Questions tagged [semantics]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1
vote
2answers
436 views

Everything is too much, nothing is too little?

What are the statements of the sentence : Everything is too much, nothing is too little. "Alles ist zuviel, nichts zu wenig." In German there are several interpretations: That everything is too ...
1
vote
3answers
725 views

On donkey sentences: why is this formalization incorrect?

Part of the difficulty surrounding donkey sentences, to my understanding, is about how hard they are to translate to FOL in a matter that is consistent with other translations to FOL in english. Take ...
3
votes
1answer
406 views

Why does gang-nam and viet-nam both contain nam meaning south when one is in Korean the other Vietnamese?

Does anyone know why there is a character that is common to both the Koreans and the Vietnamese? Are there any other examples of these kind of similarity?
10
votes
3answers
662 views

Textbooks in Formal Semantics / Montague semantics

I'm looking for a cheap, thorough but reasonably accessible introduction to formal semantics. There appear to be lots of options on the market. I assume there are plenty of experts in formal semantics ...
1
vote
1answer
696 views

influence of the structure of a sentence on its semantics

A friend told me : "The syntax is different from semantics. Semantics are concerned with the meanings of single words, not the structure of the sentence" Is that true ? If not, how can the ...
8
votes
7answers
411 views

Do other languages distinguish the verbs “to drink” when talking about alcohol?

It's interesting that English uses the verb "to drink" intransitively exclusively when talking about alcohol, as in: I drink a lot. But transitively when talking about anything else, as in: I ...
1
vote
1answer
614 views

What are common non-lexical indicators of sarcasm expressed orally in English

I've been doing some anecdotal research into what indicates sarcasm in spoken form. My goal is to find indicators of sarcasm without relying on the meaning of the words and sentences themselves. ...
5
votes
1answer
374 views

Semantic Relatedness metric across Parts of Speech

I am a student in psychology, but I have very little familiarity with linguistics. I am doing working on flexible cognition and memory, and we are developing a task that requires participants to ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

Metaphor/metonymy

To lose one's head - is it a metaphor or metonymy? Head here probably stands for the life of a person,so it's probably a metonymy? And is it the same for phrase to give smb. a heart ?
11
votes
3answers
558 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
195 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 ...
2
votes
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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
351 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
57 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
353 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
votes
2answers
190 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
votes
1answer
230 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
votes
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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
596 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....
1
vote
1answer
459 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
272 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
283 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 ?
9
votes
2answers
9k views

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
votes
2answers
231 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?
3
votes
2answers
220 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
votes
3answers
15k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
580 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. ...
0
votes
2answers
349 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
votes
1answer
716 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
342 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
votes
1answer
294 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("...
0
votes
2answers
153 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 ...
2
votes
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 ...
2
votes
0answers
734 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
479 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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
429 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
82 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. ...
15
votes
4answers
570 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 ...
3
votes
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, ...
1
vote
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,...
3
votes
1answer
209 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
votes
1answer
507 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
496 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
99 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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
1
vote
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 ...