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Semantics
Vaeta Mwatilange Natalia
212105108
Bachelor of English Honours
Content
 Definition of Semantics
 Importance of semantics in the study of
language
 Functions of language
 Types of me...
What is Semantic
 Linguistics is the scientific study of language.
 Linguistics is made up of branches namely:
phonetics...
What is Semantic
 Semantics has two subfields namely:
1. Lexical semantics which is concerned with
the meaning of the wor...
Importance of semantics in
the study of language
 According to Lyons (1981) Linguistics is the
scientific study of langua...
Importance of semantics in
the study of language
 In other words semantics is concerned with
words and what they denote a...
Importance of semantics in
the study of language
 Semantics also studies the meaning expressed
in sentence utterances for...
Importance of semantics in
the study of language
 Facial expressions, dressing codes,
proxemics (distance or territoriali...
Functions of language
 Semantics looks at the functions of
language whereby in order to
comprehend what is being said or ...
Functions of language
2. expressive function-how does the
speaker feel (happy, sad?);
3. directive function-what is your r...
Types of meaning
 According to Cruse (2011) the meaning of all
linguistic expressions vary with the context in
which they...
Types of meaning
 Conceptual/denotative meaning- refers to
the basic essential components of meaning
that are conveyed by...
Types of meaning
 Connotative meaning refers to the
communicative value that is associated with
an expression based on wh...
Types of meaning
 Social meaning- refers to the level of meaning
that we rely on when we identify certain
social characte...
Types of meaning
 Collocative meaning is the associated
meaning a word acquires in line with the
meaning of words which t...
Types of meaning
 Thematic meaning concerns itself with
how the order of words spoken affects the
meaning that is entaile...
Sense relations
 According to Cruse (2011) sense relation is
a semantic relation between units of
meaning.
 There are 5 ...
Sense relations
 Synonyms are two or more words which
are closely related in meaning e.g.
happy=content, joyful and pleas...
Sense relations
American English British English
Attorney Lawyer
Ranch Farm
Bungalow/ cabin cottage
Sense relation
 Synonyms have the same meaning but
differ in terms of context, connotation,
origin.
 They have the same ...
Sense relation
 Antonyms refer to words with the opposite
meanings.
 They are divided into many categories:
1. Simple an...
Sense relation
3. Non-gradable antonyms
4. Reverse antonyms is the relation
between terms describing movement,
where one t...
Sense relation
 Polysemy refers to words which have a lot of
meanings attached to them mainly
depending on the context in...
Sense relation
 Hyponymy is a relation between two
words in which the meaning of one of the
words includes the meaning of...
Conclusion
 Meaning does not have a definite
definition as it varies according to
context.
References
 Cruse, A.(2011). Meaning in Language. An
Introduction to Semantics & Pragmatics.
 Finegan, E. & Besnier, N.(...
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Semantics

  1. 1. Semantics Vaeta Mwatilange Natalia 212105108 Bachelor of English Honours
  2. 2. Content  Definition of Semantics  Importance of semantics in the study of language  Functions of language  Types of meaning  Sense relations
  3. 3. What is Semantic  Linguistics is the scientific study of language.  Linguistics is made up of branches namely: phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics.  Semantics is the branch linguistics which studies the systematic ways in which languages structure meaning, especially in words and in sentences (Finegan & Besnier 1989).
  4. 4. What is Semantic  Semantics has two subfields namely: 1. Lexical semantics which is concerned with the meaning of the words and the meaning relationships among words. 2. Phrasal or sentential semantics is concerned with the meaning of syntactic units larger than the word (Fromkin, Rodman & Hyams 2011).
  5. 5. Importance of semantics in the study of language  According to Lyons (1981) Linguistics is the scientific study of language whereby language is a system of arbitrary symbols which people use to communicate.  In order for communication to successfully take place meaning has to be conveyed and this is where semantics comes in.  Semantics studies the relationship between the signified (object) and the signifier (words, symbols)
  6. 6. Importance of semantics in the study of language  In other words semantics is concerned with words and what they denote and connote for example the term ‘book’ denotes printed work but it can also connote knowledge this is called lexical semantics.  Furthermore semantics studies the use of sign systems called semiotics, it studies how this signs are used to convey meaning e.g. the alphabet sign system and the traffic signs (Saeed 2009).
  7. 7. Importance of semantics in the study of language  Semantics also studies the meaning expressed in sentence utterances for example ‘I love my dress’.  It is moreover at the centre of the study of human mind-thought process, cognition and conceptualization (Leech 1981).  Semantics goes beyond verbal language because one can also communicate or convey meaning without using spoken language by using :
  8. 8. Importance of semantics in the study of language  Facial expressions, dressing codes, proxemics (distance or territoriality), kinesics (body movement) and haptic (touching).  Additionally semantics plays an important role in translation, in order to accurately translate a message from one language to another; you need to understand what the words mean in both languages.
