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Semantics: The study of meaning, signification. Semantics explains certain parts of meaning that are represented in a language or code. Semantics is broken into two parts, Syntax and Pragmatics. Syntax is the construction of complex signs from simpler signs. Pragmatics is the practical use of signs by agents or communities of interpretation in particular circumstances and contexts. This means that people who have the power, education, or skill decide a correct interpretation, or meaning for every circumstance and context that we (as a people) experience through time. Before we have linguistics, or communication, we have semantics, or interpretation, which is generally founded before us by scholars who are appointed to do so.

Semantics is the study of the way language signals meanings and their changes. A much broader use and application of semiotics, semantics includes the way words relate to what they signify (Frye et al. 425). The study of linguistic development by classifying and examining changes in meaning and form. The meaning, or an interpretation of the meaning, of a word, sign, sentence, etc.: Let's not argue about semantics. The study of the relationships between various signs and symbols and what they represent. Semantics can also be reffered to as "double speak" (Pei). It reffers to the use of linguistic meanings. Semantics has a strong basing on syntax being that semantics is the way language signals relate to general meanings, or symbolic logic (Frye et al. 425).

" Among the important issues in the area of semantics and it's relation to the rest of the grammer, the idea that transformations might be meaning-preserving is one that has an interesting history and one whose fate is far from clear(Holt,Rhinehart,and Winston.1)."


External Links

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Related Subjects

Linguistics- In linguistics, semantics is the subfield that is devoted to the study of meaning, as borne on the syntactic levels of words, phrases, sentences, and sometimes larger units of discourse, generically referred to as texts. As with any empirical science, semantics involves the interplay of concrete data with theoretical concepts, and specializations have developed that focus on different parts of that interaction, for example, the semantics of natural languages and formal languages, respectively.

Depending on the perspective taken up, semantics may include the study of connotative sense and denotative reference, truth conditions, argument structure, thematic roles, discourse analysis, and the linkage of all of these to syntax.

The decompositional perspective towards meaning holds that the meaning of words can be analyzed by defining meaning atoms or primitives, which establish a language of thought. An area of study is the meaning of compounds, another is the study of relations between different linguistic expressions (homonymy, synonymy, antonymy, polysemy, paronyms, hypernymy, hyponymy, meronymy, metonymy, holonymy, exocentric, and endocentric).


Semiotics- the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behavior; the analysis of systems of communication, as language, gestures, or clothing.([4])

Code- a. a set of rules or principles or laws (especially written ones) b.a coding system used for transmitting messages requiring brevity or secrecy c.attach a code to; "Code the pieces with numbers so that you can identify them later" d.(computer science) the symbolic arrangement of data or instructions in a computer program or the set of such instructions e.encode: convert ordinary language into code; "We should encode the message for security reasons" ([5])

Linguistics- the science of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and historical linguistics.

Syntax- Linguistics. a. the study of the rules for the formation of grammatical sentences in a language. b. the study of the patterns of formation of sentences and phrases from words. c. the rules or patterns so studied: English syntax. d. a presentation of these: a syntax of English. e. an instance of these: the syntax of a sentence.

Pragmatics- the branch of semiotics dealing with the causal and other relations between words, expressions, or symbols and their users.([6])


  • Frye, Northrop, Sheridan Baker, George Perkins, and Barbara Perkins.The Harper Handbook To Literature. 2nd ed. New York: Longman, 1997.
  • Pei, Mario. Double Speak In America. New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc. 1973.
  • Holt,Rinehart,and Winston. Studies in linguistics studies. New York: Library of Congress.1971.