Questions tagged [semantics]

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

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Semantical and functional morphemes

I have this idea in my head that when it comes to morphemes, there are two divisions at the top: "semantical morphemes" and "functional morphemes". Semantical morphemes are those ...
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A question about argument structure of see, watch, look

According to Kearns(2011), verbs like peer, gawk, spot, scan, sight, study, glare, eye, glance, observe, peep, stare, examine, glimpse, etc. can be categorized into "see" class, "watch&...
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Questions about identifying the thematic roles

I'm still not confident about whether I've totally understood thematic roles. Can you help me see whether these thematic roles are correct? Thank you in advance! a.[Hilda] slung [the case] [overboard]....
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Kayne on Conjunctions and Chomsky's Labelling Algorithm

I'm reading on coordination structures in relation to Chomsky's proposal of the Labelling Algorithm and stumbled upon Kayne (1994) The Antisymmetry of Syntax. In it, Kayne takes the view that ...
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What’s the name of this figure of speech?

Saying “The not tall boy” instead of “The short boy” does it have a name?
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Is the word “Language” in “Natural Language Processing” plural or singular, count or mass? [closed]

I want to translate the word language in the term NLP to the Arabic language. so I wonder, In Natural Language Processing, if the word language is countable or uncountable? whether it is plural or ...
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Introduction to compositional semantics with types

I'm looking for an introduction (book or lecture notes) to compositional semantics based on e-t type theory that would be suitable for first-year level linguistics presupposing knowledge of elementary ...
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What's the tense ambiguity of this sentence?

I'm reading Kearns(2011) and in Ch9, the author says the sentence "All Torah’s friends were rich then" is ambiguous in the possible scopes of tense and a quantifier NP. I know one meaning is ...
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Two questions about referential opacity

I'm self-studying Kearns(2011), and here are two tricky questions I'm really curious about. I asked my classmates but they failed to answer it too. We really don't know how the first sentence can have ...
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Which (of the Germanic) languages support resultative constructions?

my question regards resultative constructions. Which of the Germanic languages supports resultative constructions? It would be awesome if you could suggest any literature regarding any language. ...
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Are these generalized quantifiers correct?

According to Kearns (2011), I know that "the ten apples are bruised" can be interpreted as "‘The ten apples are bruised’ is true if and only if |A ∩ B| = 10." But how about this ...
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Reflexivity of similarity-in-a-respect

In the discussion of similarity relations similarity is typically taken to be reflexive -- in fact, it's the one property that's nearly universally agreed upon. But not everyone thinks similarity is ...
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Why grammaticalized perfective aspect marker is reduced to be used only in narrative style?

I am looking at a set of ballistic verbs like nak, phenk 'throw' in a minor Indo Aryan language spoken in Dravidian vicinity, where one verb of the set is reduced to light verb with perfective meaning,...
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Why do some abstract concepts get described as a liquid in English?

For example, work is completely abstract but we talk about workflows, which is something pertaining to fluids. Why does this happen?
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Phonological parallel of a Lexical Decision Task

Lexical Decision Tasks have been used in psycholinguistics for long. It basically asks the participant if the word shown is meaningful (e.g. GIRL) or not (e.g. GISL) (ref: link). But does a test like ...
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What's it called? Indicating no exceptions to the rule

In my study of an ancient language, I’m seeing certain phrasing that, in a prescription of proper behavior, means emphatically: “without exception!” My question is: Do linguists have a label for this ...
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Automatic sentence negation

I am looking for an automatic sentence negation tool. Something that will be able to perform conversions like: "this ball is large" ---> "this ball is small" "you should ...
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What's the difference between logical modality and epistemic modality?

Logical modality includes logical necessity and logical possibility, while epistemic modality includes epistemic necessity and epistemic possibility. But when I read the explanation of these concepts ...
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How do we explain to material implication?

According to Kearns (2011), for material implication, if p is false, q is true, then p->q is true. One example is given like this, p = Marie invited John, q = John will go. It can be translated ...
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What is the difference between theta-role, theta-grid and argument?

I know that theta-role has the distinctions like agent, theme, goal, etc., but all of them refer to entity, right? And argument can refer to both entity and sentence? Could you please explain them as ...
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Why is the intension of a sentence the set of all possible worlds in which it is true?

In Chapter 1 Section 1.3.3 in Kearns (2011), as for the extension and intension for sentence, Midge is grinning, the extension is "truth value (true or false) in the actual world", and the ...
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How to express “he died” as a state transition not as an action

Original post I've always had a problem with the construction "he died". It is in the active voice, implying that he actively did something. He didn't actively do anything, of course. He ...
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Why is the descriptive quantitative expression coincident with the expression of possession in many languages?

One kind of descriptive expression is the description of quantity. Below are some examples of descriptive expression of time: English: an hour's journey Chinese: yixiaoshi de lucheng Japanese: ...
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Some questions about the basic concepts in semantics

According to the Semantics (Kate Kreans, 2011), there are two kinds of denotation for predicates. For example, the word 'dog', has extension (the set of all dogs in the actual world), and intension (...
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What do we call the object in the relation of denotation?

If the relation between an object and the expression is denotation, is the object also called referent?
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Do the two meanings of “badass” belong to pragmatics or semantics?

