Questions tagged [semantics]

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

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11
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3answers
554 views

Are different “aspects” of a Polish verb the same lexeme or different lexemes?

Polish verbs have two "aspects", imperfective and perfective, which means you use a different word depending on whether the activity you're describing is ongoing or habitual, or if it's definite or ...
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1answer
189 views

Can every language express any lexical aspect?

Wikipedia tells about the difference and relation between lexical aspect and grammatical aspect. Whereas the lexical aspect is a specific way to put focus onto how to observe an event on a semantic ...
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1answer
127 views

Why do time adverbials like “yesterday” have a different distribution than adverbials like “always?”

Consider these two sentences below, which employ some kind of temporal adverbial / adjunct. (I) Yesterday John won the Turkey Raffle. (II) John always wins the Turkey Raffle. My question is, why ...
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1answer
66 views

What Sprachgesetze are suggested by Quantitative Linguistics on semantic level? [closed]

Sprachgesetze, verbatimally laws of language, are stochastic statements about features of a language based on empirical evaluation of a corpus. The Sprachgesetze I found are mainly quantitative ...
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1answer
349 views

Can the entropy per word be caculated precisely?And relation among information theory, semantics, and pragmatics

What we have gotten about the expected per word entropy of random yet grammatical text is just some upper bound of the the expected per word entropy, because we have not found the exact way to compute ...
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0answers
56 views

How many different relations exist for a semantic net?

I have encountered a few random sources, that explains to a layman what a semantic net is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONV38l39PsE this source explains, there are three different relations ...
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2answers
344 views

How many levels to approach language exist in linguistics?

I know only a few,like semantic level to approach its very meaning, the morphology level to understand how single words are build, syntax level to understand the inner structure of sentences. I ...
2
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2answers
188 views

Is there a good introduction to subjectivity in language?

Since the topic of "subjectivity in language" is all new to me, I am looking for an introduction to the topic that 1) gives an overview of the phenomena usually associated with the topic (...
3
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1answer
229 views

VerbNet semantic roles and preposition groups - how to determine matches

Using verbnet to test whether a sentence matches a frame, how does one determine whether the semantic role specified in the verbnet frame is appearing in the sentence or not? e.g. on this verbnet ...
3
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2answers
150 views

Center of a set of words

Is there any available algorithm that can take a set of words and attempt to find a word that best represents the "center of mass" of all those words? This would be easy if we can define a distance ...
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1answer
560 views

Redundancy needing definition [closed]

He was the first who finished last. He was the first who finished second. ............................ third. Is this kind of silly statement some kind of pleonasm? There's only one who takes up ...
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3answers
592 views

Given a verb get a noun that corresponds to subject or object

I have verbs and I would like to find their corresponding noun for either subject or object. e.g. run:subject -> runner kill:subject -> killer kill:object -> dead I also would have groups of them e....
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1answer
452 views

What is the scope of negation (again)?

I recently asked a question concerning the scope of negation. I received helpful feedback from a number of linguists who frequent this forum. My efforts to discern the scope of negation continue, and ...
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2answers
270 views

Do individuals have an Occam’s razor for word meanings?

Background and Example On the German Stack Exchange, we had a lengthy discussion regarding the meaning of the word Gefäß. It was undisputed that a Gefäß is: an item which can contain liquids movable ...
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1answer
273 views

Are theta roles universal?

Is the theta role in one language (ex. English) - L1 the same as in another language - L2, when this two sentence are about the same ? Can anybody give me example, when they are different ?
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What is the scope of negation?

A recent question posed by another user observed that the following sentence is ambiguous: (1) Arthur does not discipline his children because he loves them. This sentence can mean either that ...
2
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2answers
230 views

Term for a similar word that cannot stand for it in every context?

I once learned a term meaning a similar word that cannot stand for it in every context, i.e. a synonym that doesn't work in every instance the original word can (not a hypernym). What is this term?
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2answers
215 views

Relationship between “see” and “look”

I'm interested in how "see" and "look" relate to each other. I think "hear" and "listen" is similar. Is there specific linguistic terminology that describes how the words relate to each other? To me ...
3
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3answers
14k views

What is the difference between assertive and non-assertive words?

