Back to: Pedagogy of English- Unit 4
Syntax and Semantics are two of the most important branches in linguistics which is the study of language. Syntax refers to the study of the structure of sentences while semantics refers to the study of meaning in language. Hence, the main difference between syntax and semantics is that syntax is concerned with structure while semantics is concerned with meaning.
The study of meaning in terms of linguistics is called semantics which begins from the ending point of syntax and ends from where pragmatics begins. Semantics is a separate discipline in the study of language and has existed for decades. In 1987, Breal first used the term ‘semantics’ and it does not suggest that there had never been speculations about the nature of meaning. In natural languages, words, phrases, and sentences are used to convey messages in. Semantics is the “study of meaning systems in language”. Language is systematic in nature if the meaning is a system.
|Syntax focuses on the structure of a sentence||Semantics focuses on the study of meaning|
|In syntax, parts of speech, word order, types of sentences, and the like are studied||Ambiguity is an integral part of semantics|
|A sentence with correct syntax may not necessarily be meaningful||Meaningful sentences must always have a correct syntax|
|It is more concerned with the different types of sentences||It is concerned with the relationship between words and sentences|
|It is based on the structure||It is based on the meaning|
Sentence structure refers to a sentence’s physical nature and how the elements of that particular sentence are presented. Similar to word choice, writers must seek to have a variation in their sentence structure if they want to create rhythmic prose and keep their readers invested in the written material. Sentences that need a variation often repeat subjects, lengths, or types. It refers to the grammatical arrangement of sentences. The structure of the sentence in your writing includes where the noun and verb fall within an individual sentence.
The basic sentence structure of English is Subject-Verb-Object. For example, the girl read a book.
● Girl – Subject
● Read – Verb
● Book – Object
Syntax involves the set of rules, processes, and principles that govern the sentences of any language. The meaning of the sentence will depend entirely on the word order. In syntax, sentences can be divided into subject and predicate. Semantics mostly focuses on the meaning of words and it studies how words are connected with one another.