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The Semantic Structure of Spanish

Meaning and grammatical form

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Abstract

In recent years, linguistics has become increasingly more willing to allow some type of representation of 'meaning' in the study of language. However, most approaches deal with sentence or utterance meaning and thereby ignore the meaning of linguistic form. Yet no description of linguistic semantics can be complete without a comprehensive account between meaning and form. This study returns to the problem of form and meaning by presenting a detailed account of certain forms in Spanish which have traditionally been called grammatical forms, or grammatical categories, and associated with grammatical meaning. It is suggested that not all linguistic forms represent the same kind of 'meaning', and that a subset of grammatical forms constitute a highly organized system that parallels phonology and syntax in its capacity to explain variation at the level of discourse. The book opens with an introductory chapter, which is followed by five chapters on the analysis of the Spanish verbal system. In Chapter 7 problems of the noun phrase (the meaning of determiners and grammatical number) are discussed. Chapter 8 offers an explanation of the meaning of the direct object a, and in Chapter 9 a crosslinguistic study of the semantics of Spanish and English is presented. A summary of findings is given in Chapter 10, along with a further consideration of the goals and procedures of semantic analysis.

Subjects: Theoretical linguistics; Romance linguistics; Semantics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

References

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