Meaning of Semantic Field
Before entering to establish the meaning of the term semantic field, it is necessary and essential to proceed to know the etymological origin of the two words that give it its shape:
-Field is a word that emanates from Latin, specifically, from “campus”, which can be translated as “flat terrain”.
-Semantic, on the other hand, is a term derived from Greek. Specifically, it emanates from “semantikos” which is equivalent to “relevant meaning”.
The idea of semantic field is used in the field of linguistics to name the series of lexical units that share different characteristics in terms of their meanings. In other words, the semantic field is made up of different words whose meanings have a certain relationship since they have some semantic feature in common.
At a general level, it can be said that words are composed of minimal units called monemes, which are sequences of phonemes (the minimum articulation of consonant and vowel sounds). Dependent monemes, called morphemes, express meaning.
This meaning of morphemes is called the sememe. The constitutive element of the sememes, in turn, is called a semantic feature or sema.
Returning to the definition of the semantic field, it is a lexical network that develops from words that share some sema.
Soccer, basketball, volleyball and handball, for example, are terms that belong to the same semantic field. They all share a sema linked to the sports that are played with a ball or ball, while they also have semes that distinguish them from each other (soccer is played with the feet while in handball the hands are used; in basketball there are hoops or baskets and in volleyball, a net that divides the playing field).
There are many other examples of the semantic field that can be used to understand it. Thus, if we establish the semantic field of music in it, we can include a singer, pianist, composer, guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, saxophonist, conductor, violinist, chorister…
On the other hand, if we focused on the world of cinema, we could shape a semantic field, for example, about genres. Thus, we would include comedy, horror, fantasy, thriller, suspense, adventure, drama, action…
In addition to everything indicated, it is necessary to know that, within a semantic field, different relationships are established between the terms that give it shape. Specifically, two types of relationships are mainly distinguished:
-Linear, which occurs when one element establishes a relationship with the next and with the previous one.
-Ramifiers. These can be of two kinds: meronymy, when each of the terms comes to designate the part of another, and hyponymy, which occurs when one of the elements contains in itself the meaning of another.