Hot answers tagged

12

No. Plain and simple. But let's break down your question. There are several aspects to the whole idea of 'word in a language' that make the question a lot more difficult to formulate properly. In fact, I'd say that there's two quite distinct questions in here that would require quite different disciplinary approaches. Question 1. Is there a word that (...


10

Many languages have such an ambiguity built in. It's very common that you can't tell the morphosyntactic properties of a word or even its phonological interactions just from its form, even given certain generalizations. In German if you encounter the word Schlüssel on its own you don't know whether you have one key (der) or multiple (die) keys. In French if ...


9

The term you are looking for (depending on etymological link) is cognate, or false cognate: False cognates are pairs of words that seem to be cognates because of similar sounds and meaning, but have different etymologies; A famous example is the Mbabaram (extinct Australian Aboriginal language) word for dog, dog. Some further examples are listed in the ...


8

I think it just derives from the belief, common both among Biblical interpreters and linguists, that all meaning is contextual. Some dictionaries make it seem like words just have meanings in isolation from the rest of the language. Better dictionaries show how words relate to each other, how they're used and connected with each other. It's especially ...


6

TL;DR The kind of words you're talking about are defined not by their referent but by their function. Meta-words If we were to draw an extremely rough continuum of word concreteness, it might look like: (1) Proper nouns, e.g. "the Statue of Liberty", where you could point at it directly (2) Common nouns, e.g. "dog", where you could ...


6

You seem to want to ask whether "Donald" is a lexeme (though Gaston Ümlaut notes that lexemes can also be considered morphemes). There is a category of words that includes names: proper nouns (or proper names). Proper names have meaning, and they behave like other English nouns in that you can make them possessive (Donald Trump's presidency) or even plural (...


6

The reason is not about etymology, it is about individual reactions to words. Plainly put, a word is offensive if, when used, a person finds it offensive. If a particular demographic selection of a society finds a word offensive, then you know that if you use that word, you are giving offense. So you adjust your behavior, or don't adjust, depending on how ...


5

I have a problem that the language seems to have no grammar in some cases. For instance there is both "en lag" and "ett lag" meaning completely different things but the word "lag" is the same sound and same spelling, but the difference is in the meaning of the word. The grammar is there, even if it's confused by something else. As you probably know, in ...


5

No, there are a small class of morphemes called interfixes which are needed for phonological reasons, but are not considered to carry any semantic content. One example is the i in humaniform.


5

It depends on your definition of morpheme. S. Anderson cites an 1880 characterization by Baudoin de Courtenay (Stankiewcicz translation) that a morpheme is "that part of a word which is endowed with psychological autonomy and is for the very same reason not further divisible. It consequently subsumes such concepts as the root (radix), all possible affixes, (...


5

I think1 what you're looking for here is that, in Gricean terms, Chris is flouting the maxim of relation, which here means that you don't make an analogy unless that analogy is relevant to the conversation. The surface context is an implicit assumption that Martin wouldn't normally hire someone with no shirt. Chris is certainly accepting that much—his reply ...


4

Let's make a comparison between formal languages and ordinary (or natural) languages. In the former, you say exactly what you utter. In the latter your communicative intention can differ from the exact wording of your statement. So, for example, a mathematical expression like a+b consistently and predictably means "the sum of a and b", and nothing else (...


4

As a native-speaker I can provide only non-scientific explanations to your questions, but still it may be useful. So, is there any difference between the sentence in (1) and the one in (4) from the semantic point of view? The difference is that in (1) "I am writing a letter to mother" which literally means that I am a sender and mother is a receiver of ...


4

Vocabulary.com's senses (and entries) are generally the same as WordNet's: compare with sound at wordnet.princeton.edu. Vocabulary.com has clearly done some filtering to make the entries less Weirdnet: note that there's no example sentence for "the audible part of a transmitted signal", which in WordNet is exemplified by "they always raise the audio for ...


4

Besides cognates, there are also chance coincidences (say, Maya vuh and German Buch "book") when clearly unrelated words have the same sound and meaning in different languages.


