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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores how word meaning is represented by speakers of a language, reviewing psychological perspectives on the representation of meaning. It starts by outlining four key issues in the investigation of word meaning, then introduces current theories of semantics. Meaning representation has long interested philosophers (since Aristotle) and linguists, in addition to psychologists, and a very extensive literature exists in these allied fields. When considering semantic representation, four fundamental questions to ask are: How are word meanings related to conceptual structures? How is the meaning of each word represented? How are the meanings of different words related to one another? Can the same principles of organisation hold in different content domains? The article also discusses holistic theories of semantic representation, along with featural theories.

Keywords: word meaning, semantics, semantic representation, holistic theories, featural theories, content domains

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