LIN 1180 Semantics Lecture 8 Albert Gatt Part 1 Hyponymy and other relations Definition of hyponymy Hyponymy is a relation of inclusion. ANIMAL Arrows can be interpreted as ISA relations. Unlike taxonomic sisterhood, which is horizontal,
hyponymy is vertical. LIN 1180 -- Semantics BIRD CANARY MAMMAL SPARROW Elements of hyponymy If Y IS-A X then: X is the superordinate or hypernym of Y Y is a subordinate or hyponym of X e.g. HUMAN is the hypernym of MAN, TOOL is the hypernym of CHAINSAW
Inclusion: if Y is a hyponym of X then Y contains the meaning of X (plus something extra) e.g. MAN includes all the features of HUMAN, plus the specification of ADULT and MALE. Transitivity: if X IS-A Y and Y IS-A Z, then X IS-A Z LIN 1180 -- Semantics Transitivity -- illustration A CANARY IS-A BIRD A BIRD IS-A ANIMAL Therefore, a CANARY IS-A ANIMAL
LIN 1180 -- Semantics ANIMAL BIRD CANARY MAMMAL SPARROW Hierarchical representations and inheritance A node in a conceptual network inherits some
properties from its superordinate It can also add new properties of its own It can override properties of the superordinate Semantics -- LIN 1180 ANIMAL BIRD OSTRICH Moves Eats breathes
Flies Has feathers Does not fly Levels of conceptual representation Rosch et al. 1976 propose 3 levels FURNITURE CHAIR ARMCHAIR Superordinate Or top level
TABLE Basic level: This is the level we tend to use and think about Subordinate level: Much more specific Semantics -- LIN 1180 Properties of the basic level 1. The easiest to visualise:
2. Used for neutral, everyday usage: 3. easier to imagine a CAR (basic) than a FIAT PUNTO (subordinate) were more likely to say thats a dog than thats a dachshund or thats an animal Names of basic-level categories tend to be morphologically simple Compare: spoon vs. teaspoon, soup spoon
Semantics -- LIN 1180 More properties of the basic level 4. high distinctiveness 5. strong within-category resemblance 6. maximally different from other categories
objects within the category resemble eachother more than they do objects outside the category optimal level of informativeness: its more informative to say x is a dog than x is an animal but in most cases, saying x is a dachshund is too specific Semantics -- LIN 1180 Special cases of taxonomic relations Sometimes, language exhibits special cases of
relations that are: well-established and lexicalised seem to depend on an underlying taxonomy or hierarchy ADULT-YOUNG dog puppy, duck duckling, etc MALE-FEMALE woman man, dog bitch, drake duck, etc NB: These pairs are often asymmetric. The unmarked case in the MALE-FEMALE is the MALE. We tend to use it for the name of the species. LIN 1180 -- Semantics Meronymy or part-whole A different kind of
taxonomic relationship. Arrows are interpreted as HAS-A ANIMAL LEG HAS-A IS-A BIRD WING HAS-A
LIN 1180 -- Semantics Meronymy vs. Hyponymy Meronymy tends to be less regular than hyponymy: NOSE is perceived as a necessary part of a FACE CELLAR may be part of HOUSE, but not necessarily Meronymy need not be transitive: If X HAS-A Y and Y HAS-A Z, it does not follow that Y HAS-A Z window HAS-A pane room HAS-A window ??room HAS-A pane Common-sense knowledge plays a very important role
in acceptability of these relations. LIN 1180 -- Semantics Member-collection relations We often lexicalise names of collections of specific things: flotta (fleet) : a collection of ships merla (flock): a collection of sheep Native speakers know there is a member- collection relation: flotta (fleet) vapur (ship) armata (army) suldat (soldier)
merla (flock) naga (sheep) Can be viewed as a special, lexicalised case of meronymy. LIN 1180 -- Semantics Are collections singular or plural? In many languages, there is the possibility of switching from: a view of a collection as a single entity vs. the contents of the collection as a group or set English:
The band played well tonight. It drove the crowd nuts [SG] They drove the crowd nuts [PL] Maltese: L-armata rtirat (The army retreated.SG) ?L-armata rtiraw. (The army retreated.PL) Perhaps not as acceptable? Only with some LIN 1180nouns? -- Semantics Part 2 Beyond the lexicon: Overview of sentence relations In this lecture Having looked in some detail at properties
of the lexicon, we now turn to sentences. We discuss meaning relations between sentences truth conditions presupposition LIN 1180 - Semantics Sentence relations Just as lexical items stand in various relations to one another (hyponymy, etc), so do sentences: Relations between sentences arise due to: the lexical items in them their grammatical structure LIN 1180 - Semantics
Sentence synonymy My brother is a bachelor 2. My brother is an unmarried man 1. (1) and (2) seem to have the same meaning (or almost... Cf. Our discussion of synonymy) LIN 1180 - Semantics Entailment 1. 2.
My sister assassinated the president. The president is dead. (1) entails (2), primarily because of the meaning of assassinate. if (1) is true, then (2) must be true The following are not in an entailment relationship: 3. My sister shot the president. 4. The president is dead. If (1) is negated, it no longer entails (2):
My sister did not assassinate the president. LIN 1180 - Semantics Important properties of entailment A sentence p entails a sentence q if, and only if: q is true whenever p is true q is false whenever p is false This is why entailment is cancelled by negation. LIN 1180 - Semantics How does entailment arise?
Lexical, e.g. hyponymy My sister assassinated X X died. assassinate Y includes Y dies I bought a dog I bought an animal dog is a hyponym of animal Syntactic, e.g. active/passive My sister assassinated the president The president was assassinated by my sister. LIN 1180 - Semantics Contradiction My canary has just escaped from its cage. 2. My canary has never been in a cage. 1.
If (1) is true, then (2) cannot be true (and vice versa) 3. (2) contradicts (1) He is a murderer but hes never killed anyone. (3) is also a contradiction LIN 1180 - Semantics
Tautology Albert is Albert 2. This classroom is this classroom. 1. Both (1) and (2) are necessarily true In fact, both are highly uninformative sentences. LIN 1180 - Semantics
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