Lecture Notes-Semantics

Lecture Notes-Semantics - Semantics pp 143-148 pp 158-159...

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Semantics pp. 143-148 pp. 158-159 pp. 162-166 pp. 170-172 pp. 178-181 pp. 188-189 1.0 Lexical Semantics words carry meaning with them: both the “real world” meaning and that related to properties of the words no “natural” connection between a word and its meaning (arbitrary)—a language group comes to agree on this form-meaning connection both lexical (content) AND grammatical (function) words (ie. articles) are endowed with certain SEMANTIC PROPERTIES that may be indicated by certain “semantic features”—many “features” may make up the semantic content of the word NOUNS > mass/count distinction : [+count] vs. [-count] EX: [+ count]—boy, cup, banana, car, alligator, grain, nurse [-count]—paper, rice, milk, sand, water, wheat, bread depending on context—and the sentence’s syntax—some may have interpretations that are alternately count or mass (i) I ate chicken for lunch./I ate the chicken for lunch./I ate a chicken for lunch > human/non-human distinction : [+human] vs. [-human] EX : [+human]—boy, nurse, teacher, doctor, mother [-human]—alligator, dog, banana, water, wheat *NOTE : often marking an entity for one feature may imply another feature: EX: [+human] entities imply [+animate]—this is a “redundancy rule” AND SO [+human] entities only have to be marked with this feature instead of both human AND animate BUT [+animate] doesn’t imply [+human] -alligator, dog, fish, etc. are animate, but not human > concrete/abstract : boy, cup, banana vs. idea, love, knowledge **semantic features organize entities into certain “classes” which are sets and subsets of each other 1
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VERBS > event/state distinction (basic division) -wash, eat, jump, run, read, write vs -know, believe, think, feel, like > state vs. activity vs. accomplishment/achievement (more advanced) -be, know, like -read, eat, write, dance -hit, fall, break, die articles denote distinctions such as [+/- definite], [+/- specific], gender distinctions, etc. depending on the language lists of semantic properties denoted on nouns, verbs, etc vary widely from language to language (ie. English doesn’t mark gender on [-human] nouns, but Romance languages do) **NOTE: use of different semantic classes of nouns/verb have a variety of syntactic consequences EX: singular count nouns as objects require a determiner in English (ii) a) *I ate apple/pea/banana/bowl of cereal b) I ate an apple/the pea/my banana/a bowl of cereal singular mass nouns do not (iii) a) I ate rice/bread/cereal/chicken > adding a determiner to mass nouns change the basic interpretation b) I ate a bread/a chicken, etc. EX: transitive activity verbs are equally acceptable with or without an overt direct object, depending on the context of the event (iv) Mary read. vs. Mary read a book. (v)
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Lecture Notes-Semantics - Semantics pp 143-148 pp 158-159...

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