"A whole group of words or even of sentences acting together, rather than single words acting in isolation." (D. Mac KAY, 1969, p.29)
This definition may be extended towards nonspoken or written expresions. A red stop sign at a crossroads or the ominous roar of thunder, or for a mouse in a field the shape of a sparrowhawk in the sky are somehow bearers of meaning for whom has been trained to understand them (see "semiosis").
On the other hand, any language may be considered as a matrix of countless semantic units.
As noted by G.M. WEINBERG, not only the interrelations between words, but even implicit syntactic and semantic knowledge by the users of the language, are conditions of correct interpretations and suppression of ambiguities. He submits the following amusing example:
"TIME FLIES LIKE AN ARROW"
"FRUIT FLIES LIKE A BANANA" (1975, p.65) and uses it to show the difficulties in resolving ambiguities in computer programs.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
We thank the following partners for making the open access of this volume possible: