Semantics and Pragmatics - LL534

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
5 30 (15)







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..


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 30

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
• Take-home Assignment (2,000 words) – 65%
• In-Course Test (45 minutes) – 20%
• Weekly Puzzle – 15%

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

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

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

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.