Questions tagged [semantics]

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

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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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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
47 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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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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42 views

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
262 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
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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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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
184 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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170 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 ...
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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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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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1answer
59 views

Books recommendation on syntax, semantics and pragmatics interaction [closed]

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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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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238 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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43 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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114 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 ...
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80 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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308 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
435 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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75 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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1answer
243 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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235 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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112 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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63 views

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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68 views

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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2answers
106 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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717 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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62 views

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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109 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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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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Is "double positive meaning negative" a common phenomenon?

The following joke is popular: An MIT linguistics professor was lecturing his class the other day. “In English,” he said, “a double negative forms a positive. However, in some languages, such as ...
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Is the connection between 'right' in the sense of direction and concepts like 'correct' limited to Indo-European languages?

I'm now familiar with enough Indo-European languages to know in almost all of them there's an etymological connection or outright homonymy between the word(s) for 'right' in the sense of direction and ...
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1answer
86 views

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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90 views

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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52 views

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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