Meaning and Experience

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How do we come to give names to things? Why do some things have names while others do not? What is the nature of the relationship between the reality we perceive and the language we use? How do we establish the meaning of words, and how can we be sure that we are sharing the same meanings with others? These and other related problems have been discussed in linguistics, semiotics, the philosophy of language, and psychology for a long time. In Meaning and Experience, Patrizia Violi reviews the most salient issues and themes in this complex debate, taking an interdisciplinary approach. In addition to citing empirical data from research in linguistics and the philosophy of language, she considers the most recent studies in cognitive psychology and neuropsychology, especially in relation to the problem of categorization and its relevance for the construal of linguistic meaning.

Moving from the analysis of lexical meaning, Violi addresses some general issues in semantics, including the role of perception in the structuring of language, text comprehension, and text interpretation. She suggests an original model of analysis based on an experiential and phenomenological approach. This model leads to a blending of lexical analysis with that of textual interpretation. All the theoretical discussions and models presented are richly illustrated with concrete examples.

Indiana University Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253338631
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Series: Advances in Semiotics Series
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrizia Violi is Professor of Semiotics at the University of Bologna, Italy, and Director of the Department of Semiotic and Cognitive Studies at the University of San Marino. Her research interests include semantic theory, discourse analysis and subjectivity theory as applied to language and communication. She has previously published a number of books on textual analysis and on gender difference in language, as well as a wide range of articles on semantic, cognitive, and semiotic issues. She is a member of the editorial board of the international journal of semiotic studies, Versus.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Preliminary Table of Contents:

I. Background Theories. The Many Ways of Considering Meaning
1. Three Approaches to Meaning

II. Formats of Semantic Representation Classical Models
2. Componential Analysis and Feature Semantics
3. A Synthesis and Some Problems
Prototypic Models
4. The Alternative to the Classical Model
5. The Horizontal Dimension of Categories

III. Proposal for an Experiential and Inferential Semantics
6. The Structure of Semantic Properties
7. The Delimitation of Lexical Meaning
8. Regularity and Context
9. Lexical Semantics and Textual Interpretation
10. The Many Dimensions of Meaning


Indiana University Press

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