In many languages there are words that have the same sense but are different words, these are called synonyms. In different Spanish-speaking countries, there are many different synonyms for specific words. Although they are synonyms in the same language each variety of the word is dependent on the country or region you are in or from. Since these synonyms are dependent on the country or region some people from certain countries may not understand or be familiar with your term, but sometimes some words may have a “general term” for words. Although not all synonyms have a “general term” there are some synonyms that some countries may share or be familiar with because they have been exposed to it. The words I will be focusing on is drinking straw (sorbete, bombilla, popote, or sorbente), corn (maiz, choclo, elote or jojote), cake (pastel, torta, or bizcocho), and clothing hanger (percha, gancho). I will be asking spanish speakers what they would call these items and if they are familiar with the other translations. In addition, ask them if they would ever use the other varieties in any circumstances. Also, I will also be finding if there is a general translations for these terms, why some have a general translation and why others dont, and where the different varieties of tranlslations coming from.
As language evolves through every generation, there are certain concepts which connect all speakers together. Despite age, language, or background, a sense of vagueness is present in all forms of communication. As it often leads to miscommunication amongst speakers, it is important to identify vagueness and the reason of its occurrence through language. As words carry their own difinitive meaning, there is still the important of context to take into consideration which can change the perception of a word from each speaker. It can be assumed that the most crucial action taken to avoid vagueness amongst communication is to be as informative as possible. When describing something, it is necessary to be comparative and specific when referring to an object or person. without withholding important information. Vagueness is not to be confused with ambiguity as they are similar terms often associated together. Ambiguity leaves question of meaning as there is more than one present sense to a statement or question. However regarding vagueness, there is rather not enough information given to be confused about. As we move forward in time, our way of communicating seems to be going backwards rather than progressing. There is definetely an increase of vaguness concerning everyday communication in this day and age which is important to look into as well. I think that the first step in avoiding vagueness when speaking is to differentiate the term from these similar concepts which are often associated. The idea of context must also be further studied to understand it’s significance regarding vagueness and why it is necessary in communication as a whole.
Semantics and pragmatics is the study of meaning. The meaning of words and the way words are used are subjective to the speaker and may vary depending on their definition of meaning to the word. In language, words may express meanings through various words that mean the same thing. In semantics and pragmatics, sense and denotation are what describes when were use words in different ways, but to say the same thing. Sense refers to the context-independent of meaning of a word. The denotation of the word is the set of all words that could discourse its meaning. When looking further the sense and denotation of a word could mean various things depending on the context, the person using the word, and even where the person may live. Two expressions with the same sense will always have the same denotation but two expressions with the same denotation could have a different sense. If you look further into the interchangeable words that can be used when talking about the same thing you find something called expressive pairs. Expressive meaning or expressive pairs are words that have a certain kind of meaning but don’t necessarily refer to anything but an expressive emotion. Expressive pairs may also look like words that you may use every day but differently, that share the same sense but different denotation. These are words like mother and mom, home and house, father and dad, and so on. In this paper, we will discuss all things sense and denotation and expressive pairs and also include research based on survey questions that represent how individuals use different words to mean the same thing based on sociolinguistic factors.
Imagine you’re home alone and wake up late for work. You open your eyes, take one look at the time and immediately begin rushing around the house to get yourself ready to go. In your haste, you stub your toe on the bed post (we have all done it.) What word immediately comes out of your mouth? “Ouch!” But why? Nobody is home, so it’s not like you intended for anyone to hear it. You said it as a reaction, without even giving it much, if any thought at all. Words like “ouch” are considered expressive terms because they are uttered with the intended purpose of expressing feeling. Expressive terms vary from other words in many ways. Expressive terms such as ouch, and yum are unique from other words since they tend to stand alone and aren’t usually uttered as a means of communication with other individuals. While these specific words tend to be spoken out loud, their target audience is usually meant to be the speaker. Verbal communication entails conveying a message to other individuals typically, by stringing together a series of words to form a sentence. Sentences are a string of words that typically contain a subject and a predicate. Since expressive words do not seem to follow the same patterns as other words, I am going to explore some questions that I have about these terms. Some questions that I have are, who uses these terms; adults, children, both? When are these terms typically used, in formal, informal settings or both? Who are the intended audiences, others, oneself, or both? I would also like to explore the origins of these words. I will consult the Oxford English Dictionary to determine the meaning of some specific expressive words. I will compare the use of expressives to the use of other types of words. I will also consult “The Meaning of Ouch and Oops” by David Kaplan to help uncover some answers.
