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Semantic completeness (in linguistics)

  1. May 21, 2006 #1
    This is kind of a dumb question but I really can't find a definition anywhere. Can anyone help?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2006 #2
    found it mentioned in this wiki article
     
  4. May 21, 2006 #3
    Yeah I think that's more the mathematical definition of semantic completeness. But thanks for the help.
     
  5. May 21, 2006 #4

    honestrosewater

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    Yes, the article mentions logical completeness (the article itself is about soundness). Logical completeness is certainly of interest to semanticists, but I have no idea what you could mean by 'semantic completeness' other than some kind of formal, logical completeness. Note that the meanings of 'semantics' and 'syntax' in logic can differ from their meanings in linguistics. What kind of completeness are you looking for? Can you give some context for the definition you're after? Why do you want to know? What is it in connection with? Completeness of what?
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2006
  6. May 21, 2006 #5
    Well I've been trying to look through a course in Psycholinguistics on MIT OCW and I got to a section about constituenthood, which requires a sequence of words to have syntactical and semantic completeness. I'm pretty sure it just means that the sequence makes sense, both in terms of meaning and grammar. However, I sort of want a more formal definition.
     
  7. May 21, 2006 #6

    honestrosewater

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    Is it this?
    Is there anything in particular that you don't like about the definition? 'Interpretable component' jumps out at me. Do you know what that expression means? Interpretations will be part of the formalization of these structures, so it could tie in with that.

    I wouldn't worry too much about it though. You're about to go through the constituency tests (distribution, movement, pro-forms, deletion, coordination) and phrase structure rules. Those are what will introduce you to what a constituent is. Any formal definition can be derived from there. I would just move on and come back if you haven't figured it out by the end. It doesn't show up again anywhere else in the lecture.
     
  8. May 21, 2006 #7
    Yeah, that's the site.

    I presume interpretation means changing a sentence into a meaningful concept. But what makes a sentence interpretable? That it is syntatically and semantically complete, right? Seems like a tautology to me.
     
  9. May 22, 2006 #8

    honestrosewater

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    Depends on what you count as a sentence. A sentence normally is already associated with at least one meaning.

    An interpretation is used to assign meaning to various strings of a (formal) language. For example, most interpretations in mathematics assign the equality relation (a.k.a. the identity relation) to the symbol '=', which is of course merely a symbol. Roughly, an interpretation is a set D of individuals together with one or more functions from particular sets of symbols of your language to meaningful entities (constants, operations, and relations on D).
    If you put it that way, perhaps. It seems like you're just taking two terms that you think are synonymous and are both rather meaningless to you and trying to use them to define each other. I guess that if that ends up not providing you with any additional information and you want a more satisfactory definition, take the terms as undefined or define them in terms of something else.
     
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