Questions tagged [semantics]

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

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154 views

Is there a tendency to name money after other things?

Back in Spanish.StackExchange there was a question about the use of the word plata (literally "silver") in American dialects of Spanish instead of the proper word, dinero. European Spanish also avoids ...
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Compositional semantics without possible

Is there a way to do compositional semantics without possible worlds? Especially in the case of semantics of fictional objects. I was trying to think of fictional objects as 'grammatical object' so ...
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141 views

In case the fregean distinction between "sense" and " denotation" is used in linguistics, what purpose does it serve in this discipline?

I'm referring here to the distinction Frege made in his paper called " Sense and denotation". A classical example is " the morning star" and " the evening star" : different senses but same ...
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Is there a specific linguistic term for the following practice of constructing new words/characters?

I have in mind examples such as the Scheingallizismus (lit. appearance of Gallicism) in German which are words/phrases constructed from French origins but are themselves unknown in French speaking ...
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181 views

Standardized and ambiguity-free language

Is there exist a language (the natural or the constructed one) with a completely standardized and ambiguity-free rules, and which is suitable for the modern use? I am wondering for a language which ...
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127 views

Words that signal future content

Some content words signal that future content will likely follow. The words seem to act as a typing system for instances of the content. For example: "I have an idea." --> one expects the idea to ...
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112 views

What is it called to derive all the implied meanings from a sentence?

What would this process of gathering the meaning of a sentence be called? What would the segments derived from the sentence be called? "John and Derrek both love cake" -> John loves cake -&...
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Which languages conflate (imperfective) past and irrealis, and why?

In English, the "simple past" form of a verb can sometimes be used to convey irrealis meanings, without any preterite sense: If I was rich, I'd buy a Porsche. If you only knew! I wish I was there ...
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Can one avoid using the notion of meaning when defining syntax and pragmatics?

In an elementary course on philosophy of language ( at the highschool level) , I try to explain to students the distinction betweeen semantics, syntax and pragmatics. Referring myself to Carnap/...
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How to find which verbs are semantically-related to a given verb or noun?

I am looking for a way to know, a tool that tells me, that, for example, the verb to show is the ditransitive semantic extension of the verb to see, simply because to show X Y = to let X see Y. Let ...
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210 views

What is the intuition behind the term Transitive for verbs?

Why is a verb that takes an object called transitive? Why does that term make sense? The way I see it is that it extends its action to an object rather than limits it within the subject. I take this ...
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Are there languages that can speak of continous things without discretizing them?

All languages I know of discretize qualities when trying to describe them. For example, languages generally sample a few words for describing a range of continous things like feelings ('terrible', '...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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136 views

Parsing with CCGs - lambda part

I am following this video tutorial, starting 6th minute I would like to parse the following sentence square blue or round yellow pillow. For now I am interested in only how square and blue are ...
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1answer
103 views

Does this sentence have two meanings?

The sentence is Some employee must leave. I was told that it is actually ambiguous and has two meanings. But I can only see one. What are the two meanings?
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Has there been any development or long lasting influence of Leonard Talmy's work?

I've read some of Talmy's work particularly that of his semantic analysis of the spatial organization inherent in the meaning of prepositions like "across","around" or "over" among others. I've found ...
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482 views

Are there languages without idioms?

Speakers of about any language but English agree that the idea that it may be raining cats and dogs is preposterous. But the same people do understand what an idiom is, and their own language may have ...
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166 views

Converting types into lambda notation and set notation

I am looking into different phrases and their semantic derivation. For example, the verb sneeze: Type (e,t) λx[SNEEZE]x In a sentence like: Michael and Jamie sneeze, I would like to know how to get ...
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236 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 ...
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114 views

Solving type mismatch

I am doing a semantic derivation of the following sentence: Cathy and Fred drank three coffees. I know the types of each individual component but when trying to work towards t, I find a type ...
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165 views

Status of the determiner "any"

In "Mathematical Methods in Linguistics" by Partee, Meulen and Wall (1990), it is stated on page 385 that the determiner any has been a notorious problem for semantic analysis, since it is sometimes ...
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87 views

Do reborrowings and neologisms statistically help the communicative function of the languages or do the cause more confusion?

Rephrasing do reborrowings and neologisms help or bedim the communications? I am making the distinction of instantaneous or contemporary communications(especialy for scientific use and social) and ...
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Pre language concepts

I'm interested if there's a field of study, or some popular papers, that try to map the thought concepts/constructs that precedes (or succeeds) words, sentences and basically languages. Maybe as a sub-...
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Are there languages with no euphemisms?

