Semantics vs. Pragmatics

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Semantics and Pragmatics is that the Semantics is a the study of meaning of language entities and Pragmatics is a branch of linguistics

  • Semantics

    Semantics (from Ancient Greek: σημαντικός sēmantikós, “significant”) is the study of meaning. The term can be used to refer to subfields of several distinct disciplines including linguistics, philosophy, and computer science.

  • Pragmatics

    Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics and semiotics that studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. Pragmatics encompasses speech act theory, conversational implicature, talk in interaction and other approaches to language behavior in philosophy, sociology, linguistics and anthropology. Unlike semantics, which examines meaning that is conventional or “coded” in a given language, pragmatics studies how the transmission of meaning depends not only on structural and linguistic knowledge (grammar, lexicon, etc.) of the speaker and listener but also on the context of the utterance, any pre-existing knowledge about those involved, the inferred intent of the speaker, and other factors. In that respect, pragmatics explains how language users are able to overcome apparent ambiguity since meaning relies on the manner, place, time, etc. of an utterance.The ability to understand another speaker’s intended meaning is called pragmatic competence.

  • Semantics (noun)

    A branch of linguistics studying the meaning of words. 1893

    “Semantics is a foundation of lexicography.”

  • Semantics (noun)

    The study of the relationship between words and their meanings.

  • Semantics (noun)

    The individual meanings of words, as opposed to the overall meaning of a passage.

    “The semantics of the terms used are debatable.”

    “The semantics of a single preposition is a dissertation in itself.”

  • Semantics (noun)

    The meaning of computer language constructs, in contrast to their form or syntax.

    “file sharing and locking semantics”

  • Pragmatics (noun)

    The study of the use of language in a social context.


Leave a Comment