A level language - What is the difference between lexis and semantics? Watch

Simone.xox
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The exam is tomorrow which I am literally close to having a panic attack about & I really don't know the difference between lexis and semantics.

I'm fine with grammar and phonology, but the other two really get me.
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Good bloke
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Simple: the lexis is all the words in a language, and semantics is the study of the meaning.
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Simone.xox
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Ohh.
So what features fall under lexis and which under semantics?
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Good bloke
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(Original post by Simone.xox)
Ohh.
So what features fall under lexis and which under semantics?
I don't honestly think my previous answer could have explained it further but I'll say it again, phrasing it slightly differently. The lexis is the collection of all the words that form a language and semantics is concerned with what language constructions (including words, phrases and sentences) mean.
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Aelred
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(Original post by Good bloke)
I don't honestly think my previous answer could have explained it further but I'll say it again, phrasing it slightly differently. The lexis is the collection of all the words that form a language and semantics is concerned with what language constructions (including words, phrases and sentences) mean.
I think this sums it up nicely, I'm not sure what the OP is driving at with "which features fall under"...? What features?
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lefneosan
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Are they then like Saussures signifier and signified?
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Melz0r
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OP, I've done A-level Eng.Lang and I know how it makes you pick features of things like a robot, so I think I know why you phrased that the way you did. Lexis and semantics are closely related, so don't talk about them separately as if they're completely different things; the choice of words is obviously heavily linked to the meaning, but sometimes linked interestingly, so try and talk about this.

In A-level-English-language-land they like you to talk about semantics vs. pragmatics, i.e. the "obvious", semantic meaning (denotation) and the "implied" pragmatic meaning (connotation). E.g. (this is quite a naff example but it sort of works), think of all the different ways I can say "house". Abode, residence, pad (*cringe*), home, etc. They are all different lexical choices (i.e. different words). They all have broadly the same semantic meaning (i.e. they all basically mean house). But they all carry different pragmatic meanings (i.e. the first two sound formal, suggest a certain type of person living in the house. The third suggests a different type of person again. The fourth has connotations of a family).

Another way you can get semantics vs. pragmatics is in everyday speech. For example,

"Hi, how are you, did you have a nice Christmas?"

Semantically, this means "I would like to know if you had a nice Christmas and enquire after your health." However, depending on how well you know the person, you might not tell the truth and say "actually it was bloody awful, the cat died and I'm really depressed" you'd just say "Yeah, alright, thanks, you?". So in some contexts, pragmatically it means "I am trying to facilitate a conversation with you to reinforce the fact that we know each other and be polite."

English Language examiners LIKE the pattern "This lexical choice has ____________ semantic meaning but _________ pragmatic meaning, therefore the text is doing ______________, because ______________."

Things you can spot about lexis:
- lexical fields (groups of words around a similar theme, e.g. the sea, food, etc. This is useful to talk about in advertising; sometimes they use the lexical field of food to describe a car, or the lexical field of sex to describe chocolate).
- word length/complexity. (e.g. if you're looking at a text intended for children: "simple monosyllabic lexis.")
- if you want to just mention a word you find interesting, don't call it a word. Call it a lexical choice

I hope this helps! PM me if you've any questions and I'll try and get back to you.
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King Leonidas
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(Original post by Melz0r)
OP, I've done A-level Eng.Lang and I know how it makes you pick features of things like a robot, so I think I know why you phrased that the way you did. Lexis and semantics are closely related, so don't talk about them separately as if they're completely different things; the choice of words is obviously heavily linked to the meaning, but sometimes linked interestingly, so try and talk about this.

In A-level-English-language-land they like you to talk about semantics vs. pragmatics, i.e. the "obvious", semantic meaning (denotation) and the "implied" pragmatic meaning (connotation). E.g. (this is quite a naff example but it sort of works), think of all the different ways I can say "house". Abode, residence, pad (*cringe*), home, etc. They are all different lexical choices (i.e. different words). They all have broadly the same semantic meaning (i.e. they all basically mean house). But they all carry different pragmatic meanings (i.e. the first two sound formal, suggest a certain type of person living in the house. The third suggests a different type of person again. The fourth has connotations of a family).

Another way you can get semantics vs. pragmatics is in everyday speech. For example,

"Hi, how are you, did you have a nice Christmas?"

