Archive for the ‘Syntax & Semantics’ Category

Phrase Structure Rules

Phrase structure rules are ‘formulae’ that describe a given language’s syntax. Phrase structure rules break a natural language sentence down into its constituent parts (also known as syntactic categories. Phrase structure rules are usually of the form: meaning that the constituent A is separated into the two sub-constituents B and C E.g. This means that […]


A phrase is a group of words acting as a single part of speech and not containing both a subject and a verb. It is a part of a sentence, and does not express a complete thought. Noun Phrases Noun phrases must have a Noun (or Pronoun) and may or may not have other modifiers […]

Formal Links

A piece of language is said to be coherent (therefore discourse) if it has a discernible, unified meaning. A piece of discourse is said to be cohesive if its components (ie. sentences/phrases/words) are bound together through linguistic and non-linguistic features to form a unified whole. The linguistic features used to link one word/phrase/sentence to another […]

Lexical Semantics

Lexical semantics is the subfield of linguistics that studies how and what words of a language denote and thus involves the meaning of individual words. Lexical semantics focuses on theories of: classification and decomposition of word meaning differences and similarities in lexical semantic structure between different languages the relationship of word meaning to sentence meaning […]

Types of Meaning

There are three main types of meaning: Referential meaning Social Meaning Affective Meaning Referential Meaning This is the object, notion, or state of being described by a word, phrase or sentence e.g. Safaru Kaidha the meaning of this is the person who goes by that particular name. Hadigilla’s trousers This refers to the particular piece […]

Grammatical Aspect

In linguistics, grammatical aspect is a property of a verb that defines the nature of temporal flow in the described event or state. In most modern Indo-European languages, including English, the concept of aspect has become conflated with the concept of tense. It is somewhat difficult to explain the idea of aspect in English because […]

Word Classes

We will define seven MAJOR word classes: Some may include different word classes from these; they may also define the boundaries between the classes in different ways. E.g. some may treat pronouns as a separate word class, but we will consider them a subclass of nouns, which we will look at in a bit more […]


Morphemes are the smallest meaningful units in words There are two main types of morphemes — Free morphemes & bound morphemes Bound morphemes are of two types — Derivational morphemes & Inflectional morphemes Derivational morphemes are morphemes that have the effect of changing the lexical category or the central meaning of the word to which […]

Syntax & Semantics – Introduction

In order to talk about language at this level we need to make many distinctions that we did not overtly think about when studying grammar at school First, we must note that languages are organized on two levels: – level of expression’ in which the message is encoded – level of content this level encompasses […]


This is a subfield of linguistics that is most commonly defined as the study of meanings of linguistics units such as words, phrases and sentences.