Chapter

Semantic Field Theory

EVA FEDER KITTAY

in Metaphor

Published in print January 1990 | ISBN: 9780198242468
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680472 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198242468.003.0007

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

Semantic Field Theory

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This chapter describes semantic field theory and gives valid points for argument for its inclusion within a complete semantics of natural language. Semantic field theory develops, historically and conceptually, from the work of Ferdinand de Saussure who put forward the view of language as an interconnected system of signs such that an alteration of any of the elements involved a change in the entire system. The argument set forth in this chapter states that even an act as elementary as ostension requires first, that the language speakers share an understanding of what constitute the salient acoustic differences among the acoustic phenomena, and secondly, that the language speakers share an understanding of what counts as a salient differentiation within the conceptual frame of language.

Keywords: semantic field theory; semantics; natural language; Ferdinand de Saussure; word meaning; semantic fields

Chapter.  18845 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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