Successful completion of this course means that students will have developed a better understanding of the following areas of semantics/pragmatics: Scope of semantics, the concept of meaning, sentence meaning, logical semantics, predicates and events, word meaning, sense and sentence relations, deixis, presupposition, implicature, speech acts. Also, the students will develop the ability to resaerch the above-mentioned areas independently and to participate in research developments in contemporary theoretical and applied semantics/pragmatics.
Course Content (Syllabus)
In this course, you will learn about the most important component of language, its meaning. You will understand how we make meaning in language with words, expressions and sentences. In other words, we will explore lexical meaning, various relations between words, and how words organized in sentences can express ideas. In the first part of the course, called semantics, therefore, we will consider the concept of meaning attached to words, how we use words to refer to things in our world, and how words combined in sentences can refer to aspects of the world as in descriptions. In one word, you will learn how sentences can talk about the world.
However, we do not only describe the world with language, but most importantly, we act and perform in language, or, in one word, we socialize, get married, undertake to help others, apologize, or request, and all this is done exclusively with language. But we also often mean much more than what we say, or sometimes we mean other things than what we actually say. We will examine all these issues in the component of the course called pragmatics, but we’ll also see how the two components of semantics (meaning in language) and pragmatics (meaning more than you say, or doing in language) are intrinsically intertwined every time we use language.
The course is of immediate interest for the language teacher as it underpins current teaching methodologies, but it is also of interest to a variety of other language-based disciplines, s.a. literature, language impairment (semantic and pragmatic disorders), psychiatry, translation, computational linguistics, language programming, etc.
Additional bibliography for study
-Pragmatic Meaning and Cognition by Sophia Marmaridou
(2000, John Benjamins Publishing Company)
-Chierchia, Gennaro & Sally McConnell-Ginet (1900). Meaning and Grammar: An Introduction to Semantics. Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press.
-Carston, Robyn (2002). Relevance Theory: the Pragmatics of Explicit Communication. Malden, MA : Blackwell Publishing.
-Levinson, Stephen (2000). Presumptive Meanings: a theory of generalized conversational implicature. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press.
-Levinson, Stephen (1983). Pragmatics. Cambridge University Press.
-Lyons, John (1977). Semantics,vol.1. Cambridge University Press.
-Lyons, John (1977). Semantics,vol.2. Cambridge University Press.
-May, Jacob (1993). Pragmatics: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing.
Saeed, John (2003). Semantics (2nd ed.). Blackwell Publishing.