The origin of ‘Semantics’ is from the French word ‘sémantique’ which is related to the connotation of word semainein which means ” signify” and Sema which means ” sign”.
Structural semantics means a relationship between the meanings of terms within a sentence. Meaning can be composed of smaller elements. Meanings are divided into smaller elements. Meanings are divided into smaller structural units via regulation in concrete social interaction. Outside of these interactions language may become meaningless. Ferdinand de Saussure posits that language is a system of interrelated units and structures and that every unit of language is related to others within the same system. The fundamental idea of structural semantics is a word meaning is relational; that is to say, a word’s position in semantic relations with other words in the same lexical field determined its meanings.
JOST TRIER argued:
” Words required their meanings through their relationships to other words in the same word field”
Origin of Semantics and Structural Linguistics:
Semantic is a branch of linguistics which deals with the study of the meaning of a language. Structural linguistics derived from the work of Switzerland scholar FERDINAND DE SAUSSURE. The structure of a language expresses the meaning which exists in one’s mind.
Grammatical View…..Word’ s Meaning:
From the earliest time down to the present day grammarians have been interested in what words mean than in their syntactic function.
Basic Dimensions of Semantics Analysis:
FERDINAND DE SAUSSURE introduces several basic dimension of Semiotic analysis such as Paradigmatic and Syntagmatic. Both are contrasting terms in structural linguistics.
Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics by JACK C. RICHARDS and RICHARD SCHMIDT sees Paradigmatic as:
Paradigmatic relations with words that could be substituted for it in the sentence. In paradigmatic each word one chooses in a sentence comes from a vast set of possible words. A paradigmatic relationship refers to the relationship which can be substituted for each other in the same position within a given sentence.
Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics by JACK C. RICHARDS and RICHARD SCHMIDT defines Syntagmatic Relation as:
A word may have syntagmatic with other words which occur in the sentence in which it appears. A syntagmatic relationship with items which occurs within same construction. A syntagmatic relation refers to the relationship a word has with other words that surrounded it:
I gave Tracy the book.
Passed Handed Threw
Paradigmatic and Syntagmatic Relations with Word’s Meaning:
We may take a dog as concrete relations. For example, it has cat, mouse, camel and rhinoceros as incompatibles, spaniel, Pekinese, and collie as hyponyms, tail, paw, and dewlap as meronyms and is itself a hyponymy of mammal, animal, living thing and so on. Also relevant are its syntagmatic relations with words like bark, whine, and growl, to mention but few or take the word auburn. An important part of the meaning this word is its syntagmatic relation with hair. But its paradigmatic relations are equally important, it is a member of a set of incompatible con-hyponyms including ginger, black, white, brown, blonde and grey.
Role of Lexical Field Theory:
A lexical field divides up a conceptual field among its members. According to the strictest version of field theory, the conceptual field is exhaustively partitioned among its members of the lexical field, that is to say, there are no gaps Furthermore, the semantic value of any word is circumscribed by those of other words in the field. This has three important consequences.
Division of Conceptual Field under Lexical Field:
A lexical field divides up a conceptual field among its members. According to the strictest version of field theory, the conceptual field is exhaustively partitioned among the members of the lexical field, that is to say, there is no gap; Furthermore, the semantic value of any word is circumscribed by those of other words in the field.
Consequences of Division:
First, a word in a particular language that participates in a number of different lexical fields will have a different semantic value in each of them. Take the word “RED” in English ( in its ‘colour’ sense). This participates in at least three different lexical fields: a default ‘field’ in which it contrasts with orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, white, and grey; a ‘field’ shows types of wine in which it contrasts with white and rose; and a field denoting hair colours, in which it contrasts with black, white, brown, blonde, fair, and grey. In the default field, the ranges of colours denoted by red are limited by the ranges of purple, orange, and brown. In the wine field, red has two contrasts, white and rose. As a result, it covers different ranges of colours, including, for instance, hues that in default field would be labelled purple in case of red wine, and green and yellow in the case of white wine.
A second consequence arises from the fact that different languages may partition a particular conceptual field in different ways, and?make a different number of distinctions. Hence, there may be no translational equivalence between terms, or terms which may superficially appear to be equivalents actually have different values. For instance, the conceptual field covered by the English word Hamlet, Village, Bourg, and Villa…..However, with the possible exception of Hamlet and Hameau, there are no exact correspondences between the two languages. The English distinction between town and city is not lexically marked in French, while the French distinction between the village and Bourg is not made in English.
The third consequence is that a change in the part of a conceptual field covered by a word entails a change in the ranges of other words in the same field. A related consequence is that it is not possible to have a full grasp of one member of the field without also knowing the other members. One doesn’t know fully what horse means unless one has a grasp of types of ‘non-horse. A structuralist approach to semantics may take a componential or non-componential direction.
To conclude, one can say that structural semantic means a word’s position in semantic relations with other words in the same lexical field determined its meanings. Structural linguistic derived from the work of Ferdinand de Saussure. He also introduces basic Dimensions of Semiotic analysis such as Paradigmatic and Syntagmatic Relations. He also defines the role of Lexical Field Theory in relations of word’s meaning. Division of Conceptual Field in its members under Lexical Field Theory is also important in word’s meaning. Linguists also define the consequences of this division as a word has a different value in different lexical and semantic field. They also assert that partition of Conceptual Field among its members differs in various languages. It is also stated that a change in conceptual field entails a change in other words.