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

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Syntax presupposed by Heim and Kratzer

Heim and Kratzer's "Semantics in Generative Grammar", bases its semantics on some version of transformational syntax. However, it is remarkably inexplicit about formalising the syntax it presupposes ...
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38 views

Are the following two versions of a meaning postulate of Montague Grammar equivalent?

Seem I can't use latex commands on here. Latex works on math.stackexchange, maybe it would be a good idea here as well if linguistics.stackexchange is intended to be a place for questions about formal ...
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27 views

Metaphor and metonymy in proverbs

I have a question about metonymy and metaphors in English proverbs below: An apple a day, keeps doctors away. Meaning: Fruit is an important part of a healthy diet Beggars can't be choosers. ...
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47 views

Language with without a lexical entry for “before”

Has anyone encountered a language in which there is no lexical entry corresponding to English "before" and the relation of temporal precedence is manifested by something equivalent to "earlier than"? ...
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54 views

Can determinatives be semantically plural?

Number is typically something that applies to nouns. In English, determinatives enter into scalar relationship and select singular or plural heads, but does it makes sense from a semantic point of ...
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38 views

Icon, Index and Symbol

Does anyone know a visual sign that is an icon, an index and a symbol at the same time for all speakers in one community? I thought of the visual sign of a dove, but I'm afraid it is not an index. ...
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63 views

Predicate logic

Is anyone good at predicate logic and can help me to paraphrase the meaning of the following sentences? F=favour D=be a dog P=be a park (∀x) (Ǝy) Dx & Py > Fx,y H=hire M=be a manager E=be an ...
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56 views

How can you interpret or unravel common homonyms more efficiently?

Foreword: Homonym means words with different meaning, but same spelling and pronunciation. 1. I ask only about common homonyms (hereafter abbreviated to CN HM), such as those below. My problem: ...
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47 views

What is the name of this text analysis method?

What is the name of a text analysis method where one builds a network of sentences that are connected when they contain words that occur on a predefined reference list of words? So, lets say I have ...
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17 views

How to classify argument elements?

When I analyze an argument told by one person, I recognize that it is so troublesome to classify it into certain elements of argument which consists of claim, support and warrant because it is so ...
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68 views

The differences between signifier/signified and reference/sense

I take a course in linguistics in my university, and recently we discussed a 2 terms coined by Gottlob Frege: Reference and Sense. To my understanding this duo tries to explain the distinction and ...
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34 views

Classical Greek vs. Colwell's Rule vs. Subset Proposition [closed]

Question: In Classical Greek, how is identification of Subject / Predicate Nominatives, (and Definite-ness), accomplished in constructs consisting of "Untagged/Anarthrous Nominatives w/tagged ...
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69 views

Predicate - traditional vs modern view / semantics vs. syntax

According to traditional grammar 'Predicate' is part of a sentence that modifies the subject i.e. the sentence can be divided into two parts " subject and predicate" e.g. in the sentence 'the kids may ...
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63 views

Is semantics language-independent? [closed]

If a word meant for a real world object , and the meaning defines that object then is that meaning a language-dependent one ? If so how can we represent it and processes it ?
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45 views

handling ambiguity in parses

Given a sentence from http://home.uchicago.edu/~bartels/papers/Bartels-Johnson-2015-Cognition.pdf: We describe what can be gained from connecting cognition and consumer choice by discussing two ...
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57 views

representing a sentence in integers ( hopefully retaining semantic value )

I've been trying to convert natural language strings into integers for use in a long short-term neural-network. I tried converting to binary, using a bag-of-words, and an associative-array with each ...
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36 views

Linguistic tools: what works best

I need to know what Linguistic tools are used when proving a bad translation has skewed the original message. I'm writing a paper trying to prove that the message found in present day bibles are very ...
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59 views

How can it be decided whether two grammatical cases should be taken to be just homophonous (i.e. as separate) or actually equal?

I've come across this in multiple grammars: Two grammatical cases (e.g. ergative and instrumental) are said to be "homophonous" - they make use of the (apparently?) same marker and yet, they are ...
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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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40 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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89 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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60 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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61 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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73 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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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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92 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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77 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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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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216 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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55 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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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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112 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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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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77 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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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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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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143 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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79 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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173 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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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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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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111 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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113 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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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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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 ...