I feel that euphemisms are a function of how society views certain aspects of life and feels that they should not be talked about directly. So are there languages with no euphemisms?
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199 views

Does each verb have a corresponding noun with the same meaning

I believe that each main verb has (at least) one corresponding noun with the same meaning that is formed from gerund and derivation. For examples, discovery is from discover; reading is from read; ...
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How active formal semantics as a research field today?

I've heard from some people (working in computational linguistics) that today the area of formal semantics is on the decline. On the other hand, I can see many new papers from formal semanticists on ...
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113 views

Words which originate in superstition/myth [closed]

I'm interested in words, from any language, whose etymological origin 'exposes' superstitious or scientifically obsolete beliefs. For example, the English disaster comes from Latin dis- + astro, ...
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123 views

Get Prolog (other functional programming language) rules/facts from LKB or similar system

My goal is to take simple sentence such as Grass is green and convert it to Prolog rule/fact. It does not have to be Prolog, but any other functional programming language with which I can perform ...
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What is the minimal set of words that make a language "complete"?

In programming languages, there is a concept of turing completeness - whenever a system reaches "turing completeness", it is capable of emulating any programming language and, thus, as expressive as ...
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Triggering emotions with language

Emotional responses to certain words is often argued to be a result of nurture(acquired through development), while emotional responses to Tone is largely attributable to nature(born with). Shouldn't ...
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What is the difference between directive function and informational function of a language?

In Geoffery Leech, Chapter 4, Semantics The Study of Meaning, It is written that "The third function of language is the directive function whereby we aim to influence the behaviour and attitudes ...
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243 views

Hand gesture - Patting

I apologize if the following question is off-topic on this site. Some time ago, I was sitting at a table in a cafeteria/canteen. A few tables away, I saw someone I knew. This person also saw me and ...
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680 views

Density of information/semantic of Chinese and Korean language versus european languages

Some years ago I had read an interesting article about how much information chinese people could put in one tweet of 140 characters. But I cannot find again this article. I'm interested in having ...
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235 views

How long in a language several words for the same notion can coexist?

Sometimes a language can have several words for the same notion. How long such a situation can last? Is it good for a language to have it? Should language bearers and linguists do something about it? ...
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Problem Set Solutions to 'Semantics in Generative Grammar' (Heim & Kratzer)?

I'm working through Heim and Kratzer's 1998 textbook 'semantics in generative grammar' (Blackwell), which I understand is fairly standard for university level courses on semantics, but I can't find ...
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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 ...
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the difference between upward and downward entailment

How does one show the difference of an upward entailment between that of a downward entailment? I have tried doing examples where the negative polarity item is moved from the verb phrase to the noun ...
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2k views

Syntactic and semantic ambiguity

Does syntactic (structural) ambiguity always come with semantic ambiguity, or is semantic ambiguity always due to syntactic ambiguity? Or are both statements correct?
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Computational/Formal Approaches to Paragraph-Level Semantics

There are several frameworks that have been built by both linguists and computer scientists to deal with the problem of semantic representation of sentences, most notably Abstract Meaning ...
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What are the historical origins for the naming of the word 'function' in its mathematical context? [closed]

I tried to look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Function_(mathematics) but couldn't see anything. The reason why I was curious to ask is because this word just doesn't make any sense for what it ...
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Can the need for ambiguity lead to merge of grammatical person, or other semantic merge?

My mother tongue doesn't distinguish 3.SG.F and 3.SG.M in speech. In some cases I feel the redundancy of it and the need for ambiguity of the grammatical person when I speak a language which ...
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Partitioning concept space: deep-shallow dichotomy

Some words, like run, get, advance, etc... are "deep" in semantic structure. Other words (mostly names) like Japanese, French, tapir, strychnine, etc... are "shallow" in semantic structure. And some ...
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207 views

Can we parse the hell out of this construction?

John only had the Ferrari for three months, but while he had it, he drove the hell out of it. I'm pretty sure I aced the hell out of that test. That last stuff you got us, we smoked the hell out of it....
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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. ...
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259 views

NSM explication for 'left'?

How would the NSM explicate the word 'left'? As in, 'the table is to my left'. I just cannot think of any way to do it using the current 65 primes.
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How to define colors in the Natural Semantic Metalanguage?

The Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) attempts to reduce the semantics of all lexicons down to a restricted set of semantic primitives. But in NSM, colors are not semantic primitives. How then to ...
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297 views

All that glitters is confusing!

"All that is gold does not glitter" "Not all that is gold glitters" The first phrase appears in Lord of the Rings, modified from Shakespeare, and contextually implies that "Aragorn is vastly more ...
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Origin of “hold from” as an idiom meaning “love, like, respect” in European languages

Several European languages known to me have a verbal phrase idiom literally translatable as "hold from", expressing various kinds of positive attitude: Dutch houden van "love" Finnish pitää -stA "...
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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? ...

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