Questions tagged [semantics]

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

136 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
11
votes
0answers
2k views

Do “only if…” and “if… only then…” have the same LF representation?

I'm currently writing a term paper where I am comparing if... then..., only if..., and if... only then... statements. I've noticed that only if p q and if p, only then q have the same truth conditions ...
6
votes
0answers
67 views

Do most semanticists maintain that there is a distinction between secondary agents and tools?

I've heard some people say that there are two types of instrument: secondary agents and tools. A secondary agent is something that accomplishes a task when the agent wields it. So we CAN say ...
6
votes
0answers
211 views

Are there any languages that either effectively don't have verbs or that somehow get around using a “standard” verb system?

By this, I'm asking whether there are languages (natural or constructed) which somehow function without verbs, relying instead upon other types of words like prepositions or something like that. ...
5
votes
0answers
62 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
61 views

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?) ...
5
votes
0answers
220 views

Do puns necessarily involve referring to two (or more) extant words?

What exactly constitutes a pun? Do the words in the pun have to both be extant, or can one be a nonce/nonsense word? — Over the years, I've heard numerous usages of "puns" where one word in the ...
4
votes
0answers
110 views

Is there evidence that English speakers associate black with bad and/or white with good

Prompted by the recent move towards replacing the terms "blacklist" and "whitelist", I wonder if there is research around the topic of how people feel about the words "black&...
4
votes
0answers
143 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
201 views

Am I understanding semantic entailment correctly?

I'm trying to make sure I understand entailment properly, but my prof basically said two sentences that only briefly explained what entailment is, and he's not teaching this course with a textbook. ...
4
votes
0answers
84 views

Is there a phrasal verb corpus somewhere online?

I'm working on a project where I have syntactic frames in the form of something like "N.agent V PP.stimulus", where each PP consists of a P and a N. I have a set list of verbs, and a list of PPs for ...
4
votes
0answers
51 views

Term for universally-used quote with additional, non-compositional meaning

There exist certain fixed expressions which people use to convey quite specific meanings and (at least to me) always invoke a famous saying which is assumed to be common knowledge, such as I am not a ...
4
votes
0answers
84 views

Using (e.g.) Stanford NLP for retrieving specific “indirect” objects

I am a computer scientist using Stanford NLP for extracting a Semantic Graph from plain text. Through this tool I am already getting the universal dependencies but now I want to get all the possible ...
4
votes
0answers
127 views

Is there count/mass distinction in European Portuguese as it is in English?

It is said that European Portuguese has count/mass distinction as many Indo-European languages. However I noticed out that all products/items at stores in Portugal are labeled in singular form. In ...
4
votes
0answers
495 views

Tool for manually POS tagging texts

I'm interested if there is a text or set of texts where each word is correctly POS tagged. I know there are algorithms that can associate POS tags to the words, but there are always many of ...
4
votes
1answer
199 views

Why must adversative coordination be binary?

At Glottopedia we read that adversative coordination expresses semantic contrast between the coordinands. In English, adversative coordination is usually accomplished with “but,” as in these sentences....
3
votes
0answers
28 views

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 ...
3
votes
0answers
62 views

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 ...
3
votes
0answers
57 views

Tools for converting text to logical form

What's the State of the Art in software for converting text to some sort of logical form? Pros and con's of different packages approaches, if more than one exists?
3
votes
2answers
182 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
145 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
62 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
94 views

Is TRAY a container?

I am working closely with semantic class of containers. It's not that obvious though how to define the class. Should it be enclosed? Obviously not, spoon is an example. Could flat surface serve as the ...
3
votes
0answers
115 views

Languages where smells are heard

In Russian, one can use the verb слышать ([ˈslɨʂətʲ], "hear") with both sounds and smells, though it's more common to use чувствовать ([ˈt͡ɕustvəvətʲ], "feel") for smells. Example from Wiktionary: ...
3
votes
0answers
147 views

Semantic roles of “tell”

What is the semantic/thematic/theta role of the object in a sentence like "John told Mary to go home."? Is it EXPERIENCER? Or is that only for sentences like "Mary heard what John said."? Is it GOAL? ...
3
votes
1answer
222 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

Are there languages with separate words for 'mouth opening' and 'mouth cavity'?

