Meaning and Interpretation (PG)
- Module Code:
- FHEQ Level:
- Year of study:
- Taught in:
- Term 1
This module is an introduction to the multifaceted aspects of semantics and pragmatics involved in the knowledge, use and interpretation of meaning natural languages.
The module is intended to convey:
- a sense of how words, sentences and utterances are associated with meaning, interpretation and language use in the broader context
- an introduction to the basic concepts and issues in semantics and pragmatics
- a greater understanding of the ways in which linguistic structures relate to semantic interpretation and to our more general conceptual knowledge about the world
Objectives and learning outcomes of the module
- Be familiar with basic concepts and issues in the study of Semantics at the lexical, sentential and discourse level.
- Appreciate the various (lexical, grammatical and logical) relations which structure the semantic domains relevant to natural languages.
- Be able to apply relevant data, tests and argumentation to the investigation of specific semantic phenomena.
- Understand how linguistic meaning interacts with other knowledge systems: cognition, general (encyclopaedic) knowledge, contextual and cultural knowledge.
1 hour Lecture and 1 hour Tutorial, per week.
Scope and syllabus
Topics covered include
- Lexical and phrasal meanings and the logical and semantic systems they may participate in, including quantificational systems, predication, tense, aspect and modality
- Contextual dimensions of interpretation, including information structure, deixis, pragmatics and discourse domains
- The cognitive/conceptual models on which natural language semantics is based: event- types, plurality and count/mass distinctions, semantic components and lexical-conceptual structures.
Method of assessment
- 40% - Data analysis exercise, 2000 words, due Term 1
- 60% - Essay, 3000 words, due Term 2
- The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE pag
- Saeed, John (2011) Semantics (3rd ed), Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
- de Swart, Henriëtte (1998) Introduction to Natural Language Semantics, CSLI
- Hurford, James R, Brendan Heasley and Michael B Smith (2007) Semantics: A coursebook (second edition), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
- Löbner, Sebastian (2002) Understanding Semantics, Arnold Publishers.
- Kearns, Kate (2011) Semantics (2nd ed), Palgrave Macmillan
- Portner, Paul (2005) What is meaning? Fundamentals of formal semantics, Blackwell