Semantics is the study of meaning, used to understand expressions through language.

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Finding semantic similarity between abstracts of academic papers

I am completely new to this area so please bear with me. I am looking for an automated way to compare the abstracts of academic papers and compute a measure of semantic similarity. What I would like ...
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37 views

What is the term for the category of words that request someone else do something

Is there a term for words/phrases which request that someone do something, such as "contact us", "do this", "click here", "share your thoughts" etc.
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Which parts of natural language cannot be covered ( so far ) by formal semantics?

my question regards a homework a have to write and since I am not a linguist I have kind of a hard time with it. We have on the one side natural languages with its redundancy, ambiguity, speech ...
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47 views

Mathematical foundations of formal semantics in linguistic

First, I asked this on math.stackexchange, someone recommended to go here. I am looking for information on the mathematical foundations of formal semantics in linguistic. After some time, I found ...
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Why do we call sound pitches “low” and “high”?

We use "low" and "high" in everyday speech when talking about sound, pitch or even frequency. However, if you think of it, the sound of a bassoon is no way closer to the ground ("lower") than the ...
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48 views

What is the difference between semantic and grammatical predicates? [closed]

I know that the main difference between semantic and grammatical predicates is that the former are related to argument(s),while the latter are related to subjects. Are there any more differences?
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the distinction between inchoatives and unaccusatives

I'm having difficulty understanding what are inchoative verbs and how they are different from unaccusative verbs. Is it generally the case that inchoatives are subsumed under unaccusatives? Verbs of ...
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2answers
60 views

Why are there presuppositions?

I am working with these two sentences: 1. Alex stopped playing the piano. What I concluded is that the sentence presupposes that Alex had previously played the piano. But why does the presupposition ...
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1answer
68 views

Semantic roles in the sentence with ´have´

I would like to ask for help with the clarification of some semantic roles. I am not sure what semantic role may be assigned to SUBJECT in the sentences with ´to have´ I need to assign role in the ...
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3answers
61 views

Why should cognitive semantics and formal semantics co-exist?

Cognitive Semantics and Formal semantics seems to exist. Which is more popular in the field of semantics? Why can not they replace each other?
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4answers
83 views

Is there meaning universal?

In linguistics, the term "Universal Grammar" is often heard. In contrast, no one ever tried to propose a theory for universal meaning. Specifically, with no universal meaning, how can we understand ...
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69 views

Formalization of information structure

There are many different accounts of "information structure" ("information packaging", "topic-comment", "theme-rheme distinction"). Is there a "frameworkless" formal definition of what topic/focus is? ...
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67 views

Are there languages, other than Mandarin, in which negation differs depending on the time interval at which a non-event fails to occur?

Assuming that languages do not create complexities in vain, the existence in Mandarin of two different propositional negation devices - via “bù”, an adverb, and “méi” or “méiyou” (verbs) - seems to ...
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160 views

What is the relationship between lambda calculus and logical form?

I was first introduced to lambda calculus as a way to use syntax to compose the semantic value of a phrase from the semantic values of the components of that phrase. Lambda calculus does more than ...
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51 views

On use and mention in “His name is Joseph but you can call him Joe”

In a sentence like His name is Joseph, but you can call him Joe the names Joseph and Joe are not used 'referentially' (to name a certain male individual) but just 'mentioned', i.e., they are used ...
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83 views

How is the dative case for help being used here?

Swiss-German has dative and accusative case-marking for its objects. In the sentence "I gave him the book," "him" must be marked as dative and "the book" must be marked as accusative. It's clear that ...
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2answers
103 views

Where did generative semantics go wrong? Why was their conception of language faulty?

Where did generative semantics go wrong? Why was their conception of language faulty? What were the main weaknesses of generative semantics adherents' claim that "a grammar starts with a description ...
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1answer
108 views

Is lambda calculus only applicable if syntax trees are binary branching?

Lambda expressions are evaluated "hierarchically"--we resolve functions in the daughter node before we resolve functions in the mother node. In a given constituency, a sister node may define a ...
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66 views

If we can only translate declarative sentences into symbolic logic, then how is symbolic logic useful for linguistics?

I can see how SL can be a decent metalanguage for doing cross-linguistic semantic work, but I feel like it's severely limited by the fact that you can't translate any kind of non-declarative sentence. ...
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89 views

At what point in the syntactic hierarchy inside a clause do phrases acquire ‘propositional’ status?

In standard propositional logic, both p and –p are ‘propositions’. In natural language, however, what phrases smaller than TP are ‘propositional’ is much less obvious. For example, take the simplest ...
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119 views

If word usage is based on semantic range, how do new meanings emerge?

I recently read an article in which the author was attempting to explain how "semantic range" works. He explained it like this: words don't have "a" meaning; they have a semantic range of possible ...
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138 views

Why can verbs with imperfective morphology have a perfective meaning?

Some languages, e.g., Russian (1), Bulgarian (5) or Greek, show perfective readings of morphosyntactically imperfective verbs: (1) Jakov ezdil na more dvazhdy za poslednij god. J. rode.IPF ...
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Everything is too much, nothing is too little?

What are the statements of the sentence : Everything is too much, nothing is too little. "Alles ist zuviel, nichts zu wenig." In German there are several interpretations: That everything is too ...
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73 views

On donkey sentences: why is this formalization incorrect?

Part of the difficulty surrounding donkey sentences, to my understanding, is about how hard they are to translate to FOL in a matter that is consistent with other translations to FOL in english. Take ...
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1answer
160 views

Why does gang-nam and viet-nam both contain nam meaning south when one is in Korean the other Vietnamese?

