Article

Formalizing the relationship between meaning and syntax

Wilfrid Hodges

in The Oxford Handbook of Compositionality

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199541072
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199541072.013.0011

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Formalizing the relationship between meaning and syntax

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  • Linguistics
  • Semantics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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Linguists started to handle the semantics of linguistic constructions with the proper generality only in the twentieth century. Leonard Bloomfield approaches the notion of a construction via the notion of a constituent. A “constituent” of a linguistic form e is a linguistic form, which occurs in e and also in some other linguistic form. It is an “immediate constituent” of e if it appears at the first level in the analysis of the form into ultimate constituents. A “construction” combines two or more linguistic forms as immediate constituents of a more complex form. Bloomfield's notion of a “pronounceable” string of sounds is purely phonetic. So the entire work of distinguishing grammatical from ungrammatical expressions of the language L rests on the question whether they are “meaningful.”

Keywords: linguistic constructions; semantics; linguistic forms; ungrammatical expressions; ungrammatical expressions

Article.  7675 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Semantics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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