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WORD MEANING

Semantics

Words & Grammatical Categories (1)


Grammatical categories (e.g. noun,
preposition) reflect semantic differences:
Different categories of words must be
given different semantic descriptions.
They show different characteristics of
reference and sense
a. Names
e.g. Fred Flintstone
b. Common Noun
e.g. dog, man
c. Pronoun
e.g. I, you, them
d. Logical words
e.g. not, and, all, any

Words & Grammatical Categories (2)


Some types can be used to refer (name),
others may not (common noun)
Some can only be interpreted in a
particular context (pronoun)
Others are very consistent in meaning
across the whole range of context (logical
words)
Semantic Relation between common noun
like man, animal, etc are clearer than
between any noun and logical words

Words & Lexical Items (1)


A dictionary or lexicon is a list of all the words in
a language, together with idiosyncratic information
about them
A word is a minimum free form (Bloofield)
Word is typically the smallest element of a
sentence which has positional mobilitythat can
be moved around without destroying the
grammaticality of the sentence
e.g. John saw Bill
Bill saw John
Bill, John saw

Words & Lexical Items (2)


Words can be identified at the level of writing,
where we are familiar with them being separated by
space (orthographic word)
At the level of phonology, words can be identified
from the strings of sounds which may show internal
structuring which does not occur outside the word
At syntax level, words can be identified from
several grammatically distinct variant
e.g. He walks like a duck
Hes walking like a duck
He walked like a duck

LEXEME
Lexemes are the items listed in lexicon
In a dictionary, the variants of lexeme is known as Lemma
e.g. walks, walked, walking (from to walk)
The usual approach in semantics is to try to associate
phonological and grammatical words with semantics words or
lexeme
Several lexemes can be represented by one phonological and
grammatical word
e.g. He scored with his left foot
They made camp at the foot of the mountain
I ate a foot long hot-dog
Thus, the wod foot has three senses
(1) part of leg below the ankle
(2) base or bottom of something
(3) unit of length, one third of a yard
one lexical entry may contain several lexeme or senses

Vagueness & Ambiguity


The basic idea is that in vagueness the context
can add information that is not specified in the
sense. In ambiguity, the context will cause one of
the senses to be selected
Ambiguity is usually more potential than real since
any given context one of the readings is likely to
fit the context and be automatically selected by
the participants
In vagueness, the unspecified aspects of meaning
are the invinsible. Basically, they are not part of
the meanig and therefore are not available for the
identity check

Examples of Vagueness &


Ambiguity
Vagueness
1. I go for a run this morning
2. The tail-end batsmen added a single run before
lunch
3. The ball player hit a home run
Ambiguity
1. Duffy discovered a mole
2. Duffy discovered a small burring mammal
3. Duffy discovered a long dormant spy
One test for ambiguity rely on one sense being
network Of relation with certain other lexemes and
another sense being a different network