The semantics is a branch of linguistics that studies the signified , what we talk about, what we want to express . Its symmetrical branch, syntax , concerns for its part the signifier , its form, its language, its spelling, its grammar, etc .; this is the form of the statement.

In particular, semantics has several objects of study:

  • the meaning of compound words  ;
  • the relations of meaning between words (relations of homonymy , synonymy , antonymy , polysemy , hyperonymy , hyponymy ,  etc. );
  • the distribution of actants within a statement;
  • the truth conditions of a statement;
  • the critical discourse analysis  ;
  • the pragmatic , in so far as it is considered as a branch of semantics.

The term semantics is used in opposition to that of syntax in the study of programming languages in computer for which it was formally developed (see semantics of programming languages ). There is between semantics and syntax the same relation as between the background and the form. George Lakoff studied the semantics influencing syntax