Semantics is the study of the meaning and how it is constructed and understood. At the introductory level, three subtopics are covered:
- lexical semantics: relationships between words
- phrasal semantics: relationships between sentences
- compositional semantics: the meaning of sentences within the context of other sentences.
Students will study the concept of reference, or the relationship between words and how they are referred to and expressed in language, relationships between words and the semantic features they bear, as well as truth conditions. Studies at the phrasal level include ambiguity, anomaly, idioms, entailment, and presuppositions.
Semantics and syntax are highly interfaced thus syntactic structures are often used to show semantic and grammatical relationships between words and sentences.
Some terms that the student will become familiar with:
- Gricean Maxims
- Diectic expressions
- Truth conditions
- Thematic roles
Membership Semantics Exercises