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Thứ Tư, ngày 07 tháng 12 năm 2011

SEMANTICS everyday

SEMANTICS everyday

Semantics is a branch of linguistics which deals with meaning.

- Linguistics has three main branches: syntax, semantics and pragmatics.
+ Syntax is the study of grammar ( consisting of phonology, morphology, syntax, and textual grammar )
+ Semantics is the study of meaning in language (i.e what language means )
+ Pragmatics is concerned with meaning in context ( i.e what people mean by the language they use )

Section 1
1.                 Distinguish Semantic meaning from Pragmatic meaning. Give two examples to illustrate each .

- Semantic meaning is context-free whereas pragmatic meaning is context-depedent.
Barack Obama: Do you like the wine I picked out ?
Osama Biladel: It is Italian, isn’t it ?
->  The semantic meaning of “It is Italian, isn’t it ?” is “Is it right that the wine is made in Italy ?
->  The pragmatic meaning of “It is Italian, isn’t it ?” is “ I don’t like the wine you picked out.”

Section 2
2.                 What are semantic features ? ( các nét nghĩa ). Give approriate examples to illustrate your presentation.

-         Semantic features are the smallest units of meaning in a word.
         - child : [+human], [+young], [± male], [+innocent]
         - bachelor: [+human], [+mature], [+male], [+ stay single]
(Semantic features, also called semantic properties or semantic components)
Identify the semantic features in each of the following words.
1.     child : [+human], [- mature], [± male], [+innocent]
2.     aunt : [+human], [±mature], [+female], [+father’s/mother’s sister (in law)]
3.     hen : [+animate], [+female], [+bird], [+fowl], [+fully grown]
4.     ……..

3.                 What is componential analysis ? (sự phân tích nghĩa tố)

In Semantics, componential analysis is “an approach to the study of meaning which analyses a word into set of meaning components or semantic features.
For example, the meaning of  boy may be shown as [+human], [+male],and [- adult] while that of man may be a combination of [+human], [+male], and [+adult]. Thus, man is different from boy basically in one primitive semantic feature: [± adult].
Generally speaking, componential analysis is applied to a group of related words which may differ from one another only by one or two semantic features.

4.                 What are binary oppositions ? (thế đối lập có không)

Some redundancy rules infer negative semantic features. Thus, semantic features are often shown in the form of binary oppositions, which can be stated in terms of pluses and minuses ( that is, [+] and [ - ]):
If father is [+ human], it is therefore [- inhuman]
If father is [ + male] , it is therefore [ - female]
If father is [ + mature], it is therefore [- immature]
If father is [+ paternal], it is therfore [- maternal].
5.                 What is a semantic field ?(trường từ vựng) (also called a lexical field or a lexical set). Give examples to illustrate your presentation.

-         A semantic field is a set of words with identifiable semantic affinities.
-         The lexical/semantic field of kinship terms: father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, etc.
-         The lexical/ssemantic field of color terms: green, blue, red, black, white, etc.

6.                 What is a lexical gap ? (ô trống từ vựng). Give examples to illustrate your presentation.
     - A lexical gap is the absence of a word in a particular place in a lexical field of a language.
(Stallion, mare, foal) share "horse"
 (billy-goat, nanny-goat, kid)------> goat
 (bull, cow, calf)---------> (a lexical gap) ?


7.                 Identify Referent (vật sở chỉ), reference (sở chỉ) and Sense (nghĩa). In what ways are they different from and related to one another ?

-                     A referent is an object or an entity in the real world or in the world of your imagination, e.g your shool, your classmates, your teacher, your teacher, any thing you can see in the classroom right now, the lovely princess in a fairy tale which you have already read, the idealistic working conditions you have ever dreamed of, etc. that is talked about.
-                     The reference of a word or a linguistic expression is the relationship between that word or expression and the thing, the action, the state of affairs, etc. it refers to.
“Peter’s house” (in the English laguage) <_reference_> the house that belongs to Peter (in the real world)
-                     The sense of a word or a linguistic expression shows the internal relationship between that word or expression and others in the language.
- “bachelors” means “unmarried men
- “A dog is chasing a cat” has some sense. However, “a dog is human” has no sense.

8.                 Identify variable reference (sở chỉ không cố định), constant reference (sở chỉ cố định) and co-reference (đồng sở chỉ). In what ways are they different from one another ?

a.                 When the same linguistic expression refers to different referents, it has variable reference.
Ex: The referent of the phrasethe present Prime Minister” used in Britain in 1944 is Mr, Churchill and in 1982 is Mrs. Thatcher.
b.                 When one linguistic expression refers to one and the same referent, it has constant reference.
Ex: “the sun”, “ the moon”, “Angold”, “FIFA”, “UNESCO”, etc.
c.                  When two or more linguistic expressions share the same referent, they have co-reference.
Ex: “The morning star” and “the evening star” both refer to the planet called “Venus.” (Sao mai hay sao hôm = Sao Kim, sao Vệ Nữ)
Ex2: In a conversation about Britain in 1982, “the Prime Minister” and “the leader of the Conservative Party” share the same referent: Mrs. Thatcher.

9.                 Identify the difference between Denotation (nghĩa sở thị) and Connotation (nghĩa liên tưởng). Give appropriate examples to illustrade your presentation.

-                     The denotation of a word is the core, central or referential meaning of the word found in a dictionary.
-                     The denotation of a word is usually described in terms of a set of its semantic features.
-                     The connotation of a word is the additional meaning that the word has beyond its denotative meaning. It shows people’s emotions and/or attitudes towards what the word refers to.
- “Childis denotatively described as [+human], [+young], and [± male]
-->  Under a certain circumstance, “child” may positively be connoted as [+innocent].(trẻ em)
-->  Under another circumstance, “child” may negatively be connoted as [+noisy].(con nít)

(The denotaion, also called the denotative meaning. The connotation, also called the connotative meaning.)

