State and elucidate the diversity of meaning with reference to lexical, syntactic and utterance meaning.With examples please

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crmhaske eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lexical meaning - the aspect of meaning of a word that is expressed using nonlinguistic concepts.  Essentially it is the symbolic meaning of the word because its meaning is in reference to the physical or abstract world, and has nothing to do with the sentence you found it in.

For example, when I say the word sandal you can imagine what a sandal looks like.  You know there are different kinds of sandals, but you have a general idea that a sandal is an open shoe.  The fact that this is what sandal brings to mind is its lexical meaning because the words surrounding it in the sentence did not contribute to the meaning.  Standing alone, sandal means something to you.

Syntactic meaning - the meaning that syntax provides.  Syntax is essentially grammatical structure; one of the important contributions to syntactic meaning is word order.  Depending on the order of the words you will picture a different meaning:

He painted the door green.
He painted the green door.

In the first sentence you picture a man painting a door of unknown color the color green.  In the second sentence you picture a man painting a green door an unknown color.  This is syntactic meaning.

Utterance meaning - an utterance is a vocal expression, and as such the meaning that an utterance gives is the meaning the person's intonation, pronunciation etc. gives to what is being said.

Close the door said with raising the intonation on the word door sounds like a request.  Close the door said in an even, commanding way sounds more like a command.  That would be utterance meaning.

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