Linguistic Major common questions and answers
Ans. Semantics is the study of the meanings of words, phrases and sentences
Q. What is Signifier?
Ans. Signifier is the sound or pronunciation of a word
Q. What is Signified?
Ans. Signified is the meaning indicated by the signifier/pronunciation of a word
Q. What is Conceptual meaning?
Ans. The basic meaning conveyed by words e.g. the word needle means “thin, sharp, steel instrument”
Q. What is Associative meaning?
Ans. The type of meaning that people connect with words e.g. the word needle may be associated with “pain, illness, blood, drugs or knitting”
Q. Conceptual meaning is also called?
Ans. Denotative meaning which means dictionary meaning
Q. Associative meaning is also called?
Ans. Connotative meaning which means what the words actually connote in different situations
Q. What is meant by Semantic Features in Semantics?
Ans. Basic elements such as ‘human’ included as plus (+human) or minus (-human) used in the analysis of words.
Q. Give an example of a semantically incorrect sentence?
Ans. “The horse is reading the newspaper.” This sentence is structurally correct but semantically incorrect
Q. What is Semantic Role?
Ans. The part played by a noun phrase, such as the subject, in a sentence is called semantic role
Q. Semantic Roles are also called?
Ans. Thematic Roles
Q. How many common semantic roles are there?
Q. What is the first semantic role called Agent OR Doer?
Ans. Agent is the doer of an action e.g. ‘Ahmad’ in the sentence, “Ahmad called me.”
Q. What is the second semantic role called Patient OR Theme?
Ans. It refers to what is acted upon by the Agent e.g. ‘boat’ in the sentence, “John steered the boat.”
Q. What is the third semantic role called Recipient OR Receiver?
Ans. It indicates a receiver in a situation e.g. ‘Ali’ in the sentence, “The children sent Ali a postcard.”
Q. What is the fourth semantic role called Instrument?
Ans. It identifies the entity that is used to perform an action e.g. ‘Razor’ in the sentence, “The boy cut the rope with a razor.”
Q. What is the fifth semantic role called Experimenter?
Ans. It is the entity that has the feeling e.g. ‘The Boy’ in the sentence, “The Boy feels bad.”
Q. What is the sixth semantic role called Source?
Ans. It identifies where an entity moves from e.g. ‘The House’ in the sentence, “The Boy ran from the house.”
Q. What is the seventh semantic role called Goal?
Ans. It identifies where an entity moves to e.g. The Window in the sentence, “The boy walked to the window.”
Q. Does a semantic role change in passive voice?
Ans. No, because nothing changes in the real world e.g. “John steered the boat” becomes “The boat was steered by John.” Still John is the Agent
Q. What is Synonymy?
Ans. The lexical relation in which two or more words have very closely related meanings e.g. ‘Conceal’ is a synonym of ‘Hide’
Q. What is Antonymy?
Ans. The lexical relation in which words have opposite meanings e.g. ‘Shallow’ is an Antonym of ‘Deep’
Q. What are Gradable Antonyms?
Ans. Words with opposite meanings along a scale e.g. small-medium-large-extra large
Q. What are Non-gradable Antonyms?
Ans. Words which are direct opposites e.g. alive-dead
Q. What is Hyponymy?
Ans. The lexical relation in which the meaning of one word is included in the meaning of another word e.g. daffodil is a hyponym of flower because flower is common name for different flowers
Q. What are Co-hyponyms?
Ans. Two or more words that share the same broader category are co-hyponyms e.g. dog and horse are co-hyponyms as both are animals
Q. What is Super-ordinate?
Ans. Super-ordinate means higher-level term e.g. dog and horse both have the same Super-ordinate “Animal”
Q. What is Prototype?
Ans. The most common example of a category is called prototype e.g. Robin is the prototype of bird
Q. What are Homophones?
Ans. Two or more words with different spellings and meanings but the same pronunciation e.g. to-too-two
Q. What are Homonyms?
Ans. Two words with the same spellings and pronunciation but different meanings e.g. mole(on a skin) and mole(an animal)
Q. What is Polysemy?
Ans. A word having two or more related meanings e.g. foot of a person, of bed, of mountain
Q. What are mostly used for Word Play?
Ans. Homophones, homonyms and Polysemy
Q. What is Metonymy?
Ans. A word used in place of another with which it is closely connected in everyday experience e.g. Hollywood is used for English movies while it is actually a district of USA
Q. What is Collocation?
Ans. Words that frequently occur together e.g. salt and pepper
Q. The basic principle of Lexicography is?
Ans. Synonymy. Note: lexicography is the process of writing, editing and compiling a dictionary
Q. The soul of language is?
Q. Words are not only associated with situations but also with?
Ans. Other words
Q. Who developed a field called general semantics?
Ans. Alfred Habdank
Q. What are the two main areas of semantics?
Ans. Logical semantics and lexical semantics
Q. Macro Linguistics?
Ans. It is concerned with the way languages are acquired, stored in the brain and used for various functions
Q. Geographical Linguistics?
Ans. It studies the geographic distribution of language
Q. Diachronic OR Historical Linguistics?
Ans. It studies the history and development of languages
Q. Comparative OR Constructive Linguistics?
Ans. The study of similarities and differences between languages
Ans. It examines how humans acquire, use and understand language
Ans. It studies the relationship between language and society. It tells how language is affected by social factors such as gender, ethnicity, age or social class
Ans. It studies the relationship between language and culture
Ans. The study of language functions as derived from the biological characteristics of an organism.
Ans. It is the study of both creoles and the pidgin languages from which creoles develop.
Q. Evolutionary linguistics?
Ans. The study of the origin and subsequent development of language.
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