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Chapter 5 Semantics Word Meaning. The Second Week. 5.3.1 Sense and Reference 5.3.2 Seven types of meaning. Key points:. Sense and reference Seven types of meaning. Difficulties:. The relation between sense and reference Conceptual meaning Connotative meaning Social meaning.

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Chapter 5 Semantics Word Meaning


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  1. Chapter 5 SemanticsWord Meaning The Second Week

  2. 5.3.1 Sense and Reference 5.3.2 Seven types of meaning

  3. Key points: • Sense and reference • Seven types of meaning

  4. Difficulties: • The relation between sense and reference • Conceptual meaning • Connotative meaning • Social meaning

  5. Affective meaning • Reflective meaning • Collocative meaning • Thematic meaning

  6. Sense and reference

  7. The Definition of sense • Sense refers to the inherent meaning of the linguistic form; it is concerned only with intra-linguistic relations. It is the collection of all the semantic features of the linguistic form; it is abstract and de-contextualized.

  8. Samples: • Dog: a domesticated canine mammal, occurring in many breeds that show a great variety in size and form • Desk: a piece of furniture with a flat top and four legs, at which one reads and writes • I: first person, indicating the speaker

  9. The definition of reference: • Reference means what a linguistic form refers to in the real, physical world; it deals with the relationship between the linguistic element and the non-linguistic world of experience.

  10. Samples: • I am your linguistics teacher. I refers to SYT. • The screen in the classroom is not clear.

  11. The relation between Sense and Reference: • All linguistic forms have sense, but not reference. • The linguistic forms with the same sense may have different references in different situations. • Some linguistic forms with the same reference might differ in sense.

  12. Exercises: Identify the nature of the bold words. • Boys are fewer than girls in our class. • Wu kanke is a girl. She is our monitor. • China will be the second airbusproducer in the world. • I went to Los Angeles by the airbus last November.

  13. Problem: • Problem: whether language determines the shape of the world or vice versa is probably a “chicken and egg” dilemma. Which came into being first, sense or reference?

  14. 5.3.2 Seven types of meaning • British linguist G. Leech classified meaning into: conceptual, associative meaning. • Associative meaning into: connotative, social, affective, reflective, collocative and thematic meaning.

  15. 5.3.2.1Conceptual meaning(概念意义) • It is the essential and inextricable part of what language is, and is widely regarded as the central factor in verbal communication. It is also called logical, cognitive, or denotative meaning.

  16. Semantic features • Man: [+HUMSN+SDULT+MALE] • Women: [+HUMAN+ADULT+FEMALE] • Girl: [+HUMAN-ADULT+FEMALE] • Boy: [+HUMAN –ADULT+ MALE] • Bull: [-HUMAN +ADULT +MALE]

  17. 5.3.2.2 Connotative meaning(内涵意义) • Connotative meaning is the communicative value that an expression has by virtue of what it refers to, over and above its purely conceptual content. It can vary from age to age, from society to society, and from individual to individual.

  18. Samples: • father---strength, strong will, tolerance • businessperson---wealth, generosity • Internet cafe---uncleanliness, unpleasant affairs

  19. Differences between conceptual and connotative meaning • Compared with conceptual meaning, connotative meaning is peripheral, and relatively unstable, that is, it may vary according to culture, historical period, and the experience of the individual. In addition, connotative meaning is indeterminate and open-ended in a sense in which conceptual meaning is not.

  20. 5.3.2.3 Social meaning • Social meaning is the meaning which an expression conveys about the contexts or social circumstances of its use. It chiefly includes stylistic meaning of an utterance. It is the formality of the expression.

  21. Samples: • mother (formal), mom (colloquial), mama (child’s language) • dollar (neutral) buck (slang) • father, papa, old boy

  22. 5.3.2.4 Affective meaning(情感意义) • The level of meaning that conveys the language user’s feelings, including his attitude or evaluation in shaping his use of language is called affective meaning or emotive meaning. • Ex. Politician---statesman

  23. 5.3.2.5 Reflective meaning(反射意义) • Therefore, reflective meaning is the meaning which arises in cases of multiple conceptual meanings, when one sense of a word forms part of our response to another sense. It is the product of people’s recognition and imagination.

  24. Samples: • He took the drugs. • Enjoy yourself.

  25. 5.3.2.6 Collocative meaning(搭配意义) • collocative meaning is the associations a word gets because of the meanings of words which tend to occur in its linguistic context.

  26. Samples: • fast reading/friendship/color/road/car • have a fast; a period of fasting • Fast has such collocative meanings as quick moving, capable of high speed, firmly fixed, or abstaining from food for a time.

  27. 5.3.2.7 Thematic meaning主位意义 • The meaning arising out of the way in which the writer or speaker organizes his message is called thematic meaning.

  28. Samples: • Tomorrow I plan to have an outing. • I plan to have an outing tomorrow. • S1seems to answer the question: When will you have an outing?; S2 What will you do tomorrow?

  29. Assignments: I. Give definition to the following terms: 1. sense 2. reference 3. conceptual meaning 4. connotative meaning

  30. II. What connotations or connotative meanings do you think the following nouns have in English? charity iron mole snow street