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MetaphorIts Cognitive Force and Linguistic Structure$
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Eva Feder Kittay

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198242468

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198242468.001.0001

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Semantic Field Theory

Semantic Field Theory

(p.214) 6 Semantic Field Theory


Oxford University Press

This chapter describes semantic field theory and gives valid points for argument for its inclusion within a complete semantics of natural language. Semantic field theory develops, historically and conceptually, from the work of Ferdinand de Saussure who put forward the view of language as an interconnected system of signs such that an alteration of any of the elements involved a change in the entire system. The argument set forth in this chapter states that even an act as elementary as ostension requires first, that the language speakers share an understanding of what constitute the salient acoustic differences among the acoustic phenomena, and secondly, that the language speakers share an understanding of what counts as a salient differentiation within the conceptual frame of language.

Keywords:   semantic field theory, semantics, natural language, Ferdinand de Saussure, word meaning, semantic fields

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