Ebuka Enweani Semantics 3035 paper

Submitted By ebuka112
Words: 1415
Pages: 6

Ebuka Enweani
English 3035

Semantics-its place in literature and dialogue

Semantics is the study of meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text. It is a specific segment of linguistics and logic dedicated towards the nature of words’ meanings. It can be broken down into a variety of branches, including formal semantics, which studies the direct aspects related to meaning, such as sense, implication, and reference; lexical semantics, which studies word meanings and word relations, and conceptual semantics, which studies the evolving nature of meaning on a cognitive level. There are other sub-sections in which semantics can be broken into, but at the end they all come together to discuss to analyze the meaning of words in writing and speech and the way they come together towards one meaning. Some of the best authors in literature and film utilize their writing to allow the reader to experience something that goes above and beyond a narrative or a theme or another direct concept. Authors are trying to persuade you, influence you, and eventually come to an agreement with their mindset or at least understand a certain complex idea .The word choice, placement, and context culminate into something greater than the sum of its parts. One of the best examples I can easily discuss from the top of my head is Cormac McCarthy. He is mostly known to the average person for the film adaptation of his novel, No Country for Old Men, but that piece is only one of the many examples one can bring up to analyze the nature of semantics in his prose. Cormac McCarthy is commonly associated with westerns and other works that share similar themes with the genre. He deftly uses this genre’s direct connections with the American form of the English language to not only break down the conventions and expectations the average English speaker might have with his word use, but also to properly explore its evolving nature in the larger scope of society as a whole. His last three works: The Counselor, No Country for Old Men, and The Road, are all amazing examples through which one can see an amazing use of semantics in a variety of ways. Even though these three works are all composed by the same individual, their use of the English language gives each one a very distinct voice to their narrative. No Country for Old Men is a deconstruction of the role of the older generation in American society at an overarching level. The novel deals with the evolution of crime and the older man’s growing separation between the then and the now. This is done in a variety of ways in the form of semantics. At a basic standpoint, the appearance of the Spanish language in the novel is used as a way to directly separate the Mexicans from the American protagonists. Spanish is not just a literal language barrier, the Spanish words spoken are very clean and direct, they are implied to be understood even if never stated, yet this understanding goes unspoken, only responded upon with a physical action rather than a verbal one. Cormac McCarthy plays with the reader’s way of understanding the structure of text via his way of delivery of the narrative in No Country for Old Men. The novel will switch without a warning from first person to third person narration back and forth. One moment the reader is being guided along a description of the setting to be suddenly jolted into a reflection of what the aforementioned reminds the character of. Most of these instances occur when the novel centers on Sheriff Bell, the oldest of the three main characters. Through juxtaposing his inconsistent form of narration and frame of reference, the reader is caught in a trance through which he can understand his mindset and meaning behind certain words and phrases. This can trace to the way he uses intimate words to describe nature, something so common to the human eye. Yet when it is described by the other characters, the descriptions are very clinical and direct, with little to no elaboration by