On Morphosemantics: the Internal Meanings of Words

The term "morphosemantics" in the title of this talk is intended to raise a fundamental question about linguistic expressions and their meanings. When we talk about the meanings of morphemes and their combination into words should we expect to find the same kinds of meanings and combinations of meanings that we associate with the processes of putting together words into phrases? The answers to this question vary widely or even wildly across different linguists and their schools or theories. For example, some linguists would say: "Decidedly not, since morphemes don't have any meanings at all. Meaning only begins with words and their combinations." Others would say: "Yes, of course! Complex words and their meanings are built up in syntax, so we predict that their complex meanings are made up uniformly across words and syntactic phrases.".
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