Learner's Diary



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Learner's Diary 19.12.2007


In this lecture we revised the basic facts about semantics again.

First, Dr. Gibbon showed us a recipe for Christmas pudding. In relation to this recipe, we got to know the descriptions for several semantic relations, such as hyponyms, hyperonyms or antonyms.
The semantic relation between the terms scientist and linguist would be as follows:
Scientist is the generalisation (hyperonym), while linguist is a specialization (hyponym). The hyponym (linguist) implies the hyperonym (hyponym).
Antonyms, on the other hand, could be opposite, complementary or inverse. Thus, hot and cold are antonyms.
Co-Hyponyms are hyponyms of the same superordinate term.

Then, Dr. Gibbon ran quickly through the first slides of his presentation, reminding us of what we did last time: we were talking about the different properties of signs. These are:
-the internal (morphology) and external (part of speech, valency) structure
-rendering in terms of phonology and orthography
-sense and reference

Afterwards, we analyzed grammatical and lexical words in terms of sense and reference. Grammatical words basically have a sense, but no reference (excluding glue categories). In contrast to this, lexical words do have a reference, but there are also certain lexical words with sense, but no reference, such as imaginary book characters like Harry Potter.

Then, Dr. Gibbon came up with the word “devil”: to those, who think he does not exist, this word has a sense, but no reference. On the other hand, to those people who believe in his existence, this term has a sense and a reference.

Moreover, we talked again about Chomsky, who distinguishes between competence and performance. Competence in a language, for instance, involves the knowloedge of meta-information about the language I acquired. Performance of a language describes the way you are actually using this language.
The next aspect we talked about was again semiotic terminology: we defined the terms index, icon and symbol.
-an index is a sign with a relationship of physical proximity with its meaning
-an icon is a sign with a relationship of similarity with its meaning (this similarity can be, for example, acoustic (as onomatopoeia) or visual)
-a symbol is a sign with an arbitrary relationship with its meaning.
Finally, we went through our homework again.

Today's lecture gave us again a good overview about semantics. Moreover, it was very helpful that we went through our homework again, because, as I mentioned already, the differences between the different sign remained rather unclear.

15.1.08 14:38

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