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Study of meaning, one of the major areas of linguistic study (seelinguistics). Linguists have approached it in a variety of ways. Members of the school of interpretive semantics study the structures of language independent of their conditions of use. In contrast, the advocates of generative semantics insist that the meaning of sentences is a function of their use. Still another group maintains that semantics will not advance until theorists take into account the psychological questions of how people form concepts and how these relate to word meanings.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on semantics, visit Britannica.com.