Questions tagged [semantics]

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

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2answers
96 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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76 views

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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57 views

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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1answer
191 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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1answer
130 views

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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3answers
169 views

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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31 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 ...
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2answers
153 views

Is there a way to refer to the semantic similarity-based counterpart to *eggcorn*?

Is there a way to refer to the only-semantic-similarity-based counterpart to eggcorn, which is phonetic similarity-based by definition? Not a hypercorrection, just that thing when you remember ...
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439 views

Word meaning as function of the composition of its phonemes

tl;dr Linguists like to claim that the mapping from sounds to word meanings is mostly arbitrary. Can you point out research that supports this claim? Specificllay I am looking for hard evidience in ...
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132 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
100 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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190 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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127 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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1answer
103 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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156 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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1answer
88 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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1answer
562 views

The semantic type of and?

Semantic types meaning for example a verb being of type (e,t), or an individual/entity being of type e. I am confused in these two sentences, because I believe the semantic type of 'and' is different ...
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1answer
82 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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325 views

How do languages with negative concord express the actual negation of negative polarity items?

This is something I started wondering while working on formal logic, but I'm having trouble finding any papers that address it. Obviously, the standard way to express negation with a polarity item in ...
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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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4answers
4k views

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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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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1answer
185 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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4answers
108 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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1answer
112 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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103 views

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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220 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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328 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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582 views

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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72 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 ...
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57 views

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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115 views

Do grammatically close languages tend to begin to use literal translations of some words in other senses in that other language?

Let's have an English phrase "let's have" and the Czech equivalent "mějme". Perhaps, at some point in the past, someone was translating a math textbook and didn't know how to translate "let's have" in ...
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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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82 views

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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1answer
134 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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1answer
154 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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237 views

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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4answers
176 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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146 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? ...
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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"...
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67 views

What books to read about lexical semantics?

I want to have a systematic understanding on semantic field, lexical semantics, and semantic change. Skimming at Kate Kearns' Semantics, it seems that its focus is more about formal semantics, with ...
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28 views

How to determine entity relationships for a proper noun

Apologies if I am using the wrong terminology I am starting a pet project using R to determine the associations for a Proper Noun For example I would like to see all the associations with the name '...
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1answer
195 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 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?) ...
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135 views

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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1k views

Are people's names considered morphemes of a language?

For example, is "Donald" a morpheme of the English language? I can see reasons for and against. Reasons for: It allows us to say stuff like "a language is a function from sequences of morphemes of ...
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1answer
51 views

Where can I find an analysis of the semantic overlap of English “to have” and “with”?

For years I've understood via my native speaker intuition and my interest in languages and linguistics that the preposition "with" can carry the semantic meaning of the verb "to have". The man who ...
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82 views

Algorithm for identifying “secondary roots”

In machine learning on text data (aka natural language processing), it's common to apply a stemming or lemmatization algorithm to the text. However, sometimes you want to go a step further. For ...
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367 views

What is the view of prototype theory regarding features?

For example, the most prototypical exemplars of bird is robin, the least ones are ostrich or penguin. But since it rejects the classical theory (aka the necessary and sufficient conditions), I think ...

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