Semantics: The meanings of Language
Semantics: The study of the linguistic meanings of morphemes, words,
phrases, and sentences.
Lexical semantics: Subfields of semantics, which is concerned with the
meanings of words and the meaning relationships among words, and phrasal
or sentential semantics, which is concerned with the meanings of syntactic
units larger than the word.
Pragmatics- The study of how context affects meaning –for example, how
the sentence it’s cold in here comes to be interpreted as “close the windows”
in certain situations.
Semantic properties: The components of meaning of a word, Ex: “young” Is
a semantic property of “baby, colt, puppy”
Semantic Properties and the Lexicon
The lexicon is the part of the grammar that contains the knowledge
speakers have about individual words and morphemes, including semantic
Semantic features: a formal or notational device for expressing the
presence or absence of semantic properties by pluses and minuses. Example
on pg 147.
Count nouns: Nouns that can be enumerated—Ex: one potato, 2 potatoes
Mass nouns: Nouns such as rice, water, and milk, which cannot be
enumerated or preceded by a or many but can by much or by nothing at all.
Count nouns may be either abstract (ex: idea) or concrete (ex: girl), as may
mass nouns (ex: information or soup).
More Semantic Relationships
Classifiers: grammatical morphemes that mark their semantic class.
Homonyms and Ambiguity
Homonyms: different words that are pronounced the same, but may or may
not be spelled the same. Example: The twobats or tale and tail.
Homographs: Different words that are spelled the same, whether or not
they are pronounced the same.
Partial homonymy (called heteronyms) occurs where words are spelled the
same but are pronounced differently.
Polysemous: When a word has multiple meanings that are related
conceptually or historically.
Ambiguous: The terms used to describe a word, phrase, or sentence with
multiple meanings. Synonyms: Words that sound different but have the same or nearly the same
Paraphrases: When synonyms occur in otherwise identical sentences, the
sentences, the sentences will be paraphrases.
Lexical paraphrase: Sentences that have the same meaning due to
synonyms, Ex: She lost her purse and She lost her handbag.
Antonyms: Words that are opposite in meaning.
Complementary pairs: Two antonym related in such a way that the
negation of one is the meaning of the other. Ex: alive means not dead.
Gradable pairs: Two antonyms related in such a way that more of one is less
of the other, Ex: warm and cool; more warm is less cool, and vice versa.
Another characteristic of many pairs of gradable antonyms is that one is
marked and the other unmarked.
o The unmarked member is the one used in questions of degree.
Relational opposites: pair of antonyms in which one descrives a relation
between two objects and the other describes the same relationship when the
2 objects are reversed. Ex: John is the parent of Susie describes the same
relationship as Susie is the child of John.
Hyponyms: Words whose meanings are specific instances of a more general
word. Ex: red, green and blue are hyponyms of the world colour.
Metonym: A word substituted for another word or expression with which it
is closely associated. Ex: Ottawa indicates federal governments.
Meronym: A part to whole relationship in which the meronym is part of a
Retonyms: An expression that would once have been redundant, but which
societal or technological changes have made no redundant