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'There's glory for you!' 'I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said. Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't - till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"' 'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice objected. 'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.' 'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.' 'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master - that's all.'
- Lewis Carroll (1872), Through the Looking Glass
Semantics is the systematic study of meaning in human language. It is concerned with the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences. Subfields of semantics are lexical semantics, which deals with the meaning of words and meaning relationships within the lexicon, and sentence semantics, which studies the meaning of syntactic units larger than words (i.e. phrases, clauses, and sentences) and the meaning relationships between them. This kind of semantic analysis is called structural semantics, as meaning is defined and analysed from a predominantly language-internal perspective. In contrast, cognitive semantics explains meaning in terms of human cognition, linking meaning to the way the world is perceived and grouped into conceptual categories.
In general, semantics is mainly concerned with context-independent meaning, whereas pragmatics examines meaning in context.
All modules of General Linguistics are divided into 3 areas: focus and content, exercises and tools & extras. Use the various short texts and attached exercises in each module in addition to your textbooks and make use of our extensive annotated reading lists and tools to improve your knowledge according to your needs. All subfields in the area focus and content are linked to several exercises, designed for the respective topics in three degrees of difficulty. You can either work through the texts and attached exercises in the given order or you can move on directly to the area exercises to improve your skills where necessary.