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Chapter 5 Semantics

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  1. Chapter 5 Semantics

  2. Contents 1 What is Semantics 2 Meanings of MEANING 3 Sence and Reference Major semantic relations among words 4 Major semantic relations among sentences 5 Analysis of Meaning 6

  3. 5.1 What is Semantics?The definition of semantics • Semantics can be simply defined as the study of meaning. • Semantics is the study of the meaning of linguistic units, words and sentences in particular.

  4. What is the “MEANING”?Meanings “of meaning” • One difficulty in the study of MEANING is that the word “meaning” itself has different meanings. • Seven types of meaning recognized by G. Leech in his Semantics (1974, p.23)

  5. 概念意义 内涵意义 社会意义 感情意义 反映意义 搭配意义 主题意义 Conceptual meaning Connotative meaning Social meaning Affective meaning Reflected meaning Collocative meaning Thematic meaning

  6. Conceptual meaning • According to Leech, conceptual meaning refers to logical ,cognitive or denotative content. Conceptual meaning is denotative. • 逻辑认知外延的东西, 概念意义相当于外延意义 • When the word “root” means “part of plant that keeps it firmly in the soil and absorbs water and food from the soil", the meaning is conceptual meaning.

  7. Leech says the first type of meaning –conceptual meaning –makes up the central meaning. • It is “ denotative” in that it is concerned with the relationship between a word and the things it denotes. • 利奇认为,第一种意义是概念意义,它是词义的核心。这种意义是指“外延意义”,因为它表示词和它所指事物之间的关系。

  8. In this sense, conceptual meaning overlaps to a large extent with the notion of REFERENCE. • 从这种意义上说,概念意义在很大程度上与指称意义相交叉。

  9. Leech’s conceptual meaning has two sides: sense and reference. • The distinction between sense and reference is similar to that between connotation and denotation. • The former refers to the abstract properties of an entity, while the latter refers to the concrete entities having these properties. • To some extent, every word has a sense, i.e. some conceptual content; other wise it cannot be used or understood. But not every word has a reference.

  10. G.Leech 的概念意义包括两个方面:涵义和指称。 • 涵义和指称的区别类类似内涵和外延: • 前者指的是一个实体的抽象意义,后者指的是拥有这些属性的具体实体。 • 每个单词都有涵义,即概念意义,否则它无法被使用或理解,但并非每个单词都有指称。 • 17

  11. Sense and reference • Sense is concerned with the inherent meaning of linguistic form, the collection of all its features, it is abstract and de-contextualized. • It is the aspect of meaning dictionary compilers are interested in . • 意义指的是语言形式的内在意义。它是语言形式所有特征的集合,是抽象的,而且与语境无关, • 是词典编纂者所感兴趣的方面

  12. Reference means a linguistic form refers to in the real physical world; it deals with the relationship between the linguistic element and non-linguistic world of experience. • 指称意指语言形式在现实的物质世界中的所指的事物,它涉及的是语言成分和非语言的经验世界之间的关系。

  13. Leech also uses sense as a briefer term for his conceptual meaning . • It may refer to the properties an entity has. • In this sense, “sense” is equivalent to “concept”.

  14. The definition of “desk” as “a piece of furniture with a flat top and four legs, at which one reads and writes” may also called the sense of the desk.

  15. A word having reference must have sense. • Explain the difference between sense and reference from the following four aspects: • 幻灯片 9 • To some extent, Every word has a sense, i.e. some conceptual content; other wise it cannot be used or understood.

  16. A word having sense might not have reference. • But not every word has a reference. There are linguistic expressions which can never be used to refer, for example, the words so, very ,maybe, if, not and all. These words do of course contribute meaning to the sentences they occur in and thus help sentences denote, but they do not themselves identify entities in the world. They are intrinsically non-referring items. • And the words likeGod, ghost and dragon refer to the • imaginary things, which do not exist in reality.

