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Department of Linguistics and Oriental Languages



Course outline

Linguistics 525

Semantics and Pragmatics

Descriptions of meaning

This course will serve as an introduction to semantics and pragmatics, the subfields of linguistics studying, respectively, how meaning is related to linguistic form and how it is conveyed.

Topic covered include denotation and sense; possible worlds; compositional semantics; truth conditions and logic; predicates and arguments; quantifiers; scope; modality; definites and indefinites; aspectual classes; implicature; Grice's Maxims.

The focus is on surveying some of the topics where the analysis of meaning has given us some insight into linguistic structure, such as scope and modality; developing tools for the description of semantic relationships and contrasts; and understanding the distinction between literal and conveyed meaning, as well as some of the problems involved in making that distinction.


The course textbook will be Semantics, Second Edition, by Kate Kearns, available in the campus bookstore. There will be exercises for most of the chapters covered. to formal descriptions of grammar,

Prerequisites and Grading

Prequisites: Ling 420 or Ling 501 or equivalent (see me for equivalence).

Grading will be based on exercises, a midterm and a final. Breakdown in the syllabus.

Office Hours: SHW 238

TuTh 12:30-1:30
Tu 3:30-4:30
Th 9:30-10:30

Place and Time

TuTh 2:00-3:15 SH 221

Contact Info

Mailing address:
Department of Linguistics and Oriental Languages
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-7727
Telephone: (619) 594-0252
Office location: SHW, room 238
Office hours: Tu 3:30-4:30, Th 9:30-10:45, TuTh 12:30-1:45

Unix | Computational Linguistics Lab