Semantically, this means "I would like to know if you had a nice Christmas and enquire after your health." However, depending on how well you know the person, you might not tell the truth and say "actually it was bloody awful, the cat died and I'm really depressed" you'd just say "Yeah, alright, thanks, you?". So in some contexts, pragmatically it means "I am trying to facilitate a conversation with you to reinforce the fact that we know each other and be polite."

English Language examiners LIKE the pattern "This lexical choice has ____________ semantic meaning but _________ pragmatic meaning, therefore the text is doing ______________, because ______________."

Things you can spot about lexis:
- lexical fields (groups of words around a similar theme, e.g. the sea, food, etc. This is useful to talk about in advertising; sometimes they use the lexical field of food to describe a car, or the lexical field of sex to describe chocolate).
- word length/complexity. (e.g. if you're looking at a text intended for children: "simple monosyllabic lexis.")
- if you want to just mention a word you find interesting, don't call it a word. Call it a lexical choice

I hope this helps! PM me if you've any questions and I'll try and get back to you.
Just want to say, I was reading past threads for my English Language revision for my exams and this post caught my attention. Such a well crafted and explained response, I was shocked when I noticed the OP didn't respond with a simple thanks.
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vikkirowe
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I agree, this was great help. Thankyou
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Jammes
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Melzor: i would just like to say that paragraph about treating lexis and semantics and how to treat and answer in a way the examiners like likely got me through my year 12 exam. Thanks for the advice man!!
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Lego1as
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(Original post by Melz0r)
OP, I've done A-level Eng.Lang and I know how it makes you pick features of things like a robot, so I think I know why you phrased that the way you did. Lexis and semantics are closely related, so don't talk about them separately as if they're completely different things; the choice of words is obviously heavily linked to the meaning, but sometimes linked interestingly, so try and talk about this.

In A-level-English-language-land they like you to talk about semantics vs. pragmatics, i.e. the "obvious", semantic meaning (denotation) and the "implied" pragmatic meaning (connotation). E.g. (this is quite a naff example but it sort of works), think of all the different ways I can say "house". Abode, residence, pad (*cringe*), home, etc. They are all different lexical choices (i.e. different words). They all have broadly the same semantic meaning (i.e. they all basically mean house). But they all carry different pragmatic meanings (i.e. the first two sound formal, suggest a certain type of person living in the house. The third suggests a different type of person again. The fourth has connotations of a family).

Another way you can get semantics vs. pragmatics is in everyday speech. For example,

"Hi, how are you, did you have a nice Christmas?"

Semantically, this means "I would like to know if you had a nice Christmas and enquire after your health." However, depending on how well you know the person, you might not tell the truth and say "actually it was bloody awful, the cat died and I'm really depressed" you'd just say "Yeah, alright, thanks, you?". So in some contexts, pragmatically it means "I am trying to facilitate a conversation with you to reinforce the fact that we know each other and be polite."

English Language examiners LIKE the pattern "This lexical choice has ____________ semantic meaning but _________ pragmatic meaning, therefore the text is doing ______________, because ______________."

Things you can spot about lexis:
- lexical fields (groups of words around a similar theme, e.g. the sea, food, etc. This is useful to talk about in advertising; sometimes they use the lexical field of food to describe a car, or the lexical field of sex to describe chocolate).
- word length/complexity. (e.g. if you're looking at a text intended for children: "simple monosyllabic lexis.")
- if you want to just mention a word you find interesting, don't call it a word. Call it a lexical choice

I hope this helps! PM me if you've any questions and I'll try and get back to you.

You're a God. <3
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Asiret
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(Original post by Melz0r)
OP, I've done A-level Eng.Lang and I know how it makes you pick features of things like a robot, so I think I know why you phrased that the way you did. Lexis and semantics are closely related, so don't talk about them separately as if they're completely different things; the choice of words is obviously heavily linked to the meaning, but sometimes linked interestingly, so try and talk about this.

In A-level-English-language-land they like you to talk about semantics vs. pragmatics, i.e. the "obvious", semantic meaning (denotation) and the "implied" pragmatic meaning (connotation). E.g. (this is quite a naff example but it sort of works), think of all the different ways I can say "house". Abode, residence, pad (*cringe*), home, etc. They are all different lexical choices (i.e. different words). They all have broadly the same semantic meaning (i.e. they all basically mean house). But they all carry different pragmatic meanings (i.e. the first two sound formal, suggest a certain type of person living in the house. The third suggests a different type of person again. The fourth has connotations of a family).