I will be exploring both Sense, Denotation, and expressive meanings in words. Expressive meaning is words like “ouch” that convey the speaker’s attitude or feelings. Sense and Denotation was a topic that stood out to me because it opened up my eyes in realizing that on a daily basis I tend to see and use words that are the exact same but can have two completely different meanings or denotations in different discursive universes. I admire how when talking about sense and denotation you are able to see that the sensor determines a denotation set for each situation, and knowing the sense of the word allows speakers to identify the members of this set” this way it gives off a meaningful concept but referents in our world during the present time today. Although denotation “depends upon the universe in which the discourse takes place” I would furthermore like to explore and understand more about the connotations and words that can enhance the description, meaning and possibly the tone in which someone states a word. How is it that two expressions with the same denotation can have two different senses? These are questions that we have to ask ourselves assuming that everyone has the same mental capacity to perceive concepts; For example, “if a language fails to provide a word for the color yellow; language does indeed affect perception “ language gets perceived as in multiple things based off of your thoughts and on the way that you see and interpret a specific thing. I plan on conducting a survey that can get people to answer the question without being self-conscious about their answers. For instance, if I ask “who taught you how to ride a bike?” They could either answer “mom or mother” or “dad or papa”; this indicates their usage of expressive meaning.
So for my method section I plan on having a survey being sent out among my peers to get a general thought of the main question that is the focus of my essay. The question is ‘What classifies as a sandwich?’. So with my survey I am including some questions along the lines of ‘Is _____ a sandwich?’ I would ask 5 of those question and then an open response one of ‘What would you define as a sandwich or give an example of a 100% sandwich’. This last question I feel is important to summarize ones thoughts. It brings to conclusion the main thing people see as a sandwich. As in they will argue to the most capacity that this is a sandwich no matter what. I chose a survey method as the most probable way to find my research about my main question because a survey in my case is straight to the point and will give me exactly what I am looking for. There is no need to beat around the bush and avoid asking the question directly because I am not trying to get a the responser to give me an answer without them being aware of what they are giving. I would really like the people taking my survey to thin about the response they are giving me. Since this survey will be my main research part, it will be where I get most of my data from. Of course I will also be resorting to the internet for basic universal definitions and to see any other research done about my topic. Lastly my audience that I am trying to reach is not really any specific audience, it is quite actually the opposite. As general as they come so that I am able to see the general public opinion on my topic. The general public is the target audience so there is no bias when the results of the survey come in.
Lexical ambiguity is when a sentence or a word can have more than one sense and can be referred to varies thing. In the English language there is no lexical ambiguity within the words turtle, tortoise, butterfly, moth, melon, honeydew, and cantaloupe all these things refer to different things individually. But not all languages have specific words for certain things for example when taking a closer look into the Spanish language the words like turtle and tortoise have the same sense and denotation and it is referred to as a “Tortuga” which means turtle which brings Lexical ambiguity into play. The word” Tortuga” in Spanish refers to both a tortoise and a turtle which makes the word tortuga ambiguous. In English the distinction between turtle and tortoise is a turtle are adapted for life and water and a tortoise is a kind a turtle that is primarily on land than in water thus making them different from one another . In English there is distinctions between many things but how does the those who speak Spanish tell the difference between the lexical ambiguities of the words that share more than one sense. I will be looking at varies Spanish speaking countries to see if there are any distinguishes between the words turtle, tortoise, butterfly, moth, melon, honeydew, and cantaloupe. In order to figure out the distinction between the words turtle, tortoise, butterfly, moth, melon, honeydew, and cantaloupe in different Spanish speaking countries I will be doing a survey asking Spanish speakers to name the picture presented to them in Spanish and see if any of them have different distinctions between the pictures presented to them.
