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Semantics: the analysis of meaning Based on O’Grady (2000)

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1 Semantics: the analysis of meaning Based on O’Grady (2000)

2 Semantics 1.The nature of meaning 1.1.Semantic relations among words -Synonymy -Antonymy -Polysemy and homophony 1.2.Semantic relations involving sentences -Paraphrase -Entailment -Contradiction 1.3.What is meaning? -Connotation -Denotation -Extension and Intension -Componential Analysis 2.The conceptual system 2.1.Fuzzy concepts 2.2.Metaphor -A spatial metaphor 2.3. The lexicalization of concepts -Lexicalization -Motion verbs 2.4.Grammaticization -Evidentiality in Hidatsa 3.Syntax and sentence interpretation 3.1.Constructional meaning 3.2.Structural ambiguity 3.3.Thematic roles -Thematic role assignment 3.4.The interpretation of pronouns -Principles A and B 4.Other Factors in sentence interpretation 4.1.The role of beliefs and attitudes -presupposition 4.2.Setting 4.3.Discourse -Topics 4.4.Conversational maxims -Relation -Quality -Quantity -Manner

3 Introduction Semantics: the study of meaning Utterances must convey a message In this chapter we will cover: – The nature of meaning – Some of the properties of the conceptual system underlying meaning – Contribution of syntactic structure to the interpretation of sentences – The role of non-grammatical factors in the understanding of utterances.

4 1.The nature of meaning Basic analytical notions used in evaluating the meanings of words Semantic relations among words Variety of semantic relations between words and phrases. -Synonymy: Synonyms are words or expressions that have the same meaning in some or all contexts. Perfect synonymy is rare; for example, “holiday, adolescent.” -Antonymy: Antonyms are words or phrases that are opposites with respect to some component of their meaning. For example, “boy and girl.” -Polysemy and homophony: -Polysemy: having two or more related meanings; for example, “bright” -Homophony: having two or more entirely distinct meanings; for example, “club”. Lexical ambiguity

5 1.The nature of meaning (continued) 1.2.Semantic relations involving sentences -Paraphrase: Two sentences with the same meaning. The same truth conditions. (examples in the book, p. 227). No two structures have absolutely identical meanings. -Entailment: The truth of one sentence guarantees the truth of another sentence. Asymetrical. -Contradiction: If one sentence is true, then the other one is false. 1.3.What is meaning? How is meaning represented in the human mind? -Connotation: The set of associations that a word’s use can evoke. For example, “winter”  …(p. 228) -Denotation (referents): attempt to equate meaning of a word with the entities it refers to(p. 229) -Extension and Intension: Extension: set of entities that it picks out in the world. Intension: its inherent sense, the concepts evoked. Probably, corresponds to mental images. For example, “Prime Minister of Canada”  Extension: Jean Chretien  Intension: Leader of the governing party -Componential Analysis (semantic decomposition): semantic features: woman= +human, -male, +adult (p. 230) Ditransitive VS Monotransitive verbs; Ditransitives denote a ballistic motion. (p. 231)

6 2.The conceptual system How meaning is expressed through the language. Conceptual system that can organize: Inner feelings, perceptions, cultural and social phenomena, physical world 2.1.Fuzzy concepts Rich, old -Graded membership: typicality of a member for a concept; bird = penguin VS sparrow (prototypical) 2.2.Metaphor Understanding one concept in terms of another Isn’t reserved for authors and poets! Time IS Money (Examples, p. 234) -A spatial metaphor Happy IS Up Health IS Up Death IS Down

7 Examples of Conceptual Metaphors in Turkish Türklerde, Para NEdir? Para SIVIdır SUdur Sıvılar ne yapar? Donar Erir Buharlaşır Akar Bir kapta toplanır Hortumla taşınır

