Writing in Spanish

Semantic Fields and Lexical Structure in Spanish

Semantic fields and lexical structure (lexical family) in Spanish may seem confusing at first glance, but if you identify each concept, you will answer the question ‘how to identify a semantic field?’

Continue reading this iScribo article to learn some semantic fields examples and the difference between semantic and lexical fields in Spanish and how they are formed.

Lexical Families

Lexical families in Spanish are a set of words that share the same root or lexeme, in other words, it is the main part of the word and what gives it meaning and significance. They are also known as ‘word families’.

For example, in the word mesa (table), mes- would be the root and it is what will help us to form word families or lexemes.

How Are Word Families Formed?

To form a word family, you just have to play with its root by adding prefixes or suffixes:

Deporte (sport), root dep-:

deportista, deportivo, polideportivo, deportividad, antideportiva.

(sportsman, sportswoman, sportsman, sportsman, sportsmanship, unsportsmanlike.)

It should be noted that there are some lexical families that are irregular, depending on the origin of each word (its etymology):

Hueso (bone):

huesera, huesoso, óseo, osario.

(bonekeeper, bony, osseous, ossuary.)

By the way, changing the gender and number ending is not considered a lexical family, e.g. niño, niña, niños, niñas (boy, girl, boys, girls.)

Semantic Fields Definition

Semantic fields are words that share a specific theme. In other words, these words share a meaning that is related to each other. We are talking about a conceptual relationship, for example:

Animales (animals:)

Perro, gato, caballo, águila.

(Dog, cat, horse, eagle.)

Since we are talking about semantic fields and their comparison with lexical families, bear in mind that a lexical family can be part of different semantic fields.

To name an example, the lexical family that shares the root or lexeme of the word luz (light) – noun, generates other words such as iluminar (illuminate) – verb, luminosa (luminous) – adjective, and deslumbrante (dazzling) – adjective.

iScribo and Grammar Preservation

To sum up, semantic fields can be grouped by their subject, through a set of related words, while lexical families are the morphology of the language itself and the linking of words through their root. Pure grammar! At iScribo we like to protect and spread the good use of grammar and the Spanish language, so we try to bring you closer to the most technical and grammatical aspects of the Spanish language. Our tool helps you to form word families, have you tried it? Tell us in the comments and also tell us about any lexical family that drags your attention.

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