What is the difference between assertive and non-assertive words? I haven't been able to find an answer in my online linguistics sources such as the SIL Glossary of Linguistics Terms. The only ...
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2answers
576 views

NP + “had better” + Infinitive V

It just occurred to me that this construction is very peculiar. Pronoun: I had better get going. NP: The cat had better be home. Expletive: There had better be food on the table. ...
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2answers
343 views

Theory behind the semantics of predicates

My goal is to build semantic representation of Russian sentences, i.e. to extract verb predicates and fill in the actant words. The tool I have is some kind of a shallow syntactic parser which works ...
2
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1answer
691 views

Nouns and Interrogative Complements

In English, there are many different verbs which can combine with clausal complements. These verbs can be further sub-categorised as to whether they embed a propositional that-clause, or an embedded ...
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1answer
337 views

Is the semantic component of a generative grammar especially difficult to incorporate in psycholinguistic proccessing models? [closed]

It is often said that it is difficult to match up the structure rules of a grammar with psychologically realistic models of competence. I was wondering if the semantic component was especially ...
2
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1answer
282 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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2answers
151 views

Do these errors affect how native speakers understand these sentences?

I'm working on a research concerning error analysis. I want to ask whether these errors would affect what meaning a native speaker will interpret these sentences as conveying? In magic realism it’s ...
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0answers
714 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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0answers
724 views

Composite truth tables for sentence relations (entailment, synonymy,etc.)

I'm using John Saeed's 'Semantics'. Now in chap 4 I see he is trying to formalize sentence relations such as entailment, synonymy, contradiction, etc., by some kind of different truth tables he calls ...
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2answers
473 views

What are the necessary and sufficient characteristics of a word to be considered as nominal?

Clearly there are morphological "tendencies" (case inflection, no TAM marking) -- but what about the semantic or syntactic characteristics (even if they are just tendencies and not universal)? I ...
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1answer
90 views

Name for statements with exhaustible meaning?

I'm new to linguistics and I'm having trouble finding out if there's any existing literature on statements that have exhaustible meaning. By exhaustible meaning, I'm trying to get at something like ...
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1answer
1k views

The notion of monotonicity

I am slightly confused bu the notion of upward-monotonicity and downward-monotonicity. I cannot understand what exactly can be defined as upward-monoty and down-ward-monotony, is this definition of ...
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0answers
425 views

Production of mind maps

On SpanishD!ct, an interesting discussion about the use of mind maps in language learning has arisen. (This has been trimmed down from a question on ELL.) Are there mind maps such as these that are ...
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0answers
81 views

Is there a way to distinguish habitualis from generic interpretation?

I'm looking for a way to classify a given sentence as either habitualis or generic in a language where neither is a grammatical category. Thus, it should be a some semantic feature of the sentence. ...
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4answers
544 views

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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1answer
1k views

How do idioms and metaphors fit into the principle of compositionality?

The principle of compositionality is formulated as: The meaning of a complex expression is a function of the meaning of its parts and of the syntactic rules by which they are combined. (Partee, ...
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2answers
1k views

Two sentences with the same meaning

I am looking for a statistical or linguistic method that could give the degree of similarity between the meaning of two sentences. I have found in literature many distance measures (euclidean distance,...
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1answer
206 views

How to express semantics in functions

As I understand it, the function is assigned the predicate ( e.g. let f(x) denote [[ _ is red]] ), the domain is the set of all possible referents and the range is the set of all possible propositions....
2
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1answer
495 views

Differences of 'Meta-linguistic' & 'reflexive' statements

I'm currently using John Lyons' 'Semantics' vol 1. In the section 1.3 Object-language and Meta language, after he defines those concepts, he tries to show the difference between meta-linguistic and ...
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2answers
487 views

Is there an established distinction between semantic and syntactic predicates?

My question is probing to learn whether semanticists (and syntacticians) draw a distinction between what I am calling here semantic and syntactic predicates. The question concerns the status of the NP ...
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1answer
97 views

Abbreviation taking the meaning of the whole expression

In English and some other languages (such as Portuguese and possibly Italian), the word "calculus" is actually an abbreviation from "differential and integral calculus" that has taken the meaning of ...
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2answers
1k views

What thematic roles are played by the subject of an intransitive verb?

I am not familiar with the concept of thematic roles, just what is on wikipedia. Here is what I have come up with. agent: The man runs patient: The man was tripped. experiencer: The man falls. My ...
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1answer
126 views

Why does this pronomial not refer?

Consider the following interlocution, Maria: "A man fell off the cliff!" Tabish: "He didn't fall, he was pushed." My professor concluded, This shows that pronouns cannot be the ...
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1answer
63 views

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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2answers
8k views

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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2answers
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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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2answers
2k views

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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1answer
113 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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1answer
189 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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2answers
1k views

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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0answers
399 views

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 "...