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Questions tagged [semantics]

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

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Is pragmatics a waste basket?

Is pragmatics a waste basket? this sentence is abstracted from the study of language of Yule. I want to know why this statement comes into being( pragmatics is a waste basket.) And is it really true? ...
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non-variable semantics of reflexives, need help

I'm reading various books on semantics (writing my first paper on semantics) however this book that was recommended to me by Heim & Kratzer has tricky questions with no answer guide, I looked ...
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Markers that affect intensity of the imperative mood

I'm working on a project that explores how imperative mood varies in 'intensity'. For example, one can 'soften' the tone of a directive by including the speaker in the command: "Let's go to school"...
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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 determine entity relationships for a proper noun

Apologies if I am using the wrong terminology I am starting a pet project using R to determine the associations for a Proper Noun For example I would like to see all the associations with the name '...
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NSM explication for 'left'?

How would the NSM explicate the word 'left'? As in, 'the table is to my left'. I just cannot think of any way to do it using the current 65 primes.
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How does the Natural Semantic Metalanguage deal with proper names?

The natural semantic metalanguage gives definitions of common words in terms of semantic primes, as can be found here. I am curious, however, as to how the NSM deals with proper names (or does it?) ...
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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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Where can I find an analysis of the semantic overlap of English “to have” and “with”?

For years I've understood via my native speaker intuition and my interest in languages and linguistics that the preposition "with" can carry the semantic meaning of the verb "to have". The man who ...
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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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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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1answer
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No Semantic Prime For Forming A Question?

"Huh", or some variant of it, is universal. http://huh.ideophone.org/ Yet, I see no word for forming a question in the list of semantic primes. There's "when/time", "where/place", but no "huh" or "...
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1answer
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What's the difference between 'concept' and 'meaning'?

Like in the title, are concepts expressed only by some parts of the speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs ? In sentence: The cat ate food - all words are concepts or only the noun ? All those ...
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How similar are Talmy and Wierzbicka's theories of semantic primes?

I am an Italian PhD student in linguistics and I am interested in the analysis of the expression of Manner. I went throught the works of Lakoff, Talmy and Wierzbicka recently and their event semantics ...
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1answer
39 views

Different ways to interpret stressed words in a sentence

I'm reading an introductory book on syntax and one of the exercises says to discuss the interpretations which the italicized expression can have in the given sentences and to give an appropriate ...
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1answer
62 views

Relationship of senses across parts of speech

We can have two words which describe a similar concept but have different parts of speech, for example live V, life N. I live well. Semantically similar or arguably equivalent construction: My ...
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How can we use the same word in multiple different ways and distinguish the senses so easily?

Say for example some plant names. We have an orange which we easily know is a fruit, but is also a color. We have green which is a color, and greens which is plants, or money, or I could imagine it ...
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Complete NL formalisms w/out syntax

What are the natural language formalisms that, roughly speaking, do away w/ syntax as a separate level of description? Cf. Steedman's "The Syntactic Process" (2000): "...syntactic structure is ...
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1answer
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Are words in form of verbs and adjectives abstract concepts

There are concrete (like tree, dog) and abstract concepts (like war, love etc.). I see that concept is expressed as a noun, but what about other parts of speech (verbs, adjectives, etc.)? Are they ...
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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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The literal/figurative distinction and its test

I am wondering if there is technical definition of the literal/figurative distinction in semantic theories (I have only found definitions by examples or definitions that simply repeat the dictionary ...
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Why does matching any root of a question to any root of potential answers gives better text understanding results?

I'm trying to find a way to prevent Intelligent Agents with Reading Comprehension and Question Answering abilities to answer question from documents from a given dataset. After dependency parsing we ...
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1answer
42 views

What is the definition of a causally coherent text?

I am trying to measure the causal coherence of text documents using NLP techniques to test a hypothesis (as far as I understand, there are different types of coherence in text but I am focusing on ...
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Connections between categories of type logical grammar and categories of combinatory categorial grammar?

There is nice book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Type-Logical-Grammar-Categorial-Logic/dp/0792332261/ that considers both Montague grammar (type logical grammar (TLG)) in chapters 1 and 2 and combinatory ...
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2answers
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Syntactic and semantic ambiguity

Does syntactic (structural) ambiguity always come with semantic ambiguity, or is semantic ambiguity always due to syntactic ambiguity? Or are both statements correct?
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Can we use the reverse of mental priming to get out of the 'Mary's Room' problem? [closed]

So there is this semantics/psycholinguistics concept called mental-priming, which says for a concept called 'red' nearby concepts like apple, color, danger etc. 'light up' . Can we teach Mary, what ...
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Is there any detailed documentation of VerbNet's semantic representation?