  17. A certain sense can be realized by more than one reference. • Some expressions will have the same referent across a range of utterances, e.g. The Eiffel Towel or the Pacific Ocean,suchexpressions are sometimes described as having constant reference. • Others have their reference totally dependent on context, expressions like I , you, she, etc. are said to have variable reference.

  18. A certain reference can be expressed by more than one sense. • There are cases when a reference can be expressed by more than one sense. Evening star (a planet -usually Venus- seen at sunset in the western sky)and morning star (a planet - usually Venus- seen just before sunrise in the eastern sky) nearly always refers to Venus. • But each of them presents a particular emotional temperament and a particular sense of values , meaning , ideals and appreciations.

  19. Conceptualist/ Mentalism View(概念论) • Conceptualist view holds that there is no direct link between a linguistic form and what it refers to (i.e. between language and the real world; rather, in the interpretation of meaning they are linked through the mediation of concepts in our mind.

  20. Mentalism or Conceptualism follows Saussure’s “sign ” theory ,and considers the linguistic sign to consist of a signifier and signified, i.e., a sound image and a concept ,linked by a psychological “associative” bond

  21. Concept Signifier signified

  22. This is best illustrated by the classic semantic triangle or triangle of significance) • A theory which explicitly employs the notion “concept” is the semantic triangle proposed by Ogden and Richards in The Meaning of Meaning. • According to the “semantic triangle” theory, the relation between a word and a thing it refers to is not direct .It is mediated by concept.


  24. A certain concept in our mind DOG particular dog • (The dog over there looks unfriendly)

  25. Contexualism 语境论 • They hold that meaning should be studied in terms of situation, use, context-elements closely linked with language behavior. • A representative of this approach is J.R. Firth, the leading British linguist of the period.

  26. The contextualist view of meaning is based on the presumption that one can derive meaning from or reduce meaning to observable contexts. • Two kinds of context are recognized: the situational context and the linguistic context.

  27. Behaviorism • Behaviorist attempted to define the meaning of a language from as “the situation in which the speaker utters it and the response it calls forth in the hearer.” • This theory ,somewhat close to the contextualism, is linked with psychological interest • This view of meaning proposed by Bloomfield is illustrated by his story about Jack and Jill.

  28. Major semantic relations among words-certain relations between lexical items • Synonymy • Antonymy • Polysemy • Homonymy • Hoponymy

  29. Synonymy refers to the sameness or close similarity of meaning. • Dialectal synonyms-synonyms used in different regional dialects (BrE & AmE) • Stylistic synonyms-synonyms different in style, or degree of formality • Synonyms that differ in their emotive or evaluative meaning • Collocational synonyms • Semantically different synonyms

  30. stylistic (casual ,neutral, formal ) • 2. 6.The sense relationship between Kid, child and offspring ________. • 6.The sense relationship between buy and purchase is ________ • 10. The sense relationship between autumn and fall is _________________ . • 23.The sense relationship between thrifty and stingy is _________________ . • P3 310) boot/trunkmercury/ quick silver (水银) • P4 4 3) “Kids” and “children” are synonyms despite their stylistic difference synonymy dialectal synonymy emotive synonymy (T)

  31. Antonymy • The term antonymy is used for oppositeness of meaning; words that are opposite in meaning are antonyms. • Gradable antonyms (两极之间):some antonyms are gradable because there are often intermediate forms between the two members of a pair. it is the matter of the degree of the two extremes. • Complementary antonyms(非此即彼); A pair of complementary antonyms is characterized by the feature that the denial of one member of the pair implies the assertion of the other. It is the matter of either one or the other. • Relational opposites(关系颠倒):Pair of words that exhibit the rehearsal of the relationship between the two items called relational opposites.

