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What Does Semantics Mean?

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Oscar De La Huerte Profile
Semantics is a linguistic term that refers to the study of 'meaning' within the context of language. It is a field of study that looks into how meaning is associated with words, phrases, sentences, signs and symbols.

Uses of semantics
People use the word 'semantics' to mean a variety of things.

In common speech, the word 'semantics' is used in reference to the definition of a word or gesture that only becomes apparent in a specific context. Whilst this may sound rather complicated, we actually make use of semantics thousands of times a day in our conversations and interactions.

An example of this would be the sentence, 'I can't eat spaghetti with a straw'.
Whilst you may have never read this sentence before, there are a number of things you can infer from it straight away:

1. The sentence is about the person who said or wrote it - the speaker.
2. The speaker is being expected to use a straw to eat spaghetti.
3. Even if you didn't know what 'spaghetti' was, you could infer that it was something edible that might be difficult to eat with a straw.
4. You can tell that 'eating spaghetti with a straw' doesn't mean to add straw to a dish of spaghetti and then eat it.

The reason you are able to infer all these things is what semantic theory is all about.
Essentially, it looks at why communication is not just made up of random strings of words or information, but rather basic units of meaning that combine to form larger units of meaning.

Semantics and computers
One example I find very useful in explaining semantics is looking at it in terms of a computer programming language.

Semantics is often used in computer terminology to refer to the contextual meaning of otherwise meaningless symbols of strings of symbols that, when entered in a specific structure or order, suddenly assume a specific meaning.
Swarda Padwal Profile
Swarda Padwal answered
The word semantics has its origin in Greek and is taken from the word semantikos. Semantikos means showing signs or symptomatic. The first part 'sema' of the word semantikos means sign. Semantics the study of meaning that is conveyed in a language. It does not only include the meanings but also deals with codes, signs and symbols. It is also called semasiology.

The connotation of a sentence or of a word or any other language is also defined as semantics. For example: many people argue over the semantics. Semantics generally deals with the relationships between signs and objects or codes or situations. It also deals with the relation between signs and concepts (mental signs). Different kinds of semantics are: Lexical semantics, Statistical semantics, Structural semantics and prototype semantics.

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