Questions tagged [meaning]

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1answer
71 views

Is there a human language with a continuous and differentiable morphology/phonology?

This might be a strangely framed question for a liguist, since I'm a physicist and know very little about this field. My question relates to how changing a symbol (for example a letter) in a word ...
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1answer
41 views

Perception of “luck” in terms of positive/negative aspect, improbability pattern and scale in different languages

I am interested in how concept of luck is expressed in different languages. As far as I know, in most Indo-European languages, there are similar ways to express the concept of luck and situations ...
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122 views

Examples for calque / loan-translation words with different meanings in different languages

Are there words/phrases/compound-words in two different languages that use the same words in their respective languages (like a calque / loan translation) but result in different meanings? Here is a ...
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1answer
35 views

“Matter” and “What Matters”; “Substance” and “Of Substance”

This thought is directed at those who have an interest in the deeper meaning of language and how it connects to our perspective of reality. Perhaps a bit philosophical. If this is not the proper place,...
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1answer
62 views

Is an unambiguous description of left and right side of the body available in some languages

The nautical terms "port and starboard" refer to the left and right side of a vessel when looking from the stern to the bow. At first it seems silly, but, it's actually great to ...
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2answers
79 views

Do we have a term for priori knowledge in linguistics?

Broadly speaking, these terms have been introduced throughout history to categorize knowledge: A priori, rationalism, deductive reasoning => meaning that we gain new knowledge, only by using ...
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0answers
26 views

Reflexivity of similarity-in-a-respect

In the discussion of similarity relations similarity is typically taken to be reflexive -- in fact, it's the one property that's nearly universally agreed upon. But not everyone thinks similarity is ...
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0answers
46 views

What is the phenomenon of wrong sticky memory?

I want to learn some words from different languages. For example I want to learn Greek μελάνι which means ink. However, since I knew this word as dark or black in English morphology and etymology from ...
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2answers
2k views

What is meant by the maxim, “Context is King”?

How is context "king" in deriving meaning from words?
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0answers
28 views

How can you differentiate kick from kick at? [closed]

In English we can find both expressions: He kicked the door. and He kicked at the door. It seems to me that they have the same meaning. Can we find the context in which only one of them is appropriate ...
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2answers
1k views

What are the target and source domain of this metaphor

The metaphor is: "the shower of arrows was over". Could "War" the source domain? And the target domain could be "water"? It doesn't make sense to me. I have read the ...
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1answer
167 views

Why is there pressure to change seemingly neutral words that some consider 'offensive' to their more 'neutral' synonyms?

Clearly, there is now pressure to stop using words such as whitelist/blacklist (which are now considered racist) and instead replace them with allowlist/denylist; master/slave terminology in tech is ...
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145 views

Why does “also” in German and in English denote different things?

There are some words in the German language that may seem to be familiar to a native English speaker, but in the end, it turns out that they are so-called "false friends" and have different meanings. ...
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46 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 ...
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107 views

What are the differences between speech acts and implicatures?

Here's what I have come up with. What I understand is that implicature is always indirect and not explicit, so the hearer must infer from the context. Speech act, on the other hand, may be direct ...
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1answer
44 views

What is the entailment of this sentence?

I found that most of the examples of entailment are statements about a third person, but never the speakers themselves. So I wonder what the utterance like "I'm cold." entails?
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1answer
230 views

What is meaning according to Saussure?

Did Ferdinand de Saussure define meaning in his Course in General Linguistics?
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0answers
88 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 ...
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74 views

Two meanings of “Someone believes everyone to be invited”

Carnie claims in his syntax book that the sentence Someone believes everyone to be invited has two meanings. I can see only one (when the existential quantifier has scope over universal one: when ...
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2answers
99 views

Is there a formal definition of the term meaning?

According to Wiktionary and Wikipedia, meaningfulness is "the state or measure of being meaningful", while meaningful is "having meaning, significant", while meaning is "the information or ...
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0answers
49 views

Meaning of the inverted copula

I just discovered the existence of the inverted copula concept. Learning a bit of Latin, you have the structure: Subject - Copula - Predicate. But as the case is the same in Latin for the Subject ...
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2answers
127 views

In case the fregean distinction between “sense” and “ denotation” is used in linguistics, what purpose does it serve in this discipline?

I'm referring here to the distinction Frege made in his paper called " Sense and denotation". A classical example is " the morning star" and " the evening star" : different senses but same ...
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2answers
83 views

Can one avoid using the notion of meaning when defining syntax and pragmatics?

In an elementary course on philosophy of language ( at the highschool level) , I try to explain to students the distinction betweeen semantics, syntax and pragmatics. Referring myself to Carnap/...
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1answer
103 views

Does this sentence have two meanings?

The sentence is Some employee must leave. I was told that it is actually ambiguous and has two meanings. But I can only see one. What are the two meanings?
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129 views

What is the difference between directive function and informational function of a language?

