What is semantics?. It is the study of the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences in a language system. What does a semantic analysis focus on?.
It is the study of the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences in a language system.
A semantic analysis mainly focuses on the conventional meaning of words (the meaning conveyed by the literal use of words and sentences; dictionary meaning), rather than on what a speaker might want the words to mean on a particular occasion.
This means that this linguistic approach to meaning emphasizes the objective and the general. It keeps away from, on the other hand, the subjective and the local.
Sentence meaning or word meaning is what a sentence (or word) literally means; the equivalent as manifested in standard dictionaries of the language concerned.
Speaker meaning is what a speaker intends to convey, transmit, or deliver when he uses a piece of language. The same sentence can be used by different speakers on different occasions to mean different things.
The first step in dealing with the theory of meaning is to clearly recognize the distinction between what speakers mean and what words (or sentences) mean.
Once a person has had a good command over the meanings of words and sentences of a language system, he can quickly understand the different conversational and social functions of utterances. However, prior consideration is given to sentence meaning.
Competent speakers of a language can safely know and describe the meanings of words and sentences of it. However, they can not by anyway exceed native speakers of a language in the matter of access to the basic data of meaning. A native speaker (informant) is the primary source of information about meaning.
English, as most languages, has a number of different dialects whose pronunciation differs from a dialect to another. As a result, there are also differences in the basic semantic facts from one dialect to another. That's why native speakers of a particular dialect are the main source of access to the meanings of this dialect in general.