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Student: Nikola Zdravkovic

“Seven Types of Meaning“ in “Semantics” by Geoffrey Leech

This chapter involves a thorough explanation of seven types of ‘meaning in the

wider sense’ from the perspective of semantics, and describes their presence in
linguistic communication. The goal of the chapter, as given in the introduction, is
the division of ‘meaning’ into seven types including conceptual, connotative,
social, affective, reflected, collocative and thematic meaning. Using linguistic
analysis and a variety of graphics throughout the whole section the author first
marks the primary importance of conceptual meaning as the central factor in
linguistic communication followed by its description.
Connotative meaning is thereafter given as a counterpart to conceptual meaning
together with the clarification of the type and its dependence upon age, society and
individual preferences. Moreover, social and affective meanings are explained via
various examples with emphasis on characterizing social category as circumstantial
and affective as parasitic. Additionally, reflected and collocative meanings are
described, and designated as less important types. Reviewing connotative, social,
affective, reflected and collocative meaning the author uses “Associative meaning”
as a summary term for these categories, thereby establishing similarities between
them and appointing connotative meaning as central term. Thereupon he analyzes
the thematic meaning as the last category relying mainly on the form of utterance.
Furthermore, the author faces demarcation problems between the types of
meaning, especially in cases of distinction between conceptual meaning and other
categories and provides a solution for the problem after a careful example analysis.
He explains further why he didn’t investigate the dichotomy of intended and
interpreted meaning and points out the importance of neutrality in linguistic
researches. At the end, apart from simplifying the terminology used, the results are
graphically presented in tabular form with conceptual and thematic meaning as
sovereign categories, and connotative, social, affective, reflective and collocative
meanings as a part of the associative meaning.