In Geoffery Leech, Chapter 4, Semantics The Study of Meaning, It is written that "The third function of language is the directive function whereby we aim to influence the behaviour and attitudes ...
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1answer
89 views

what is out of context thinking called [closed]

In the movie "pursuit of happiness" this particular exchange happens Martin Frohm: What would you say if man walked in here with no shirt, and I hired him? What would you say? Chris Gardner: ...
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1answer
210 views

Hand gesture - Patting

I apologize if the following question is off-topic on this site. Some time ago, I was sitting at a table in a cafeteria/canteen. A few tables away, I saw someone I knew. This person also saw me and ...
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1answer
812 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] ...
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0answers
27 views

Maximally dissecting lexicon according to meaning (heuristically)

I'm trying to find a set of N English terms that maximally express the 'space of meaning' that all words are encapsulated within. I don't know the correct nomenclature to describe what I'm looking for ...
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1answer
83 views

Can the Hebrew word translated “made” in Genesis 1 be translated as prepared or used? [closed]

Some people say it can be, which very much changes the meaning of the chapter.
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2k views

Are people's names considered morphemes of a language?

For example, is "Donald" a morpheme of the English language? I can see reasons for and against. Reasons for: It allows us to say stuff like "a language is a function from sequences of morphemes of ...
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417 views

What is the view of prototype theory regarding features?

For example, the most prototypical exemplars of bird is robin, the least ones are ostrich or penguin. But since it rejects the classical theory (aka the necessary and sufficient conditions), I think ...
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2answers
52 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 ...
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1answer
78 views

The most different meanings a verb has been found to have

After considering How we can use the same word in multiple different ways and distinguish it so easily, I'm wondering now how complex it can get. I'm wondering what an example is from any language ...
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1answer
254 views

Why and how do some words come to mean multiple completely unrelated things?

Take an example of the English word 'just'. While it means 'morally fair' in "a just social system", it also means 'a little' in "just less than 8%". For a myriad of colourful meanings of 'just', ...
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1answer
63 views

For X to be considered a language, it must possess a partial function from sequences of _____ to meanings. What word goes in the blank? [closed]

Morpheme? Emic unit? Here, one may view the word 'meaning' to sort of mean a "language sufficient to express all ideas." In this sense, a "meaning" may be defined in terms of such an abstract ...
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34 views

what theories of idioms cover depth of idiomaticity?

It is obvious that, in English, the phrasal verb "get up" (meaning to awake and move out of bed) and the idiom "raining cats and dogs" (meaning rain strongly) have different depths of idiomaticity. ...
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1answer
53 views

Does metonymy impart new definitions to words?

In phrases like "force of arms", "challenge our arms" (example:General Mattis recent speech), etc, the word "arms" is an example of metonymy, I think. The phrases refer to war by referring to weapons....
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1answer
137 views

How do we know the definition and meaning of words like “though”

Everyday we use words like "although". I personally have never tried to define it as far as I can remember. One definition of although is "even though", but what is an "even" though. Even is about ...
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115 views

How is a meaningful sentence or paragraph constructed?

I don't have a formal background of linguistics, but I'd like to know how a sentence or paragraph becomes meaningful to a reader, and how one can construct that. I think it falls to the areas of ...
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1answer
80 views

“uitsluitend”, logic of its double meaning [closed]

First question here. I found the word "uitsluitend" in Dutch language, and I was explained that it has two meanings, one is the present participle of uitsluiten (~excluding), and the other ...
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3answers
1k views

“Den” or “det” in Swedish

I am native Swedish speaker and I have a problem that the language seems to have no grammar in some cases. For instance there is both "en lag" and "ett lag" meaning completely different things but the ...
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0answers
131 views

How to find words to other languages that have no clear translation in English

For a work of fiction, I have a character who speaks Russian, German and Hungarian, none of which I speak. The character wrote a fictional novel that appears only in its English translation, but the ...
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571 views

Is it possible that the word virgin originally had two meanings?

I wasn't sure whether to post this here, or on mythology stack exchange. Since it deals with the origin of a word, I choose here. But if I am wrong, tell me and I will move it. The originally meaning ...
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2answers
420 views

Is there a linguistic term for words that can have the same meaning in different languages?

The closest I can find is 'cognate' but that term is used for words that have similar etymology and phonetic characteristics but not necessarily the same or similar meaning in different languages. ...
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1answer
143 views

Difference between forms of the georgian verbs with and/or without objective version vowel

I was studying the complicted verbal morphology of Georgian language, when I came across the description of versioners in Hewit's Georgian: A Structural Reference Grammar. In discussing the Objetive ...
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1answer
92 views

what Egyptian hieroglyph(s) meant/depicted “time”? [closed]

Does anybody know what Egyptian hieroglyph was used to describe time?
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3answers
316 views

Verb pairs similar to “buy” and “sell”?

"buy" and "sell" that are basically the same action/event, but reverse arguments (subject of one, the object of the other): X sold his car to Y. Y bought a car from X. Is there a any special name ...
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2answers
979 views

Linguistics concept about meaning of words according to a context

Several linguistics questions about the meaning in context of words: How is called in linguistics the fact some words have a meaning only with other words? How is it called when a word changes ...
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1answer
88 views

What is the meaning of the word “antiquarian” in this context? [closed]

"Although some Humanists were clubbish snobs-an intellectual elite with narrow, antiquarian interests-others preached a civic Humanism..."