Semantics In Native English

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Semantics “is the study of the meaning of words, phrases and sentences” (Ariza, 2010, Ch 9, p. 205). Semantics is really about the meaning behind what we say. Semantics challenges English Language learners because of the cross-cultural differences. The connotative meaning of words has its roots in cultural expression (Ariza, 2009). Take for example colloquial expressions and idioms like “you snooze, you lose”. The meaning of these phrases and words are not literal rather the focus is on the connotative meanings instead of the denotative. If you were to research the individual meanings of words in the dictionary, you wouldn’t derive the exact meaning of this phrase. The meaning comes from somewhere other than the dictionary. Culture is the source of these colloquial terms. Abdull often mixes up idioms. For example, while we were playing a game he told me “you snooze, you won.” This is an incorrect use of the idiom and it shows he doesn’t understand the meaning. As a matter of fact, he gave it the opposite meaning. Native English speakers would know that “you snooze, you lose” means that if you are slow then you will lose. This is an example of why it is difficult for an English language learner that is adjusting to a new culture to understand and comprehend cultural phrases.
Pragmatics is the study of language “within a context and why people use language a particular way” (Ariza, ch10, 2010, p. 82). Words have meaning beyond their dictionary definition.

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