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The Dimensions of Meaning (I) 1. Reference and Denotation 2. Connotation 3. Sense Relations.

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Presentation on theme: "The Dimensions of Meaning (I) 1. Reference and Denotation 2. Connotation 3. Sense Relations."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Dimensions of Meaning (I) 1. Reference and Denotation 2. Connotation 3. Sense Relations

2 1. Reference and Denotation Both Reference and Denotation are the relation between a language expression (a lexical unit) and whatever the expression or objects. In what way do they differ? Reference is the relation between a specific expression: e.g. bull refers to a male cow. Denotation refers to a class of objects or individuals: e.g. bull denotes a class of animals.

3 2. Connotation The dog have a certain denotation and may refer to a very common four-legged animal. However, (a) for the Eskimos a dog is an animal for pulling a sled, (b) the Parsees, a dog regarded as nearly sacred, (c) Hindus, dogs as a great pest, (d) American, dogs as pets and guardians. How about you? What you feel is the connotation meaning.

4 Connotation  the personal aspect of meaning, the emotional associations that the word arouses. Lexical words  the same referent, but not the same meaning  difference in connotation. e.g. violin fiddle car automobile building edifice fire conflagration

5 3. Sense Relation 3.1 What a lexeme means depends in part on its associations with other lexemes  the relational aspect. e.g. Joe walked. Vs *Joe elapsed. An hour elapsed. Vs * An hour walked. 3.2 A lexeme does not merely have meaning, it contribute to the meaning of a larger unit, a phrase or sentence: (1) a happy child, a happy family (2) a happy accident, a happy experience (3) a happy story, a happy report the word happy in (1) co-occur with human = who enjoys happiness, in (2) with event = that produces happiness, and in (3) with discourse = containing a happy event.

6 Two Kinds of Linkage /relations of Lexemes Each lexeme is linked in some way to numerous other lexemes. There are two kinds of linkage: (1) Syntagmatic relations (2) Paradigmatic relations.

7 (1) Syntagmatic relations  the relation of lexemes with other lexemes with which it occurs in the same phrase or sentence (horizontal relation) and forms construction: e.g. happy with child  happy child happy with family  happy family

8 (2) Paradigmatic relations  contrastive relation and relation of choices (vertical relations) e.g. Instead of saying The judge was arbitrary, we can say The judge was cautious, or careless, or busy. Thus, the word arbitrary can be replaced by cautious, careless, or busy.

9 Familiarize these terms Word and Lexeme What is a word? (1) an intermediate structure smaller than a phrase and yet larger than a single sound segment. (2) a word is separated in writing by spaces: e.g. a new waste paper basket (1) and (2) are based on writing traditions

10 (3) The word as represented in writing represents thought unit. Examples are names of objects, abstractions, adjectives. (4) The word forms one block but include two units of thought: e.g. farmer, rethink. (5) A thought of unit exceeds the limit of the graphological unit and spreads over several words: e.g. all of a sudden, as usual. (3), (4), and (5) refer to a thought unit.

11 (6) A word is a minimal free form (Bloomfield 1933:178) A minimal free form is a morpheme or minimal meaningful unit and the structure, consisting potentially of more than one word. Examples are free and bound morphemes (6) is a formal definition of the word (7) A word is an uninterruptible unit of structure consisting of one or more morphemes (Jackson and Amvela in Words, Meaning and Vocabulary)

12 Phonological, Orthographic, Grammatical, and Lexical Words (8) /’faindz/  the phonological word (9) finds  the orthographic words correspond to grammatical word ‘third person singular of find. (10) The word find as the base form without any modification is the lexical word  a lexeme.

13 Lexical words Vs Grammatical Words (a) Lexical words  independent meaning and meaningful even in isolation. These words are also called open classes. (b) Grammatical words  not automatically suggesting any identifiable meaning. These words are also called closed classes.


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