10.                 Identify the multiple senses of a lexical item
A.               Primary meaning/sense (nghĩa nguyên cấp) versus (vs) secondary meanings/senses (nghĩa thứ cấp)

- The primary meaning of a word /(a lexical item) is the first meaning or usage that the word will suggest to most people when it is said in isolation.
The primary meaning of the English noun “wing”, for instance, is “either of the pair of feathered limbs that a bird uses to fly.
- Secondary meanings of a word are the meanings besides its primary meaning.
----->  The primary meaning of a word is central and context-free whereas the secondary meanings of a word are peripheral and context-bound.
Thanks to the verb “ plays” in “ He usually plays on the wing”, for example, “wing” means “ side part of the playing area in the football, hockey, etc.”

B.               Literal meaning/sense (nghĩa bóng) vs. figurative meaning/sense (nghĩa đen)

-   The basic or usual meaning of a word is its literal meaning:
For instance, the east/west wing of a house” means “the east/west part of a house that projects from the main part.”
-                     The figurative meaning of a word creates vivid mental images to readers or listeners. In the sentence “Having a new baby to look after has clipped her wings a bit”, “has clipped her wings” means “has prevented her from achieving her ambition.”

Wing” is an English word that has several closely related (quan hệ chặt chẽ) but slightly different meanings. It is said to be polysemous.

11.                 Distinguish a taboo word from a euphemism

- A taboo word, a “dirty” word, is the world or the linguistics expression that refers to a taboo act or behaviour in a society, a culture or a speech community while a euphemism is the word or the linguistic expression that replaces a taboo word or serves to avoid a frightening or unpleasant subject. Pass away, for example, is a euphemism for die.
- It is crucial to recognize that a taboo word and its euphemism share the same denotative meaning but they differ in their connotative meanings: the taboo word has a negative connotation whereas its euphemism has positive connotation.

12.                 What is hyponymy ? (quan hệ trên dưới or tính bao nghĩa). Give example to illustrate your presentation.

- Hyponymy is a relation in which the sense of a world is totally included in the sense of another word.
- Hyponymy is the relationship between each of the hyponyms and its super ordinate.

(Hyponyms is also referred to as a subordinate or a specific lexical item, i.e.  the “lower” word – từ hạ danh)
(A superordinate is also referred to as a hypernym, a hyperonym or a generic lexical item, i.e  the “higher” word – từ thượng danh)
Cook (a superordinate)
Grill, toast, boild, smoke, fry…..(hyponyms)
--- fry (a superordinate) .--  stir-fry, saute, deep-fry (hyponyms)

13.                 Distinguish a hyponym from a superordinate

- A hyponym is a word whose sense is totally included in the sense of another word.
- A superordinate is a word whose sense covers all the senses of its hyponyms.
Color (a superordinate)
Blue, red, yellow, green, black…..(hyponyms)

14.                 What is synonymy ? (tính đồng nghĩa)

- Synonymy is a relation in which various words have different (sound and written) forms but have the same or nearly the same meaning.
For example, the four English nounskind”, “type”, “sort”, and “variety” are synonyms; they all refer to “ a group having similar characteristics.”

15.                 What are synonyms ? (từ đồng nghĩa)

- Synonyms are various words which have different (sound and written)forms but which have the same or nearly the same meaning.
For example, the two English verbs “hide” and “conceal” are synonyms; they both mean “keep somebody/something from being seen or known about.”

University of Social Sciences & Humanities
Faculty of English Linguistics & Literature

Duration: 150 minutes

1.       State whether the following statements are true or false. Then write T for true statements and F for false statements.
a.       “Buy” and “sell” form a pair of binary antonyms.
b.       An anomalous sentence is a sentence which violates the semantic rules.
c.        The use of the part to stand for the whole is called metonymy.
d.       A semantic field is a set of formally related words.
e.        Unlike denotation, connotative meaning varies from individual to individual.
f.         A hypernym is a word whose sense is included in the sense of another word.
g.       If a word or an expression can be used in different situations to refer to different entities, it is said to have variable reference.
h.       The absense of a term in a particular place in a semantic field is called is a lexical gap.
i.         Two sentences are said to be paraphrases when they have the same or nearly the same meaning.
j.         “Lizard” and “snake” are co-hyponyms.
2.       Identify the sense relation between the words in each of the following pairs.
a.       pass / fail c. furniture / bed
b.       achieve / attain d. taller / shorter
3.       Identify the performative(s) in the following set of utterances.
a.       I warn you not to come any further.
b.       I admit I was careless.
c.        You are requested to keep off the grass.
d.       It is said to be the tallest building in the area.
4.       The following sentences make certain presuppositions. Identify them
a.       I didn’t realize it was so complicated.
b.       It ten years since we last met in Paris.
c.        He’s a man of great talent.
d.       If only she were not so stubborn.
5.       Interpret the following sentences and identify the figure(s) of speech used.
a.       He stil has a ray of hone
b.       I’ve never read Shakespeare in my life.
6.       For the following utterance, give two situations so that the utterance performs two different types of acts. Interpret the utterance in the light of the situations you provide, and then classify it according to the acts it performs.
“It’ll take ages to complete”

Write an essay of approximately 250 words on either topic:
a.       Your opinion of the new helmet law.
b.       To the jams are getting worse and worse in Ho Chi Minh City. What do you….



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