Tuesday, September 21, 2010


A.                Semantics
The word semantics which comes from Greece sema (noun) which means ‘symbol’ or ‘sign’. The verb is Semaino which means ‘signify’. The symbol of the synonymy of sema is linguistic sign (France: sine linguistique) (Chaer, 1995: 2). Saussure (1996) states that linguistic sign consists of (1) the signifier, component, in sort of sounds and (2) the signified, the referent outside of language. Semantics is a term which is used in linguistics, which studies the relation between linguistic sign and signified thing. In other words, semantics is a branch of linguistics which studies about the meaning.
Halliday (1985: XVII) states that the term “semantics” does not simply refers to the meaning of words; it is the entire system of meanings of a language, expressed by grammar as well as by vocabulary. Semantics brings in symbol using and symbol system outside language, but the central place of language in human symbol systems makes language its primary concern. In semantics, one is trying to make explicit, the ways in which words, and sentences of various grammatical construction are used and understood by native or fluent speakers of a language.
Arcnoff and Miller (2003:370) says that semantics focuses on theories of meaning which apply to sentences that make statements, and are taken to be either true are false. This assumption shows that there is relationship between linguistic expression and the world which is at the core of linguistic meaning.
Semantics as a general explanation is about the study of meaning of the words, phrases, sentences, and discourse. Lyons (1977:1) states that semantics is generally defined as the study of meaning. Palmer (1981:1) argues that semantics is the technical term used to refer to the study of meaning, and, since meaning is a part of language, semantics is a part of linguistics. Unfortunately, ‘meaning’ covers a variety of aspects of language, and there is no general agreement about the nature of meaning, what aspects of it may properly be included in semantics, or the way in which it should be described.
Lehrer (1974:1) asserts that semantics, the study of meaning, is a vast field, touching on most aspects of the structure and function of language as well as problems in psychology, philosophy, and anthropology. Tarigan (1985:7) states that semantic s is a meaning determination. Semantics studies about both symbols and signs that state a meaning and connect a meaning to another. Therefore, semantics is a technical term referring to the study of meaning, and since meaning is a part of language, semantics is a part of linguistics.
Semantics is the study of meaning. The word "semantics" itself denotes arrange of ideas, from the popular to the highly technical. It is often used in ordinary language to denote a problem of understanding that comes down to word selection or connotation. This problem of understanding has been the subject of many formal inquiries, over a long period of time. The formal study of semantics intersects with many other fields of inquiry, including proxemics, lexicology, syntax, pragmatics and others, although semantics is a well-defined field in its own right, often with synthetic properties http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantics.

B.                 Types of Meaning
Leech (1976) in Chaer (1995:59) divides meaning into seven types: conceptual meaning, connotative meaning, stylistic meaning, affective meaning, reflective meaning, collocative meaning, and thematic meaning.

