Questions tagged [lexical-semantics]

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

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21
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3answers
3k 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, ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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What do WordNet::Similarity scores mean?

I am using WordNet Interface in NLTK, which facilitates computation of a number of similarity metrics: Path similarity Leacock-Chodorow Similarity Wu-Palmer Similarity Resnik Similarity Jiang-Conrath ...
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1answer
917 views

Why does "half" not follow the pattern of ordinal numbers across languages?

The cardinal "a half" is unrelated to "two", whereas "a third", "a quarter" (and certainly "a fourth"), etc. are related to "three", "four", etc. This seems to be true in other languages, too, in ...
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Are there languages which use the negation of 'odd' to denote 'even'?

This question is influenced by another one I found on the German SE, "Warum nennt man in Deutsch die Zahlen 0, 2, 4 … “gerade” Zahlen?". It asks "Why call Germans the numbers 0, 2, 2 "even". The ...
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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 ...
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290 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 ...
7
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1answer
728 views

What is the reason for the semantic change bowl/pot/cup > head?

I was reading about problems with the assumption of basic vocabulary in Lyle Campbell, Historical Linguistics: An Introduction: Some 'basic vocabulary' appears to change rather easily for cultural ...
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Methods for meaning extraction

Let someone wants to know what some word (concrete as "chair" or abstract as "happiness") mean. What methods, experimental techniques are there for extracting word's meaning? I found next ways: Study ...
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Are "mother" and "father" antonyms?

I think that this is not pure antonymy. If it's still antonymy, do linguists have a separate term for this type of semantic relationship?
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Online Semantic Relatedness Database?

I'm looking for something like the (really excellent and useful) MRC database that includes a measure of semantic relatedness for a given pair or set of words in colloquial American English. I've ...
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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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294 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. ...
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Dictionaries with binary semantic features

In lexical semantics, a lot of meaning in individual words, the concept behind the utterance, is captured in ontological relations: is-like for synonymy, is-a for a hypernym hierarchy. But this doesn'...
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Identifying studies on how English language reflects sexism

Right now I'm looking for papers on how sexism is reflected in the English language. A lot of the literature is from the 1970's and is seen as a little out there and not empirical. Besides reading the ...
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5answers
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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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4answers
871 views

Are linguistic units organized in conceptual categories?

When we perceive something, we tend to categorize it. For example, when we hear the word puppy, we think of the concept of dogs and then the conceptual category of animals. Is it acceptable to claim ...
4
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1answer
84 views

Is there a name for the concept describing the particular way in which adjectives and nouns interact together to create meaning

A contrived example, but: if I said something like "The Penguin Wars" (Yes, it's a silly example but this is a serious question I promise), such a phrase (bare of any conventional denotations) could ...
4
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3answers
374 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 ...
4
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1answer
87 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 ...
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1answer
504 views

How to explore the meaning of a concept (like "friendship")?

I am trying to extract all components ("atoms") of meaning of the concept "friendship" in a certain language (actually in Russian). By components of meaning I mean, for example: "girl"="human"+"female"...
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1answer
246 views

Semantic logic of the word "both" in English - different from "and"?

I am trying to figure out what additional semantic information "both" carries when used in a sentence. Does it differ from "and"? Take the following sentences: Alice and Bob both ate lunch. vs. ...
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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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156 views

'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 ...
3
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2answers
236 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 ...
3
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1answer
169 views

Is there a term ending in "-nym," that signifies terms that all have the same hypernym?

We have terms like hyponym and hypernym, which convey the relationships "subcategories" and "supercategory". Metaphorically, one could think of such relationships as similar to parent/children ...
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1answer
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What's the difference between metonymy, meronymy, meronomy and mereology?

I know that these terms are used in different subfields of linguistics: Metonymy and metonyms are used in rhetorics and metaphor theory. Meronymy and meronyms are used in lexical semantics. Meronomy, ...
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1answer
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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: “...
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3answers
106 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 ...
3
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2answers
143 views

Languages 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"? ...
3
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2answers
582 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 "...
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2answers
181 views

Is it possible to determine the number of words in a language?

Recently I got into a discussion with my friend concerning sizes of lexicons of different languages. He stated something about Japanese having considerably more words than English. (The exact ...
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1answer
262 views

Aktionsart - "brought"

I'm trying to analyse the verb brought (or bring) in terms of lexical aspect, or aktionsart. More accurately, it's an analysis of the Hungarian verb "hozta" (bring-3sg.pst.def). Would it be telic (...
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1answer
57 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 ...
3
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1answer
210 views

Is the use of a word in a morphological gap technically a speech production error?

Typically, speech production errors such as phoneme or morpheme exchange, anticipation, etc. are the result of interference in the speech production process. However, the use of a word in a ...
3
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3answers
163 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 ...
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0answers
235 views

How polysemic on average were Chinese words around the time of the creation of Chinese characters?

If you look up a Chinese character and its meaning in classical Chinese, there is a good chance you get a long list with many different semantically unrelated meanings. Take 而 for instance, that bears ...
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1answer
90 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
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2answers
139 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 ...
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1answer
114 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"...
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1answer
38 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 ...
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2answers
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Almost half crazy vs Almost half sane

Forgive me if it is not the right place to ask this question in SE sites. I am mostly active on SO but I thought it might be a better fit here. I enrolled in a class this semester and there was a ...
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1answer
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How to characterise set/assign-from/to

If I want to talk about moving information, I can use verbs "set" or "assign" in combination with nouns referring to source and target information containers, right? My intuition/instinct is to ...
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1answer
73 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 ...
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1answer
120 views

What were the broad meanings of the various (nominal) declination classes in proto-IE?

As everyone (who is familiar with proto-Indo-European) knows, it is an inflectional language with several cases, a few accent-ablaut patterns, and a number of (thematic/athematic) declination classes. ...
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1answer
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Does "I don't drink." mean "I don't drink alcohol." in all languages? [duplicate]

In those languages I'm a bit familiar with, the verb for drinking is very often understood as drinking alcohol, especially if its meaning "the oral intake of any fluid", wouldn't make sense. For ...
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1answer
459 views

Lexicosemantic and lexicosyntactic?

I am reading a paper that distinguishes between lexicosemantic patterns and lexicosyntactic patterns (page 4, paragraph 2). I am unfamiliar with these terms and am having trouble understanding what ...
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1answer
277 views

Help understanding “degree of overall vocabulary divergence”

There was an article published with a diagram showing Lexical Difference: http://elms.wordpress.com/2008/03/04/lexical-distance-among-languages-of-europe/. It cites a Russian source "K. Tyshchenko (...
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2answers
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finite/non-finite verb = conjugated/non-conjugated verb

Are those terms totally interchangeable in all contexts (finite = conjugated) (non-finite = conjugated) or are there slight meaning differences?
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0answers
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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 ...