Linguistics 110 Linguistic Analysis: Sentences & Dialects
Lecture Number Seven
The Meaning of Meaning


  1. Sense and Reference
    Gottlob Frege demonstrated that meaning is discrete from the object or category that a word refers to in the real world.

    1. Same Referent, Different Meaning
      a is shorter than ba:
      b is longer than ab:

      the morning star
      the evening star

    2. Referent present but no sense
      London, Paris, John, Mary

    3. Sense present but no referent
      unicorn, martian, griffon

  2. Semantic Compositionality

    1. What are the semantic features (definition) of fast?
      fast car[GO(XY)]
      fast typist[TYPE(XY)]
      fast road [DRIVE-ON(Y)]
      fast guy[????(XY)]
      fast mama[????(XY)]

    2. Where do semantic features apply?
      1. an occasional sailor walked by
      2. the man happily completed the work
      3. The woman told a sad story.

    3. EXERCISE: What are the features of these words?
      1. teacher
      2. poet
      3. Bostonian
      4. run
      5. pound (Verb)
      6. red
      7. light

  3. Types of Ambiguity

    1. Lexical
      1. golf club
      2. I'm all tied up at the moment
      3. When the hand grenade went off under the cow, Billy Bob was left holding the bag

    2. Syntactic
      1. Flying planes can be dangerous
      2. an old man and woman
      3. Mary didn't eat the apple

    3. Compositional
      1. My brother has an old friend of five years.
      2. The first romantic novelist was a hard-nosed pragmatist.
      3. The strange thing is that he's a criminal lawyer!

  4. Conclusion
    Semantics is the study of types of mental categories; how semantic categories are related to linguistic categories (words, sentences); how all are interrelated to produce the human mind. Pragmatics is the study of contexts, presuppostitions, conversational implicature and other performative co

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