"Semantics is the systematic study of meaning in language, especially word and sentence meaning" (Curzan and Adams, 2009).
Semantics can be broken down into two subfields: lexical semantics, which is the study of how words mean; and compositional semantics, which is the study of how words and syntax work together to make sentences mean.
When Working with ELLs:
Why is semantics so important? It is the key to unlocking understanding. In order for us to communicate and comprehend we must have: 1)an understanding of the meaning of words; 2) a bank of words from which to choose; and 3) strategies to support us in word retrieval
Semantics needs context in order for the sentence to make sense. We can help students by making meaningful contexts for the phrases they are learning.
After the lesson about semantics, assign some exercises to allow students to practice their new understanding of this concept. One of the best ways to practice the understanding of semantic meaning is to write a sentence in another way without changing the meaning. For example: She has been feeling blue. -> She has been feeling sad.
Phonology Syntax Morphology