1.    Connotative Meaning
Tarigan (1986:58) asserts that connotative meaning is what people think about two words and find whether it is possible or impossible for the word to have two different meanings from its denotative meaning. Based on it, the meaning depends on personal interpretation. Sometimes, people have the same or different thought.
Chaer (1995:65) claims that when a word has both positive and negative sense value, the word is called a connotative meaning word. Alwasilah (1990:147) point out that connotation meaning is subjective, in notion that there is a shift from common meaning because it has been added by sense and certain value.
Connotative meaning is the communicative value that an expression has by virtue of what it refers to, over and above its purely conceptual content. It can vary from age to age, from society to society, and from individual to individual. jpkc.hrbu.edu.cn: 8080/ jpkcjs/ Linguistics/ 6kczy/ kj/08c/2.ppt
2.    Conceptual Meaning
Leech (1981:9)  states  that  conceptual  meaning  or  denotative   meaning or   cognitive   meaning   is   widely  assumed  to  be  central   factor  in   linguistics communication   and  the  most  important  type  of   meaning   among   the  others. Denotative meaning is the ‘reference’ of a sentence as opposed to its 'sense' http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/ 2009/01/types-of-meaning.html
Conceptual meaning refers to the logical sense of the utterance and is recognizable as a basic component of grammatical competence. It is alternatively described as the cognitive or the denotative meaning (denotation). This is the basic or universal meaning and can be represented at the lexical level, as well as that of the clause or simple sentence. At the lexical (lexeme) level, conceptual meaning is represented as a set of distinctive features. The relevant set of distinctive features, otherwise described as semes or sememes, depends on a given semantic field. The operant features for ‘people’ lexemes are [human], [adult], [male]. The application of these features uses a binary notation whereby the value of a feature is specified as either positive [+], negative [-], or neutral [+].
It is the essential and inextricable part of what language is, and is widely regarded as the central factor in verbal communication. It is also called logical, cognitive, or denotative meaning. Here is the semantics feature of conceptual meaning:
a.       Man:                [+HUMAN+ADULT+MALE]
b.      Women:           [+HUMAN+ADULT+FEMALE]
c.       Girl:                 [+HUMAN-ADULT+FEMALE]
d.      Boy:                [+HUMAN –ADULT+ MALE]
e.       Bull:                [-HUMAN +ADULT +MALE]
3.    Collocative Meaning
Collocative meanings usually get in touch with the use of some words in the same environment (Leech, 1974:35). Collocative meaning consists of the associations a word acquires on account of the meanings of words which tend to occur in its environment. In other words, it is that part of the word-meaning suggested by the words that go before or come after a word in question. Collocative meaning is the meaning of a word produced in the specific context. As a result of conventionality of collocation, a word will produce different meanings when collocates with different words: - heavy smoker (a person who smokes a lot);
a.       Heavy news (a piece of sad news).
b.      Heavy schedule (a very tight schedule).
c.       Fast color (the color that does not fade).
d.      Fast friend (a reliable friend).
e.       Fast woman (a lady of easy virtue).
4.    Social Meaning
Lobner (2002:27) states that the term social meaning does not refer to this general aspect of verbal interaction, and is thereby not to be confused with the communicative meaning of a verbal act. Rather, social meaning is on par with descriptive meaning: it is part of the lexical meaning of certain words, phrases or grammatical forms.
Social meaning refers to the use of language to establish and regulate social relations and to maintain social roles. This type of language use is alternatively described as social or phatic communication. In phatic communication the verbal interaction has little information value, but instead plays an essential role in oiling the wheels of social discourse. Social meaning is hence communicated through ritualistic use of language as found in greetings, apologies, blessings or condolences.
Social meaning is the meaning which an expression conveys about the contexts or social circumstances of its use. It chiefly includes stylistic meaning of an utterance. It is the formality of the expression. The examples of social meaning are:
a.       mother (formal), mom (colloquial),
b.      mama (child’s language)
c.       dollar (neutral)  buck (slang)
d.      father, papa, old boy
5.    Affective Meaning
In a manner comparable to social meaning, affective meaning is only indirectly related to the conceptual representation. Affective meaning is more directly a reflection of the speaker’s personal attitude or feelings towards the listener or the target of the utterance. Such feelings or attitudes are usually negative or insincere in nature. They are normally expressed through such forms of language use as insults, flattery, hyperbole or sarcasm.
Affective meaning is largely a parasitic category in the sense that to express our emotions we rely upon the mediation of other categories of meaning: conceptual, connotative, or stylistic.
The  level  of   meaning  that   conveys  the  language  user’s   feelings, including  his  attitude  or  evaluation  in   shaping   his  use  of   language  is called affective meaning or emotive meaning. jpkc.hrbu.edu.cn:8080/jpkcjs/Linguistics/6kczy/kj/08c/2.ppt.
6.    Reflective Meaning
Reflective meaning is the meaning which arises in cases of multiple conceptual meanings, when one sense of a word forms part of our response to another sense. It is the product of people’s recognition and imagination. The examples are: He took the drugs, Enjoy yourself. jpkc.hrbu.edu.cn:8080/ jpkcjs/ Linguistics/6kczy/kj/08c/2.ppt
7.    Thematic Meaning
Lyons (1995:154) states that one part of the meaning of sentences – as sentences are commonly defined – that is definitely not part of their proportional content is thematic meaning. For example, the following sentences, which differ in thematic meaning, all have the same truth-conditions, and therefore the same propositional content:
a.       ‘I have not read this book’,
b.      ‘This book I have not read’,
c.       ‘It is this book (that) I have not read’,
d.      ‘This book has not been read by me’.
The meaning arising out of the way in which the writer or speaker organizes his message is called thematic meaning. The examples are:
a.       Tomorrow I plan to have an outing.
b.      I plan to have an outing tomorrow.
S1seems to answer the question: When will you have an outing?;     S2 What will you do tomorrow?

1 comment:

  1. Tamil language has a well established semantic pattern both in language and literature. The commentators have elaborately explained the semantics of words and sentences. Semantics is NANO_GRAMMAR.