LIN337H5 • Lexical Semantics: What is (or is not) in a Word?

25,000 is a modest estimate of the number of verbs with distinct meanings in English, but there are more likely upwards of 75,000 verbs. The number of nouns is three to four times this number. But how do we know what they all mean and how to use them appropriately? What is the nature of this knowledge? The meaning of words has been central to the study of language since the Ancient Greek and Sanskrit grammarians and philosophers, and it remains central to contemporary approaches to natural language. In this course, students will investigate basic issues and concepts in the linguistic study of word meaning, with a special focus on the relation between the semantics of words and their syntactic behaviour. Depending on the instructor, topics discussed in the course may include componential analysis; Lexical Conceptual Semantics; Cognitive Semantics; lexicalization patterns and differences cross-linguistically; categorization; compositionality; child language acquisition; computational applications.

In Class