  9. 9. Functions of language  Semantics looks at the functions of language whereby in order to comprehend what is being said or what it means, you have to pay attention to the following functions: 1. informal function-is the language being used to inform you about certain issues/what is the main purpose of the message conveyed?
  10. 10. Functions of language 2. expressive function-how does the speaker feel (happy, sad?); 3. directive function-what is your reaction to what the speaker said? “Keep quiet!). 4. aesthetic function-is the message entertaining? 5. phatic function-is the person talking in order to get rid of awkwardness or to make small talk (start a conversation)?
  11. 11. Types of meaning  According to Cruse (2011) the meaning of all linguistic expressions vary with the context in which they occur for example the word “jersey” can have different meanings according to how it is used: it can be a name (proper noun) or just a noun.  Fromkin, Rodman & Hymans (2011) say that the meaning of the word is what it refers to.  There are two main types of meaning: denotative and connotative meaning.
  12. 12. Types of meaning  Conceptual/denotative meaning- refers to the basic essential components of meaning that are conveyed by the literal use of a word. This is the type of meaning that one can find in the dictionary.  In other words conceptual meaning refers to the direct relationship between the object and the word.  It is mostly used in formal writing and discourse.
  13. 13. Types of meaning  Connotative meaning refers to the communicative value that is associated with an expression based on what it refers to beyond its conceptual meaning (Leech 1990).  It varies from culture to culture, it is linked to real life experiences.  Connotative meaning is further divided into 5 subcategories: social meaning, collocative meaning, affective meaning, thematic meaning & associative meaning
  14. 14. Types of meaning  Social meaning- refers to the level of meaning that we rely on when we identify certain social characteristics of the speakers and situations from the character of the language used.  In simple terms, we put meaning to utterances according to the social contexts in which they are used  It is concerned with social factors such as social class and ethnicity.  Makes use of synonyms.
  15. 15. Types of meaning  Collocative meaning is the associated meaning a word acquires in line with the meaning of words which tend to co-occur with it.  Affective meaning is the level of meaning that conveys the language user’s feelings, attitudes and opinions about a particular piece of information or about the on going context (Finegan & Besnier 1989).  We use stress, intonation and word choice to communicate our feelings and attitudes towards utterances and context.
  16. 16. Types of meaning  Thematic meaning concerns itself with how the order of words spoken affects the meaning that is entailed.  It is more concerned with active and passive voice.  Associative meaning refers to what different people associate words with for example water can be associated with life or healing.
  17. 17. Sense relations  According to Cruse (2011) sense relation is a semantic relation between units of meaning.  There are 5 types of sense relations: 1. synonymy 2. antonymy 3. polysemy 4. homonyms 5. hyponymy
  18. 18. Sense relations  Synonyms are two or more words which are closely related in meaning e.g. happy=content, joyful and pleased.  However the are hardly words that have a precise meaning and that can be replaced with the other.  There is nothing like a true synonyms because synonyms belong to different dialects e.g.
  19. 19. Sense relations American English British English Attorney Lawyer Ranch Farm Bungalow/ cabin cottage
  20. 20. Sense relation  Synonyms have the same meaning but differ in terms of context, connotation, origin.  They have the same meaning but have different associative and emotive meaning .e.g. hate vs loathe misuse vs abuse
  21. 21. Sense relation  Antonyms refer to words with the opposite meanings.  They are divided into many categories: 1. Simple antonyms refer to the relation between words such that the negative of one implies the positive of the other. 2. Gradable antonyms refer to the relationship between opposites where positive one term does not necessarily imply the negative of the other.
  22. 22. Sense relation 3. Non-gradable antonyms 4. Reverse antonyms is the relation between terms describing movement, where one term describes movement in one direction and the other in opposite direction (Saeed 2009)
  23. 23. Sense relation  Polysemy refers to words which have a lot of meanings attached to them mainly depending on the context in which they are used (part of speech).  Polysemy is economical, as it enables several related meanings to expressed by a single form (Cowie 2009).  Homonyms are words that are either written the same ( homographs)or pronounce the same (homophones) but have different meanings.
  24. 24. Sense relation  Hyponymy is a relation between two words in which the meaning of one of the words includes the meaning of the other word.  Cellphone= gadget, girl-person  Superordinate is referred to as the hypernymy  subordinate
  25. 25. Conclusion  Meaning does not have a definite definition as it varies according to context.
  26. 26. References  Cruse, A.(2011). Meaning in Language. An Introduction to Semantics & Pragmatics.  Finegan, E. & Besnier, N.(1989). Language: Its Structure and Use.  Fromkin, V. Rodman, R. & Hymans. (2011). An Introduction to Language. (10th ed). USA : WADSWORTH CENAGE Learning  Leech (1981).Semantics  Lyons, G. (1981). The study of language.  Saeed, J.(2009). Introducing English Linguistics. Cambridge University Press.

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