LING 516 - Semantics and Pragmatics
Section: 001
Term: WN 2018
Subject: Linguistics (LING)
Department: LSA Linguistics
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course serves as an introduction to truth-conditional semantics — the study of meaning in language using formal methods. Truth-conditional theories rely on native-speaker intuitions about what conditions must hold in the world in order to make a given sentence true or false. For instance, the sentence in (1) is true in a range of scenarios — e.g., John might own Great Danes or dachshunds – and false in a range of scenarios — e.g., he might own no dogs or just a single Pekingese. These various scenarios comprise its truth conditions.

(1) John owns three dogs.

The bulk of the course examines formal techniques drawn from Mathematics and Logic to map out the contribution that each word in a sentence makes towards the sentence’s truth conditions. The remainder of the course will explore pragmatics — how context can affect meaning. For instance, most speakers would judge (1) false if John owns ten dogs; however, this judgment flips to true if (1) is the answer to a question such as Can John supply three dogs for the school fair?

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LING 516 - Semantics and Pragmatics
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9780631197126
Semantics in generative grammar, Author: Heim, Irene., Publisher: Blackwell 1998
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