Questions tagged [semantics]

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

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Words of Encouragement [closed]

I am currently studying the meaning of specific words of encouragement in different languages and cultures and I wonder: Are words of encouragement present in all languages and cultures?
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What counts as a factive verb in terms of presupposition triggers?

Though words like knew or realised are commonly know factive verbs that trigger presupposition. Does verbs like enjoyed, paid, looking forward, commended and delighted also count as factive verbs ...
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How can the polysemy of the Polish instrumental case be explained?

If the instrumental case in Polish is used to designate the tool with which an action, or state of being, is being performed/is, how is it that the instrumental is also used to express time and ...
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To what extent do the number and respective functions of performative constructions vary across languages?

For those who came in late, a performative predicate is one that denotes an act made possible by the use of the verb or predicate itself. For example: When a clergyperson or justice of the peace ...
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Perfect and Preterite

How can one communicate subtle differences in meaning that in other languages would be signaled only by the distinction of Preterite/Perfect when in fact in the language spoken there is no distinction ...
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Database of Words and their Semantic Entropies?

I'm reading up on semantic entropies and it seems as though there aren't any actual databases of words and their associated semantic entropies for any given methodology. For instance, this study has a ...
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what's the denotation of the predicate 'exists'?

What denotation do linguists assign to the predicate exists in order to make the right predictions about the truth conditions of sentences like Santa does not exist. Unicorns do not exist. My ...
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2answers
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How to quantify the semantic depth of a sentence?

I'm looking for a robust way to roughly quantify the amount of information conveyed in a sentence, specifically in English. For instance "He went to the place" conveys less information than &...
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On modality and semantic roles

Do modal verbs (can, may, must, etc.) in any way affect the semantic roles of the arguments of the verbs that they govern? For example, consider the simple sentence: He plays basketball. Here, if I ...
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What is the difference between neurolinguistics and similar fields of study?

What is the difference between neurolinguistics and cognitive linguistics or psycholinguistics? I am already having trouble understanding the difference between cognitive linguistics and ...
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On semantic roles

What is the semantic role of the direct object in the below sentence? If I'm not mistaken, the answer is 'patient' (since 'He' is doing something [in this case, 'crossing'] to the river). However, I ...
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A question regarding semantics of "only"

I have a question regarding semantics of only provided by Beaver & Clark (2009) and Chierchia (2013). for something like "Sandy only met [Bush]F" (let this proposition be called p). ...
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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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Does a sentence with an adjunct entail the same sentence without the adjunct?

Entailment is a situation in which the truth of a given sentence necessitates the truth of some related sentence. If the sentence Susan is taller than Jane is true, then we know for sure that the ...
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Why is “I pray” a response to “thank you” in many languages?

I noticed that “I pray” is used as a response to “thank you” in many languages. For example, Turkish Teşekkür ederim. (“I thank.”) Rica ederim. (“I pray (or make a request).”) Italian Ti ringrazio....
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Does simple type theory distinguish between those common nouns that are used as arguments and those that are used as predicates?

Kearns (2011: 58-61) views the common noun dog to be of type <e, t>. This makes sense based upon the predicate use of such a noun, e.g. Those animals are dogs. What happens, though, when the ...
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Is there a linguistic term for “grammatically well-formed word salad”?

The accepted answer to this question quoted Chomsky's (1955) famous “sentence” Colorless green ideas sleep furiously and an earlier example from Tesnière (1940s), which translates to English as The ...
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Is the way words are used the biggest obstacle in understanding science and technology? [closed]

Do I have a point to say that, in the area of science, people have difficulties understanding it mostly due to the way words are used to describe whatever it may be? One may understand the words ...
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Are there generative theories of grammar with privative features outside of phonology?

By "generative grammar", I take the widest interpretation and do not mean "Chomsky's theory of syntax today", thus HPSG and LFG would be instances of GG(broad). Phonology has a ...
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Is there an approach to quantification theory that construes quantifiers as subset creators?

In formal semantics, the theory of generalized quantifiers analyzes quantifiers (e.g. all, some, no, most, few, etc.) in terms of sets to sets. The meaning of the quantifier some, for instance, is ...
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What's a good second formal semantics book?

I'm almost done reading Heim and Kratzer's Semantics in Generative Grammar and I'm looking for a good "second" book on formal semantics. Ideally, I would like it to emphasize the syntax-...
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104 views

Are different inflectional forms of a word different words or the same word?

At some point, I gained the notion that inflections of a word didn't constitute different words, but rather different forms of the same word. This Wikipedia article however, says the process of ...
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How to differentiate between consonants and vowels on praat? [closed]

I am student of MA and i need your help to know about the praat software. i am stuck in my research in last section. If any one hear to know so i thoroughly and rigorously sorry to say and please help ...
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Does every semantic ambiguity produce an equivalent syntactic ambiguity?

