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Semantic Analysis in Linguistics

Semantic analysis

Semantic in linguistics is largely concerned with the relationship between the forms of sentences and what follows from them. Semantic analysis is an analysis of the sensible set of instructions that form part of programming in a language, for instance, the presence of subject-verb agreement, proper use of gender and marching of linguistic components in a way that makes sense (Hurford 25). For instance the sentence “… is supposed to be…” (Schmidt par. 2 ) in the article ‘A Christmas gift’ makes less meaning unless the root word ‘suppose’ is replaced with ‘supposed’.

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Propositions are truth-bearers referring to the meaning of a declarative sentence and therefore it is the quality of a declarative sentence with the quality of being true or false. For example in ‘A Christmas gift’ the article states that “I have long thought of this as one of her many gifts” (Schmidt par. 2). This is a declarative sentence which can be true or false and therefore a proposition. Another example is where the daughter declares that “We do have our personalities and souls…” (Schmidt par. 3), where she is out to counter the attacks directed to youth by grown-ups.

In ‘When Daughter Becomes a Mother’ the article has used various declarative sentences which can be termed propositions. By writing that “…I was glad to have my mother…” (Schmidt par. 1) the writer is declaring her feelings and her sense whenever she was accompanied by her mother in her labor ward. The last declarative proposition is evident when the writer states that, “… is a great site with plenty of information” (Schmidt par. 5) and by doing this the writer declares the inevitability of such a website for mothers.


Entity in linguistics refers to a term with a distinct and separate existence but with different meaning in different sentences whether or not such references refer to material existence. The meaning of the entities in the language is known only when we know how to use it and can be defined by a set of rules that determine its behavior. In ‘When Daughter Becomes a Mother’ and ‘A Christmas Gift’ the writer uses entities such as or, any, all and each which can be classified as entities. For example, the meaning of entity all in these phrases are not the same;

  1. … they were all more at ease … (Schmidt par. 4).
  2. …it was a combination of all this … (Schmidt par. 2).


A reference is a concrete object or concept that is object designated by a word or expression and it simply an object, action, state, relationship or attribute in the referential realm (Hurford 28). The function of referring terms or expressions is to pick out an individual, place, action and even group of persons among others. In the two articles, such references can be for instance Christmas, which refers to a commemoration of Jesus Christ’s birth, household which refers to family members and others like children, parents, teenagers, cash, thought, gifts, daughters, delivery room, hospital, childhood, baby’s mother among others. There are the real world and imaginary world references for example when the writer states “… had my article for this month…” (Schmidt par. 1), he is referring to the real-world reference for the month while “And I became very aware of …” (Schmidt par. 2), is an imaginary outcome of the reference’s stereotyping.


A referent is an object that an expression refers to for example the name Christmas in the article ‘A Christmas Gift’ refers to the commemoration of the birth of the one Jesus Christ, the man who is believed to be the son of God and savior of mankind by Christians. The expression ‘baby’s father’ (Schmidt par. 3) in ‘When Daughter Becomes a Mother’ refers to that particular man, whom the pregnant mother had as the father of their child.


The sense is the mode of presentation of the referent in a way that linguistic expressions with the same reference are said to have different senses. For example the expressions “…obnoxious teenagers…” (Schmidt par. 6) and “Teenagers do ….” (Schmidt par. 3) from ‘A Christmas Gift’ have the words “teenagers” which means that as far as they are in both sentences there is something common to each thought and this common element, which can not be referent is the sense or meaning.

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Referring expression

In linguistics referring expressions refer to any noun phrase, a noun phrase surrogate which plays the role of picking out a person, place, object et cetera. For example in “’ A Christmas gift’ the phrase “The household consisted…’” (Schmidt par. 4) picks out family members who were affected by the fire as described in the article. This will be true for others like; “This room of obnoxious teenagers…” (Schmidt par. 6), “By the time it made its way…” (Schmidt par. 6) and such pronouns and proper names like Samantha, are all referring expressions in the articles.

The predicator

Linguists consider a predicator as a group of words in a sentence that is taken or considered to be a single unit and a verb in its functional relation. For example “my 14-year-old friend” (Schmidt par. 4) is a unit made up of a group of words that refer to the friend. Other examples from our articles include; “… selfish, rude, loud and self-centered teenagers…” (Schmidt par. 5) among others. Lexical ambiguity is always evident when a word or phrase alludes to more than one meaning in the language to which the language is used for example the word ‘mother’ which can be a verb or noun. Another example is “Both times that I gave birth…” (Schmidt par. 1) where one may not be sure of the meaning of the word ‘both’ it can mean; twice, two or double. The word both is also not agreeing with times.

Works Cited

Hurford, James, et al. Semantics: A Course book. London: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.

Schmidt, Lee. “When Daughter Becomes a Mother.” 2000. Web.

Schmidt, Lee. “A Christmas Gift.” 2000. Web.

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