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Questions tagged [semantics]

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

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Do negations indicate the existence of polysemies?

I know that for strong polysemies (those have completely unrelated meanings, like bat or bank), we can use the test "X is not X" and see if it makes sense or not. For example: A bat is not a bat. A ...
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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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questionnaire for diploma [closed]

I'm a 4th year student majoring in linguistics. I live in Russia and English is my second language. I', currently working on my diploma dedicated to semantics of such phrases as WE NEED and IT IS ...
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What is the semantic difference of the structures of, e.g., 'bellow' and 'phone'? [on hold]

I.e. what do these examples tell us about the semantic structures of these words (i.e. bellowed and phone). Also, why? and are any of these judgements able to be disagreed with? Kyle bellowed *Kyle ...
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Meaning of a prefix in a german word [migrated]

What is the meaning of the prefix "verab" in the german word "Verabredung". I assume it is a combination of "ver" and "ab",but in this case what does it express semantically?
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Recommandation of linguistic journals needed

I have a paper about the semantics of linguistics. It involves a lot of mathematics (set theory) and some philosophy. So I want to submit it to a journal that handles mathematics linguistics, ...
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How long in a language several words for the same notion can coexist?

Sometimes a language can have several words for the same notion. How long such a situation can last? Is it good for a language to have it? Should language bearers and linguists do something about it? ...
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Density of information/semantic of Chinese and Korean language versus european languages

Some years ago I had read an interesting article about how much information chinese people could put in one tweet of 140 characters. But I cannot find again this article. I'm interested in having ...
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Measuring the degree of relevance of a segue or non sequitur

I posit that natural languages are semi-formal systems for encoding atomic statements. Unlike formal statements of logic, natural language texts organize statements using familiar devices like clauses,...
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Problem Set Solutions to 'Semantics in Generative Grammar' (Heim & Kratzer)?

I'm working through Heim and Kratzer's 1998 textbook 'semantics in generative grammar' (Blackwell), which I understand is fairly standard for university level courses on semantics, but I can't find ...
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How relevant is WordNet nowadays?

How relevant is WordNet (both the original Princeton's and all other WordNets) as a tool for researchers now, decades later? Do researchers consider it valuable? And does the general research ...
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Discourse analysis and symbolic violence

I'm currently conducting a research on language and violence, and I'm supposed to start my practical part soon using discourse analysis to analyse a certain novel I have chosen to point out the ...
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Can the need for ambiguity lead to merge of grammatical person, or other semantic merge?

My mother tongue doesn't distinguish 3.SG.F and 3.SG.M in speech. In some cases I feel the redundancy of it and the need for ambiguity of the grammatical person when I speak a language which ...
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Do grammatically close languages tend to begin to use literal translations of some words in other senses in that other language?

Let's have an English phrase "let's have" and the Czech equivalent "mějme". Perhaps, at some point in the past, someone was translating a math textbook and didn't know how to translate "let's have" in ...
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Partitioning concept space: deep-shallow dichotomy

Some words, like run, get, advance, etc... are "deep" in semantic structure. Other words (mostly names) like Japanese, French, tapir, strychnine, etc... are "shallow" in semantic structure. And some ...
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Computational/Formal Approaches to Paragraph-Level Semantics

There are several frameworks that have been built by both linguists and computer scientists to deal with the problem of semantic representation of sentences, most notably Abstract Meaning ...
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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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Can we parse the hell out of this construction?

John only had the Ferrari for three months, but while he had it, he drove the hell out of it. I'm pretty sure I aced the hell out of that test. That last stuff you got us, we smoked the hell out of it....
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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 ...
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All that glitters is confusing!

"All that is gold does not glitter" "Not all that is gold glitters" The first phrase appears in Lord of the Rings, modified from Shakespeare, and contextually implies that "Aragorn is vastly more ...
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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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Triggering emotions with language

Emotional responses to certain words is often argued to be a result of nurture(acquired through development), while emotional responses to Tone is largely attributable to nature(born with). Shouldn't ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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? ...