I thought we would start with a little linguistic foundation for understanding semantic organization in the brain. In the neuroscience literature, the term "semantics" is often used as it were a simple unified concept, and often refers to lexical and/or conceptual semantics. But from a linguistic standpoint there's a lot more to it. This first set of readings is aimed at scratching the surface of this complexity. One is on lexical semantics and the other two are more general papers by Ray Jackendoff, which will provide some additional linguistic background including discussions of syntax and phonology. If you have access to Jackendoff's book, Foundations of Language, Chapters 9 and 10 provide a more thorough discussion of issues in the semantics.
Barker, C. 2001. Lexical semantics. Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Macmillan.
Jackendoff R. (2003). Précis of Foundations of language: brain, meaning, grammar, evolution. Behav Brain Sci., 26(6):651-65; discussion 666-707.
Jackendoff R. (2007). A Parallel Architecture perspective on language processing. Brain Res., 18;1146:2-22.
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