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Semantics is the study of meaning in language. It focuses on the relation between signifiers, like words, phrases, signs, and symbols, and what they stand for, their denotation. Linguistic semantics is the study of meaning that is used for understanding human expression through language. It is the study of how languages organize and express meanings. Some of the most important work in semantics was being done from the late 19th century onwards by philosophers rather than by linguists. Over the past 50 years, however, approaches to semantics have proliferated, and the subject is now one of the liveliest areas in linguistics. Semantics is the subfield that is devoted to the study of meaning, as inherent at the levels of words, phrases, sentences, and larger units of discourse. The study of semantics is also closely linked to the subjects of representation, reference and denotation. The basic study of semantics is oriented to the examination of the meaning of signs, and the study of relations between different linguistic units and compounds: homonymy, synonymy, antonymy, hypernymy, hyponymy, meronymy, metonymy, holonymy, paronyms.
An understanding of semantics is essential to the study of language acquisition (how language users acquire a sense of meaning, as speakers and writers, listeners and readers) and of language change (how meanings alter over time). It is important for understanding language in social contexts, as these are likely to affect meaning, and for understanding varieties of English and effects of style. It is thus one of the most fundamental concepts in linguistics. Based on the distinction between the meanings of words and the meanings of sentences, we can recognize two main divisions in the study of semantics: lexical semantics and phrasal semantics. Lexical semantics is the study of word meaning, whereas phrasal semantics is the study of the principles which govern the construction of the meaning of phrases and of sentence meaning out of compositional combinations of individual lexemes. A perennial problem in semantics is the delineation of its subject matter. The term meaning can be used in a variety of ways, and only some of these correspond to the usual understanding of the scope of linguistic or computational semantics. We shall take the scope of semantics to be restricted to the literal interpretations of sentences in a context, ignoring phenomena like irony, metaphor, or conversational implicature. Linguistic semantics is an attempt to explicate the knowledge of any speaker of a language which allows that speaker to communicate facts, feelings, intentions and products of the imagination to other speakers and to understand what they communicate to him or her. Early in life every human acquires the essentials of a language--a vocabulary and the pronunciation, use and meaning of each item in it. The speaker's knowledge is largely implicit. The linguist attempts to construct a grammar, an explicit description of the language, the categories of the language and the rules by which they interact.
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Associations of Semantics
• The Society for semantics
• International Association of Literary Semantics
• Semantic Web Science Association
• International Society for General Semantics
• New york society of general semantics
• European society for general semantics
• Australian General Semantics Society
Conferences on Semantics
• Logic and Engineering of Natural Language Semantics 11 from 22-Nov-2014 - 24-Nov-2014 at Tokyo, Japan.
• Pronouns in Embedded Contexts at the Syntax-Semantics Interface from 07-Nov-2014 - 09-Nov-2014 at Tuebingen, Germany.
• Formal Semantics Meets Cognitive Semantics from 22-Jan-2015 - 23-Jan-2015 at Nijmegen, Netherlands.
• New Perspectives in Lexical Semantics from 18-Mar-2015 - 22-Mar-2015 at Heidelberg, Germany.
• International Conference on Computational Semantics from 14-Apr-2015 - 17-Apr-2015 at London, United Kingdom.
• Grasping Ellipsis: Its Syntax, Semantics, Acquisition and Processing from 04-May-2015 - 05-May-2015 at Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
• Semantics and Linguistic Theory 25 from 15-May-2015 - 17-May-2015 at Stanford, CA, USA.
• Semantics, Pragmatics, and Metapragmatics of Discourse Connectives, Markers, and Particles in Variable Contexts fom 26-Jul-2015 - 31-Jul-2015 at Antwerp, Belgium
. • II International Meeting on Syntax & Semantics & their Interfaces from 17-Aug-2015 - 21-Aug-2015 at Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
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This page was last updated on 13th Nov, 2014
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