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Flashcards in Semantics Deck (25)
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1

Semantics

Study of meaning in human language

2

Synonymy

•Words/expressions that have same meaning in some/all context
•Inefficient for language to have 2 words/phrases with absolutely identical meaning, perfect synonymy rare

3

Antonymy

•Words/phrases opposites with respect to some component of meaning

4

Polysemy

•Word has 2/more related meanings
•Bright = shining/intelligent

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Homophony

single form has 2/more entirely distinct meanings
•Assumed there are separate words with same pronunciation rather than single word with diff meanings
•Need not have identical spellings

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Polysemy + homophony

create lexical ambiguity: single form has 2/more meanings
•Surrounding words + sentences usually make intended meaning clear

7

Paraphrase

•Two sentences with same meaning
•Truth conditions: true under same circumstances
•Never perfect because of subtle diff in emphasis

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Entailment

•Truth of one sentence guarantees truth of another sentence
•Prince is a dog. Prince is an animal.
•Reverse does not hold: prince is an animal, he can be any animal

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Contradiction

•One sentence true, other sentence must be false
•Charles is a bachelor. Charles is married.

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Connotation

•Set of associations word’s use can evoke
•Make up word’s connotation, but not its meaning

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Denotation

•Equate meaning of word/phrase with entities to which it refers
•Still not meaning
•Winter = season betw winter solstice + spring equinox

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Extension + Intension

Extension: set of entities it picks out in world
Intension: inherent sense, concept it evokes
•Correspond to mental images
•Woman = women (extension)/female, human (intension)

13

Componential analysis/semantic decomposition

represent intension by breaking it down into smaller semantic components
•Semantic features
•Allows us to group entities into natural classes
•Useful for stating generalizations
•GO: positional change/possessional change/identification change

14

Verb Meaning + Subcategorization

•Componential analysis reveals subtle semantic contrast
•Meaning differences help determine type of complements particular verbs can select

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Structural Ambiguity

•Component words can be combined in more than 1 way
•Two interpretations can be depicted as
•[wealthy men] + women/wealthy [men + women]
•manner words are grouped together in syntactic structure reflects way meanings are combined

16

Thematic Role Assignment

•verb: agent, theme
•to: goal
•from: source
•at: location

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Thematic Role Assignment

•A P assigns thematic role to its complement NP
•A V assigns a theme role, if it has one, to its complement NP
•A V assigns an agent role, if it has one, to the subject

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thematic grid

info about thematic roles assigned by particular lexical item

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Deep Structure + Thematic Roles

•Roles are assigned in deep structure, not surface structure
•NP’s initial position in syntactic structure (Merge), determines its theta role
“who did what to whom”

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Interpretation of Pronouns

•Pronominals: he, she, him, her
•Reflexive: himself, herself
•Interpretation determined by antecedent
•Reflexive pronoun typically must have antecedent in smallest IP containing it

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c-commands

•NPa c-commands NPb if the first category above NPa contains NPb

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Principle A

reflexive pronoun must have a c-commanding antecedent in the same minimal IP

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Principle B

pronominal must not have a c-commanding antecedent in the same minimal IP

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theme

undergoes action
change of state
change of possession
change of location
undergoes set of possible changes
umbrella term

25

Theta roles

shown in the Lexicon in a theta grid