Questions tagged [semantics]

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

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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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36 views

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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2answers
295 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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31 views

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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1answer
43 views

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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20 views

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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29 views

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
228 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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1answer
70 views

Are these generalized quantifiers correct?

According to Kearns (2011), I know that "the ten apples are bruised" can be interpreted as "‘The ten apples are bruised’ is true if and only if |A ∩ B| = 10." But how about this ...
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1answer
39 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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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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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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4answers
179 views

'Non-standard' indexicals

Currently, I am doing some research on indexicals, by which I mean words like: I here now today, tomorrow, yesterday local present, current For ease of reference, let’s call these the ‘standard’ ...
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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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318 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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35 views

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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22 views

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
44 views

Books recommendation on syntax, semantics and pragmatics interaction

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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661 views

Textbooks in Formal Semantics / Montague semantics

I'm looking for a cheap, thorough but reasonably accessible introduction to formal semantics. There appear to be lots of options on the market. I assume there are plenty of experts in formal semantics ...
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1answer
230 views

VerbNet semantic roles and preposition groups - how to determine matches

Using verbnet to test whether a sentence matches a frame, how does one determine whether the semantic role specified in the verbnet frame is appearing in the sentence or not? e.g. on this verbnet ...
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71 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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37 views

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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386 views

Can we build semantic mappings for CFG same as we do in CCG?

In CFG we "simply" have production rules. Whereas in Combinatory Categorial Grammar (CCG) on the other hand, we have both composition rules over categories, and a mapping from syntax to semantics (...
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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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1answer
69 views

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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294 views

What are the composition rules of these sentences?

What are the composition rules of these sentences? let the cat out of the bag take off clothes burn the candle at both ends For example: the C-Rule of "bring home the bacon" is: VC("...
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3answers
334 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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982 views

To what extent does this image accurately express the modularity of linguistic units?

This is a popular image floating around the internet, but like many things floating there, it seems like a gross simplification and just plain inaccurate. However, I’m more of an armchair linguist ...
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1answer
54 views

Introduction to compositional semantics with types

I'm looking for an introduction (book or lecture notes) to compositional semantics based on e-t type theory that would be suitable for first-year level linguistics presupposing knowledge of elementary ...
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196 views

Some questions about the basic concepts in semantics

According to the Semantics (Kate Kreans, 2011), there are two kinds of denotation for predicates. For example, the word 'dog', has extension (the set of all dogs in the actual world), and intension (...
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136 views

Smirnitsky's classification of homonyms

I'm a newbie on this site. I just learned the Smirnitsky's classification of homonyms and to be honest, I haven't quite grasped it yet. Here's the summary of the classification: Full lexical homonyms ...
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How to explain “Propositions are sets of worlds”?

According to Kratzer, propositions are sets of worlds, but I find it really abstract. Are there any examples to explain it?
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Angelika Kratzer's modal bases

In Kratzer’s theory, for each world w, modal base is the set of propositions p such that the speaker knows in w that p is true, e.g. f(w) = {p1, p2, p3}. Following the standard assumption in possible ...
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95 views

How does lexical replacement occur?

For example, in Mycenaean Greek, the word for king was Wanax or Anax, whereas the Modern Greek word for king is Basileus, nothing at all like Wanax. How did this happen & how do these kinds of ...
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A question about possible worlds and truth value

The sentence "He must be Mr. White." can be interpreted as "In all the possible worlds, the proposition that he is Mr.White is true", right? But I'm just wondering all the possible ...
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What is the relation between modal base and ordering source?

I edited the question again. Here is an explanation for epistemic modal, John must have the flu. a. Epistemic Modal Base (MBepis) = { John has a fever, John has a cough, John did not get a flu shot, .....
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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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Semantical and functional morphemes

I have this idea in my head that when it comes to morphemes, there are two divisions at the top: "semantical morphemes" and "functional morphemes". Semantical morphemes are those ...
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A question about argument structure of see, watch, look

According to Kearns(2011), verbs like peer, gawk, spot, scan, sight, study, glare, eye, glance, observe, peep, stare, examine, glimpse, etc. can be categorized into "see" class, "watch&...
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Questions about identifying the thematic roles

I'm still not confident about whether I've totally understood thematic roles. Can you help me see whether these thematic roles are correct? Thank you in advance! a.[Hilda] slung [the case] [overboard]....
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101 views

What's the tense ambiguity of this sentence?

I'm reading Kearns(2011) and in Ch9, the author says the sentence "All Torah’s friends were rich then" is ambiguous in the possible scopes of tense and a quantifier NP. I know one meaning is ...
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714 views

Why are kinship terms typical examples of inalienablity but not meronomy?

According to Chappell & McGregor (1996: 4) there are four typical types of inalienably possessed nouns: spatial relationships such as the ’top’ or ’front’ of something physical parts, especially ...
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Kayne on Conjunctions and Chomsky's Labelling Algorithm

I'm reading on coordination structures in relation to Chomsky's proposal of the Labelling Algorithm and stumbled upon Kayne (1994) The Antisymmetry of Syntax. In it, Kayne takes the view that ...
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What’s the name of this figure of speech?

Saying “The not tall boy” instead of “The short boy” does it have a name?
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84 views

Is the word “Language” in “Natural Language Processing” plural or singular, count or mass? [closed]

I want to translate the word language in the term NLP to the Arabic language. so I wonder, In Natural Language Processing, if the word language is countable or uncountable? whether it is plural or ...
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Two questions about referential opacity

I'm self-studying Kearns(2011), and here are two tricky questions I'm really curious about. I asked my classmates but they failed to answer it too. We really don't know how the first sentence can have ...

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