Questions tagged [semantics]

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

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Analysis of Evidentials

If I analyse evidential devices, is it lexical or propositional level of analysis? I would say it is propositional level, because, for instance, modal verbs being taken out of context may have ...
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How I can identify semantic features?

Actually, I want to know what are the factors to notice in determining semantic features of different parts of speech. I recognize some of them like +/- animate, +/- human, +/- male, and +/- young. ...
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English vs. Esperanto (in grammar, vocabulary, semantics)

I know Esperanto is constructed on the basis of Romance languages; but what are the main differences and similarities between English and Esperanto? Especially from the following aspects: grammar (...
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Establishing the most common “semantic units” in a corpus

I have a corpus concerning spoken English, where the most common words include: you, the, i, to, a. However, I'm not only interested in words but also groups of consecutive words where the meaning is ...
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114 views

Multiple words with a single meaning

What is the technical term from a group of consecutive words with a single associated meaning? For example, phrasal verbs like: "get out" and idioms like: "on the other hand".
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190 views

In which of these sentences is “and” used for coordination?

I had a discussion on coordination with one of my friends and thought it would be better to ask it here. The question is which one of these are coordination and why? Mary likes cakes and hates ...
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Almost half crazy vs Almost half sane

Forgive me if it is not the right place to ask this question in SE sites. I am mostly active on SO but I thought it might be a better fit here. I enrolled in a class this semester and there was a ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the extension and intension of “I'm writing an exam right now.”

I study undergraduate philosophy. I enrolled in a semantics class this semester, which just held its first exam. One of the questions asked, What is the extension, and the intension, of "I'm ...
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What makes a sentence difficult to understand?

When I learned Swedish I noticed I went through two phases of learning with regard to understanding the language. First I had to learn the meaning of common words. For example, "mening" means both "...
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When do you use 'in' vs 'by' when talking about payments and transactions [closed]

When talking about buying things and making payments for them etc... what context would you use "in" vs"by" when referring to the payment. For example... She paid by credit card. (felicitous) She ...
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Is there a term to denote the semantics of “the action of X”?

In English, the -ing form of verb performs multiple semantic functions; one of those functions is "the action of X". In Japanese, the -no morpheme performs multiple semantic functions, and one of ...
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Do some isolating languages have something other than accusative morpho-syntactic alignment?

In R.M.W. Dixon's book, "Ergativity," I read that ergative-absolutive marking is generally morphological. IIRC, that goes for split-S alignment and fluid-S alignment as well. For those who came ...
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Most succinct written language

I am wondering what the most succinct written language is. I would call one language more succinct than another if that language could communicate the same idea as another with fewer characters. I ...
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Semantic Variability of Clause Chaining?

my question concerns languages with clause chaining - that form sentences composed of a string of non-finite medial clauses followed by a finite final clause, or a finite initial clause followed by a ...
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2answers
215 views

How to solve 48÷2(9+3) from a linguistics perspective? [closed]

Suppose an alien life comes to Earth, and challenges us to answer a question that will allow them do determine if we can communicate without ambiguities and solve controversies in a rational way. The ...
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244 views

The “affectee-subject HAVE” construction in English

English has a somewhat unusual construction exemplified by sentences like the following: He had his car stolen. He had his house repossessed. He's had three books published. These are different from ...
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Why do most semantic theories assume no bottom/null element for mereological approaches to events?

Mereological theories of events usually assume that the domain of events forms a join semilattice with no bottom element.(Landman 2004's "Indefinites and the Type of Sets" is one of the few exceptions ...
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What aspect or feature do “over TIME” constructions have?

I have been searching around but as far as I can tell there is no established name for the aspect demonstrated by sentences such as: "I'll read this report over the weekend." "The debt has ...
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What are these NPs, syntactically and semantically?

Sue considers Joe a fool. Sue calls Joe "Daddy-O". Joe weighs 200 pounds. It seems that none of these are objects, as witnessed by the fact that you can't raise them to be the subject of a passive ...
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Why the following two jokes are fun in terms of linguistic terms?

A: What's a baby pig called? B: A piglet. A: So what's a baby toy called? B: A toylet. Tom: Mike has asked me for a loan of five pounds. Should I be doing right in lending it to him? Jack: Certainly. ...
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919 views

What do you call an activity accomplished by other activities

Is there a term for activities which are only ever accomplished by other activities? If I were to make up a term I'd call them meta-activities. Some examples of what I'm thinking of: teaching - ...
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1answer
200 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....
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The Liar's Paradox : a linguistic perspective

The sentence "This sentence is false." is a paradox (called the "liar's paradox) as even though being well formed it is a contradiction. While logicians can call this a case of un-decidability what ...
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171 views

“I thought X was Y” vs. “I thought Y was X”

Walking with my wife the other day, I turned around and realized that the person behind me was, in fact, someone else, and my wife had stopped to look in a shop. I said to her 1a Oh, I thought that ...
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Which annotation software can I use to annotate scope and focus?