As far as I know, pragmatics is about context-dependent meanings and semantics is about literal i.e. context-independent meanings. For example, https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/badass says: badass (...
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Is formal semantics useful for computational linguistics and NLP?

I browsed the table of content of Cann's Formal Semantics. Cann's book is for linguistics, and am I right that it is helpful for computational linguistics and natural language processing? But it also ...
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Across languages, what, if any, syntactic or semantic differences distinguish compound verbs from serial verb constructions?

Across languages, what semantic or syntactic differences distinguish serial verb constructions from compound verbs? Let's disregard phonological differences for the purposes of this question. Let's ...
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Tools for converting text to logical form

What's the State of the Art in software for converting text to some sort of logical form? Pros and con's of different packages approaches, if more than one exists?
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Is there evidence that English speakers associate black with bad and/or white with good

Prompted by the recent move towards replacing the terms "blacklist" and "whitelist", I wonder if there is research around the topic of how people feel about the words "black&...
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A question about connotation meaning and denotation meaning

Here is a word, "flightless" which means "(of a bird or an insect) naturally unable to fly". So should we say it refers to the word's denotation meaning or connotation meaning? ...
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Comparing the crude geographical names in different regions?

I walked past a well called the old piss recently, and saw a street called the poop. I was surprised. So i studied google maps for places called "the piss" and "the poop" in ...
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Are there single-word and generally accepted terms for the referents of the arguments in comparative clauses?

AFAIK, in any statement comparing two entities, there are typically at least three terms: NPa stands for the thing compared VG stands for nature of comparison NPb stands for the thing that the ...
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What's the name of the process in which a word acquires new meanings?

I am almost sure there is a proper name for that but I forgot. It would be the opposite of semantic bleaching...
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Are there languages with separate words for 'mouth opening' and 'mouth cavity'?

I am looking for languages which have separate words for the visible opening of the mouth (the external part, including or not including the lips), and the cavity (the internal part). Put another way, ...
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What are the target and source domain of this metaphor

The metaphor is: "the shower of arrows was over". Could "War" the source domain? And the target domain could be "water"? It doesn't make sense to me. I have read the ...
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What is the relation among connotation, semantics, and pragmatics?

I know that connotation meaning belongs to semantic meaning, but what I'm confused about is the connotation meaning is affected by the context, isn't it? If so, why does it not belong to pragmatic ...
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What is shallow semantic processing?

What exactly is "shallow semantic processing", and how is it related to syntactic analysis? Is it correct to say that syntactic processing of a text is the preliminary step for shallow semantic ...
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Is syntactic understanding of a text actually the most elementary form of semantical understanding of the text?

I am not a Linguist, but I am curious about the question below: Is there a linguistic theory that points out that syntactic understanding of a text constitutes the lowest level of semantical ...
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Is it possible to test statistical significance of difference between two distance/similarity scores?

I have a corpus consisting of tweets by men and another corpus of female tweets. I was thinking of using a word embeddings approach (e.g., glove and fasttext) and examine the cosine similarity between ...
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The semantics of grammatical transformations? [closed]

Please see the following: We start with a sentence/clause like - Mr Wilkins is the oldest person in the village. It seems like we can "transform" the clause using certain "grammatical rules": Mr ...
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Semantic category of [VERB] + as a + [NOUN]

I have the following examples from a corpus (ICNALE corpus) "They can grow as a member of society." "At university, students are regarded as adults not children." "I worked in a hotel as a service ...
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Difference between intonation and tonality?

I have used them interchangeably, but I think that might be wrong. So, is this understanding of the distinction correct? Tonality is pitch affecting semantics (like the Chinese langauge), and ...
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Allowed surface locations of [+wh] phrases apparently depend on semantics—if so, how and why?

Consider Harvey's machine can resemble a human completely or not at all. 1a) ... The extent to which it resembles a human is determined by its software. 1b) ... To which extent it resembles a human ...
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Do nouns in simple apposition semantically unpack to predicate nominatives in English?

A Koine Greek grammar states that nouns in simple apposition are semantically understood as predicate nominatives. So, "Paul the apostle" unpacks to "Paul is the apostle" and "the apostle is Paul" ...
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Do most semanticists maintain that there is a distinction between secondary agents and tools?

I've heard some people say that there are two types of instrument: secondary agents and tools. A secondary agent is something that accomplishes a task when the agent wields it. So we CAN say ...
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What is the semantic term for the things that the single arguments of reflexive and reciprocal verbs stand for?

In my native English, the first argument in "Mary feeds her pigs" stands for an agent, and the second stands for a patient. But what about the arguments in reflexive and reciprocal clauses in single-...
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Does any of these sentences entail the other? [closed]

Does any of these sentences entail the other one? My last name is Jones. My father's last name was Jones.
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How do I write the predicate logic notation for a proposition containing a plural argument?

I need to translate a sentence with an indefinite plural object, as in "I eat apples" to predicate logic notation. If I write it as EAT(i, a), how will the plurality of the argument be accounted for (...
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Is it possible to construct a language that is not semantically ambiguous?

I understand that several work has been done in regards to constructing languages that are both lexically and syntactically non ambiguous such as lojban. Is it possible to extend the work to eliminate ...

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