Semantic Categories

Under Semantic Categories lists such recurrent semantic distinctive features of a word as serve to distinguish different senses of a word under the same Lexeme and with the same Syntactic Category.

The Semantic Categories constitute an open and continuously expanding varied set of semantic features of words. These features are typically added as and when they are distinctive between different meanings of a word. Thus for 殺 "kill" no Semantic Feature "causative" is entered because that word is always causative "cause to die" and does not derive from any non-causative other word.

The set of Semantic Categories includes the following:

act (active): e.g. "serve as a professor"

ag (agent): e.g. "pontificator"

ch (change, transitional): e.g." turn from being a student into a professor"

con (conative): e.g. " try to become a professor"

fig (figurative): e.g. "ass" (NOT: "donkey")

general: e.g. "the various Xia" ???

inch (inchoative): e.g. "be in the process of becoming a professor"

med (medium): e.g. "be baffled"

nonref (non-referential): e.g. "the gentleman" ???

pass (passive):e.g. "be appointed as a professor"

plur (plural): e.g. "the feudal lords"

sing (singular): e.g. "the highest god"

st (stative): e.g. "be a professor"

Nota bene:
The Semantic Categories in TLS do not form - and will never come to form - a coherent structural system, unlike the syntactic categories. They are often ad hoc and mnemonic, serving to specify a nuance that is relevant to distinguish a certain meaning within a Synonym Group. The Semantic Categories are thus an only partly standardised form of semantic annotation.

The idea is that this annotation will be increasingly standardised as time goes on, although the semantic features will always include ad hoc useful annotations and will not aim at overall conceptual systematicity.

Christoph Harbsmeier

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