Speakers of a natural language produce and understand complex expressions. The fact that speakers understand novel complex expressions means that they understand these complex expressions on the basis of an understanding of their parts, and ultimately on the basis of an understanding of their basic parts, words. The central question of semantics is: what are the meanings of words and how do the meanings of words combine to yield the meaning of complex expressions they make up? At the same time, while expressions have fixed meanings, the meanings of expressions can be adjusted depending on the context in which they are uttered. The central question of pragmatics is: how do shifts in context, including shifts in modes of pronunciation, modulate the meanings of expressions?
Chinese (Mandarin & Classical)