4

I'm not aware of a special name/class for them. Yet I can imagine some pairs: loan / borrow (I loan to you / You borrow from me) write / read (I write to you / You read from me) send / receive (I send to you / You receive from me) speak / listen (I speak to you / You listen from me) It's hard to think about a class for this. At first I thought about ...


4

Good question! The unsatisfying answer is "it depends". The more satisfying answer is "yes, if you wait long enough". Metonymy is generally a poetic device. Sometimes it's made up in a particular instance by the poet/writer/speaker, and sometimes it's fairly entrenched (like the "force of arms" you mention). However, over time, metonymic meanings can ...


4

It is not entirely clear which word you're referring to. Genesis 1 is an entire chapter, comprising close to 400 words, and different translations translate the same word differently. Given that the chapter generally deals with the creation of the world, it uses many forms of words concerned with making and creating. The most common ones are: 1) בָּרָא "...


3

Two, three homonyms lag (different meanings, identically written/sounding words), here with two genders for the articles: en/et. A German example with the same phenomenon: die Steuer = the tax, das Steuer = the steering wheel. It is a helpful coincidence that the articles differ. Languages with several lingual origins/cultures, like English (romance+...


3

How is called in linguistics the fact some words have a meaning only with other words? Words that have many context-dependent meanings are called polysemes. Although their meaning depends usually on much more than just other words in the sentence – it's often affected by intonation, broader context of the sentence, opinions of the speaker and much more. ...


3

Traditionally, a morpheme is defined as the minimal meaningful unit of language. Under this assumption, every morpheme is meaningful by defnition. However, this is not always that simple. The definition works well for most of both free and bound morphemes - definitely, free morphemes such as dog, run, red are meaningful, affxies like -ize (verbalisation), -...


3

Well it depends on how you define "morpheme". Usually, it's defined as a sign, i.e. a form-meaning correspondence. In this case, the answer is "yes" by definition (and the -i- in humaniform is not a morpheme but sandhi)


3

It depends on what you mean by "time". 3t means "instant" or "moment"; 88 means "eternity"; sp means "time" as an abstract concept. There are also hieroglyphs for "year", "month", and various other units of time. (Regarding transliteration, what I write as 3 is the glottal stop or alef, also written Ꜣ: /ʔ/; what I write as 8 is Arabic's "emphatic h", ...


3

These are usually called 'converses' or 'relational antonyms'. There are more than five, actually there are quite a few because not only verbs, but also nouns and other parts of speech can be converses, e.g., "father-son", etc. (you can find a NON-EXHAUSTIVE list here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Converse_(semantics)). It is unlikely that you ...


3

Chomsky (in this passage) defines universal grammar as "a system of rules that assigns sound and meaning in a definite way for an infinite class of possible sentences." He writes that it (=universal grammar) consists of three components: syntactic, semantic, and phonological. He understands the syntactic component as the one defining an infinite class of ...


3

The two senses are specific and non-specific: Specific: A certain person, who happens to be an employee, must leave. ("Employee" is not in the scope of "must".) Non-specific: There is a requirement that the person who leaves be an employee. ("Employee" is in the scope of "must".) Paul Postal observed that the vowel of "some" can be reduced to schwa only ...


3

George Lakoff pointed out that definite anaphora requires identity of reference between antecedent and proform, while indefinite anaphora requires identity of sense.


3

Modern context Context is king also seems to be taken up due to the way we communicate and interact. We now often have very short interactions with people and more and more this happens through the computer, so we cannot see what context the sender is in. Some typical examples Tweets! Human communications don't get much more compact than this. These days ...


3

My quasi-answer is too long for a comment. Your underlying assumptions reflect a certain philosophy, Platonism (with some Kantian flavoring), so having a firm grasp of schools of philosophy would help. From that perspective, the "two meanings" that you discern are examples of metaphor. The premise that "X fact about language would make more ...


2

No. Here is some examples. "A system of rules that assigns […] meaning in a definite way is known as 'semantics'" cannot be changed to "Semantics is known as 'semantics'". Also, anybody who says "I'm trying to discover a system of rules that assigns […] meaning in a definite way" would not say "I'm trying to discover semantics". I don't understand the value ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible