Semantics I - Linguistics 1AA3 Semantics I What is...

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Linguistics 1AA3 Semantics I
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2 What is semantics? the study of meaning: a: the historical and psychological study of changes in the meaning of words; b: the study of the relations between signs and what they refer to; c: the study of meaning relationships among words and sentences.
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3 What is meaning? In everyday conversations we say: What do you mean? What does the word “blog” mean? What is the meaning of life? Green light means that you can go. She did not mean it… What is the meaning of meaning ?
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4 Is meaning of a word its referent? Tree = Dog = Truth = ?
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5 Words may have no referent but they have meaning A unicorn (Latin unus 'one' and cornu 'horn'): a legendary creature who looks like a horse with a horn on its forehead, a billy-goat beard, a lion's tail, and cloven hooves which distinguish it from a horse…
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6 Meaning as a mental image Tree: what is your mental picture of a tree? Is it one like the oak tree in the winter pictured here?
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7 A palm? A pine? A PS-tree? S NP VP Pro V
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8 Reference and denotation The Prime Minister of Canada: Denotation: The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary Minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and the head of government. The Prime Minister is the leader of the political party that holds the majority in the House of Commons. Referents: referents change over time…
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9 Meaning as use? Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 – 1951) “there is no private language” We determine the meaning of words by their use. Lewis Carroll (1832 – 1898) “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more no less”
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10 Meaning and context That’s great!!! That’s great!!!
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11 Semantics versus Pragmatics Semantics studies lexical and sentential meaning relationships. When we include context and speaker’s intentions, we are moving into Pragmatics
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12 Linguistic sign A sign requires both a signifier and a signified. It is meaningful only within the entire network of signs. The relation between a signifier and a signified is arbitrary . Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913), Swiss linguist, one of the founders of modern linguistics . SIGNIFIER Form SIGNIFIED a concept in the mind/content
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13 Arbitrary nature of linguistic signs The relationship between word form and word meaning is mostly arbitrary. An exception are
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Semantics I - Linguistics 1AA3 Semantics I What is...

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