What Is Semantics In Linguistics And What Does It Do

What Is Semantics In Linguistics, This is very important question for every linguistic student. We will discuss about that.

Semantics is the systematic study of meaning, and linguistic semantics is the study of how languages organize and express meanings. Linguistic semantics is the topic of this book, but we need to limit ourselves to the expression of meanings in a single language, English. Here and there throughout the book we make comparisons with other languages, but these are meant to be illustrative of language differences, not full accounts of what differences exist.

Examples: irony (= meaning the opposite of what is literally said), can only be accounted for on the basis of literal meaning

Lexical vs. logical semantics

Lexical semantics asks: What is the meaning of a given simple expression? Logical semantics asks: What is the meaning of a complex expression, given its structure and the meanings of the simple expressions it contains? Answer given in terms of Compositionality: The meaning of a complex expression is determined by its structure (LF) the meanings of its immediate parts.

We are all necessarily interested in meaning. We wonder about the meaning of a new word. Sometimes we are not sure about the message we should get from something we read or hear, and we are concerned about getting our own messages across to others. We find pleasure in jokes, which often depend for their humor on double meanings of words or ambiguities in sentences. Commercial organizations spend a lot of effort and money on naming products, devising slogans, and creating messages that will be meaningful to the buying public. Legal scholars argue about the interpretation—that is, the meaning—of a law or a judicial decision. Literary scholars quarrel similarly over the meaning of some poem or story.

Three disciplines are concerned with the systematic study of ‘meaning’ in itself: psychology, philosophy and linguistics. Their particular interests and approaches are different, yet each borrows from and contributes to the others.Psychologists are interested in how individual humans learn, how they retain, recall, or lose information; how they classify, make judgments and solve problems—in other words, how the human mind seeks meanings and works with them.

Philosophers of language are concerned with how we know, how any particular fact that we know or accept as true is related to other possible facts—what must be antecedent (a presupposition) to that fact and what is a likely consequence, or entailment of it; what statements are mutually contradictory, which sentences express the same meaning in different words, and which are unrelated.

What Is Semantics In Linguistics. This Is very Important In linguistics Study, You Must Know About That

Linguists want to understand how language works. Just what common knowledge do two people possess when they share a language— English, Swahili, Korean or whatever—that makes it possible for them to give and get information, to express their feelings and their intentions to one another, and to be understood with a fair degree of success?

Linguistics is concerned with identifying the meaningful elements of specific languages, for example, English words like paint and happy and affixes like the -er of painter and the un- of unhappy. It is concerned with describing how such elements go together to express more complex meanings—in phrases like the unhappy painter and sentences like The painter is unhappy—and telling how these are related to each other.

Linguistics also deals with the meanings expressed by modulations of a speaker’s voice and the processes by which hearers and readers relate new information
to the information they already have.

by Abdullah Sam
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