componential analysis of meaning as it is considered to be an important . have defended a componential approach to semantics within a philosophical and. Componential analysis is a way proposed by the structural of a word can be dissected into meaning components, called semantic features. componential analysis. a method of semantic analysis. modelled on phonology. isolating the smallest units. phonology: the phoneme (or phonetic feature).

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. The meanings of words in a language are interrelated and they are defined in part by their relations with other words in the language. Analyzed in the same semantic domain, words can be classified according to shared and differentiating features. Breaking down the sense of a word into its minimal distinctive features, componential analysis of meaning can be a useful approach in the study of meaning, particularly in determining the meaning of a lexeme.

Although componential analysis has some difficulties and limitations in its application, it is still used in modern linguistics. One way of defining meaning is to say that the meaning of a word or sentence is the actual person, object, abstract notion, event, or state to which the word or sentence makes reference.

Referential ln may be the zemantics kind to recognize, but it is not sufficient to explain how some expressions mean what they mean. For one thing, not all expressions have referents. Social meaning is what we rely on when we identify certain social characteristics of speakers and situations from the character of the language used.

Affective meaning is the emotional connotation that is attached to words and utterances. A word or lexeme presents a complex semantic structure. A lexeme is built up of smaller components of meaning which are combined differently to form a different lexeme.

The meaning of a lexeme is a complicated structure where elements of meaning have definite interrelation Crystal, All semantic elements in a word are not equally fomponential. One or some of them is the dominant semantic element and it organizes around itself all the other ones, which may be more or less important for the meaning of a lexeme Lyons J, A lexeme can be analyzed and described in terms analyssis its semantic components, which help to define different lexical relations, grammatical and syntactic processes.

The semantic structure of a lexeme is treated as a system of meanings. To some extent we can define a lexeme by telling what set it belongs to and how it differs from other members of the same set.

Some abvious sets of this sort are sports tennis, badminton, soccer, golf, basketball,…colors red, blue, yellow, green, pink, … and creative writing novel, poem, short story, essay, biography,….

It is not difficult to say what the members of each set have in common. According to Semantic field or semantic domain theory, lexemes can be classified according to shared and differentiating componsntial.

Here are more examples. The determination of such features has been called componential analysis Kreidler, This snalysis treats only the componential analysis of referential meaning.

Components of Meaning Palmer says that the total meaning of a word can be seen in terms of a number of distinct elements or components of meaning Components have a distinguishing function and serve to distinguish the meaning of a lexeme from that of semantically related lexemes, or more accurately they serve to distinguish among the meanings of lexemes in the same semantic domain.

To determine the meaning of any form contrast must be found, for there is no meaning apart from significant differences. The same is true for the meanings of words. This is the central component which is shared by all semzntics lexemes in the same semantic domain or lexical field.

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Diagnostic or distinctive components. They serve to distinguish the meaning from others from the same domain. A very simple example to explain these two types is provided by the words man, woman, boy, girl, and other related words in English Leech, Common and Diagnostic Components of the words man, woman, boy, and girl In the semantic domain of man, woman, boy, and girl, [human] is the common component, and they are distinguished by [adult], [male], [female] as the diagnostic components.

The meanings of the individual items can then be expressed by combinations of these features: The differences can be best designated as 1 implicational, 2 core, and 3 inferential.

Implicational component are those implied by a particular meaning, though they do not form an essential part of the core meaning. On the contrary, implicational components remain associated with a meaning, even when other components are negativized by the context. The word repent has three diagnostic components: Whether in a positive or negative context, e.

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The inferential components of meanings are those which may be infered from the use of an expression, but which are not regarded as obligatory, core elements. However, it is possible to deny this inference, e. At the same time an inferential component may be explicitly stated, e. Componential Analysis of Meaning: Definition and History Componential analisis CA is based on the presumption that the meaning of a word is composed of semantic components.

So the essential features that form the meaning are elementary units on semantic level. By componential analysis, it is possible to state the smallest indivisible semantcs of lexis or minimal components Aitchison, CA is particularly applicable to distinguishing the meanings of lexemes that are semantically related or in the same semantic domain.

