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Response to Problem Set 5 Semantics Linguist Problem Set

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Introduction to Linguistics Semantics I Semantics: How form relates to meaning. Syntax: Structure of sentences. Morphology: Structure of words. Phonology: Structure of sounds. Phonetics: How sounds are articulated. Basics Form and Meaning form /ðə “thekæt cat sæt sat on ɔn ðə themæt/ mat” meaning Compositionality • Sentences follow the principle of compositionality: the meaning of the whole is the meaning of the parts plus how they are combined. form “the cat sat on the mat” meaning What is Meaning? • We distinguish two aspects of linguistic meaning: sense and reference. • Sense is the mental representation of a meaning. • • The concept in your mind when you hear “table”. Reference is the actual entities in the world that an utterance refers to. • If I say “that table” and point at a particular table, the referent is that actual physical thing. Sense and Reference Sense Reference “that cup” Sense and Reference • Sense: A mental representation of the meaning of a linguistic expression. • Reference: The set of real objects in the world that a linguistic expression in a particular utterance refers to. • Some expressions have sense but have no reference! • Example: • A unicorn • Sense: A horse-like four-legged creature with one horn on its forehead head. • Reference: Ø, empty set (in our world). Sense without Reference • Examples of expressions with sense but no reference: • Could a linguistic expression have reference without having sense? • The queen of the United States • The tie that I am wearing • The first person on Mars • Zeus •… Multiple Senses, Same Reference The most populous country in the world Reference Reference The country that hosted the 2008 Olympics • The most populous country in the world and The country that hosted the 2008 Olympics have different senses. • But they have the same reference (the country of China). Multiple Senses, Same Reference The most populous country in the world Reference Reference The country that hosted the 2008 Olympics • You can tell the senses are different because: • 1. In the future or the past, the references for these expressions might change to two different things. • 2. You can know that China is the most populous country in the world and not know that it is the country that hosted the 2008 Olympics. Sense vs. Reference • • An expression can have sense without having reference. • • Sense is like the definition of a word. Two expressions can have different senses but the same reference. Reference is the actual objects in the world picked out by a word in context. • The set of objects in the world that match the definition given by the sense. Compositional and Lexical Semantics Semantics • Semantics is the study of how the form of a linguistic expression relates to its meaning (sense and reference). • There are two kinds of semantics: • Lexical semantics: Study of the sense and reference of words. • Compositional semantics: Study of how the meanings of words combine to form the meanings of sentences. Sense of a Word How does the mind represent the sense of a word? • The sense of a word is a mental representation of its meaning. • How are word meanings stored in the mind? ? How does the mind represent the sense of a word? • • How are word senses stored in the mind? Option 1: Dictionary-style definitions? ? Dictionary Definitions? • A dictionary definition defines the sense of a word in terms of other words. • For example, • Problem: Dictionary definitions are circular! • proud: “Feeling or showing pride.” • divine: “Being or having the nature of a deity.” • pride: “The quality or state of being proud.” • deity: “A divine entity” ? How does the mind represent the sense of a word? • • • How are word senses stored in the mind? Option 1: Dictionary-style definitions? Option 2: Mental images? ? Mona Lisa Mental Image Definitions? • Words often seem to conjure up mental images. Could those be the word senses? • For instance, when I say “bird”, you may think of something like: • Problem: But these are also birds! ? Mental Image Definitions? • Words often seem to conjure up mental images. Could those images be the word senses? • Different people may get different images for the same word: “food” ? How does the mind represent the sense of a word? • • • • How are word senses stored in the mind? Option 1: Dictionary-style definitions? Option 2: Mental images? Option 3: Usage-based definitions? ? Usage-Based Definitions? • ? Usage-based definitions define the sense of a word in terms of the contexts where it can be used. • For a word like ongchoi, list the sentences it could be used in: • If you know what ongchoi means, then you know you can use it with these other words. • And if you see other words in the same contexts, you know their sense is similar. How does the mind represent the sense of a word? • • • • How are word senses stored in the mind? Option 1: Dictionary-style definitions? Option 2: Mental images? Option 3: Usage-based definitions? • We don’t know exactly how the human brain represents word meanings. • But if you know the sense of a word, then you definitely know when it can be used. • So we use usage-based definitions for now. ? Reference of a Word Reference of a Word • • Words have different kinds of reference. A proper name refers to a single particular entity in the world: • China • Nicolas Cage Reference of a Word • • • • Words have different kinds of reference. What does a common noun refers to? • Does Sally have a cat? ? Could it be a particular cat in the world? • The answer could be: No, Sally has never had a cat. The common noun cat refers to the set of all cats in the world. “cat” Reference of a Word • • Words have different kinds of reference. What is the reference of an adjective? “green” Set of all green things in the world Reference of a Word • • Words have different kinds of reference. What is the reference of an intransitive verb? “walks” All the things in the world that are walking Reference of a Word • • Words have different kinds of reference. • A common noun refers to the set of entities in the world that are described by that