Lexical meaning is what words, phrases, and sentences mean. Lexical meaning is also called denotative meaning. This is the understood or direct meaning of a word, phrase, or sentence.
When people talk about language being racist, they are talking about the lexical meaning of words. For example, the word “black” does not have a negative denotative meaning, but it has a very strong connotative (social) meaning.
Many linguists believe that syntax (the way words are put together) can also have cultural or social connotations. For example, in English we put the verb at the end of a sentence; this is called verbal inflection. Many languages do not do this, so as linguists study these languages they must be careful to avoid assuming that the verb goes at the end of the sentence because English does it that way.
Examples of hyphenation
Hyphenation is the process by which we derive meaning from morphemes and words. This is done by putting together individual words into phrases or sentences.
Many languages have rules for when to combine words and when to leave a space between them. For example, in German, there are no spaces between nouns and adjectives, whereas in Spanish, there are.
In English, we often use hyphens to separate prefixes and suffixes off of root words. For example, “re-elect” re- means “again” so the new leader will be elect again or re-organize.
Also, when combining two words that have the same root but different endings (such as “upgrade” and “upgrade”), we may use a hyphen to keep the meaning of the word consistent.
Examples of meronymic relations
A meronym is a linguistic relation of proximity where one component of a word refers to the whole meaning or the whole to the component. For example, the word “dog” refers to the species and all its members, while “pup” refers only to one member of the species.
Another example is the word “leg” which refers only to the part below the knee. The relation between these two parts is a meronymic one, as only one leg can be shortened; there cannot be a leg without the lower part.
Yet another example is that of “table” and “top.” Only one table can have a top, and so they are related by this relation. Of course, there are other things that can be placed on a table that are not tops, but they still fall under this category.
Examples of synonymic relations
A synonym is a word or phrase that means the same as another word or phrase. For example, happy, delighted, and euphoric are all synonyms for pleasant.
There are two types of synonyms: informal and formal. Informal synonyms are ordinary words that people use in everyday conversation and writing. Formal synonyms are academic words used in more formal contexts, such as essays, thesis statements, and books.
Informal synonyms are more common than formal ones. People usually use informal synonyms because they are familiar with them. For example, when someone is unpleasant, they might say that they had a bad experience, but it was not awful. An informal synonymous word for unpleasant would be unpleasant—anyone who had a bad experience was not happy about it!
Anyone can use informal synonyms in their writing or speaking, but using formal ones requires some knowledge of language. Formal synonyms help to increase the level of vocabulary in your work.
What is semantics?
Semantics is the term that refers to the process by which we derive meaning from morphemes and words. Morphemes are the smallest meaningful units in language, and words are composed of one or more morphemes.
For example, in the word comprehension, the -ion is a morpheme that represents a meaning (the state of being), and comprehension is made up of two morphemes: com- and -prehension.
All languages have semantics, but how semantics is defined can differ between languages. For example, in English, semantics is defined as the study of meaning; in French, it is defined as style; and in German, it is defined as correctness (in terms of grammar).
Semantics can be explored through several disciplines, including linguistics, psychology, philosophy, and literature. Each field may examine different aspects of semantics, but all relate to language.
What is the difference between semantics and syntax?
The term semantics refers to the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences, not the way they are put together.
The term syntax refers to the rules that govern how words, phrases, and sentences are constructed. How we construct meaning depends on what words and phrases we use and what order we put them in.
These two terms relate to each other in that the way we construct meaning depends on the rules of syntax. For example, if you did not know the syntax of English, you would not be able to derive meaning from words or sentences.
The study of semantics and syntax is called linguistics, and these are academic fields of study. However, even non-academics use and understand the difference between semantics and syntax. Academic linguists also study grammer as well as semantics and syntax separately.
What is pragmatics?
Pragmatics is the study of meaning, and more specifically, the ways in which meaning is derived from words and morphemes. Pragmatics studies how language is used in social contexts, not merely written or spoken.
For instance, what makes a sentence true or false is not just the structure of the sentence but also whether or not it conveys the intended meaning.
In linguistics, this concept is referred to as semantics. The difference between semantics and pragmatics is that pragmatics also takes into consideration the context in which a word or sentence is used.
Examples of pragmatics
Pragmatics is the study of the meaning of language beyond just the words and how they are ordered. Pragmatics includes the social and cultural meaning of language, as well as the way language is used in particular contexts.
For example, consider the following sentence: “It’s too hot to go outside.” This sentence contains no explicit words regarding temperature, but we can infer that it is hot outside based on the statement being made.
In this case, the word “too” indicates a degree of something (in this case, too much heat), which indicates that the speaker finds the temperature to be unpleasant. We can also infer that the speaker is suggesting that someone avoid going outside, because they find it to be uncomfortable.
These are both examples of pragmatics at work—we derive information beyond just the words themselves.
What is the origin of the word “semantics”?
The word “semantics” comes from the name Semon, which was the surname of a psychologist named Richard Semon. He is credited with developing the field of epigenetics, or the study of cellular and physiological function apart from genetics.
Semon studied biology and psychiatry at the University of Berlin, where he learned about genetic inheritance. He went on to study medicine at the University of Vienna before working in research with Nobel Prize winner Hans Basel who studied invertebrates like sponges. This is where he developed an interest in epigenetics.
As mentioned before, semantics is the study of meaning. In linguistics, semantics is divided into two sub-fields: syntax and semantics. Syntax refers to the order and structure of words in a sentence (i.e., verb-subject-object).
Semantics refers to the meaning of words or sentences. For example, “the dog ate my homework” has a different semantic meaning than “my homework ate the dog”.