  32. 10/22/(P3 2 5): • The sense relationship between • (big and small) /(long and short) / (wide and narrow) • 12/19 /(P3 3 10) • The sense relationship between • (husband and wife)/(teacher and students) • (borrow and lend) /(over and under) • 7/13/20/21 /(P3 3 10) • The sense relationship between • (dead and alive) /(male and female) • (before and after)/(relinquish and retain) (放弃/保存) Gradable antonyms /opposites- gradability Converse antonyms (relational opposites) Complementary antonyms -complementarity

  33. Polysemy • The same one word may have more than one than one meaning • Such word is called a polysemic or polysemous word. 24.The word screen has many different meanings such as in a fire screen ,a television screen. This is called________. P3 3 10).boot/trunk_________________. polysemy polysemous words

  34. Homonymy同音异义 • Homonymy refers to the phenomenon that words having different meanings have the same form ,i.e. different words are identical in sound or spelling, or in both. • Homophones (identical sound) • Homographs (identical spelling) • Complete homonyms (identical sound and spelling)

  35. 4.The phenomenon that words having different meanings have the same form is called________. • 14.The sense relationship between see and sea is_________. • P3 3 10)tale/tail:_________. • P4 5 1) flour-flower:________. homonymy homonymy homonyms homonymy

  36. Hyponymy • Hyponymy refers to the sense relations between a more general ,more inclusive and a more specific word. • The word which is more general in meaning is called the superordinate(上坐标词), and the more specific words are called its hyponyms(下位词).

  37. hyponymy • 5.The sense relationship between furniture and desk is________. • 15. The sense relationship between color and yellow is _________. • P3 3 5) Terms like “desk” and “stool” (凳子)are ________ of the term “furniture” • P3 3 10) satellite/moonfabric/rayon :________ • P4 4 1)The meaning relationship between MAN and GROWN-UP hyponymous because the semantic features of MAN are included in those of GROWN-UP. hyponymy hyponyms hyponymy (T)

  38. P4 4 2) Semantically ,BEEF is excluded in MEAT. • P4 4 9) “Tulip”, “rose”, and “violet ”are all included in the notion of “flower” , therefore they are superordinates of “ flowers”. • P4 5 1) tree-maple, birch:_________ (F) (F) hyponymy

  39. Major semantic relations among sentences(certain relationships between sentences and also the constituents of the same sentence) • Of the five semantic relations among sentences: paraphrase ;entailment; contradiction; presupposition ;and tautology. • The meaning of a sentence is the result of the meanings of the words used in it and its syntactic structure. • 句子意义是词语意义和句子结构共同作用的结果

  40. Logical semantics studies how the truth of a composite proposition is determined by the truth value of its constituent propositions and the connections between them. • 逻辑语义学研究成分命题真值及成分命题之间的关系如何决定复合命题真值。

  41. Paraphrase (真真假假) • 1)X is synonymous with Y • In terms of truth condition, if X is true, Y is true, and if X is false, Y is false. (two sentences mutually entail each other) Entailment is an entailment of X) • In terms of truth condition, if X is true, Y is necessarily true • If X is false, Y may be true or false

  42. Presupposition (Y is a prerequisite of X) • In terms of truth condition, if X is true, Y must be true • if X is false, Y is still true. Contradiction /tautology • If two sentences can not be true at the same time and in the same situation, they can be contradictory of each other. • The unnecessary and usually unintentional use oftwo words to express one meaning

  43. P3 2 1)The sense relationship between “John plays the violin” and “John plays a musical instrument” is_________ . • 2) “Semantics is the scientific study of meaning” is a _________ . • P4 4 4)In the following pair of sentences, Sentence (b) presupposes Sentence (a): John managed to finish in time. (b) John tried to finish it in time. entailment tautology (T)

  44. P4 5 3 Of the five relations among sentences : paraphrase, entailment, contradiction, presupposition, and tautology, which of these relations is exemplified in each of the following pairs of the sentences or sentences?

  45. A.I saw Timothy at the anniversary party. It was Timothy that I saw at the anniversary party. • B. The orphan has no father. • C. Jules is Mary’s husband. Mary is married. • D. Vera is an only child. Olga is Vera’s sister. • E. The mayor of Manchester is a woman. There is s mayor in Manchester. • A. paraphrase • B. tautology • C. entailment • D. contradiction • E. presupposition

  46. Analysis of Meaning • Componetial Analysis-a way to analyze lexical meaning • Predication Analysis-a way analyze sentence meaning