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Semantics for Translation Students



Ali Almanna

This book is an introduction to semantics for students and researchers who are new to the field, especially those interested in Arabic–English translation and Arabic–English contrastive studies. The book first presents key concepts in semantics, pragmatics, semiotics, syntax and morphology and gradually introduces readers to the central questions of semantics. These issues are then analysed and discussed in conjunction with the act of translating between Arabic and English. Seeking a balance between theoretical developments and empirical investigation, the book thus provides both a systematic overview of semantics and an application in the field of English and Arabic contrastive semantics, hence offering a resource for students and teachers of Arabic–English translation.


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Chapter 7: Lexical Semantics


Chapter 7 Lexical Semantics Key terms • Antonymy • Homonymy • Homophony • Hyperonymy • Hyponymy • Lexical semantics • Polysemy • Reference • Referent • Referring expression • Sense • Synonymy In another area of semantics, “lexical semantics”, the focus of attention is shifted towards the study of word meaning, and the lexical relations that a word has with others. In lexical semantics, lexical relations, such as syn- onymy, antonymy, hyponymy, hyperonymy, polysemy, homonymy, and the like, are given full consideration. This chapter studies these relations in a direct link with the actual act of translating. 100 Chapter 7 7.1 Reference versus sense Reference refers to the relationship between words or expressions (technically known as “referring expressions”) inside the linguistic system and objects (technically known as “referents”) in the real world. When you hear or read, for instance, the word chair, and you are familiar with its meaning in English, you will have a mental image of it – something that has a seat, a back, and usually four legs; something that you can sit on, move, touch, and so on, as in the following diagram: Th is theory (known as “naming theory”) does not work with abstract words that do not refer to anything in the real world, such as happiness, sadness, beauty, courage, cowardice, and so on. Hearing or reading these words does not conjure up any mental image in our mind. Does that mean that these words are meaningless? In this regard, Goddard (1998/2011: 4; emphasis in the original) rightly comments: People sometimes think that the meaning of an...

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