Questions tagged [semantics]

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

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59 views

Compositional semantic: Type of conjunctions

My question is in regard to semantic type theory in connection with syntax. I understand the underlying structure of what type a certain type of phrase is ( i.e., proper names are <e>, verbs can ...
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5answers
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Is the connection between 'right' in the sense of direction and concepts like 'correct' limited to Indo-European languages?

I'm now familiar with enough Indo-European languages to know in almost all of them there's an etymological connection or outright homonymy between the word(s) for 'right' in the sense of direction and ...
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2answers
93 views

Proto-Indo-European words for moon?

There are two words for moon in Proto-Indo-European, *lówksneh (cognate with 'lunar'), and *méhns (cognate with 'moon' and 'month'). I think that *lówksneh means "a shining moon" and is more common, ...
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1answer
54 views

What is meaning according to Saussure?

Did Ferdinand de Saussure define meaning in his Course in General Linguistics?
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Acyclic Graph of Definitions of a Language

Given a certain language L, let's define it's language graph G as the graph where nodes correspond to words and a directed edge between node B and node A implies that the word referenced by B belongs ...
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2answers
58 views

What is the semantic relationship of the words 'ask' and 'tell'?

I'm not quite sure which of these semantic relationships it would be: Synonymy, Hyponymy, Hypernymy, and Antonymy. Or would there be no semantic relationship between these words?
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3answers
166 views

What explanatory advantages does so-called “type theory” have?

Some linguists use a theory called "type theory"; you can see it in a few questions on this site. Apparently it is based on the "type theory" of maths, logic, and computer science. Wikipedia's ...
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1answer
87 views

Is this an example of the third person? [closed]

Suppose Alice says to Bob, "I cook dinner with Bob." Is Alice talking about Bob in the third person?
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120 views

Why don't modern Romance languages have the verb “to stand”?

I noticed that modern Romance languages don't have a specific word for the verb "to stand", or - you could say - don't consider the notion of standing to be a verb. For example, in Spanish - you can ...
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0answers
78 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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47 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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126 views

How would languages that use an absolute frame of reference say that the heart is on the left side of the body?

In languages that use a relative frame of reference we can say that the heart is on the left side of the body, and no matter what direction you are facing that is true. But in an absolute frame of ...
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1answer
68 views

What are linguistics foundations of how a message can be on topic?

What I am looking for Is there a linguistics perspective on a message being "on topic" or "off topic" in some context and/or something inbetween? Is there even a linguistics definition and research ...
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2answers
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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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1answer
48 views

Has the notion of “semainophoric” structure been considered so far?

Semitic languages like Arabic use consonantic roots conveying meaning, like ktb which is related to writing. The vowels to be added to form a word vary and give a nuance to this general meaning. ...
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61 views

How to cite an edited book [closed]

I want to cite some articles directly in Semantics, Volume 2 by de Gruyter (2011). I wonder if each article in it is a journal or conference paper that can be cited directly. Otherwise, I should cite ...
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3answers
183 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 ...
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2answers
47 views

Predicate logic and always?

How do I translate a sentence like this into predicate logic? Always if an amateur chef bakes a burnt cookie, then nobody eats that burnt cookie. My attempt is something like this ∀[chef’(x)∧ ...
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1answer
177 views

When turned “to hear” into “to belong” in Germanic Languages?

In most Germanic languages the verbs for „to hear“ and „to belong [to]“ are the same or very closely related. It seems a plausible explanation, that in practice belonging to someone (G. gehören) meant ...
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1answer
73 views

Semantic arguments of nouns

Consider the following NPs: [1] an alcohol ban [2] a cotton shirt Various discussions in CGEL would seem to imply the following: P: alcohol expresses a semantic argument of the head noun ban in [...
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2answers
148 views

How can a word for 'the act of Xing', semantically shift to mean 'the thing Xed'?

I don't grasp this Reddit comment. An example of (3) might be this (from a 15th-century will): I now the seid John Smyth, for diu[er]se causez and consyderacyonys shevyd vnto me, will ...
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0answers
59 views

How was excession expressed in Proto-Germanic?

The state of excession (of an adjective) is indicated differently accross Germanic languages. West Germanic Languages (E: too long, Du: te lang, G: zu lang) build it by the use of descendants from ...
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22 views

What is the meaning of “metaphorical sliding”

Can anyone please give a definition for a "metaphorical sliding"? I have problem understanding the "sliding" part. What exactly happens to this metaphor?
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2answers
77 views

Definite descriptions and essentially indistinguishable participants

In the analysis of definite descriptions there is a problem called "The Problem of Indistinguishable Participants", exemplified by the so-called bishop sentences: If a bishop meets a bishop, the ...
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2answers
75 views

Does this English exercise test syntactic or semantic knowledge of a student?

