[B-Greek] Semantics

Elizabeth Kline kline_dekooning at earthlink.net
Sat Oct 13 12:03:51 EDT 2007


On Oct 13, 2007, at 1:16 AM, Iver Larsen wrote:

>  The basic insight of Relevance Theory (RT), as it is often called,  
> is obviously true and important. It is not really a new discovery,  
> but Sperber and Wilson dressed it in new, fancy and IMO often  
> misleading terminology. Basically, Relevance Theory says that any  
> utterance, whether written or spoken, is made in a particular  
> context and situation and the author assumes his or her audience  
> will interpret the utterance from their own relevant background  
> knowledge.

The significance of frame theory for dealing with lexical semantics  
is somewhat independent of RT. I am not terribly excited about RT but  
having observed the problems that arise in discussions of lexical  
semantics I think frame theory significantly clarifies the notion of  
"context and situation". Exegetical works on the GNT have a nasty  
habit of using the word "context" as a wild card that can be thrown  
into discussion without any sort of clear idea what the term means.  
It would be a mistake to equate then notion of a frame with sitz en  
lieben. A frame is something that can change instantaneously for a  
single individual in a single day. A woman walking in a park talking  
to a friend gets a call from work on her cell phone and immediately  
she has moved into a different frame where her words will have  
different meanings.

Incorporating frames into a semantic domain lexicon presents some  
interesting problems. The biggest project is coming up with a an  
adequate network of frames to represent the universe of discourse for  
a collection of texts like the GNT or the Hebrew Bible.


Elizabeth Kline







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