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Questions tagged [lexical-semantics]

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

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Can 'to go ahead' imply 'to pave the way'? [migrated]

One meaning of English phrasal verb 'to go ahead' is 'to travel in front of other people in your group and arrive before them'. Starting from that meaning, it can potentially also be used in a ...
2 votes
6 answers
748 views

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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2 answers
496 views

What effect does the wrong T-V pronoun have on truth-value?

Suppose someone uses the wrong T-V pronoun in a sentence, e.g. a French person uses "tu" instead of "vous". Is that considered to render the sentence (a) false or (b) without truth-...
4 votes
0 answers
72 views

Is there a linguistic term for a term in a language refering to a specific technology, outliving said technology?

In language, phrases and various semantic expressions referring to technologies often make their way into the language, even if that technology is mostly obsolete. Examples of this could include "...
0 votes
0 answers
36 views

Hyponymy and hypernymy for adjectives

Would the concepts of hyponymy and hypernymy be used for adjectives? Hyponymy and hypernymy are usually used for nouns. And for verbs the WordNet people have created the concept troponymy for a manner ...
6 votes
1 answer
306 views

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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0 answers
36 views

Is there any mathematically studied ontology space?

I am considering “ontology generation”. I have not yet read the specifics of these techniques. Still, the point must surely be to identify some kind of cooccurrences / associations between words. ...
4 votes
1 answer
3k views

How common are the different semantic types of compounds?

According to the Wikipedia article, Compound (linguistic), compound words that occur in natural languages can be semantically grouped into four categories. Witness this quote from the article: “...
4 votes
3 answers
1k views

Lexical Distance, is there a table?

I was looking (for a statistics project) to the Lexical Distance between languages and I came across this post Worldwide map or data for linguistic distance? I was wondering if there is any "...
20 votes
2 answers
14k views

How are languages deciphered?

How do archaeologists, cryptoanalysts and linguists decipher extinct languages? Has there been a case in history where this was successfully accomplished, without the means of something like the ...
3 votes
5 answers
640 views

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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
51 views

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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0 answers
100 views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
287 views

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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
70 views

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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
102 views

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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
60 views

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&...
1 vote
0 answers
116 views

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 ...
-2 votes
3 answers
538 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
260 views

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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0 answers
98 views

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?
3 votes
1 answer
131 views

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, ...
2 votes
0 answers
63 views

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 ...
10 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is there a term for when words that sound like antonyms are actually synonyms?

Seeded grapes are actually seedless An inflammable object is really flammable It seems to me that, superficially, the use of those affixes make the words sound like they should be antonyms, but they ...
1 vote
0 answers
125 views

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 ...
3 votes
3 answers
198 views

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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
129 views

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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50 views

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-...
5 votes
3 answers
287 views

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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
146 views

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"...
23 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is there a single origin for the connection between time and weather?

There are several families of languages where the same word can mean either a concept closely related to time or a concept closely related to weather: Romance root: French temps, Italian tempo, ...
3 votes
3 answers
115 views

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 ...
1 vote
3 answers
92 views

"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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

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 ...
4 votes
3 answers
451 views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
101 views

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 ...
8 votes
3 answers
433 views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
1k views

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] ...
1 vote
0 answers
51 views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
204 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
60 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
82 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
120 views

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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
58 views

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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
323 views

Which other languages have idiomatic meaning for words meaning 'blue'? [closed]

I came across culture-specific meanings of concept 'blue' (that is, of a colour hue between green and violet) in various languages. We know its idiomatic meanings in Standard or American Englishes, ...
1 vote
0 answers
89 views

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, ...
2 votes
2 answers
183 views

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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
92 views

'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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
79 views

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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
480 views

(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. ...