Questions tagged [lexical-semantics]

A branch of semantics, the study of the meaning of words, affixes and compounds too.

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Giving a technical description of Greek Circumstantial / Adverbial Participles

I am looking for a good way to articulate a technical description of the function of Greek circumstantial participles (alternately called adverbial participles). This is my first-pass attempt at doing ...
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Are there practical rules for distinguishing between literal and nonliteral expressions?

I'm very much a layperson with respect to linguistics, but I do enjoy reading religious texts (Bible, Hadith, etc.) and talking with adherents about their particular meanings. A question which seems ...
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Is one way to define a word, to choose the word closest to its meaning and add distinctive qualities?

I'm trying to help people express themselves better, where they start with a thought or feeling inside their head, and then find the best word that matches it, before adding distinctive qualities. So ...
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Is there an English dictionary of morphemes?

I'm currently working on a project that that's aimed at helping people find words that match their feelings and thoughts, as opposed to looking for words in a traditional dictionary. It would begin ...
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5 answers
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Is there a shared word for "word" and "thing" in any language other than Hebrew?

The Hebrew word דבר has a dual meaning because it can mean "word/speak" and also "thing." Contemporary Kabbalists use this dual meaning to argue for a metaphysical connection ...
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Troponym vs hyponym vs hypernym

I came across following table in Jurafsky's book: Note that it calls noun subordinate as "hyponym" and verb subordinate as "troponym". But it names both noun superordinate and ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What's the name for a word/meaning pair of a polysemous word?

Is there a name use to describe tuples of the form (word, meaning)? Example: ("wood", the material made from trees) ("wood", a geographical area with many trees) In this case we ...
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2 votes
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What is morphological analysis of words to estimate their meaning called?

Is there a word for this? I'll use an example to show what I mean: Let's say you don't know what sepsis means, which is bacterial infection of blood. So, you start thinking. You break the word up into ...
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polarity of a sentence

I read the post https://japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/60907/ and have a hard time understanding the meaning of "polarity" even after googling the term (I found "polarity item&...
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Do older adults perceive words in different ways than young adults?

Do you agree that older adults perceive words differently from young adults, and learn more innuendos and double meanings? I read a science article that stated that adults continue to learn words and ...
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Semantical and functional morphemes

I have this idea in my head that when it comes to morphemes, there are two divisions at the top: "semantical morphemes" and "functional morphemes". Semantical morphemes are those ...
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How can we distinguish activity and semelfactive in terms of lexical aspect?

Since both of them are atelic, dynamic, not durative, then how to distinguish them?
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Why do some abstract concepts get described as a liquid in English?

For example, work is completely abstract but we talk about workflows, which is something pertaining to fluids. Why does this happen?
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Are there languages with separate words for 'mouth opening' and 'mouth cavity'?

I am looking for languages which have separate words for the visible opening of the mouth (the external part, including or not including the lips), and the cavity (the internal part). Put another way, ...
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Is it possible to infer the meaning of a word of a language based on corpus analysis, without prior knowledge of the language?

If I am totally foreign to a language, are there corpus analysis methodologies and theories that I can employ to figure out the meaning of a word in a corpus based on that language? If yes, do point ...
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What word category do twink, adonis, muse etc. belong to? [closed]

Terms such as candy, cutie, honey, princess, diamond, queen(?), stud and bunny are terms of endearment (these terms are often used in a relationship to show affection and may also be used, with ...
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How can one describe the relation between concepts, nouns, verbs and other word classes

In Wikidata, we describe concepts (Q items) and lexemes (L items), where the lexemes may be nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. It is usually straightforward to describe the relation from noun lexemes to ...
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Languages without generic term for animals

I'd recently read in a non-fiction work (reference lost) that there are some languages that have no generic term or category for animals, ie no equivalent of "animal." Does anyone have any information ...
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Etymological Fallacy

What is actually wrong with using Etymology to infer a word's meaning? I mean other than semantics( or more subtle meaning, nuance) of what other use could studying etymology be. I cannot see the ...
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in search of nouns with a mismatch between morphological and semantic gender [duplicate]

I am currently trying to identify nouns whose morphological gender differs from their semantic gender. Here are three examples I could identify so far: French: Le laideron - masculine morpho-...
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5 votes
3 answers
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What are the reasons to justify that some text is in X language?

Let us say that I am in a library alone and I have a text that I think that is in X language, for example, this fragment of the 9th chapter of the 2nd part of the novel 1984 by George Orwell, that I ...
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Was there a Proto-Germannic root of "miskunn"

I was not able to find an etymology of ON "miskunn" within PrG. Is the first syllable a prefix "mis-" indicating any "wrong kunn, lack of kunn" or a deformed "midi-" as in E "com-passion", G "Mit-leid"...
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1 vote
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"but" usage (redundancy of "but")

We all know that "but" is used to replace "except" or indicate that the first clause is contrastive to the second in a way, or the logic these two sentences bear is somewhat contradictory. But, I see ...
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3 votes
5 answers
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Word meaning as function of the composition of its phonemes

tl;dr Linguists like to claim that the mapping from sounds to word meanings is mostly arbitrary. Can you point out research that supports this claim? Specificllay I am looking for hard evidience in ...
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How to understand semelfactive aspect of a verb? How is it varied/similar to iterative aspect?

How semelfactive aspect of a verb that represents a single occasion of an event like knock,hit etc..is perfective and moment defined. whereas,iterative aspect is event that is repeated on single ...
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4 votes
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Is an empty morph a lexeme?