I am confused in how to distinguish a syntactically oriented language exercise from semantically oriented language exercise. For example, suppose a teacher gave the English exercise below to his ...
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0answers
35 views

Relationship between semantical understanding of a text and the level of language used in the text

I am a Machine Learning researcher who is doing research in the Natural Language Processing (NLP). I need better understanding about human language for my new research, so I decided to write this ...
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2answers
75 views

Is there an equivalent to “Turing completeness” for a spoken language? [duplicate]

I had read that some tribe in the Amazonian region speaks a language that lacks any number. So they would use "many" to describe more than say, 2 or 3 things. Hence for them, I suppose, 99 is the same ...
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1answer
109 views

What are the semantic functions of a complementizer phrase (CP)

What does semantic functions mean? and what are they for a CP? Thank you
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1answer
76 views

Can a semantic prime have a homophone which is also a semantic prime?

If semantic primes which are homophones exist, is it possible to create sentences which have perfectly valid interpretations which differ? I'm thinking of something like a "meaning" hash-collision ...
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1answer
103 views

Discrepancy between Classical Logic, Set Theory, Propositional Logic and Languages [closed]

In logic, "Or" strictly refers to logical disjuntion, while "And" strictly refers to logical conjuction. But in common parlance, both can fill the role of Logical Disjunction I understand that one ...
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54 views

Which are the social differences which lead to the variance in the way to address a person?

My question is: Which are the social differences which lead to the variance in the way to address a person? An example of the difference is T-V distinction some languages abolished it while others ...
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2answers
477 views

Is there a strict difference between syntax and semantics? [duplicate]

On many places I may read that syntax is about structure, and semantics is about meaning, and this makes sense. But, lets think of the canonical example Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. said ...
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1answer
59 views

“Indifferent” reference of specific indefinites?

There is a class of indefinites sometimes called "specific indefinites" that refer to one individual. For example: A man walked into a bar followed by two others. He ordered a drink. With this ...
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123 views

What semantic frameworks are there for computational linguistics?

Besides Frege's principle of compositionality are there any other philosophical frameworks of language to form distributional semantics in the English language? Edit - Although I'm still yet to ...
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1answer
77 views

Do some communities prefer indirect discourses to direct discourses?

Jamaliah Mohd. Ali, in her research paper, says, "the use of indirectness in communication is an important aspect of Malay community life because one of its main intentions is conflict avoidance" (...
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1answer
38 views

What words relate to thinking about possible events? (Could've Should've Would've) [closed]

I'm thinking about how the mind works, and how the mind dreams or simulates events. This seems to be an important part of how the brain works so it seems like we should have special words to describe ...
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0answers
29 views

Terminology/resources for descriptions like “…the other one…”

Suppose, e.g., that there are two brothers, Bob and Bill, that must do two things but it doesn't much matter which brother does which task. I am interested in constructions like the following: One ...
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1answer
88 views

Define “own” with more primitive linguistic concepts?

I am trying to define the concept of ownership or "having" with basic more primitive concepts. My first try is: I own X == Only I can take X But does the word take imply taking ownership of? So ...
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2answers
137 views

Is “parent” a hyponym or a meronym of “parents”?

A hyponym is a word or phrase whose semantic field is included within that of another word. A meronym denotes a constituent part of, or a member of something It can be said that "parents" is ...
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1answer
37 views

What are the recommended sources for research about conceptual metaphor?

I would like to find what have been done in research about conceptual metaphor. I've looked into some database, e.g. ERIC, Sciencedirect, WileyOnlineLibrary, JSTOR, Cambridgecore, Taylor&Francis, ...
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101 views

Is language “necessarily underspecified”?

I've read an exam question given in a class on Semantics, that was asking Why is language necessarily underspecified I did not find much about this at the time, which is surprising because it ...
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1answer
102 views

What English words can not be motivated and are arbitrary? [closed]

What is the evidence for the arbitrariness of the sign? Continuing this question, what English words can not be motivated and should be considered arbitrary? I think only the natural meanings would ...
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3answers
322 views

What is the evidence for the arbitrariness of the sign?

The "arbitrariness of the sign" is a fundamental principle of modern linguistics: that is, that there's nothing intrinsic about the sound sequence [kʰæt̚] or the phoneme sequence /kæt/ that links it ...
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0answers
65 views

Agentive vs Intentional vs Volitional

What are the differences between these three terms? Agentivity Intentionality Volitionality If they have different definitions, could you provide examples where their values do not match? (For ...
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1answer
91 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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36 views

Why do you call ideal wishes “dreams?” [duplicate]

One property of dreams, which you have when you sleep, is that they are not real but imaginary, and thus may give you unlikely experiences. In many languages throughout the world, not limited to ...
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1answer
107 views

What happened to *kweþana?

In a time when distinct Germanic dialects already existet in geographically diffenrent areas, the usual verbs to signal a following direct speech seem to be descendant of PrG „*kweþana“ in any dialect ...
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42 views

Semantics of a focus particle and Epistemic/Alethic Modality

I've been working on a paper which focuses on interaction of focus particle and epistemic/alethic modality in Turkish. Focus particle "de/da" in Turkish is a clitic and comes right after the word, ...
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1answer
93 views

existential force and universal force

I was reading the paper below, and because of my lack of knowledge on the linguistic terms, I have been stuck half way through. If you would be kind enough to enlighten me, I would be very much ...
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27 views

Is there a term for the unit comprising a lexical item and its semantic role?

In a sentence such as "The man ate the cheese," man is a noun, with a definition in the lexicon, and is also the agent in the sentence. Is there a term for a unit that includes all of these components,...

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