Seme

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Seme

 

in linguistics, the minimum unit of the content plane, representing an elementary lexical or grammatical meaning. The seme is opposed to the morpheme—the minimum meaningful unit of the expression plane—and is a component of the morpheme’s content. For example, in the word form knig-u (“book”), the -u contains three semes: singular number, feminine gender, and accusative case. Sometimes the concept of the seme is treated as syntagmatic, an opposition being made to the paradigmatic concept of the sememe. Some linguists define the seme as a semantic feature by which larger units in the content plane are differentiated. For example, the lexical content of the word, otets (“father”) may be described as a combination of semes: direct relative, male, of the immediately preceding generation, and so forth.