|FERENC KOVACS <f.kovacs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
|Sun, 29 Aug 2010 08:50:06 +0000 (GMT)
Semantics is about meaning, more exactly (though still roughly), the connection between symbols and their interpretations.
FK: It is a pity that we tend to use labelss (x is about..) instead of defintions.
To make the definition "A connection between symbols and their interpretations" tangible, we need to specify connections (not to leave it in midair as it is usual with linguists too). If you accept that the final building blocks of an ontology are objects, properties and realtions, then clearly symbols are objects, their interpretation is done by the interpreter (another object) who must be aware of what the symbols refers to (another object) and who is related through
action (a verb), interpreting to all those objects to produce interpretations, which may be sen as attributes as tzhey are attributed to those objects) (but also possible to see as another object) both to be shared (knowledge representation) and for private use (neurobiological code). Now if the processing of those objects leads you to some entailment or not, or if you are interested in logical truth only, and not in other properties, such as timely, reliable, complete, is a matter of choice between reality and fiction.
Meaning is the first abstraction via/of perception of something existing.
An object isolated as existing and taken as making sense and being meaningful with reference to nothing (no perception), lack of something in contrast to something existing, where existing is the most generic property of all objects. Avoid the contradiction of nothing existing, because it is the fundamental property of the thinking mind not to allow for opposites/contradiction in one place and at one time and one aspect (of the observer).
Meaning is then a relation of an object to the observer with the awareness of whether the object is to attract or to repulse him for any meaningful resons (further breakdown of the details of meaning). If no interest is generated, the object will be ignored as meaningless.
The fact that an object may be a sign or a symbol in context standing for other objects in reality or concepts made by man associated with the complex mental representations of experience of reality does not change this basic definition of meaning.
Meaning is possible if the intepreter has a choice of capabilities to act and what he experiences has a matching reaction in its repertory, such as do, do not, ignore, etc. In case of humans meaning should make sense to exist.
-- an appropriate semantic theory for a language will provide notions of *logical truth* and *entailment* that can be used to justify the axioms and inference rules that constitute an actual reasoning system.
Objectified semantics following Frege does not take you further either, especially because he says that the meaning of a sentence is composed of the individual meaning of the lexemes, the syntactically correct constituents.
There is only one very basic reasoning step in NLs and it is sometimes expressed by one word decomposed into object, property and relation.
According to this model, which comes from the assumption that everything starts with one, the vocabulary of a natural language with word number one, whuich we cannot say whether it was a verb or a noun, you may play with this idea:
Example: interpretation, abstarction, translation, etc.
Is it a verb or a noun? It is both. It assumes a subject and an object: an agent (object=subject) to interpret (to act on, hence in relation with) an object (grammar,) resulting in the quality of that relation (namely interpretation, interpreting, interpreted)
So what we have is an object related through action to another object producing a quality of hat relation. I admit that it is diffcult to see, just as it is dificult to see what garmmar forms (nouns, adjectives) are objects and what are properties.
There are many examples where the words can take all these three aspects, namely being a relation (verb), an object (a noun phrase), and a property (usually a quality) in one through a noun used as an adjective or as a participle (present and past). The aspects of the last bit raises the issue of tense and of course time as well.
Thus in translation we name the action, the product and the quality (contrasting it with non-translated objects/qualities) translation service
I hope I have not exceeded my ration.
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