Meaning of Semantics

what is semantics

It is called semantics linguistic science that studies the meaning of words and expressions, that is, what words mean when we speak or write. Term coined by Michel Bréal in 1833.

The purpose of semantics is break down the meaning into smaller units, called semes or semantic features, these allow segmenting the meaning of words, and differentiating words of similar meaning and words of opposite meaning.

Secondly, linguistic semantics is responsible for studying the denotation and connotation of words, when the message is expressed objectively, it is said that its meaning is denotative and, when some personal assessment is added to the objective communication through gestures or intonation, it is said that its meaning it is connotative.

The study of words can be divided into:

  • Synonymy occurs when the same signifier can be expressed with several signifiers, for example: collapse, fall, collapse, among others.
  • Antonymy is characterized in that the signifier has the opposite meaning of another, for example: cold – hot.
  • Polysemy originates when a signifier corresponds to several meanings, it is the case of the word leg, it corresponds both to an animal and to the leg of the furniture.
  • Homonymy, is the similarity of meanings, homonymous words have variation in writing, for example: had (verb to have) and tube (cylindrical object).

A semantic field is a set of words or expressions that have a similar meaning because they have a common basic functional unit, called a seme (sign) or linguistic root.

See also Semantic field and Polysemy.

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logical semantics, used in the sciences, is the study of the relationship between a sign and its reality. On the other hand, semantics in cognitive science studies the relationship that a person’s mind attributes to signs, and analyzes the psychic mechanism between speaker and listener.

There are words adopted from other languages, it is what is called semantic tracing. On the other hand, the semiotic science It is responsible for studying the signs, their relationships and meaning.

in computer sciencesemantics is responsible for studying from a mathematical point of view, the meaning of programs or functions.

Etymologically, The term semantics comes from the Greek “semantics”, which means “something that has a relevant or significant meaning”.

Semantics and syntax

The function of syntax is to offer guidelines or norms to create sentences in a coherent way, with the aim of expressing or enunciating the correct meaning of words, and can be supervised by semantic linguistic science, which, as previously identified, is in charge of studying the meaning. of words.

Semantic and morphological

Morphology is the linguistic discipline in charge of studying the form and combinations of the internal components of words. Morphology studies through the monemes and these are divided into: lexemes and morphemes.

The lexemes provide the lexical meaning to the word, that is, the root of the nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, for example: baker, the lexeme is bread, bluish the lexeme is blue.

For their part, morphemes provide grammatical meaning, such as: determining articles, prepositions, conjunctions, endings or affixes.

See also Verb.

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semantics and syntax

The syntactic function is the type of relationship that is established between the different classes of phrases.

Syntactic functions can be classified into 3 categories:

  • Primaries, subject and predicate.
  • Secondary, performed by verbal complements.
  • Tertiary, affect the secondary, that is, complement of the name, complement of the adjective, complement of the adverb.

Lexical and structural semantics

Lexical semantics consists of the study of words without any type of connection with the context in which they unfold. For its part, structural semantics, as its name indicates, consists of constructing and analyzing elementary units to understand such meanings.

generative semantics

In generative linguistic theory, semantics is the component of grammar that interprets the meaning of statements generated by syntax and lexicon.

Well, generative semantics is the linguistic theory that comes from generative grammar, and establishes that every sentence made comes, by transformations, from a semantic and not a syntactic structure.

See also Dictionary.