I was reading this question Syntactic and semantic ambiguity, and there is a comment from @jlawler on how the sentence "He's mad" have different syntactic affordances: Original comment: &...
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What are some good books on word formation and semantics? [closed]

I have been trying to find an accessible book for the general reader that focuses particularly on questions like: How words are created? (morphology, etymology, popular PIE roots etc.) How words ...
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Metaphors meaning “understand”

All major branches of the IE family use variants of a metaphor that equates understand with grasp, but they use various roots, all of which have PIE pedigrees: Sanskrit has gŗbhnate < GhŖBh with ...
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What is the thematic role of the subjects of the sentences "The bomb exploded" and "The sun shone"?

In the sentence, "Sally jumped," "Sally" stands for the entity that causes or controls the jumping--in other words, an agent or agent-like argument. In the sentence, "The ...
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Are there natural language paradigms like they are in programming languages?

There exist multiple programming language paradigms. Like Imperative programming, Functional programming, Object-Oriented programming, etc. Each with a different 'focus' or 'worldview'. Do such ...
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2answers
132 views

Grammatical function vs. Semantic role

What is the difference between grammatical functions and semantic roles? Are they the same?
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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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Are all deictic elements either exophora or endophora?

If deixis is fixing the reference of something via context, this context should either be intralinguistic (and thus the deictical elements endophora) or extralinguistic (and thus the deictical ...
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Can "am" be a copula and an existential

The verb "am" used as a copula in the sentence "I am a man" is not used as an absolute existential, but in the sentence here, does it not connote the existence of the speaker, and ...
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Figure of speech name [closed]

Is there a name for a situation where a word is not needed because a the previous word doesn’t require it? Example: heart attacks are harmful for your health. “harmful” makes no sense there because ...
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Are there tests for conditionality?

I am looking for ways to test whether something that (at least superficially) looks like a conditional actually has the necessary properties to qualify as one. Are there any such established semantic ...
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What kinds of inventories of two-clause conditional constructions are attested?

I'm not sure exactly how to analyze the conditional constructions that English has, but it appears to have two: indicative conditionals and counterfactual conditionals. If we analyze English this way, ...
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Changed meanings in borrowed terms

Looking for examples of changed meanings for words borrowed from non-English languages. Example is mis-use of entrée. Original French entrée = entry, entrance, appetizer, etc. Entrée is commonly ...
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What are the different approaches to handling grammatical number in type theory?

What are the different approaches to handling grammatical number in type theory? This question asks about the type of and in five boys and girls. That noun phrase is interesting because boys and ...
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1answer
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What is the type and lambda denotation of the disjunction 'or' in the phrase 'five girls or boys run' using the generalised quantifier theory? [closed]

'Five girls and boys' I wonder what the denotation and type is of the disjunction 'or' in this phrase. I have 'five' as type <e,t><e,t>t> and the denotation as λPλQ[|P ∩ Q|= 10], but I ...
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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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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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Which languages have different words for "maternal uncle" and "paternal uncle"?

According to some early Hebrew grammarians, the Biblical Hebrew word דוד (dod) specifically means "paternal uncle," while the term מסרף (misraf) means "maternal uncle" (for example,...
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Is there a standard accepted definition of in-situ quantification, and if so what is it?

I'm reading a paper that references Montague being focused on in-situ quantification. I'm not a linguist, so apologies for the naivety, but how does this differ from what is being called bounded ...
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Is the propositional attitude verb an eventive verb?

In terms of aspect, verbs can only be categorized into stative verb and eventive verb, right? Then how about propositional attitude verb like "think" "say"? Are they also eventive ...
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1answer
55 views

Books recommendation on syntax, semantics and pragmatics interaction [closed]

Can anyone here suggest any texts that deals especially with the interaction between Semantics, Pragmatics and Syntax? I would like to understand how these various levels, especially syntax-semantics,...
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165 views

What's the difference between event time and reference time?

Here is an example, "Molly had left at 10 pm". The temporal references will be event time < reference time < speech time, right? But why? Also, for "The sun has set", why ...
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Is have+ negation equal to imperfective?

I know aspect can be categorized into perfective and imperfective, but I'm just curious whether the example "John hasn't gone to Paris" is still perfective or converted into imperfectve?
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some basic questions about morphological aspect

According to the definition, morphological aspect presents the reported event or state of affairs as if viewed either from inside the event (‘in progress’) or outside the event (‘as a whole’). For ...
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Metonym Hyponym: nym relationship

is there a "nym" relationship between "Ford" and "car"?
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Inverse scope reading

It is well known that any sentence with two or more quantifiers will result in in multiple possible readings depending on the ordering of the quantifiers. To take a known example (1), there will be ...
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Are these two propositions semantically entailed?

Now with spare time on my hands am rekindling my interest in linguistics. Doing some self study and am struggling with an exercise. I have 2 propositions and I am trying to work out the relationship ...

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