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Semantics

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Language is the primary source of communication for humans and is used to convey thoughts, feelings, intentions, and desires to others (Bonvillain 2008:1). Many rules are taken into account when forming a language. According to Bolton, language is arbitrary and is unrepresentative of the objects they represent (Bolton 1996: 63). The study of Semantics allows us to identify the meaning of words and phrases in their literal sense, and helps us to make meaning out of arbitrary sounds and phrases. It has been contributed to by both linguists and philosophers. Linguists used lexical decomposition to understand the features that comprise words and the categories in which the words fit. Philosophers dealt more with the meanings of sentences and truth condition and reference (Parker and Riley 2010: 28).Semantics is still not a completely understood field, and as a result it is not easy to study (Parker and Riley 2010:26-27).Semantics is split into three different sections: sense, reference, and truth conditions.

Thanks to semantics, we gain an understanding of what words mean when they are said to us. Without semantics, we would not be able to understand each other. Semantics take into account cultural, situational and environmental constructs to develop meaning in different areas of the United States and throughout the world (Bonvillain 2008: 27). With that being said, there are several things that semantics brings to the English language that allows us to communicate on a deeper level and makes our language more complex. Sense is the study of the literal and intentional meaning of words and phrases. Part of this section is lexical ambiguity. This occurs when one word has more than one meaning. Parker and Riley use the example of the wo...

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...nd not in the other (Parker and Riley 2010: 40). Presuppositions are phrases that have to be considered true in order to evaluate the validity of another phrase. For example if I said “Judy Genshaft is the president of USF” and “Judy Genshaft is a good president,” you would have to accept the idea that she is the president in order to understand whether she was a good or bad president.

In conclusion, semantics is what we use to make sense of our language. It takes into account the cultural references, environmental sayings, and situation events. Maybe the reason that semantics is so hard to understand is because it tries to make sense of something that has no meaning and things that change from place to place. Without it, our language would be much more primitive than it is now, but because of it we can make sense of things, make references, and understand truth.
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