Questions tagged [semantics]

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

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0answers
49 views

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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3answers
11k 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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2answers
267 views

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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1answer
244 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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1answer
260 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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84 views

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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1answer
235 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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5answers
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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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3answers
257 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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2answers
207 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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155 views

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
7k views

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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1answer
487 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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2answers
7k views

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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1answer
2k views

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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786 views

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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2answers
2k views

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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2answers
215 views

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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2answers
544 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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1answer
435 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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505 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 ...
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1answer
623 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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1answer
645 views

Truth value of a proverb

One of the key tools of analysis in classical semantics is the concept of truth value. The content of a proposition, when contextualized in a particular world and a particular time, should have a ...
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4answers
13k views

Using the word "dream" as hope for the future across languages

Many languages seem to use the same word for "dream" (psychological phenomenon) and "dream" (hope for the future). Quick scanning on Wiktionary gives the list: Germanic languages: Danish (drøm), ...
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2answers
829 views

Is redundancy in language really impossible? (Case of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive)

I have heard time and again that languages will reject words and structures that are redundant. That is, for example, if though two words may seem like they are perfect synonyms (e.g., rotund and ...
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Is "I'm paraphrasing myself when I say this..." autological?

A friend of mine posted the following on his Facebook wall: I'm paraphrasing myself when I say this... I know this isn't a paradox, is it autological? Is it recursive? Is it even a true statement? ...
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What divides semantics from pragmatics?

To my understanding... Semantics is the raw meaning and connotations a word carries on it's own and pragmatics is the context-dependent meaning a word holds. Is this accurate? Can anyone explain it ...
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1answer
101 views

How do I get 'hosted' from 'He had a party at his house'?

I'm new to NLP so bear with me if this isn't possible yet. I am interested in taking a sentence like 'He had a party at his house' to 'He hosted a party at his house' or simply the verb 'hosted'. Is ...
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1answer
430 views

What does the term "ontology" mean vis a vis the study of natural language?

Many of us know that the term "ontology" applies to the a priori philosophical study of the nature of existence. Ontology is a branch of metaphysics (the attempt to coherently characterize reality a ...
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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 ...
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1answer
1k views

What is pragmatic strengthening?

The term "pragmatic strengthening" has been tossed around in a lot of papers I've been looking at for a project I'm doing on idioms, and I can't seem to find a simple definition anywhere. Is anyone ...
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2answers
773 views

False-belief verbs

Some languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese, have a dedicated belief verb that one uses for describing false beliefs. For instance, in Mandarin, yiwei is used to describe beliefs that the ...
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1answer
168 views

What is a "witness world"? Is this notion related to "witness sets"?

In reading a paper by Anand & Hacquard, I've come across the term "witness world," where a witness world can verify a proposition, p. I haven't been able to google an easily understandable ...
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3answers
156 views

Movement and Speech

This may be a little weird, but... How can we describe words or phrases that have a specific accompanying movement? What sort of topics do they cover? To what degree has research been done on this? ...
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1answer
125 views

References on Definiteness

Does anybody happen to know of any good and fairly readily-available surveys of the language-specific semantics of definiteness cross-linguistically? Specifically, I'm interested in all the various ...
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1answer
771 views

What is the role of syntax in understanding event descriptive sentences?

I've been closely following the work stemming from St. John and McClelland's Sentence Gestalt Model, which uses a connectist model to extract semantic information about events from sentences without ...
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4answers
525 views

Does any language use bound morphology to express the concept "less"?

In English, many adjectives support the -er ending to express a notion of exceeding: John is taller than Mary (is). Mary is smarter than John (is). Of course, you can also have the more analytic ...
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2answers
239 views

The meaning of "what"?

"What" is defined grammatically as an interrogative pronoun ... used interrogatively in asking for the specification of an identity, quantity, quality, etc. (Wiktionary) In dictionaries, however, ...
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3answers
2k views

Is there a difference between plurality in semantics and in morphology?

With regard to morphology a common example of a lexeme is [dog, dogs] where dogs is the plural inflexion of the lemma dog modified by the -s suffix, marking plurality. Although I can accept that dog ...
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1answer
85 views

Do we have any idea how widespread NPIs are?

Most languages have words that function as negative polarity items. Is this believed to be true of all human languages? Are there specific languages that have been plausibly claimed not to have any ...
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1k views

Identifying studies on how English language reflects sexism

Right now I'm looking for papers on how sexism is reflected in the English language. A lot of the literature is from the 1970's and is seen as a little out there and not empirical. Besides reading the ...
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1answer
491 views

Thematic roles in some languages

I have a question about semantic roles in Latin and Russian. Latin Quibusdam […] sudor erumpit. someone. DAT.PL sweat. NOM.SG come out.PRES.3SG. ‘Some people start sweating.’ ...
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3answers
902 views

Is there any language that doesn't express Tense but allows "aspectual coercion"?

Mandarin Chinese appears to be a language that may not express tense (at least in the way I will define below), and it does not seem to allow aspectual coercion. By not expressing Tense I mean, such ...
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4answers
30k views

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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9answers
3k views

Are there languages that distinguish between inclusive and exclusive "or"?

I would be especially interested in Indo-European languages or other common language families, but failing that, I would be very interested if it exists at all, because it is an important distinction ...
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2answers
1k views

Are there any non-Indo-European languages with go-periphrasis?

Some Indo-European languages have a construction called go-periphrasis, by which some form of the verb go is used in conjunction with the main verb to mark tense. Most languages that have this feature ...

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