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The Trend and Prospect of the Study of ‘Meaning’

  • Korean Semantics
  • 2018, 59(), pp.1-30
  • Publisher : The Society Of Korean Semantics
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature
  • Published : March 30, 2018

LIM JI Ryong 1

1경북대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is to explore the significance and limitation of the definition of ‘meaning’ and to survey a desirable direction of the study of meaning. The major details of the argument are as follows: First, both a word in Chinese characters, ‘의미(意味)’ and a Korean native word ‘뜻맛’ are compound words. ‘의(意)․뜻’ displays mental intention, and is close to ‘meaning’. ‘미(味)․맛’ expresses the understanding of external feeling, and is close to ‘sense’. Second, ‘meaning’ is classified as seven kinds according to its perspectives: (a) ‘reference’ and ‘truth-condition’ are based on the prospective that meaning exists in the external world. (b) ‘sense relation’ is based on the prospective that meaning exists in language. (c) ‘use’ is based on the prospective that meaning is not fixed and operational. (d) ‘thought․concept’, ‘compound of component’, and ‘conceptualization’ are based on the prospective that meaning exists in our mind. Third, structural semantics and formal semantics in modern linguistics did not directly treat meaning itself by the former exploring ‘sense relation’ and the latter ‘truth-condition’. On the other hand, cognitive linguistics is recognized as being one step closer to the nature of meaning because it conceives the importance of ‘meaning’ and ‘semantics’ properly, and regards ‘meaning’ as based on embodied experience and as conceptualization of a dynamic process. Fourth, what we try to seek in our study of meaning is (a) to capture the phenomena of meaning properly, naturally and flexibly, (b) to make the study of meaning contribute to understanding humans and their life. This is closely related to our exploring the definition and nature of ‘meaning’.

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