Questions tagged [semantics]

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

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22 views

How do you get the semantic type from denotations and determine monotonicity of individual substitutes?

What is the monotonicity of an individual substitute? How do you determine it? Please explain giving an example
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What is the semantic type of the expression NOT in "Tina but not John"?

What is the semantic type of the expression not in the structure below? I understand that proper nouns have their generalized qualifier types, but I am unsure how to derive the semantic type from the ...
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How can you computationally apply a grammar rule to a sentence?

I would like to use a rigorous and comprehensive theory of the grammar of English to formulate some grammar rule and then computationally/programmatically check whether a sentence abides by it (not as ...
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Difference in meanings and use of words 'röra' and 'blanda' in Swedish [closed]

I do a research about the words of action of mixing something in Swedish. I found two frequent words 'röra' and 'blanda'. Is there any difference in the meanings and in the use of these words? Also ...
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What are some examples of text, which should be grammatically wrong, but which is still very comprehensible? [closed]

What are some examples of text, which should be wrong in grammar etc., but which is still very comprehensible? I.e. are there examples where text is comprehensible, even when it does not follow some ...
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29 views

Materialization of nouns by adjectives

I am not even an amateur in linguistics, especially semantics. I want to use this idea in computational linguistics that I am also new there. The idea is how to deal with nouns that become more ...
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40 views

Is there a definitive modern theory of semantics?

It seems like although there may be gaps in theories of phonology and syntax we have a pretty good understanding of the nature of the system. Syntax is some kind of computational system based on tree-...
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115 views

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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How to define sentence complexity?

I am not a pure linguist but rather at the intersection of computational linguistics, NLP and computer science. Thus please be cautious with me and my ignorance. I am looking for definitions of ...
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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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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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248 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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1answer
436 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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1answer
101 views

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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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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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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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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228 views

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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38 views

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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1answer
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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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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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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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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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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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695 views

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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1answer
100 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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110 views

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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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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1answer
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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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106 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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1answer
53 views

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 is the purpose of Subject-Verb agreement?

An important rule in English grammar is "subject-verb agreement". It basically states that a verb must conform to the form of the noun (i.e. Singular/Plural). My question is: What is the purpose of ...
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2answers
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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 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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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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2answers
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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
186 views

Grammatical function vs. Semantic role

What is the difference between grammatical functions and semantic roles? Are they the same?
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1answer
75 views

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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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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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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