Word of the day – mezzanine

I had my first lecture today, which took place on one of the rooms on the mezzanine floor of the Main Arts building. A mezzanine or entresol is usually an extras floor between main floors of a building. A mezzanine might often projects from the wall like a balcony and may share the same ceiling with the floor below. The term can also be applied to the lowest balcony in a theatre, or for the first few rows of seats in that balcony. The word mezzanine comes via French from the Italian mezzanino, which is derived from mezzano, middle, which itself is from the Latin medianus, of the middle.

The lecture was on semantics and focused on theories of meaning. The lecturer had little time for the formalist view that each word has a core definition independent of context. Instead she explained how the meanings of words and sentences are derived from the context and our knowledge of the world. One exercise we did was to come up with necessary and sufficient conditions for defining pet, friend and bird – quite a challenge.

This entry was posted in Language, Linguistics, Words and phrases.

2 Responses to Word of the day – mezzanine

  1. Nikki says:

    I did necessary/sufficient conditions last year. That theory is so awkward, we had problems defining pretty much any word! I liked the other theory we did later on much more.

  2. It’s hard because it can’t be done — at least that’s what most lexical semanticists believe. This woman, on the other hand, famously believes it can.