It is often seen as a process of breaking down the sense of a word into its minimal distinctive features; that is, into components which contrast with other components.

To describe the presence and absence of a feature binnary rules are used. Structural semantics and CA were patterned on the phonological methods compondntial the Prague School, which described sounds by determining the absence and presence of features Ahalysis, The method thus departs from the principle of compositionality Saeed, The lexical decomposition or componential approach to lexical semantics became one of the most influential in the s.

CA is a method typical of structural semantics which analyzes the structure of a words meaning. Thus, it reveals the culturally important features by which speakers of the language distinguish different words in the domain.

This is a highly valuable approach to learning another language and understanding a specific semantic domain of an Ethnography. The semantic domain where componential analysis was first used with some success was kinship terminology. Kinship terms are conventionally described in relation to a given person, technically termed by the latin equivalent of the pronoun I: There are some components needed to analyze the terms, they are gender and generation in respect of ego.

For examples, brother and sister are the same generation as ego. While father and mother are one generation above ascending generation and son and daughter are one generation below descending generation.

We therefore need two semantic components to distinguish the generation: Below is the matrix which represents unique analysis of each term in anakysis kinship system.

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The matrix of kinship terms Jackson, There are three basic steps in the procedure for determining the diagnostic features Nida, Furthermore, Nida has developed these three basic steps into six procedural steps which are important for analyzing the components of a related set of meanings Conducting a tentative selection of meanings which appear to be closely related, in the sense that they constitute a relatively well-defined semantic domain by virtue of sharing a number of common components.


Listing all the specific kinds of referents for each of the meanings belonging to the domain in question. In some special situations one may even be able to list all the referents. For father and mother, as related to any one ego, there would presumably be only one referent. Expressions such as father-in-law, mother-in-law, stepfather, and stepmother are all regarded as separate semantic units and should be treated only as parts of extended domain, since they are clearly secondary in formal as well as semantic structure.

Determining those components which may be true of the meanings of one or more terms, but not of all the terms in question.

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Obviously some of the meanings, as reflected in the differences between referents, involve the component of female sex, e. The term cousin is nondistinctive with respect to sex.

One must proceed feature by feature to determine those components which do make distinctions, and ultimately the features of sex, generation, and lineality, and consanguinity vs.

Determining the diagnostic components applicable to each meaning, so that the meaning of father may be indicted as possessing the components: Cross-checking with the data obtained by the first procedure. On the basis of the diagnostic features, one should be able to apply the correct terms to the referents known to possess such features. Describing the diagnostic features systematically.

It may be done simply by listing the diagnostic features for each meaning or term or the arrangement of such data in the form of a tree diagram or matrix. The diagnostic features of kinship terms 4.

componenrial Linguistic Basis for Componential Analysis The actual linguistic procedures employed in CA consists of four types, they are naming, paraphrasing, defining, and classifying. If elicitation of usage is carefully conducted and if the results of such a procedure are carefully checked against spontaneous utterances, there is every reason to believe that the results of using the four basic processes of naming, paraphrasing, defining, and classifying can be essentially accurate Nida, Reference is usually described as the relation established between linear unit and a referent, while naming is the specific act of designating a referent.

It consists essentially in iin all the various specific paraphrases into a single statement based on the diagnostic components of the particular meaning in question.

Classification is never merely a process of putting referents into conceptual files for the basic kinship terms in English, it is essential anakysis establish the features of sex, generation, degree of lineality, and consanguinity-affinal distinction.

Contributions to the Study of Meaning. Componential analysis has a useful part to play in contributing to the description of meanings of lexemes Jackson, Here are some of the contributions. A pair of true synonyms will share the same set of semantic components. Establishing degrees of synonymy.

For example, barn and shed would be looser synonyms. A pair of antonyms usually share all their components componentiql one, e. Understanding the sense relation of hyponymy.

Hyponymy refers to the analysiis of inclusion of meaning, e. Helping translator to produce accurate translation. CA Determines the essential features of meaning of lexical units, which is very useful in doing translation Nida, A number of fundamental difficulties are involved in determining the diagnostic components of the meanings of semantic unit Nida, The lack of an adequate metalanguage with which to describe some of the diversities.