noun. • An adjective refers to the set of entities in the world that are described by that adjective. • An intransitive verb refers to the set of entities in the world that are described by that intransitive verb. A proper name refers to a single particular entity in the world. Relationships Between Words Relationships Between Words • All words in a languageare linked in a web of semantic relationships. • We define relationships between words in terms of their reference. poodle dog cat animal cow Relationships Between Words dog ? poodle Relationships Between Words hypernym dog ? hyponym poodle • The reference of poodle is a subset of the reference of dog. • • All poodles are dogs. But not all dogs are poodles. • So we say poodle is a hyponym of dog. • And dog is a hypernym of poodle. Hypernymy hypernym hyponym dog poodle • X is a hypernym of Y iff the reference of Y is a subset of the reference of X. • X is a hyponym of Y iff the reference of Y is a superset of the reference of X. Relationships Between Words Relationships Between Words groundhog ? woodchuck Synonymy groundhog synonyms woodchuck • Groundhog and woodchuck refer to the same set of entities. • • So they are synonyms. X and Y are synonyms iff they have the same reference. Relationships Between Words good alive old ? ? ? bad dead young Antonymy antonyms good alive old bad antonyms antonyms • dead young X and Y are antonyms iff their references contrast in some way. Kinds of Antonyms • Two words X and Y are complementary antonyms iff there is no entity in the reference of both X and Y. complementary antonyms alive dead Set of everything that is alive Set of everything that is dead Complementary Antonyms • Test: Does not X imply Y and vice versa? • If yes, then X and Y are complementary antonyms. complementary antonyms alive dead Set of everything that is alive Set of everything that is dead Kinds of Antonyms gradable antonyms hot • cold If something is not cold, does that imply that it is hot? • No, it could be lukewarm. • So hot and cold are not complementary antonyms. • We call them gradable antonyms: they identify different directions on a scale. Hot Lukewarm Cold Relationships Between Words • • All words in a languageare linked in a web of semantic relationships. Some of the relationships are: • Two words are hypernyms if one names a superset of the other. • Two words are hyponyms if one names a subset of the other. • • Two words are synonyms if they have the same reference. Two words are antonyms if they have contrasting references. • Complementary antonyms if they are mutually exclusive. • Gradable antonyms if they name different ends of a scale. Linguis 3: Introduction to Linguistics Winter 2019 Problem Set 5: Semantics Due 3/1/2019. 100 points possible 1. Do the following expressions refer to a single entity in the world, or a set of multiple entities in the world? (2 points each) a. student b. Massachusetts c. car d. man e. movie f. Statue of Liberty 2. In what way is each of the following pairs of words related? In cases of hypernymy, indicate which word is the hyponym and which oen is the hypernym. In cases of antonymy, tell what kind of antonym it is. (2 points each) a. shallow deep b. suite sweet c. table furniture d. unmarried married e. sofa couch f. win lose 3. i. Propose a hypernym for each of the following words. (2 points each) a. hammer b. T-shirt c. pink d. fish ii. Propose a hyponym for each of the following expressions. (2 points each) a. appliance b. musical instrument c. furniture d. fish 4. For each of the following expressions, determine whether it expresses a proposition or not. Remember, if you are dealing with a proposition, you can question its truth value. For example, we know that ​Fido is a dog​ expresses a proposition because we can ask Is it true that Fido is a dog?​ Conversely, a dog all by itself does not express a proposition because we cannot ask ​Is it true that a dog? ​(2 point each) a. a.woman b. like Bob c. the smallest country in the world d. Sally wondered who would be at the party e. Bob hates Polly f. accidentally g. Polly liked h. under the bed i. Sally likes to sleep j. bring some beer 5. For each pair of the following sentences, determine whether ​one entails the other​, whether they are ​mutually entailing​, whether they are ​incompatible​, or ​none of the above​. Explain your answers. (2 points each) a. Fifi is a poodle. Fifi is a dog. b. My last name is Jones. My father’s last name was Jones. c. Bob inherited a car from his grandma. Bob owns a car. d. Sally lives in Ohio. Sally lives in Europe. e. Sally lives in Ohio. Sally lives in the United States. f. Polly speaks Russian. Polly is from Russia. g. Polly doesn’t speak Russian. Polly is from Russia. h. Bob lives in the capital of Ohio. Bob lives in Columbus. i. Not all dogs bark. Some dogs don’t bark. j. Sally said she liked Polly. Sally said she didn’t like Polly. k. Polly thinks that Fido is a dog. Fido is a dog. 6. Which of the following are examples of ​relative intersection​, and which are examples of ​pure intersection​? (2 points each) a. lavender crayons b. huge TVs c. old temples d. square rugs e. fast trains f. empty bottles g. long streets h. sliding doors i. beautiful cars Introduction to Linguistics Semantics II Form and Meaning form “the cat sat on the mat” meaning Semantics So Far • We distinguish two aspects of linguistic meaning: sense and reference. • • Sense is the mental representation of a meaning. Reference is the actual entities in the world that a linguistic expression refers to. Sense “that cup” Reference Lexical Semantics Review • Lexical semantics studies the meaning (sense and reference) of words. • Words have different kinds of reference: • • • Proper names refer to one specific entity. Common nouns, adjectives, and intransitive verbs refer to sets of entities. Words are related to each other: • Hyponyms identify a subset of the referents of hypernyms. • • Synonyms have the same reference. Antonyms have contrasting reference. Semantic Ambiguity • • Words can have multiple meanings. Homonyms are words that sound the same, but have totally unrelated meanings. bat bat Semantic Ambiguity • • Words can have multiple meanings.
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