Introducing Semantics by Nick Riemer PDF

By Nick Riemer

ISBN-10: 0521851920

ISBN-13: 9780521851923

Semantics is the learn of which means in language. This transparent and finished textbook is the main up to date creation to the topic to be had for undergraduate scholars. It not just equips scholars with the techniques they wish on the way to comprehend the most elements of semantics, it additionally introduces the varieties of reasoning and argument which characterise the sector. It comprises greater than 2 hundred routines and dialogue questions designed to check and deepen readers' realizing. extra inclusive than different textbooks, it in actual fact explains and contrasts diverse theoretical ways, summarises present debates, and gives necessary feedback for additional examining. Examples are drawn either from significant international languages, corresponding to Mandarin chinese language, eastern, Arabic, Spanish and English, and from minority ones. The ebook additionally highlights the connections among semantics and the broader examine of human language in psychology, anthropology, and linguistics itself.

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Example text

As the study of meaning, semantics is interested in something which cannot be perceived directly through our senses, but which, in one way or another, we experience in using and thinking about language. We cannot see, hear or touch a word’s meaning: meanings are things we understand. It is not meanings that go between speaker and hearer: the only things that are transferred from one speaker to the other are sound waves in the air. This means that in order to get started in semantics, we need a way of identifying meanings and bringing them to light in an unambiguous way so that we can begin to study them.

A second, lower level of explanation is more detailed: this level consists in specifying the different steps of the program that the computer is running.

For example, if I say the words Wallace Stevens was a poet and an insurance broker, I do not mean that my concept of Wallace Stevens was a poet and an insurance broker: I mean that a certain real person, Wallace Stevens himself, was. Part of what I mean, then, is the actual, real-world person that my words refer to. And this real-world person could prove to have quite different properties from the ones reflected in my concept of him. For example, I might mistakenly believe that Wallace Stevens is the author of Death of a Salesman: that fact, then, forms part of my concept of Wallace Stevens.

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Introducing Semantics by Nick Riemer

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