LINGUIST 201 Lecture 17: Semantics III

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University of Massachusetts Amherst

Homophones = Homonyms -Words that are pronounced the same, but have different (unrelated) meaning. -Examples? -read/red, Maine/main/mane, mean/mean Theories of Word Meaning -Reference: relation between language and the actual things or state of affairs in the world -Sense: The sense of an expression is its place in a system of semantic relationships with other expressions in the language. Semantic Relations -Synonymy: Two words are synonymous if they have the same meaning. -Antonymy: Two words are antonymous if they are “opposite” in some sense. Hyponymy -X is a hyponym of Y if in all possible scenarios, X is a subset of Y. Sense ≠ reference -Same Sense — variable Reference -the president of the United States (could refer to any of the 46 presidents) -this slide (could refer to a slide in Detroit or Northampton) -your right ear Constant Reference -Names -Referent: Individual referred to in the actual world -example: -Homer Simpson’s son -Sense: male child of the person referred to as Homer Simpson. -Marge Simpson’s son -Sense: male child of the person referred to as Marge Simpson. -same reference, but with variable sense Give an example of a referent for each of the following: -a past president of the United States Obama -football team Patriots -linguistics instructor John Kingston -pencil my pencil -Muppet Kermit -Country in Europe Bulgaria -car Porsche Sense- No Reference -John ate the cake ​and​ Mary drank the milk. -​Every​ boy has a fire truck. -​Nobody​ bought milk. Logical Words -Knowledge of meaning goes beyond encyclopedic knowledge of words. -Conclusions were based on the meaning of and, but, even though. S
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