Materi Kuliah Semantics

May 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Edited by: Koesnandar, S.Kom

Semantics is the study of the meaning of linguistic expressions. The language can be a natural language, such as English or Navajo, or an artificial language, like a computer programming language.

The following two English sentences mean (aproximately) the same thing:
I’ll be back later and I will return after some time

Speaker Meaning is someone who expresses in language.
Sentence meaning (or word meaning) is the ‘absolute’ meaning of a set of words put together in a grammatical structure, without any considerations of context, tone, gestures etc.

Consider the following dialogue.
Alan: Are you going to Paul’s party?
Barb: I have to work.

If this was a typical exchange, Barb meant that she is not going to Paul’s party. But the sentence she uttered does not mean that she is not going to Paul’s party.

An utterance is a natural unit of speech bounded by breaths or pauses.
An utterance is a complete unit of talk, bounded by the speaker’s silence.

Examples (1) – (2) provide instances of utterance complements in English (utterance complements will be enclosed in square brackets in the examples):
(1) John said [that she came].
(2) John says [he will not do the job].

A sentence is a grammatical unit that is composed of one or more clauses.

A proposition is that part of the meaning of a clause or sentence that is constant, despite changes in such things as the voice or illocutionary force of the clause.

A proposition may be related to other units of its kind through interpropositional relations, such as temporal relations and logical relations.

The meaning of the term proposition is extended by some analysts to include the meaning content of units within the clause.
The tall, stately building fell is said to express propositions corresponding to the following:
“The building is tall.”
“The building is stately.”
“The building fell.”

The meaning of an expression be called sense, and if the expression refers to something, it has reference.
“sense and reference are two different aspects of the meaning of some kinds of terms. A term’s reference IS the object it refers to. Its sense is HOW it refers to that object.”

For example: ‘The husband of Barbara Bush is the President who succeeded Ronald Reagan.’

I guess the Reference is: A [former] President of the USA (George Bush senior);
and the two Senses are:
1. The husband of Barbara Bush; and
2. The man who became President after Ronald Reagan.

Distinction between Sinn and Bedeutung made by the German mathematician Gottlob Frege (1848-1925).

The meaning of an expression (sense) is a property of language, and is not to be equated with the object or concept the expression may be used to refer to: ‘the morning star’ and ‘the evening star’ have different meanings (‘senses’) but both refer to the planet Venus.

A referring expression (RE), in linguistics, is any noun phrase, or surrogate for a noun phrase, whose function in a text (spoken, signed or written on a particular occasion) is “pick out” someone an individual person, place, object, or a set of persons, places, objects, etc.

The kinds of expressions which can refer (as so defined) are:
– a noun phrase of any structure, such as: the taxi in The taxi’s waiting outside; the apple on the table in Bring me the apple on the table; and those five boys in Those five boys were off school last week.
– a noun-phrase surrogate, i.e. a pronoun, such as it in It’s waiting outside and Bring me it; and they in They were off school last week.
– a proper name, like Sarah, London, The Eiffel Tower, or The Beatles.

An opaque context is a linguistic context in which it is not always possible to substitute co-referential expressions (usually grammatically singular terms) salva veritate. In other words, substitution of co-referential expressions into an opaque context does not always preserve truth. For example, “Lois believes x is a hero” is an opaque context because “Louis believes Superman is a hero” is true while “Lois believes Clark Kent is a hero” is false, even though ‘Superman’ and ‘Clark Kent’ are co-referential expressions.

An equative sentence is one which used to assert that two referring expression have the same referent. The following are equative sentences:
•Mrs. Laura is my lecturer.
•That man who walks fast is my brother.
•Dr. Jekyll is Mr. Hyde

In linguistic semantics (notably truth-conditional semantics), a predicate is an expression that can be true of something; it expresses a relationship or property of an argument in a clause.Thus, the expressions “is yellow” or “is like broccoli” are true of those things that are yellow or like broccoli, respectively.

Predicate is that part of a sentence that modifies the subject and it includes the verb and the object/s, for ex. in the sentence ‘John saw his friend’ “saw his friend” is the predicate.

The predicate is everything apart from the subject. So in “Cairo is dusty” the predicate is “is dusty”.

In formal terms, we refer to the verb as the PREDICATOR, because its function is to predicate or state something about the subject.

To conclude: Predicator is the verb of the sentence and predicate is everything apart from the subject.

Notionally, a generic sentence is one expressing a regularity, as opposed to an instance from which one infers a regularity. For example, the generalization “The sun rises in the east” expresses a regularity, while “The sun rose this morning in the east” expresses an instance from which, along with other such instances, one infers a regularity.

Epistemologically, a generic sentence is one expressing a truth (or falsehood) the true value of which cannot, in general, be ascertained solely with reference to any particular localized time. For instance, the present tense sentence “Dogs bark” is true, even though at the pesent time there may be no dogs bark.

Universe of discourse; the set of entities we are talking about when using a sentence. Also called domain of discourse.
EXAMPLE: in using (i)a the universe of discourse can be all human beings (and the sentence is most certainly not true), or it may be a restricted set of human beings (and the sentence may very well be true). In (i)b the universe of discourse has been explicitly restricted by the adjunct in this room.

(i) a everyone is happy
b everyone in this room is happy

Deixis refers to the phenomenon wherein understanding the meaning of certain words and phrases in an utterance requires contextual information. Words are deictic if their semantic meaning is fixed but their denotational meaning varies depending on time and/or place. Words or phrases that require contextual information to convey any meaning – for example, English pronouns – are deictic.
Possibly the most common categories of contextual information referred to by deixis are those of person, place, and time.

– Person deixis: They tried to hurt me, but he came to the rescue.
– Gender deixis: A man is responsible for his own soul.
as opposed to
– Each person is responsible for his or her own soul.
– Place deixis: Here is a good spot; it is too sunny over there.
– Time deixis: It is raining out now, but I hope when you read this it will be sunny.

The context of utterance is often defined as the set of assumptions that the speaker supposes he or she shares with the hearer. First, if contexts must be defined in terms of shared assumptions, then it would be preferable to define the context as the set of assumptionsthat the interlocutors really do share. Second, not all shared assumptions belong to the context, because not all are relevant. Third, hearers need not accept every member of the context, because some presuppositions are informative. Finally, presupposition coordination problems show that contexts may have contents that even the speaker does not accept.

In grammatical theory, definiteness is a feature of noun phrases, distinguishing between entities which are specific and identifiable in a given context (definite noun phrases) and entities which are not (indefinite noun phrases).

A word is considered definite when it refers to something specific in the world, and indefinite when it does not. For example, “a car” or “cars” do not refer to anything specific in the world and thus both examples are indefinite. Conversely, “my car” or “my cars” both refer to actual objects in the world and thus both examples are definite.


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