In VerbNet, each frame has a semantic representation like this: cause(Agent, E) manner(during(E), directed motion, Agent) !contact(during(E), Agent, Patient) manner(end(E),forceful, Agent) ...
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107 views

Is there a linguistic notion of a “static” vs “dynamic” noun?

I would have typed a clearer question in the title, but it would have been way too long. By "static," I mean a word or phrase that refers to one object, and one object only. ex. The Eiffel Tower The ...
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1answer
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Does Sanskrit निस् • (nis) “out, forth, away” come from PIE *ni- “in; down?” with meaning shift from “in” to “out”?

निस्·nis "out, forth, away" > nirvana "to blow out, extinguish; out of breath?" नि·ni "down, back, in, into" < PIE *h₁én "in; down?" My question is whether these words are from the same PIE root? ...
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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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Formal semantics (Montague, type-theoretical) of noun clauses

Partee has nice summary about the formal semantics of relative clause http://people.umass.edu/partee/MGU_2005/MGU05Lec10.pdf (subordinate adjectival clause). E.g. At least one boy who Mary loves is ...
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1answer
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Formal semantics (Montague, type-theoretical) of adverbial clauses

Partee has nice summary about the formal semantics of relative clause http://people.umass.edu/partee/MGU_2005/MGU05Lec10.pdf (subordinate adjectival clause). E.g. At least one boy who Mary loves is ...
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1answer
38 views

Is it possible that whole relative clause refers/describes one word/phrase in the main clause (without anaphora)?

My running example is the sentence (from the VAT law of one country): The building land is the plot in relation to which the building permit has been issued. There are possible at least two views on ...
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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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1answer
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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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Is gasoline, wine, coca-cola an artifact?

There are liquids naturally present in nature, like water, blood, oil, etc. But gasoline, wine or milk shake are produced by humans. Many thesauri, e.g. WordNet, don't classify later as artifacts, ...
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1answer
43 views

“As long as”, “So long as”, in logic (ambiguity?)

I'd love an expert opinion on how to interpret "as long as" and "so long as" when doing logic (specifically, whether it's considered a necessary or sufficient conditional indicator). Also, I'd ...
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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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1answer
174 views

what’s the difference between ‘concept’ and ‘prototype’ as semantic terminologies?

Both terms, concept and prototype occur in semantic texts roughly in the sense a mental object denoted by a word. There should be some difference in definition between the two. I read the following ...
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Discourse Structure: Taxonomy, Labels

Several taxonomies for discourse structures (markers, connectives, functions) exist including PDTB, RST, RST extensions, etc. That said, I've noticed that several of these efforts are 10-20 years old. ...
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Is TRAY a container?

I am working closely with semantic class of containers. It's not that obvious though how to define the class. Should it be enclosed? Obviously not, spoon is an example. Could flat surface serve as the ...
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Semantic vs Pragmatic [duplicate]

I am revising for my NLP quiz and am getting confused at the difference between semantic and pragmatic. I studied that semantic is the study of words and their meaning in sentences while pragmatic ...
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1answer
75 views

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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1answer
71 views

What do the semicolon and period mean in semantics?

What do the semicolon and period mean, please? For context, this is from Truswell's 'Events, Phrases and Questions' and this section in particular is talking about the causal ordering of events
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Generativist, Generative, Interpretive Semantics

is there anyone who can please clarify how these schools diverge from and converge with each other? A prof. told me interpretive semantics and generative semantics can be both categorized under ...
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Translation of 'verbes symétriques' from French to English

What do you think is the accurate equivalent les verbes symétriques in English?
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Am I understanding semantic entailment correctly?

I'm trying to make sure I understand entailment properly, but my prof basically said two sentences that only briefly explained what entailment is, and he's not teaching this course with a textbook. ...
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How do I tell/illustrate the difference between different meanings of 'adumbrate'?

Adumbrate can mean foreshadow or overshadow. In the following sentence, how does the reader know what the writer meant? The strife in Bloody Kansas in the 1850s adumbrated the civil war that would ...
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1answer
51 views

How to write 'x said they would do y but…' in predicate logic?

How do I write "X said to Y that they would do A today, but B happened yesterday" in predicate logic? So for example; Bart said to Lisa that he would braid her hair today, but he chopped his hand ...
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Are these phrases downward entailing?

Please consider the following phrases with respect to downward entailment: Mary remembers that French students saw her. Mary remembers that tall French students saw her. (in my opinion, this is not ...