semantics

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

se·man·tics / səˈmantiks/ • pl. n. [usu. treated as sing.] the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning. There are a number of branches and subbranches of semantics, including formal semantics, which studies the logical aspects of meaning, such as sense, reference, implication, and logical form, lexical semantics, which studies word meanings and word relations, and conceptual semantics, which studies the cognitive structure of meaning. ∎  the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text: such quibbling over semantics may seem petty stuff. DERIVATIVES: se·man·ti·cian / ˌsēmanˈtishən/ n. se·man·ti·cist n.

views updated

semantics That branch of the study of symbols which deals primarily with the development of the meaning of words. Sometimes viewed as a branch of linguistics, sometimes as a sister discipline, semantics attempts to study the attribution of meaning to words, and how these are combined to produce complex meaningful utterances; the nature of meaning itself; and the difficulties people experience when meaning is confused or distorted. Semantics is a background influence in areas such as, for example, ethnomethodology and post-structuralism. See also MEAD, G. H.; PIAGET, JEAN.

views updated

semantics That part of the definition of a language concerned with specifying the meaning or effect of a text that is constructed according to the syntax rules of the language. See also denotational semantics, operational semantics, axiomatic semantics, interpretation.

views updated

semantics Branch of linguistics and philosophy concerned with the study of meaning. In historical linguistics, it generally refers to the analysis of how the meanings of words change over time. In modern linguistics and philosophy, semantics seeks to assess the contribution of word-meaning to the meanings of phrases and sentences, and to comprehend the relationship among and between words and the things they refer to, or stand for.