Intermediate semantics

Aims

Aims

In this course you will acquire a basic understanding of the formal techniques necessary for the construction of a theory of meaning. You will achieve a basic fluency in the formal languages and you will appreciate the necessity for such rigorous techniques in the study of meaning.

By the end of this module, students will typically:

  • Display a basic understanding of the notion of quantification and its manifestations in natural language
  • Display a basic understanding of set theory and its use in model-theoretic semantics
  • Correctly use first order predicate logic to represent natural language sentences
  • Further appreciate the importance of entailment and the distinction between entailment, presupposition, and implicature

Prerequisites

Prerequisites

Students must have successfully completed:

  •  L12C Introduction to semantics (LAN00012C)

Information for visiting students: It is recommended that students interested in this module have a basic understanding of logic and set theory. Previous study in semantics or pragmatics is also useful. If you have no background in semantics, but consider yourself mathematically inclined, contact the module convenor if you are interested in this module.

Programme

Programme

Contact hours

Two contact hours per week.

Teaching programme

This course provides an in-depth intensive introduction to the formal techniques employed in natural language semantics and presents the empirical domains of their application.

Teaching materials

Lecture notes and readings will be made available on the VLE.

Recommended additional reading:

  • Heim, I & Kratzer, A. 1998. Semantics in Generative Grammar. Blackwell.
  • Gamut, L. T. F. 1991. Logic, Language and Meaning (volume 1). Chicago.

Assessment and feedback

Assessment and feedback

Feedback on formative work

  • Weekly exercises which the students can hand in and receive feedback by the following week. These exercises are optional. Answer sheets are posted after a week so students who do not hand the exercises in can self-assess.

Summative assessment and feedback

  • Dossiers
    Two dossiers of seminar exercises completed during the course and submitted at the start of Week 7 of Spring term and Week 1 of Summer term.
    • Weight: 40%
  • Two-hour closed examination
    A closed exam covering the application of the formal techniques to natural language data.
    • Weight: 60%

About this module

  • Module name
    Intermediate semantics
  • Course code
    L11I (LAN00011I)
  • Teacher
    Norman Yeo
  • Term(s) taught
    Spring-Summer
  • Credits
    20