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Semantics

  • By: Victor Raskin
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Semantics designates the study of meaning in various academic disciplines and for various purposes. This entry deals with linguistic semantics and its usage in verbal humor.

Linguistic Semantics

Semantics is one of the main subdisciplines of linguistics. Linguistic semantics, or semantics of natural language, is also one of the several distinct disciplines that carry this name; the others are parts of philosophy, mathematical logic, and semiotics. All the semantics differ from each other in all the components of a theory, namely in their purview, premises, body, goals, falsifiability, and justification and evaluation.

The purview of linguistic semantics includes all the meaningful elements of natural language, from the morpheme—a meaningful part of a word, such as prefixes, roots, suffices, and infixes—to the word, then the phrase, and finally the ...

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