In the French "A-t-il soif ?" there are several (inflected) lexemes ("A", "il", "soif"), and an empty morph "t". The morph "t" has no meaning which is why it's an empty morph; it's there purely for ...
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How relevant is WordNet nowadays?

How relevant is WordNet (both the original Princeton's and all other WordNets) as a tool for researchers now, decades later? Do researchers consider it valuable? And does the general research ...
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7 votes
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How to define colors in the Natural Semantic Metalanguage?

The Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) attempts to reduce the semantics of all lexicons down to a restricted set of semantic primitives. But in NSM, colors are not semantic primitives. How then to ...
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How can the Arabic word "Hijr" be translated as "perception" or "understanding" or "intellect" [closed]

The sentence I mention is from Quran (written at least 14 centuries ago) verse 89:5. Full phrase is : هل في ذلك قسم لذي حجر And this is translated as: Sahih International: Is there [not] in [all] ...
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1 vote
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Morphology to generate hyponyms or hypernyms

Is there a natural/constructed language which allows us to express hyponyms from hypernyms or hypernyms to hyponyms. For example, pigeon to bird or bird to pigeon, both don't have any relation to them ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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Is there a word in which the concept and its complement is expressed?

Is there a word in which the concept and its complement is expressed, for example if I would like to express "the dichotomy of truth and falsehood" in one word. Obviously, the construction need not ...
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2 votes
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What books to read about lexical semantics?

I want to have a systematic understanding on semantic field, lexical semantics, and semantic change. Skimming at Kate Kearns' Semantics, it seems that its focus is more about formal semantics, with ...
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How to apply TF-IDF on my bows after generating frequencies

I'm working on document similarity using WordNet, though I have no idea how to apply the IDF weighting at this point in my code. I'm sure this weighting is one of the most simple things out there, but ...
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Word with separate translations in another language

Is there a name for the linguistic phenomenon of a word in language or dialect X with two or multiple meanings that have individual translations in language or dialect Y? For example, escada in ...
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Algorithm for identifying "secondary roots"

In machine learning on text data (aka natural language processing), it's common to apply a stemming or lemmatization algorithm to the text. However, sometimes you want to go a step further. For ...
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Metalanguage to describe expressing an idea in many different ways

I am looking for a term to describe expressing an idea in many different forms yet the meaning remains the same in each rendition. An example of this: The Australians, Australians, the Australian ...
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Definition of "concept" and "conceptual field in cognitive linguistics

I am writing a Master's thesis dedicated to the conception field "business" in Modern English Language. The definition of "concept" and "conceptional field" is greatly discussed by Russian linguists, ...
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2 votes
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Can we use etymology to determine the nature of synchronic semantic and morphosyntactic differences between (near-)synonyms?

I've recently joined a discussion in which some of the participants insist that if one doesn't understand the nature of the difference between two or more words (the ones discussed by us are synonyms ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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'sibling-in-law' constructions: Why the polysemy/vagueness?

A holds the 'sibling-in-law' relation to B only in the case when: (1) A is a sibling of C and C is married to B; or (2) A is married to C and C is a sibling of B. What is common to (1) and (2) is ...
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5 votes
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(A)Telicity & Events

Dowty's (1979) classified predicates into: 1. States 'the woord is burning' ---Atelic 2. Activities 'Mary pushed the cart' ---Atelic 3. Accomplishments 'Mary melted the chocolate' ---Telic 4. ...
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Help with distributional analysis of verb phrases

For my semantics homework we are asked to test different verb phrases in different environments. I am asked to categorize the different verb phrases (on the basis of their distributions. I am not ...
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davidsonian semantics

I hope everyone is fine. I was wondering if you could help me with some suggestions about which book(s) should I start with to learn the Davidsonian semantics, so that I will be able to read and write ...
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4 votes
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4 or 5: is thumb a finger? Distribution across languages

Researching the origins of counting systems, I came across the question I cannot seem to find an answer for: what is the typological distribution of languages that consider thumb a finger (5 fingers ...
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formula for Brunét's index

I am having trouble figuring out the formula for Brunet's index which can be found in this paper http://csbapp.uncw.edu/data/mscsis/annalspaper.aspx?v=6&i=1&p=11. I tried to apply it to ...
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What is the source of knowledge/discovery for the semantics? Automation of semantic science?

Natural sciences observe facts and make models. Mathematics more or less arbitrarly generates axioms and investigates all the possible consquences of them. What is the source of semantic knowledge (e....
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Semantic parsing vs Propositional Representation

Propositional representation is explained on Wikipedia. How is semantic parsing different from propositional representation? Or is propositional representation the next step after you do semantic ...
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Name of the theory of lexical semantics that distinguishes consonants by the values "up" and "down"?

I'm reading "Cognitive interpretation of Czech verse" by Pavel Jiráček about a way to analyze poetry by reading how the consonants, syllables and words conotate "up" and "down". What is the best ...
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What is the hypernym of names, unique titles, and definite descriptions?

The name Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, the unique title The Queen of England, and the definite description the elder daughter of Cecilia Bowes Lyon all refer to the same unique entity. We might think of ...
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Where can I find a lexicon of adjectives?

I am currently looking for a list of adjectives that I can use as a seed for a machine learning model. These do not need to be annotated. Are there any open source lexicons that exist which could be ...
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'Literally' non-literally

There has been a recent popularization over the questionable use of the word 'literally' as an intensifier rather than as a marker of non-figurative, especially since it seems to be used non-literally ...
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