I am looking for languages which have separate words for the visible opening of the mouth (the external part, including or not including the lips), and the cavity (the internal part). Put another way, ...
3
votes
1answer
120 views

Slot filling corpora

I was wondering if anyone knows of slot filling corpora such as ATIS. I tried finding ATIS but since I am not a member of LDC I couldnt get access to it. Do you know of any place where I can find a ...
2
votes
0answers
45 views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
38 views

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. ...
2
votes
0answers
45 views

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: ...
2
votes
0answers
63 views

What is shallow semantic processing?

What exactly is "shallow semantic processing", and how is it related to syntactic analysis? Is it correct to say that syntactic processing of a text is the preliminary step for shallow semantic ...
2
votes
0answers
50 views

Semantic category of [VERB] + as a + [NOUN]

I have the following examples from a corpus (ICNALE corpus) "They can grow as a member of society." "At university, students are regarded as adults not children." "I worked in a hotel as a service ...
2
votes
0answers
30 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
114 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
32 views

Grammar induction from grammaticality rules

Let's have formalisation of grammaticality judgments in some deduction system. Is it possible to learn/induce grammar from rules that govern grammaticality judgments? Is there theory, that connects ...
2
votes
0answers
153 views

Sememe and semanteme

I'm not sure I understand what is the relationship between sememes and semantemes. I have the following definitions : A sememe is a semantic content of a lexeme. A semanteme is a unit which together ...
2
votes
0answers
74 views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
152 views

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? ...
2
votes
0answers
46 views

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"...
2
votes
0answers
42 views

Connections between combinatory categorial grammars and abstract categorial grammars?

Are there connections/translation or common tools usage/adaptation between combinatory (concrete) categorial grammars (incl. Lambek calculus) and abstract categorial grammars? Can tools for one of ...
2
votes
0answers
44 views

What is the source of knowledge/discovery for the semantics? Automation of semantic science?

Natural sciences observe facts and make models. Mathematics more or less arbitrarly generates axioms and investigates all the possible consquences of them. What is the source of semantic knowledge (e....
2
votes
0answers
46 views

Where can I find a comprehensive list of priming connections?

Is there a website or a study I could find a detailed list or net of priming connections between words? Here's how I imagine it:
2
votes
1answer
364 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 (...
2
votes
0answers
84 views

Is there a name for the process of triviliazation of a word's meaning?

What is the name for the process by which a word's meaning is trivialized or diminished in importance from its original meaning? For example, the standard English word throne means a toilet in English ...
2
votes
0answers
107 views

Is there a meaning difference between “each” and “every” as NP modifier?

I have an ineffable feeling that there is a pragmatic difference between "each N" and "every N", which has to do with evaluating the individuals denoted by "each N" one at a time, vs. evaluating them ...
2
votes
0answers
56 views

How do I distinguish between traits and states using NLP?

In an English sentence: Harry was displeased. – displeased is a state Harry was benevolent. – benevolent is a trait Given an adjective, how can I distinguish between a trait and a state? The ...
2
votes
0answers
65 views

Is there a language that begins range expressions with the higher/later datum?

If someone were to say There were between twenty and ten people at the event. or I will be there from the fifth to the second of July. that person would sound strange indeed, because in ...
2
votes
0answers
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 ...
2
votes
0answers
721 views

Composite truth tables for sentence relations (entailment, synonymy,etc.)

I'm using John Saeed's 'Semantics'. Now in chap 4 I see he is trying to formalize sentence relations such as entailment, synonymy, contradiction, etc., by some kind of different truth tables he calls ...
2
votes
0answers
80 views

Is there a way to distinguish habitualis from generic interpretation?

I'm looking for a way to classify a given sentence as either habitualis or generic in a language where neither is a grammatical category. Thus, it should be a some semantic feature of the sentence. ...