8 Examples of Conceptual Metaphors in Turkish (Continued) Donar ► AB Romanya'nın fonlarını dondurdu. Erir ► Aynı dönemde Galatasaray'ın borsa değeri yüzde 75 eridi. Buharlaşır ► Deniz Feneri olayında kimlerin alın teri paraları, ne şekilde ve hangi ahlaksız oyunlarla buharlaştırıldı… Buharlaşan milyonlarca Avro kimlerin, hangi “büyük” şahsiyetlerin bugünkü servetini oluşturdu? ► İspanyol kasası kurudu ► Yunanistan Maliye Bakanı George Papaconstantinou, "Ülkede durgunluğun tahmininden uzun sürmesinin sebebi bankaların kurumuş olması" dedi. Yunanistan

9 Examples of Conceptual Metaphors in Turkish (Continued) Akar ► Ali Ağaoğlu aşkına para akıttı ► ABD muhaliflere para akıttı ► Mektubunda Usulsüz yöntemler ile bir kişiye birden fazla kredi kartı yollatıp aylık gelirlerini 4 bin TL gibi bir rakama çıkartan arkadaşlarının musluk akarken cebimi doldurmam gerektiğini söylediklerini anlatan ihbarcı bankacı H.B. sözlerini şu çarpıcı iddialar ile sürdürüyor…

10 Examples of Conceptual Metaphors in Turkish (Continued) Bir kapta toplanabilirler ► Her ay polislerden 10, amirlerden 20 lira toplanan paralar bir havuzda biriktiriliyor ve evlenen, çocuğu olan, hastalanan polislere küçük hediyeler alınıyor. Ancak toplanan paralar ile yapılan harcamalar arasında ciddi farklılıklar olduğu belirlenmiş durumda. Hortum yardımıyla hareket ettirilir ► Çalıştığı bankasını hortumladı

11 2.The conceptual system (Continued) 2.3. The lexicalization of concepts Communities probably do not have different conceptual systems, but languages differ from each other in terms of how they express particular concepts. -Lexicalization: concepts encoded in the words of a language. (Example, “snow” in Inuktitut, p. 235) -Motion verbs: conflation pattern : motion + (manner|path|moving thing) = single verb 2.4.Grammaticization Concepts that are expressed as affixes or non-lexical categories. -Evidentiality in Hidatsa (p. 239)

12 3.Syntax and sentence interpretation Positioning of words and phrases in syntactic structure helps determine the meaning of the entire sentence. The principle of compositionality: meaning of a sentence is determined by the meaning of its component parts and the manner in which the are arranged in syntactic structure. 3.1.Constructional meaning Part of the meaning can come from the construction. The judges laughed the poor guy out the room. Jerry baked Lou a cake. 3.2.Structural ambiguity Sentences diagrammed more than one way. Nicole saw the people with binoculars.

13 3.Syntax and sentence interpretation (continued) 3.3.Thematic roles Agent, theme, source, goal, location, and so on. -related to particular aspects of word meaning The magician changed the ball into a rabbit. -Thematic role assignment at from -Deep structure and the thematic roles Which book should the students read? 3.4.The interpretation of pronouns -pronominals: he, him, she, her -reflexive pronouns: himself, herself -antecedent (a word replaced by a pronoun): reflexive pronouns must have an antecedent in the smallest S containing it. That boys teacher admires himself. -Principles A and B NPa c-commands NPb if the first category above NPa contains NPb. -Principle A A reflexive pronoun must have an antecedent that c-commands it in the same minimal S. -Principle B A pronominal must not have an antecedent that c-commands it in the same minimal S. The boys teacher admires him.

14 4.Other Factors in sentence interpretation Besides structure, information of pragmatics is also necessary to interpret a sentence. Pragmatics includes attitudes, beliefs, understanding of the context, knowledge of how language is used to inform, persuade, and mislead. 4.1.The role of beliefs and attitudes -Likely characteristics of people a. The judge denied the prisoner’s request because he was cautious. b. The judge denied the prisoner’s request because he was dangerous. -presupposition -McGee was assassinated in Setting -spatial deictics: this, here, that, there 4.3.Discourse -Topics 4.4.Conversational maxims -Relation -Quality -Quantity -Manner


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