Different Types of Meaning in Semantics

There are Different types of meaning in Semantics; the meanings are – conceptual, connotative, stylistic, affective, reflected, collocative and thematic meaning. This study focuses on only two of the types of meaning: conceptual meaning and connotative meaning.

1. Conceptual meaning: It refers the literal and primary meaning of a word which we can call dictionary meaning. Conceptual meaning means logical, cognitive, or denotative content. It is based on two structural principles, which are contractiveness and constituent structures (in a scientific way). It is usually derived from definitions we find in dictionaries and the appearance of these lexical items. We give these lexical items features (constituent structures) and eliminate other features which are not present (contractiveness structures).- The conceptual meaning of a language can be studied in terms of  contrastive feature, depends on the given lexical field so that (for example) the meaning of the word woman could be specified as (+ human, +adult,- male), as distinct from, man , which could be defined (+ human, +adult,+ male).

2. Connotative meaning: Connotation means the act or process of connecting and the connotative meaning of a word is how the word is used in everyday life. It describes the communicative value of an expression. It may vary according to culture, background or society. Thus, it can be subjective and it depends very much on how an individual or society perceives a word. It is the association that we make on our mind of what these lexical items represent.

For example:

In English, the word dog may have the connotation faithfulness, apart from its referential meaning. When we analyze word meanings we should distinguish two separate concepts called denotative and connotative meaning; “sea” denotes a large body of water but connotes a sense of danger, instability.

3. Social meaning or stylistic meaning: It indicates the meaning which varies between age-groups, sex, social class and cultures. Dialect can be a good example. It is a part of language that conveys about the social circumstances of its use

4. Reflected meaning: Reflected meaning is the meaning that arises in cases of multiple conceptual meaning, when one sense of a word forms part of our response to another sense.

5. Collocative meaning: Collocative meaning is the associated meaning a word acquires in line with the meaning of words which tend to co-occur with it. Both pretty and handsome mean good-looking but they differ in collocative meaning. Pretty often co-occurs with girl, woman, flower, skirt, etc. Handsome often collocates with boy, man, car, overcoat, etc.

6. Thematic meaning: It concerns itself with how the order of words spoken affects the meaning that is entailed.



    • on January 3, 2013 at 10:13 am

    your blogs are very educative. Thanks

    • Di on March 3, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks a lot for this information.
    Is there any references for this article?

  1. A round of applause for your blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

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