Download Introducing Semantics by Nick Riemer PDF

By Nick Riemer

Semantics is the learn of which means in language. This transparent and entire textbook is the main updated creation to the topic to be had for undergraduate scholars. It not just equips scholars with the strategies they want on the way to comprehend the most elements of semantics, it additionally introduces the sorts of reasoning and argument which characterise the sphere. It comprises greater than two hundred workouts and dialogue questions designed to check and deepen readers' figuring out. extra inclusive than different textbooks, it essentially explains and contrasts varied theoretical ways, summarises present debates, and gives invaluable feedback for additional interpreting. Examples are drawn either from significant international languages, similar to Mandarin chinese language, eastern, Arabic, Spanish and English, and from minority ones. The publication additionally highlights the connections among semantics and the broader learn of human language in psychology, anthropology, and linguistics itself.

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Another important contrast is the one between sentence meaning as just described and utterance meaning. We can define sentence meaning as the compositional meaning of the sentence as constructed out of the meanings of its individual component lexemes. But the meaning of a sentence as built up out of its component parts is often quite different from the meaning it actually has in a particular context. In everyday talk we regularly use words and expressions ironically, metaphorically, insincerely, and in other ‘non-literal’ ways.

Thus, instead of a horse-drawn carriage, we can imagine an ox-drawn carriage or a horse-drawn plough: in these cases, we have substituted the concepts OX and PLOUGH for HORSE and CARRIAGE, and these substitutions explain the altered meaning of the expressions. The conceptual hypothesis also explains certain other links between the words ‘horse drawn carriage’ and other words. For example, a little reflection will reveal that HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE is a member of the more inclusive concept MEANS OF TRANSPORT, and is linked, by association, with such concepts as COACHMAN, PASSENGER, REINS, WHEEL, etc.

For the speaker of (39b), then, the referent of Robin Hood’s private helicopter can be taken as the speaker’s representation of the helicopter in their projected world. The reader will easily see that similar explanations can be constructed for the other examples in (39). The identification between meaning and reference may be successful in breaking the definitional circle, but it leads to a very fragmented picture of the nature of language: on the reference theory of meaning, ‘bridge’ has as many different meanings as it has different referents.

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