Does anyone know why there is a character that is common to both the Koreans and the Vietnamese? Are there any other examples of these kind of similarity?
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Textbooks in Formal Semantics / Montague semantics

I'm looking for a cheap, thorough but reasonably accessible introduction to formal semantics. There appear to be lots of options on the market. I assume there are plenty of experts in formal semantics ...
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73 views

influence of the structure of a sentence on its semantics

A friend told me : "The syntax is different from semantics. Semantics are concerned with the meanings of single words, not the structure of the sentence" Is that true ? If not, how can the ...
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161 views

Do other languages distinguish the verbs “to drink” when talking about alcohol?

It's interesting that English uses the verb "to drink" intransitively exclusively when talking about alcohol, as in: I drink a lot. But transitively when talking about anything else, as in: ...
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84 views

What are common non-lexical indicators of sarcasm expressed orally in English

I've been doing some anecdotal research into what indicates sarcasm in spoken form. My goal is to find indicators of sarcasm without relying on the meaning of the words and sentences themselves. ...
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84 views

Semantic Relatedness metric across Parts of Speech

I am a student in psychology, but I have very little familiarity with linguistics. I am doing working on flexible cognition and memory, and we are developing a task that requires participants to ...
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95 views

Metaphor/metonymy

To lose one's head - is it a metaphor or metonymy? Head here probably stands for the life of a person,so it's probably a metonymy? And is it the same for phrase to give smb. a heart ?
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113 views

Are different “aspects” of a Polish verb the same lexeme or different lexemes?

Polish verbs have two "aspects", imperfective and perfective, which means you use a different word depending on whether the activity you're describing is ongoing or habitual, or if it's definite or ...
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96 views

Can every language express any lexical aspect?

Wikipedia tells about the difference and relation between lexical aspect and grammatical aspect. Whereas the lexical aspect is a specific way to put focus onto how to observe an event on a semantic ...
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106 views

Why do time adverbials like “yesterday” have a different distribution than adverbials like “always?”

Consider these two sentences below, which employ some kind of temporal adverbial / adjunct. (I) Yesterday John won the Turkey Raffle. (II) John always wins the Turkey Raffle. My question is, why ...
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60 views

What Sprachgesetze are suggested by Quantitative Linguistics on semantic level? [closed]

Sprachgesetze, verbatimally laws of language, are stochastic statements about features of a language based on empirical evaluation of a corpus. The Sprachgesetze I found are mainly quantitative ...
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109 views

Can the entropy per word be caculated precisely?And relation among information theory, semantics, and pragmatics

What we have gotten about the expected per word entropy of random yet grammatical text is just some upper bound of the the expected per word entropy, because we have not found the exact way to compute ...
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32 views

How many different relations exist for a semantic net?

I have encountered a few random sources, that explains to a layman what a semantic net is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONV38l39PsE this source explains, there are three different relations ...
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How many levels to approach language exist in linguistics?

I know only a few,like semantic level to approach its very meaning, the morphology level to understand how single words are build, syntax level to understand the inner structure of sentences. I ...
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110 views

Is there a good introduction to subjectivity in language?

Since the topic of "subjectivity in language" is all new to me, I am looking for an introduction to the topic that 1) gives an overview of the phenomena usually associated with the topic ...
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VerbNet semantic roles and preposition groups - how to determine matches

Using verbnet to test whether a sentence matches a frame, how does one determine whether the semantic role specified in the verbnet frame is appearing in the sentence or not? e.g. on this verbnet ...
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64 views

Center of a set of words

Is there any available algorithm that can take a set of words and attempt to find a word that best represents the "center of mass" of all those words? This would be easy if we can define a distance ...
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81 views

Redundancy needing definition [closed]

He was the first who finished last. He was the first who finished second. ............................ third. Is this kind of silly statement some kind of pleonasm? There's only one who takes ...
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183 views

Given a verb get a noun that corresponds to subject or object

I have verbs and I would like to find their corresponding noun for either subject or object. e.g. run:subject -> runner kill:subject -> killer kill:object -> dead I also would have groups of them ...
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114 views

What is the scope of negation (again)?

I recently asked a question concerning the scope of negation. I received helpful feedback from a number of linguists who frequent this forum. My efforts to discern the scope of negation continue, and ...
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Do individuals have an Occam’s razor for word meanings?

Background and Example On the German Stack Exchange, we had a lengthy discussion regarding the meaning of the word Gefäß. It was undisputed that a Gefäß is: an item which can contain liquids ...
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Are theta roles universal?

Is the theta role in one language (ex. English) - L1 the same as in another language - L2, when this two sentence are about the same ? Can anybody give me example, when they are different ?
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603 views

What is the scope of negation?

A recent question posed by another user observed that the following sentence is ambiguous: (1) Arthur does not discipline his children because he loves them. This sentence can mean either that ...
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80 views

Term for a similar word that cannot stand for it in every context?

I once learned a term meaning a similar word that cannot stand for it in every context, i.e. a synonym that doesn't work in every instance the original word can (not a hypernym). What is this term?
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124 views

Relationship between “see” and “look”

I'm interested in how "see" and "look" relate to each other. I think "hear" and "listen" is similar. Is there specific linguistic terminology that describes how the words relate to each other? To me ...
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What is the difference between assertive and non-assertive words?

What is the difference between assertive and non-assertive words? I haven't been able to find an answer in my online linguistics sources such as the SIL Glossary of Linguistics Terms. The only ...