Chapter 6.docx

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26 Apr 2012
Chapter 6 Semantics: the analysis of meaning
semantics the study of meaning in human language
6.1 The nature of meaning
o semantic relations among words:
synonymy have the same meaning in some or all contexts
(i.e. vacation, holidays) *perfect synonymy is rare
antonymy are opposites with respect to some component
(i.e. dark, light)
polysemy a word has two or more related meanings
(i.e. bright: (a) shining (b) intelligent)
homophony a single form has two or more entirely distinct meanings
(i.e. light: (a) not heavy (b) illumination) *homophones do not have to be spelled identically;
write and right are homophones
polysemy and homophony create lexical ambiguity relies on context;
surrounding words and sentences make the intended meaning clear
o semantic relations among sentences:
paraphrase have the same meaning
(i.e. (a) The police chased the burglar (b) The burglar was chased by the police)
*must have the same truth conditions, active sentences = ambiguous, passive sentences can only have 2nd
entailment the truth of one sentence guarantees the truth of another
sentence (i.e. (a) The park wardens killed the bear (b) The bear is dead)
contradiction if one sentence is true, then another sentence must be false
(i.e. (a) Charles is a bachelor (b) Charles is married)
connotation the set of associations that a words use can evoke
(i.e. winter: snow, cold, short days, ice)
denotation - equating the meaning of a word with the entities to which it refers
to (i.e. winter = the season between winter and spring)
extension corresponds to the set of entities that it picks out in the world
intension involves notions like female and human (mental images)
Prime Minister of Canada: (E) Stephen Harper (I) leader of the governing party
componential analysis an approach to represent a words intension by
breaking it down into smaller semantic components using semantic features
[man:] [boy:]
+human +human
+male +male
+adult -adult
*allows us to group entities into natural classes; go = denotes the entity undergoing change
Circulatory Issue, Infinite Regress
verb meaning and subcategorization see textbook pg. 191
6.2 The conceptual system
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