Another way you can get semantics vs. pragmatics is in everyday speech. For example,

"Hi, how are you, did you have a nice Christmas?"

Semantically, this means "I would like to know if you had a nice Christmas and enquire after your health." However, depending on how well you know the person, you might not tell the truth and say "actually it was bloody awful, the cat died and I'm really depressed" you'd just say "Yeah, alright, thanks, you?". So in some contexts, pragmatically it means "I am trying to facilitate a conversation with you to reinforce the fact that we know each other and be polite."

English Language examiners LIKE the pattern "This lexical choice has ____________ semantic meaning but _________ pragmatic meaning, therefore the text is doing ______________, because ______________."

Things you can spot about lexis:
- lexical fields (groups of words around a similar theme, e.g. the sea, food, etc. This is useful to talk about in advertising; sometimes they use the lexical field of food to describe a car, or the lexical field of sex to describe chocolate).
- word length/complexity. (e.g. if you're looking at a text intended for children: "simple monosyllabic lexis.")
- if you want to just mention a word you find interesting, don't call it a word. Call it a lexical choice

I hope this helps! PM me if you've any questions and I'll try and get back to you.
Thank you so much for this!
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random account
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(Original post by Melz0r)
OP, I've done A-level Eng.Lang and I know how it makes you pick features of things like a robot, so I think I know why you phrased that the way you did. Lexis and semantics are closely related, so don't talk about them separately as if they're completely different things; the choice of words is obviously heavily linked to the meaning, but sometimes linked interestingly, so try and talk about this.

In A-level-English-language-land they like you to talk about semantics vs. pragmatics, i.e. the "obvious", semantic meaning (denotation) and the "implied" pragmatic meaning (connotation). E.g. (this is quite a naff example but it sort of works), think of all the different ways I can say "house". Abode, residence, pad (*cringe*), home, etc. They are all different lexical choices (i.e. different words). They all have broadly the same semantic meaning (i.e. they all basically mean house). But they all carry different pragmatic meanings (i.e. the first two sound formal, suggest a certain type of person living in the house. The third suggests a different type of person again. The fourth has connotations of a family).

Another way you can get semantics vs. pragmatics is in everyday speech. For example,

"Hi, how are you, did you have a nice Christmas?"

Semantically, this means "I would like to know if you had a nice Christmas and enquire after your health." However, depending on how well you know the person, you might not tell the truth and say "actually it was bloody awful, the cat died and I'm really depressed" you'd just say "Yeah, alright, thanks, you?". So in some contexts, pragmatically it means "I am trying to facilitate a conversation with you to reinforce the fact that we know each other and be polite."

English Language examiners LIKE the pattern "This lexical choice has ____________ semantic meaning but _________ pragmatic meaning, therefore the text is doing ______________, because ______________."

Things you can spot about lexis:
- lexical fields (groups of words around a similar theme, e.g. the sea, food, etc. This is useful to talk about in advertising; sometimes they use the lexical field of food to describe a car, or the lexical field of sex to describe chocolate).
- word length/complexity. (e.g. if you're looking at a text intended for children: "simple monosyllabic lexis.")
- if you want to just mention a word you find interesting, don't call it a word. Call it a lexical choice

I hope this helps! PM me if you've any questions and I'll try and get back to you.
i literally don't think i have ever read so a helpful answer to a question on one of these sites, thank you so much!
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Earlcool
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(Original post by King Leonidas)
Just want to say, I was reading past threads for my English Language revision for my exams and this post caught my attention. Such a well crafted and explained response, I was shocked when I noticed the OP didn't respond with a simple thanks.
On behalf of OP(who has not said thanks) and all the others like me who found this explanation useful I would like to say 'thank you for your insightful response.
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eyasholden
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I have my A level language mock tomorrow and still do not the difference between lexis and semantics. I also want to know what comes under lexis and what comes under grammar as I need to write 3 separate features on lexis and grammar. PLEASE HELP THIS IS URGENT. Thanlyou
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