I will be exploring more on the topic of componential analysis. I plan on talking about the componential analysis and the limits that it has. Componential analysis uses features to help distinguish one word from another. It works in most cases but, sometimes there are words that can’t use the componential analysis. This is because those words are too similar too each other to be able to come up with features to tell them apart. For example lion and tiger. They are different from each other but, they’re both cats. Since, they’re both cats they will share a lot of the same characteristics. For words like those it’s difficult to find features where it applies to only one of them. Words can’t share all of the same features. It would defeat the purpose of having a componential analysis. I will be going more into the words that work and why it works. Using the componential analysis helps us come up with features that distinguish one word from another word. Depending on the word the feature will either have a -, +, or unspecified. An “-“ meaning that it doesn’t apply to the feature. The sign “+” would mean that it corresponds to the feature. The unspecified sign would mean that there isn’t enough information given to decide if it has it or not. When put into a chart one can see which feature corresponds to each word. For example the words woman and man. These two words can easily have features where it tells them apart. The features can be male, woman, and adult. Woman and man are different from each other. They could share features but won’t have all the same features. I will be using the textbook used in this class and other sources to help me do this literature review. Using the sources I have it will help me to see what they think on the topic. The author of the textbook goes more into the words that can’t use the componential analysis.
Like many other words in the English language, the word “girl” can have different meanings to different groups of people. It is something that you might not be thinking about when you use it, but it can have certain connotations, both positive or negative. The first time I stopped to consider this was while reading Analyzing Meaning: An Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics, when I came across a few examples of binary feature analysis. This analysis uses the symbols + and Ø to distinguish between different lexical categories; the + symbol shows a positive relationship, that the word has that feature, while the Ø symbol means that the word does not have that particular feature. In one of the examples, they describe the word girl as -adult and -male. This would mean that the word should only be used when referring to female children. This was surprising to me, because I have used this word for not only female children, but also female adults. For example, I was telling my friend a story about someone I work with, a 27-year-old with a child of her own, and I referred to her as “a girl that I work with.” According to the textbook, this would be an improper use of the word; however, I don’t think it is that much of a stretch because many of my friends speak the same way. Some of my friends even use the word when speaking to people who do not identify as female. It is true that historically the word “girl” has been used to refer to female children, but one of the most beautiful things about language is that it is constantly shifting and changing, and it shouldn’t be governed by strict and outdated rules. It is interesting to consider how this word can have different connotations depending on who is using it and how it is said.
Lexical ambiguities are when a single word can have two or more meanings. In English, you can find such lexical ambiguities in words like “saw” and “tongue”. “Saw” can either mean cutting something with a saw or the past tense of the verb “see”. The word “tongue” can either mean the human body part or a word for language. Therefore, you can have a sentence for “I saw wolves” and “You have a beautiful tongue” with two completely different meanings. Some can be quite odd, but still make complete sense. English isn’t the only language to have lexical ambiguities, in fact, all human languages are ambiguous on different levels. Being a native Russian speaker myself, I have decided to focus my topic on explaining some of the lexical ambiguities that can be found in the Russian language. There are some very interesting ambiguous words in Russian that I will be discussing and how to go about them in different scenarios, situations, events, etc. One of these examples will be discussing words like “arm” and “hand” which has the same word for both body parts. A sentence you might get is, “My рука (ruka) hurts!”. The catch is, how would you distinguish the two apart in a situation like this one? Is it the arm that hurts? Or the hand?