Difference Between Pragmatics And Semantics

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1. Semantics is the study of literal meaning of words in language. “If semantics is the study of meanings of words and is related to linguistics, semantics may be generalized as the study of meanings in language.” (Hauck, 2008) The distinction between conceptual and associative meaning is an important aspect in semantics. Conceptual meaning deals with meaning of words such as the definition of words given in dictionaries. Associative meaning deals with how a word can be associated with several sides. An example of semantics is the word ‘man’ which can be defined as a male, adult or could be represented as a human being. 2. Pragmatics deals with the ‘hidden’ meaning in a sentence which are neither written nor said. It all depends on the person on how he is going to interpret it and the speaker uses his knowledge of the world and the expectation of about how other speakers communicate. Pragmatics “examines how language is used in social, cultural, and cognitive contexts, and how people produce and comprehend meaning through language.” (Rose) An example is: “Would you mind passing me the bill?” The speaker is not actually asking the person if he would mind passing him the bill but actually he is using these words to make a polite request. 3. Both semantics and pragmatics are the two main branches in linguistics but yet they differ from each other. Semantics deal with the ‘literal’ meaning of words, sentences and phrases whereas pragmatics deal with the ‘hidden’ meaning in
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