[b-hebrew] Uncancelable meaning

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Thu Apr 5 12:21:20 EDT 2007

On 05/04/2007 15:43, Rolf Furuli wrote:
> Dear David,
> I copied your post below and the post of Stoney Breyer, and asked  Dr. Johan 
> Nordlander for his comments. I have copied his reply below.
> ...
> Now, what these critics do not understand is the fact that the meaning value 
> of any word or morpheme taken in isolation IS a question of semantics. Only 
> when you add additional language elements and/or extralinguistic factors do 
> things open up for interpretation, that is, pragmatics. This means that what 
> the commentators below discuss is not the meaning/semantics of the verb 
> itself, but the meaning (message) of the entire utterances.
I don't think it is fair of Dr Nordlander to accuse these critics of not 
understanding this point. But the critics are not interested in the 
meaning/semantics of words in isolation, but of the meaning of entire 
utterances. And it is clear to us from these examples that certain 
components of the semantic meaning of individual words in an utterance 
are not in fact part of the meaning of the entire utterance, because 
they have been cancelled by the context in the utterance. Indeed this 
can be true of a phrase or idiom, which can have a meaning not 
compatible with the meaning of its component parts. A good example is 
indeed the phrasal verb "have dinner", which has semantic components 
different from those of the verb "have" in isolation.

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://www.qaya.org/blog/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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