Semantics.pdf

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University of Ghana*
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LNGS 101
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Feb 10, 2024
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Lecture 5-6: Areas of linguistic study Semantics Semantics • Semantics is the study of the meaning of morphemes, words, phrases, and sentences in language. • Every speaker has words and their meaning stored in a mental dictionary known as the lexicon . • To understand the meaning of an expression is to understand the meaning of the words used to define its meaning, referred to as compositionality . (46) [ S [ NP The boy [ VP went [ PP to [ NP school ]]]]] R. A. Duah (UG-Legon) LNGS101: Intro. to linguistics First Semester, 2022/2023 87 / 131
Lecture 5-6: Areas of linguistic study Semantics Semantics There are two kinds of meaning, which look like "two sides of the same coin": 1. Reference: the relationship by which words hook unto the world proper names −→ individuals verbs −→ actions adjectives −→ properties of individuals adverbs −→ properties of actions 2. Sense: how we see an object and the sum-total of associations the word has with other parts of the linguistic system father −→ loving person/parent, disciplinarian, role model, etc. There can be several meaning (sense) relations between different words including, synonymy, homonymy, polysemy, antonymy, meronymy, hyponymy R. A. Duah (UG-Legon) LNGS101: Intro. to linguistics First Semester, 2022/2023 88 / 131
Lecture 5-6: Areas of linguistic study Semantics Sense relations Homonymy : relationship between words which are pronounced/spelled the same but have different meanings, e.g., lie , base 1. Homophone : Pair of words which are pronounced the same but have different meanings, e.g., pair vs. pear, son vs. sun 2. Homographs : Pair of words which are spelt the same but have different meanings, e.g., lead , sow Synonymy : a relationship between words which have the same meaning or are close in meaning, e.g., buy vs. purchase • Synonymy may results from dialectal variation , style and register, and use of new terms åå⌅å Are there true synonyms in natural language? Illustrate with examples. R. A. Duah (UG-Legon) LNGS101: Intro. to linguistics First Semester, 2022/2023 89 / 131
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