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What is semantics?



Here are two senses for semantics:

  1. Semantics is, generally defined, the study of meaning of linguistic expressions.
  2. Semantics is, more narrowly defined, the study of the meaning of linguistic expressions apart from consideration of the effect that pragmatic factors, such as the following, have on the meaning of language in use:

    • Features of the context
    • Conventions of language use
    • The goals of the speaker

Crystal 1985 274


Leech 1983 5–6


Lyons 1981 136, 163–164


Levinson 1983 5–34

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Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

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