Semantics (from Ancient Greekσημαντικός sēmantikósimportant)[1][2] is the study of meaning. It focuses on the relation betweensignifiers, like wordsphrasessigns, and symbols, and what they stand for, their denotation.

Linguistic semantics is the study of meaning that is used for understanding human expression through language. Other forms of semantics include the semantics of programming languages, formal logics, and semiotics.

The word semantics itself denotes a range of ideas - from the popular to the highly technical. It is often used in ordinary language for denoting a problem of understanding that comes down to word selection or connotation. This problem of understanding has been the subject of many formal enquiries, over a long period of time, most notably in the field of formal semantics. In linguistics, it is the study of interpretation of signs or symbols used in agents or communities within particular circumstances and contexts.[3] Within this view, sounds, facial expressions, body language, and proxemics have semantic (meaningful) content, and each comprises several branches of study. In written language, things like paragraph structure and punctuation bear semantic content; other forms of language bear other semantic content.

Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics and semiotics which studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. Pragmatics encompasses speech act theory, conversational implicaturetalk in interaction and other approaches to language behavior in philosophy,sociologylinguistics and anthropology.[1] Unlike semantics, which examines meaning that is conventional or "coded" in a given language, pragmatics studies how the transmission of meaning depends not only on structural and linguistic knowledge (e.g., grammarlexicon, etc.) of the speaker and listener, but also on the context of the utterance, any pre-existing knowledge about those involved, the inferred intent of the speaker, and other factors.[2] In this respect, pragmatics explains how language users are able to overcome apparent ambiguity, since meaning relies on the manner, place, time etc. of an utterance. The ability to understand another speaker's intended meaning is called pragmatic competence.

An Introduction to English Semantics and Pragmatics (Edinburgh Textbooks on the English Language)

Knowledge of Meaning: An Introduction to Semantic Theory

Meaning and Grammar: An Introduction to Semantics

Context-Sensitivity and Semantic Minimalism: New Essays on Semantics and Pragmatics

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