Semantics is the study of the meaning of words. The word semantic comes from the ancient Greek. Semantics relates to the meaning that is derived from words, phrases, symbols, and signs. To understand semantics is to understand a words meaning and it connotation in context. Sometimes facial expressions, sounds, body language, and expressions are considered a type of semantic because they bring meaning and understanding to the spoken word. Semantics can also include homonyms, synonyms, and antonyms of a word. Semantics requires readers not only to look at a words definition as listed in a dictionary, but also at the word’s root, other ways the word is used, and connotations that go with the word. When looking at the semantics of a word or phrase a reader must also think about his or her own experience, and how the word relates to what they know from life.
There are several different Semantic theories. The first theory is Model theoretic semantics, which was founded by Richard Montague in the 1960’s. Montague system was called lambda calculus. His theory explains that semantics provides meanings to words and phrases. Another theory is Formal semantics. This was founded by philosopher Donald Davidson and focused on the truth of different phrases. Lexical and conceptual semantics explains how different words have slightly different meanings. Lexical semantics looks at word meaning within the context of its usage. Computational semantics also focuses on looking at linguistic meaning of a word.