I'm looking for an annotation software (no matter which OS), which lets me annotate focus and scope, as user-friendly as possible, e.g., via console input, or via a graphical editor (mouse-supported). ...
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10k views

What is the difference between “or” and “either…or”?

What is the difference between "or" and "either...or? Obviously, one comprises one phonological word and the other comprises two. I have yet to find an analysis of "either...or" in which "either" ...
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Are the meanings of «I know what you know» distinguishable?

First let me warn you I have no academic formation in Linguistics, I can't define that area well, so if this sounds off-topic, it probably is. "I know what you know" is an ambiguous sentence, ...
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232 views

Semantic logic of the word “both” in English - different from “and”?

I am trying to figure out what additional semantic information "both" carries when used in a sentence. Does it differ from "and"? Take the following sentences: Alice and Bob both ate lunch. vs. ...
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Online Semantic Relatedness Database?

I'm looking for something like the (really excellent and useful) MRC database that includes a measure of semantic relatedness for a given pair or set of words in colloquial American English. I've ...
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255 views

Aktionsart - “brought”

I'm trying to analyse the verb brought (or bring) in terms of lexical aspect, or aktionsart. More accurately, it's an analysis of the Hungarian verb "hozta" (bring-3sg.pst.def). Would it be telic (...
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Can some verbs be unergative in some contexts and unaccusative in others?

It seems to me that there are a number of English verbs that can stand for acts that can be done voluntarily or involuntarily. Sometimes we can't help but laugh, but anyone with even mild acting ...
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233 views

Are there any atelic ditransitive verbs (or verb phrases)?

I am wondering if there are any verbs/phrases that qualify both as ditransitive, and as atelic. The following shows the relevant tests. The satisfying verb/phrase should have the same * patterns as ...
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What is the relationship between syntax and semantics?

There are a number of positions you can take on what the relationship between syntax and semantics. You could think that syntax is prior and so think that an expression's syntactic function ...
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247 views

Why semantics can't be the input to syntax

so I have a Syntax II final Friday and am really confused about one of the study guide questions: "Why can't semantics be the input to Syntax? Illustrate with examples". Could anyone please shed some ...
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203 views

Conjunctive NPs in Montague Grammars

I'm considering the sentence Some man and some woman visited a garden Obviously it's not 100% unambiguous how many gardens there are, but I think most people would agree there is just one common ...
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Rates and Units: The difference?

My friend/coworker and I got into a pretty heated discussion about a label for a graph I had made and the units I was using. We work in internet advertising where there is a type of unit (I consider ...
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On price tags/labels why some nouns are used singular/plural regardless of countability?

Is there any explanation regarding why some nouns are used in singular form while the others are used in plural form such as price tags in stores or menus in restaurants. I know that in languages ...
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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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9answers
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Textbook suggestions for syntax, semantics/pragmatics and phonetics/phonology

I am coming to linguistics from a completely non-linguistic background; I was a mathematician. Next year I will start taking some serious (Master's level) linguistics courses and I would like to have ...
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478 views

How do languages with imperfect aspect typically convey distinctions between habitual, iterative, and progressive aspects?

How does languages with imperfect aspects typically convey distinctions between habitual, iterative, and progressive aspects? In English, which does not mark its verbs for imperfect aspect, we have ...
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What is the semantic difference between 'thing', 'object', 'piece' and 'item'? [closed]

I'm editing an article which talks about early terms for artefacts in the Russian language, but the article is in English. Both Russian and English have a diverse field of synonyms for 'thing' - I was ...
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What is the truth value of propostions that have failed in Presupposition?

According to formal sementics propositions (semantic term for "sentences", "clauses") have truth value. The truth value shows whether sentence is true or false and it is denoted as 1 or 0. What about ...
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Mathematical preparation for postgraduate studies in Linguistics

I posted this question in https://math.stackexchange.com/ and it was suggested to me that it would be a good idea to submit the question here, too, as there might be more specialists on the matter. I ...
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Can the root ש ל ם be used to mean “Submission”?

In Arabic, the root S-L-M (س ل م) has a general meaning of "Peace", but can also be used for "Submission" (such as in the words Islam/Muslim). Given the close relation between Hebrew and Arabic, I'm ...
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Defining an idea

I am currently writing my master thesis about extracting "ideas" for innovation from text stored digitally. Thus the project is a combination of "Marketing", "Datamining/statistics" and "Linguistics". ...
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540 views

Linguistic relativity

There is some evidence that word choice dictates not only how we think but also how we act. For example, subjects in Bargh's controversial experiment were reported to walk more slowly after reading ...
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431 views

Useful Features of Semantic Graphs

If this question is too general, please let me know, and I will revise it. I am developing a program that measures all sorts of "features" of a sentence, everything from sentence length, to average ...
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Which layers of the language is dealing with co-reference resolution and how to solve it computationaly?

Which layers of the language is dealing with co-reference resolution and what are the steps to solve this problem in NLP?
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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 ...
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1answer
621 views

Semantics of ordinary language mathematical claims?

Can anyone point me towards some good work on the semantics of ordinary language mathematical claims? Any tips would be greatly appreciated. For example, when a geometer says of Euclidean geometry "...

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