word sense
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linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...

linguistics
, a word sense is one of the meanings of a
word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many languages, words also cor ...

word
. Words are in two sets: a large set with multiple meanings (word senses) and a small set with only one meaning (word sense). For example, a
dictionary A dictionary is a listing of lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic morphology, inflection (or inflexion) is a process of word formation, in wh ...

dictionary
may have over 50 different senses of the word "
play Play most commonly refers to: * Play (activity), an activity done for enjoyment * Play (theatre), a work of drama Play may refer also to: Computers and technology * Google Play, a digital content service * Play Framework, a Java framework * Play ...
", each of these having a different meaning based on the
context Context may refer to: * Context (language use), the relevant constraints of the communicative situation that influence language use, language variation, and discourse summary. Computing * Context (computing), the virtual environment required to ...
of the word's
usage The usage of a language is the ways in which its written language, written and spoken language, spoken variations are routinely employed by its speakers; that is, it refers to "the collective habits of a language's native speakers", as opposed to id ...
in a sentence (linguistics), sentence, as follows: In each sentence we associate a different meaning of the word "play" based on hints the rest of the sentence gives us. People and computers, as they read words, must use a process called word-sense disambiguationR. Navigli
''Word Sense Disambiguation: A Survey
', ACM Computing Surveys, 41(2), 2009, pp. 1-69.
to find the correct meaning of a word. This process uses
context Context may refer to: * Context (language use), the relevant constraints of the communicative situation that influence language use, language variation, and discourse summary. Computing * Context (computing), the virtual environment required to ...
to narrow the possible senses down to the probable ones. The context includes such things as the ideas conveyed by adjacent words and nearby phrases, the known or probable purpose and register (sociolinguistics), register of the conversation or document, and the orientation (time and place) implied or expressed. The disambiguation is thus context (language use), context-sensitive. Advanced semantic analysis (linguistics), semantic analysis has resulted in a sub-distinction. A word sense corresponds either neatly to a seme (semantics), seme (the smallest possible unit of meaning (linguistics), meaning) or a sememe (larger unit of meaning), and polysemy of a word of phrase is the property of having multiple semes or sememes and thus multiple senses.


Relations between senses

Often the senses of a word are related to each other within a semantic field. A common pattern is that one sense is broader and another narrower. This is often the case in technical jargon, where the target audience uses a narrower sense of a word that a general audience would tend to take in its broader sense. For example, in casual use "orthography" will often be gloss (annotation), glossed for a lay audience as "spelling", but in linguistic
usage The usage of a language is the ways in which its written language, written and spoken language, spoken variations are routinely employed by its speakers; that is, it refers to "the collective habits of a language's native speakers", as opposed to id ...
"orthography" (comprising spelling, letter case, casing, space (punctuation), spacing, hyphenation, and other punctuation) is a hypernym of "spelling". Besides jargon, however, the pattern is common even in general vocabulary. Examples are the wood wool#Terminology, variation in senses of the term "wood wool" and bean#Terminology, in those of the word "bean". This pattern entails that natural language can often lack explicit knowledge, explicitness about hyponymy and hypernymy. Much more than programming languages do, it relies on context instead of explicitness; meaning is wikt:implicit#Adjective, implicit within a context. Common examples are as follows: * The word "diabetes" without further specification usually refers to diabetes mellitus. * The word "angina" without further specification usually refers to angina pectoris. * The word "tuberculosis" without further specification usually refers to tuberculosis#Pulmonary, pulmonary tuberculosis. * The word "emphysema" without further specification usually refers to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary emphysema. * The word "cervix" without further specification usually refers to the cervix, uterine cervix. Usage labels of "''sensu''" plus a sensu#Common qualifiers, qualifier, such as "''sensu stricto''" ("in the strict sense") or "''sensu lato''" ("in the broad sense") are sometimes used to clarify what is meant by a text.


Relation to etymology

Polysemy entails a common historic root to a word or phrase. Broad medical terms usually followed by qualifiers, such as those in relation to certain conditions or types of anatomical locations are polysemic, and older conceptual words are with few exceptions highly polysemic (and usually beyond shades of similar meaning into the realms of being ambiguity, ambiguous). Homonymy is where two separate-root words (lexemes) happen to have the same spelling and pronunciation.


See also

*Denotation *semantics – study of meaning *lexical semantics – the study of what the words of a language denote and how it is that they do this *word sense induction – the task of automatically acquiring the senses of a target word *word sense disambiguation – the task of automatically associating a sense with a word in context *lexical substitution – the task of replacing a word in context with a lexical substitute *sememe – unit of meaning *
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...

linguistics
– the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. *sense and reference


References

{{Reflist


External links


”I don’t believe in word senses”
Adam Kilgarriff (1997) -
WordNet(R)
- A large lexical database of English words and their meanings maintained by the Princeton Cognitive Science Laboratory. Lexical semantics Semantics Word-sense disambiguation Philosophical logic