–411. 2. Francis, W. N. , and Kucera, H. Frequency Analysis of English Usage: Lexicon and Grammar. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, Mass. , 1982. 3. Leacock, C. , Towell, G. , and Voorhees, E. M. Towards building contextual representations of word senses using statistical models. In Proceedings of the Workshop on the Acquisition of Lexical Knowledge from Text ( Columbus, Ohio, June 21) ACL/SIGLEX, 1993 , pp. 10–20. 4. Miller, G. A. , Ed. WordNet: An on-line lexical database.
International Journal of Lexicography 3, 4 (Winter 1990), 235–312. 5. Miller, G. A,. and Charles, W. G. Contextual correlates of semantic similarity. Language and Cognitive Processes 6, 1 (Feb. 1991), 1–28. 6. Miller, G. A. , and Fellbaum, C. Semantic networks of english. In B. Levin and , S. Pinker Eds. Lexical and Conceptual Semantics. Blackwell, Cambridge and Oxford, England, 1992, pp. 197–229. 7. Miller, G. A. , Leacock, C. , Tengi, R. , and Bunker, R. A semantic concordance. In Proceedings of the ARPA Human Language Technology Workshop ( Princeton, NJ, March 21–23). 1993, pp. 303–308.