In daily life, people communicate and need to reach practical agreement on the meanings of words they use in order to yield effective and meaningful communication. It is known that some show their disagreement about the rule of constructing a meaning from a word. However, we find that we as speakers or hearers understand all words since people who involved in the conversation are having indispensable hard core of meaning. Thus, this vital meaning is called as sense of expression.
In semantics, experts argue there are two main ways of teaching sense of expression such as sense relation with other expression and sense properties. Sense properties consists of two words which have literal meaning i.e. sense and property. The former means a meaning conveyed or intended while the latter is defined as a quality or trait belonging and especially peculiar to an individual or thing (merriam-webster.com). I propose that sense properties refer to a quality or trait belongs to conveyed meanings. The quality of conveyed meaning usually can be done if a language is uttered or written in a sentence not in a word. It is because sentence meaning is proposition which means possess literal meaning or locution while a word is only a concept. Hurford and Heasley suggest that there are three ways of identifying a quality of a sentence such as analytic, synthetic, and contradictory.
A. Analytic Sentences
An analytic sentence is one that is necessarily true, as a result of the senses of the words in it (Hurford and Heasley, 1983:91). It means that those belong to analytic sentences are absolute true sentences. Take a look at the examples below.
Lions are animals
Lions are animals
Pigeons are birds
The aforementioned examples are analytic sentences. Some agree but some may question why? It is because people include young and adult, men and women, suburb or urban will have the same concepts of animals which anything that lives and moves (CALD) produces sounds. Then, none will hesitate that lions are animals. It is because lions are lived things which can move from one spot to another spot and produce roar and growl sound. Then it is deliberately clear that lions are animals.
The same explanation also can explain why pigeon are birds. Everyone has the same perception or concept about birds. Bird is a creature with feathers, and wings, and usually able to fly (CALD). Many agree that pigeon’s body is covered by feathers, and it also has two wings to help it flies from one place to another place. Thus, pigeon’s creature meets a requirement as a bird.
Some will ask about sentence contains unclear statement whether true or false. Hurford and Heasley argue that sentence which is not analytic, but may be either true or false, depends on the way the world is a synthetic sentence. I assume that synthetic sentences potentially give more informative statement. See the examples below.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is the president of Indonesia.
Sukhoi Superjet 100 missed over mt. Salak.
The aforesaid examples are synthetic sentences. Some will ask why do not those examples above belong to analytic sentences? Don’t they contain an absolute truth?
Here, my arguments. The former sentence which states Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) is the president of Indonesia is true sentence for a certain people. Only some know that SBY is having authority to govern Indonesia. How about Englishmen or Polish people who do not have an interest about Indonesia. Of course they do not the president of Indonesia. Another real case in Bali can prove the statement that SBY is the president of Indonesia becomes synthetic sentence. In 25th October 2011, there is a gardener with his bicycle went across of SBY when he gave his speech in Bali. This man is an Indonesian person, but he seems do not who his president is. Then, this becomes strong evidence that not all people over the world or even Indonesian people know that SBY is the Indonesian president. Thus, this statement turns out to be synthetic sentence.
The identical argument is given for the latter example which states that Sukhoi Superjet 100 missed over mt. Salak. This is update information for the Indonesian people. However, I argue that not all Indonesian know that news. People in the remote area, who do not have television or radio to access information, will not know this news. It may be happen for Papua people. They may be not knowing what Sukhoi Superjet is 100 or where mt. Salak is. Then, the information statement tends to be synthetic sentence.
C. Contradictory Sentence
In contrast with analytic sentences, Hurford and Heasley argue about a contradictory sentence. A contradiction is a sentence that is necessarily false, as a result of the senses of the words in it. If those belong to analytic sentences are absolute true sentences, then those included in contradictory sentence. Take a look at the examples below.
The boy is female
Jellyfish are plants
The boy is female
Jellyfish are plants
The two examples are contradictory sentences. Of course, reading the two examples above tickles my notion. How come the sex of boy is female? Doesn’t the sex for all boys are males and for girls are females? And how come jellyfishes are vegetables? Don’t they belong to animals?
The statement “The boy is female” is contradict with factual data. Many argue and agree that boys are defined as male child, more generally, a male of any age (CALD). People will argue and agree that the sex of all boys is males. None will show their hesitation about it. Everyone in every side of the world realises about it. Not only the literate people but also those who are not will automatically know the truth and say that the statement is wrong.
The equal argument also can explain why the statement of “Jellyfish are vegetables” is contradictory sentence. In CALD, jellyfishes are defines as a sea animal with a soft oval almost transparant body. Based on the definition above, of course, it is positively that jellyfishes belong to animal not a plant. As an animal, jelly fish can moves using its tentakel. this statement tends to contradict with the facts. Thus, this one is also contradictory sentence.
After knowing the definition, examples and elaboration. It is hoped that we understand about the concept of sense properties in the term of analytic, synthetic, and contradiction sentences.
Hurford, JR & Heasley, B. 1983. Semantics: A coursebook. London: Cambridge University Press.