Semantics is the study of meaning in language items such as morphemes, words, clauses, and sentences.

A- Lexical Semantics: The branch of linguistics that studies word meaning.

B- Sentence Semantics: The branch of linguistics that studies the sentence meaning.

Denotation and Connotation

Denotation is the literal, referential meaning

Connotation is the meaning with a positive or negative emotional association of the word


House: A building which people, usually one family, live in.

Home: The house, apartment, etc.. where you live, especially with your family.

Ev: Bir kimsenin veya ailenin içinde yaşadığı yer, konut, hane.

Yuva: Genellikle ailenin oturduğu ev.

Lexical Relations

Lexicon can be defined as a person’s mental dictonary.

The speaker knows;

  • how a word is pronounced
  • its syntactic properties
  • its collocations
  • its use


Hypo- is a prefix that comes from Greek meaning under, beneath, below, lower and -nym mean name.

Therefore, hyponyms are specific word meanings that are included under a word with a more general meaning.


The word white is a hyponym of the word color.


Co-hyponyms and Superordinate (Hpernym)

Meyva – Fruits (Superordinate / Hypernym)

Elma – Apples / Şeftali – Peaches / Armut – Pears / Muz – Banana / Portakal – Oranges (co-hyponym)


Synonyms are words that are supposed to have the same meaning.


glad, happy, and felicitous in English

mesut, bahtiyar, and mutlu in Turkish

Synonyms do not overlap in all contexts because of collocational constraints and stylistic variation associated with the meaning of the word.

Collocational Constraints

Collocation is a term that is used to refer to the possibility of using two or more words together. The prefix co means together and locate means takes place.


drink and coffee can collocate but

drink stone is not a possible phrase

Stylistic Variation (euphemistic, formal and informal styles)

Euphemism is a term that is used to replace a term that can be offensive or a taboo.


öl-, vefat et-, are synonyms but the latter is more euphemistic.


Antonyms are two words that have opposite meanings.


siyah and beyaz or yükselmek and alçalmak …

There are three types or antonyms:

1- Binary antonyms: are words with two opposite ends. There is no continuum between these two ends. There are only two opposing points.


ölü-canlı and evli-bekar

2- Gradable antonyms: show the meaning of words that are at the opposite ends of gradable terms.


küçük and büyük

3- Converse antonyms: are pairs that describe the relationship from opposite perspectives.


anne-çocuk / işçi-patron / öğretmen-öğrenci / asker-subay ..


Homonyms are words that are pronounced the same way but have completely different meanings. The word comes from Greek homos (same) + nym (name), meaning the same name.


acı: bitter / spicy hot

aç: hungry / open

kart: card / not fresh

kur: currency / set

yüz: face / a hundred


Polysemy is the case when the same word refers to many different things in different contexts.

Polysemy: poly (many) + semeion (sign)

While polysemy is one word with several meanings, homonymy is several words with the same spelling and pronunciation.


baş (head) is a case of polysemy in both Turkish and English. It is the part of a human body and other uses are: şirketin başı / sürünün başı

Sentence Level Semantics: Basic Concepts

Proposition: is a term that is used in semantics and philosophy. It covers the meaning or the content of a sentence that is represented in the mind of a person.


John is a new student.

Entailment: is the meaning of a proposition that is necessarily conveyed in another proposition.


Ben Eskişehir’de oturuyorum. ==> P

Ben Türkiye’de oturuyorum. ==> Q

P ==> Q (Eskişehirde isem Türkiyedeyim ama Türkiyedeyim deyince Eskişehirdeyim demek olmaz)

Presupposition: is used to refer to the part / parts of a proposition taken for granted.


Sigarayı bıraktın.

Sigarayı bırakmadın.

Sigarayı bıraktın mı?

Eğer sigarayı bıraksaydın …

Bunların tümü ===> You used to smoke ..

There is a group of linguistic items that bring presupposition to the sentence they are used. These known as presupposition triggers.


Some verbs: anla (realize), fark et (notice), bil (know), pişman ol (regret), farkına var (become aware of), hallet (manage), bitir (finish), devam et (continue), başar (succeed) …

Some adverbials: yeniden (again), bir kez daha (one more time), bir tane daha (one more), biraz daha (some more), artık (any more)…

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