Sense and Reference


The terms reference and extension relate to extra-linguistic reality, with relationships between the language and the world... while the term sense relates to intra-linguistic relationships - semantic relationships inside of the language.

The reference of a word is the relation between the linguistic expression and the entity in the real world to which it refers to. The referent is the thing or person exsisting in the world. For example: 'My son has climbed the beech tree'. (My son = referent and the beech tree = referent). Some expressions in a language can have variable references, i.e. 'Orange' (referent 1 = fruit, referent 2 = colour). Some expressions never refer to different referencs, i.e.


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