Semantics and Pragmatics. Semantics. Definition: The study of meaning in language. Pragmatics The study of how context contributes to meaning in language. Referential Meaning = The labeling of objects, persons, events
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The study of meaning in language.
The study of how context contributes to meaning in language
Cultural Meaning = reflection of attitudes, values, shared symbols
Situational Relevance = differing forms for different social situations
Interactional Meaning = defines the social status or relationship between speakers
Affective Meaning = emotional tone of meaningKinds of Semantic Meaning
2 cats but not 2 waters
2. Specific vs. generic
Ann vs. girl
4. animate vs. inanimate
cow vs. rock
5. Masculine vs. feminine
cow vs. bull
6. Human vs. non-human man vs. dog
7. Definite vs. indefinite
the cat vs. a cat
1. Agent 6. Experiencer
2. Patient 7. Instrument
3. Source 8. Cause
4. Goal 9. Temporal
5. Location 10. Possessor
Amy sent a letter from Paris to her friend in Iowa.
1 2 3 4
John’s refrigerator is leaking on the floor.
10 1 5
Reference is the direct labeling of an object, person, event, etc.
Sense is the meaning that is assumed around the reference.
Homonyms – flower, flour
Homographs – bank, bank
relational opposite – buy, sell
gradable – big, small
marked vs. unmarked – man, woman
complementary – dead, alive
Metonyms – Rome, Catholic church
Polysemous – sound investment, sound of music
Paraphrase = two different sentences with the same truth conditions
Anomalous – deviates from the rules of sense
Metaphorical – must use imagination to interpret an anomalous sentence.
Idiom – sentence/phrase that has a semantic meaning other than the referential/sense
Ambiguous – Ex.
The mother of the boy and the girl will arrive soon. (structural)
She is good at catching flies.
Studying Speech in Cultural Context (Ethnographic Study of Speech)
1. Speech Situation (Context)
The social setting in which speech takes place (a party, a religious ceremony, etc.)
2. Speech Act
Minimal unit of speech has a specified function.
A series of interrelated speech acts that
comprise a unit (Conversation, lecture, joke)
An implied truth that is taken for granted by all parties to a speech act.