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Lexical semantics is a subfield of computational linguistics and linguistics. It is the study of how and what the words of a language denote (Pustejovsky, 1995) (i.e., it looks at how words name concepts).
It covers theories of the classification and decomposition of word meaning, the differences and similarities in lexical semantic structure between different languages, and the relationship of word meaning to sentence meaning and syntax.
A question asked is if meaning is established by looking at the neighbourhood in the semantic net a word is part of and by looking at the other words it occurs with in natural sentences or if the meaning is already locally contained in a word. Another question is how words map to concepts. As tools, lexical relations like synonymy, antonymy (opposites), hyponymy and hypernymy are used in this field.
Anna Wierzbicka compiled a list of around 60 basic concepts (called semantic primes) which are said to constitute the core concepts for all languages. With the natural semantic metalanguage the other concepts may be described in a language and culture specific way.
See also Edit
- Lexical Semantics and Linking in the Hierarchical Lexicon - Dissertation by Tony Davis
- Philip Edmonds on near-synonyms (Chapter 4.1 Lexical semantics)
- Bibliography of linguistics papers dealing with lexical semantics
- The Lexical Semantics of a Machine Translation Interlingua by Rick Morneau
- Lexical Semantics by D.A. Cruse. Cambridge University Press, 1986. ISBN 0521276438
- Pustejovsky, James, The Generative Lexicon, 1995, MIT Press; presents a theory of lexical semantics.de:Lexikalische Semantik
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