The “definitive role” of a word – A new kind of a Semantic role.

Take a word. Invoke some sentence containing that word. That word should be in-between the sentence i.e. it shouldn’t be the first or the last word of the sentence. 

The definitive role of the word is the way it connects the meanings of the parts preceding it and following it. It tells the role its meaning plays.

Examples – 

  1. NICE

Sentence – This is a nice phone.

Part preceding it – This is a

Part following it – phone

Meanings of the parts : 

Preceding – Talking about something

Following – a communication device

So, the way the word nice connects the meanings is that “it is talking about a communicating device”.

This is the (“definitive”) role played by the meaning of the word ‘nice’. 

  1. WITH

Sentence – I ate dinner with my wife. 

Part preceding it – I ate dinner

Part following it – my wife

Meanings of the parts : 

Preceding – I ate food at night

Following – the lady I am married to

So, the way the word connects the meanings of the 2 parts is – What relative relation I bear with the lady I am married to as regards to having food at night. 

This is the role the meaning of the word ‘with’ plays in the sentence. This is the definitive role of the word ‘with’ here.

  1. RAINING

Sentence – It is raining today

Part preceding it –  It is

Part following it – today

Meanings of the parts : 

Preceding – So is the case

Following – present day

The way the word ‘raining’ connects the 2 meanings is that “it tells what is the case today”. This tells the role the meaning of the word ‘raining’ plays in this sentence.

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