Dr. Bill Vicars Lifeprint com Asl linguistics: Semantics



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Dr. Bill Vicars Lifeprint.com

ASL Linguistics: Semantics

What is the sign for NAME?

What is the sign for ROME?

LIS = Italian Sign Language Lingua dei Segni Italiana

Meaning is determined by…

… a specific community of users.

Determined = decided = agreed

Dictionary problem:

Same sign / different glosses

Can you think of any signs that have more than one English interpretation?

Lets discuss types of meaning…

3 types of meaning…

Referential Social Affective

Referential meaning…

idea, thing, state of affairs

CAT = 4 legs, tail, whiskers, etc.

The "cat" is a referent of the sign CAT.

REFER = NAME-(verb)

REFER = LABEL

-

Social Meaning…

Sign choices reveal social information

where from

male or female

African American or Caucasian

example: AWFUL

Affective Meaning…

Sign choices reflect your…

feelings, attitudes, opinions

Example: "fascinating research" vs…

"boring old project"

Shows your attitude

affective = feelings

Referential meaning = What

Social meaning = Who

Affective meaning = How feel

Referential meaning = denotation

Social and Affective meaning = Connotation

Example: “dEAF” = denotation

Example: DEAF = connotation

What is a lexicon?

A set of words known by users of a language.

Lexicon = Vocabulary set

What is a Lexical item?

A word (or sign).

The study of semantics includes considering…

Relationships of meaning between “lexical items” (words or signs)

Ways words are related in meaning

Will teach you six ways.

Consider: APPLE & CAR

APPLE & CAR Are not related

Consider:

BLUE RED YELLOW GREEN ORANGE PURPLE

…are types of what?

COLOR

BLUE, RED, etc. have a relationship with COLOR

That relationship is called:

1. Hyponymy

BLUE, RED, YELLOW, etc. are hyponyms

COLOR is a hypernym

Example:

Sign Language: ASL, LSF, LIS, LSQ

“hyper” means “over” or above.

Is "RED" a color?

Duh. I have a point.

Consider: HAND & ARM

Is a HAND an ARM?

No.

We are not discussing hyponymy.

New type of meaning…

The relationship between a hand and an arm is a:

2. Part/Whole Relationship

Another example:

PHONOLOGY and LINGUISTICS

Note…

RED is a type of color…

HAND is a part of an arm.

Phonology is not a type of linguistics.

Phonology is a part of linguistics.

So far we’ve talked about what two types of relationships between signs?

1. Hyponymy 2. Part/Whole

New relationship…

Consider: soda & pop

sofa & couch

Two words that mean the same thing are…

Synonyms

3. Synonymy

Consider however:

“Denotative Synonymy” means …

“Refer to the same thing.”

Two signs can denote (or refer to) the same thing but have a different connotation (social or affective meaning).

Can have different connotative meaning.

Connotatively not synonymous

Connotative = social and affective

Connotative = who & how feel

DEAF ("index" hand) & DEAF (A-5 hand) are denotatively similar (synonymy) but connotatively dissimilar.

DEAF ("index" hand) & DEAF (A-5 hand) both refer to the concept of “not hearing” but the two signs are different in terms of WHO uses them and HOW the user feels about being “Deaf.”

Are BED & #BED an example of Synonymy ????

Maybe at a basic referential level.

But they tend to be used differently in actual conversation.

BED & #BED are not synonymous at the sentence or conversation level.

That means not synonymous at the "discourse" level.

“Discourse" tends to mean the use of sentences or having a conversation.

Can you think of another pair of ASL lexicon that has sign version and a lexicalized fingerspelling version?

CAR and #CAR

BUSY and #BUSY

EARLY and #EARLY

So far we’ve talked about what three types of relationships between signs?

1. 2. 3.

1. Hyponymy 2. Part/Whole 3. Synonymy

New relationship…

Consider: LARGE and SMALL

They are opposite in meaning.

4. Antonymy = opposites

There are two types of Antonymy

Gradable & Non-gradable

Gradable = levels, degrees, relative

Example: LARGER vs SMALLER

Non-gradable = one or the other but not both

Example: PREGNANT

ALIVE or DEAD

Gradable: English uses “-er"

Gradable: ASL often uses "depiction"

Example: "LIMO" vs V W Bug

THICK BOOK vs THICKER BOOK

ASL Gradation may also use…

Nonmanual signals ex: pursed lips / cha.

and structure changes, ex:

LIMO moves hands further.

Consider: GOOD & BAD

English GOOD/BAD phonological forms different

ASL GOOD/BAD phonological forms similar

Reversal of orientation for antonymy

Examples…

LIKE DON'T-LIKE

WANT DON'T-WANT

KNOW DON'T-KNOW

1. 2. 3. 4.

1. Hyponymy 2. Part/Whole 3. Synonymy 4. Antonymy

New Relationship…

Consider: WIFE & HUSBAND

TEACHER STUDENT

AUNT NIECE

5. Converseness

Converseness is sort of similar to antonymy

Converseness happens in pairs

often phonologically similar

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

1. Hyponymy 2. Part/Whole 3. Synonymy 4. Antonymy 5. Converseness

New relationship…

6. Metaphor

Metaphor = extension of meaning

Consider:

Orientational Metaphor example…

DEPRESSED

TIRED

THRILLED

HAPPY

Up = positive meaning

Down = negative meaning

Up = present (APPEAR)

Down = absent (DISAPPEAR)

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Ontological means …

... relating to or based upon being or existence.

The iconic nature of ASL …

is ontological

Signs (often) look-like what they are.

A sign often looks like…

…something that exists.

The sign ANALYSIS is …

mapped to the sign DIGGING…

which is mapped to …

the real life act of digging.

Ontological metaphors treat abstract…

entities states and events as if they were objects.

"Digging into your psyche."

"FALL-INTO an area of interest"

"HOLD-ONTO that idea"

-

Structural Metaphor:

Treat abstract concepts in terms of a more concrete concept.

"Time is money."

ASL ex: TIME-"run out of"

-

Metaphor: 1. Orientational 2. Ontological 3. Structural

4.

4. Families of signs

What signs can you do with an open-8 handshape?

FEEL

EXCITE

DEPRESS

PITY

SICK

SENSITIVE

…other example…

Can you think of some signs that seem related to “NOT”?

DENY

REFUSE

BLAME

SUFFER

Metaphor: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Metaphor: 1. Orientational 2. Ontological 3. Structural 4. Sign Families

There are more types of meaning. Today we’ve discussed six.

What are the six types of word “meaning relationships”?

1. Hyponymy 2. Part/Whole 3. Synonymy

4. Antonymy 5. Converseness 6. Metaphor

Here is a way to remember those:

CHAMPS

Dr. Bill Vicars Lifeprint.com



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