Author Topic: taxonomic relations VS semantic relations  (Read 1433 times)

Offline linguisticsnerd

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taxonomic relations VS semantic relations
« on: December 25, 2014, 04:14:00 AM »
Hello everyone,
I need ur help .. Im having a hard time understanding the difference between semantic relations and taxonomic relations? Can u please provide me few clarifications .
Thanks a bundle

Offline Daniel

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Re: taxonomic relations VS semantic relations
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2014, 11:42:31 AM »
What do you mean by "semantic relations"? If you're talking about lexical meaning (meaning of the words) then this could be anything. For example, "pencil" and "paper" are both related to the meaning of "writing". If you're talking about structural/compositional meaning, then you might have something like "sandwich" is the object (=patient) of "eat" in the sentence "I eat a sandwich." In general a lot falls under "semantics".

"Taxonomic relations" is much simpler: this refers to "natural" relationships between words based on their meaning and how we "naturally" classify them. So "dog" is a type of "mammal" and "poodle" is a type of "dog", meaning that "poodle" is a type of "mammal". If you search the internet for "taxonomic tree" you'll get the idea. Usually we talk about animals in this context (because it's so natural in biology to approach it that way), but you could talk about other things too. Basically we're talking about subsets (and supersets)-- consider "linguistics" and "academia" or "course instructor" and "educator".

(It's possible that some of these "natural" groupings aren't so natural after all; they require some sort of culturally established understanding of the how the world works, such as whether we care about things like evolution as part of the grouping. Are humans a subset of apes and mammals? Are whales considered mammals or fish? When applying this to language, it's important to know whether the language follows the taxonomy you're using.)
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