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Basic Semantics

In: Other Topics

Submitted By beckyvm
Words 2291
Pages 10
Becky Vella Muskat

LIN 1180
Semantics

Assessment type: Assignment

Date: February 28th 2011
Table of Contents Distinguish between sense, reference and denotation 3 Outline the main features of Prototype Theory and show how it differs from the classical view of concepts as necessary and sufficient conditions. Give examples to support your answer 5 To what extent would you expect people who speak different languages to display fundamental differences in the way they think and perceive the world? Support your answer with examples from one particular domain, such as that of colour terms or number words 7 Bibliography 9

Distinguish between sense, reference and denotation

I answer this question in an attempt to draw a distinction between sense, reference and denotation. While doing my research I discovered a clearly defined line between sense and reference, however the line between reference and denotation seems slightly hazier and thus somewhat more difficult to define. The only analogy I can think of, is trying to compare chopsticks to a fork and knife. How does one distinguish between two entities that are essentially the same functionally yet, intrinsically different? This essay is an attempt to make this distinction, by defining denotation before drawing a contrast to reference and sense respectively.

A clear definition of denotation can be understood through Saussure’s (1959) explanation of the signification (concept) and signal (sound pattern). Where upon hearing the sound pattern /kəʊm/ one will be able to conceptualize a class of objects they classify as combs. The understanding of the sentence ‘the comb is broken’ depends of the listener’s knowledge of the concept of ‘comb’ as opposed to ‘brush’ and thus, “part of the meaning of the sentence depends on the sorts of extra-linguistic entities that can be referred to the lexeme”...

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