A. Three subfields of semantics:
1) lexical semantics
2) sentential semantics
3) pragmatics
B. Phrasal & Sentential Semantics
1. What you should know about sentence meaning
a) truth conditions
1) tautologies (analytic sentences): always true
2) contradictions: always false
3) paradoxes
b) relation of sentences
1) entailment: If A is true, B is true.
2) paraphrase: with the same truth condition
3) contradictory: If A is true, B is false.
4) ambiguity
C. Compositional semantics
Compositional semantics cannot solve
1. anomaly
a) nonsense
b) no sense
2. metaphor
3. idiom
D. Lexical Semantics
1. sense vs. reference
2. lexical relations
a) synonyms
b) antonyms
1) complementary antonyms
2) gradable antonyms
3) relational antonyms
c) homonyms
d) polysemy
e) hyponyms
f) metonym
3. semantic features/properties
a) nouns: [+female/-female], [+human/-human], [+count/-count]….
b) verbs: [+cause/-cause], [+state/-state]…
1) argument structure: C-selection & S-selection
2) thematic roles: the relations of NPs depending on the meaning of the verb
AGENT: the one who performs an action
THEME: the one or thing that undergoes an action
LOCATION: the place where an action takes place
SOURCE: the place from which an action originates
the place to which an action is directed
INSTRUMENT: the means by which an action is performed
EXPERIENCER: one who perceives something
CAUSE: a natural force that causes a change
POSSESSOR: one who has something
** Thematic roles are determined in lexicon.
** Thematic roles are the same in sentences that are paraphrases.
E. Pragmatics
Pragmatics is concerned with the interpretation of linguistic meaning in context.
1. linguistic context – discourse
a) pronoun
b) the and a
2. situational context
a) deixis
1) person
2) time
3) place
b) Maxims of Conversation
Quantity: say neither more nor less than the discourse requires
Relevance: be relevant
Manner: be brief and orderly; avoid ambiguity and obscurity
Quality: do not lie; do not make unsupported claims
** Any violation of the maxims will lead to conversational implicatures.
c) speech acts: use language to do things
1) performative verbs & performative sentences