Questions tagged [semantics]

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

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Can someone help me with drawing this X-bar trees? I am studying syntax and getting frustrated that I cannot correctly draw the tree [closed]

(a) Our courteous neighbour raked the leaves that were piled on our lawn. (b) What treats are the young kids likely to have chosen?
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Figure of speech name

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Which (of the Germanic) languages support resultative constructions?

my question regards resultative constructions. Which of the Germanic languages supports resultative constructions? It would be awesome if you could suggest any literature regarding any language. ...
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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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Reflexivity of similarity-in-a-respect

In the discussion of similarity relations similarity is typically taken to be reflexive -- in fact, it's the one property that's nearly universally agreed upon. But not everyone thinks similarity is ...
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Why grammaticalized perfective aspect marker is reduced to be used only in narrative style?

I am looking at a set of ballistic verbs like nak, phenk 'throw' in a minor Indo Aryan language spoken in Dravidian vicinity, where one verb of the set is reduced to light verb with perfective meaning,...
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Why do some abstract concepts get described as a liquid in English?

For example, work is completely abstract but we talk about workflows, which is something pertaining to fluids. Why does this happen?
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Phonological parallel of a Lexical Decision Task

Lexical Decision Tasks have been used in psycholinguistics for long. It basically asks the participant if the word shown is meaningful (e.g. GIRL) or not (e.g. GISL) (ref: link). But does a test like ...
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What's it called? Indicating no exceptions to the rule

In my study of an ancient language, I’m seeing certain phrasing that, in a prescription of proper behavior, means emphatically: “without exception!” My question is: Do linguists have a label for this ...
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Automatic sentence negation

I am looking for an automatic sentence negation tool. Something that will be able to perform conversions like: "this ball is large" ---> "this ball is small" "you should ...
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What's the difference between logical modality and epistemic modality?

Logical modality includes logical necessity and logical possibility, while epistemic modality includes epistemic necessity and epistemic possibility. But when I read the explanation of these concepts ...
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How do we explain to material implication?

According to Kearns (2011), for material implication, if p is false, q is true, then p->q is true. One example is given like this, p = Marie invited John, q = John will go. It can be translated ...
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What is the difference between theta-role, theta-grid and argument?

I know that theta-role has the distinctions like agent, theme, goal, etc., but all of them refer to entity, right? And argument can refer to both entity and sentence? Could you please explain them as ...
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Why is the intension of a sentence the set of all possible worlds in which it is true?

In Chapter 1 Section 1.3.3 in Kearns (2011), as for the extension and intension for sentence, Midge is grinning, the extension is "truth value (true or false) in the actual world", and the ...
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How to express “he died” as a state transition not as an action

Original post I've always had a problem with the construction "he died". It is in the active voice, implying that he actively did something. He didn't actively do anything, of course. He ...
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Why is the descriptive quantitative expression coincident with the expression of possession in many languages?

One kind of descriptive expression is the description of quantity. Below are some examples of descriptive expression of time: English: an hour's journey Chinese: yixiaoshi de lucheng Japanese: ...
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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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What do we call the object in the relation of denotation?

If the relation between an object and the expression is denotation, is the object also called referent?

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