Semantics and Pragmatics - LING5560

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 5 15 (7.5) Eleni Kapogianni checkmark-circle


This module will introduce the students to the study of meaning at the levels of semantics and pragmatics. The discussed topics will range from the study of word meaning to the study of sentence meaning and utterance (contextualised) meaning. The module will introduce significant notions and theories for the field of semantics and pragmatics, such as theories of concepts, Truth Conditions, the Gricean theory of conversational implicatures, Speech Act theory, and Politeness theory. The students will have the opportunity to reflect upon real data and analyse the processes of conveying and understanding meaning at the semantics/pragmatics interface.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

• Take-home Assignment (1,500 words) – 65%
• In-Course Test (40 minutes) – 20%
• Weekly Puzzle – 15%

Reassessment methods
• Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Birner, B. (2012). Introduction to Pragmatics. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.
Grundy, P. (2000) (2nd ed.). Doing Pragmatics. London: Arnold Publishing.
Horn, L. & Ward, G. (2005). The Handbook of Pragmatics. Oxford: Blackwell.
Kearns, K. (2011). Semantics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (second edition).
Saeed, J. (2003). Semantics. Oxford: Blackwell.
Riemer, N. (2010). Introducing Semantics. Cambridge: CUP.
Yule, G. (1996). Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of concepts and terminology used to account for the way in which meaning is conveyed;
2 Demonstrate knowledge of significant theories that focus on semantic and pragmatic meaning (theories of concepts, Truth-conditional semantics, Gricean theory, Speech
Act theory);
3 Characterise core semantic and pragmatic phenomena and critically reflect upon the relationships between these two levels;
4 Develop practical linguistic research skills by analysing real data, discussing their findings, and attempting generalisations relevant to the important questions in the field.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Communicate the results of study and work accurately, with well-structured and coherent arguments in an effective and fluent manner in writing;
2 Develop their skills in critical reflection and analytical discussion of their own writing and the writing of others;
3 Develop their problem-solving skills as well as the ability to explain their thought process during problem-solving;
4 Develop their collaborative and communicative skills in both face-to-face and on-line discussion groups.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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