Semantics and Pragmatics - LING5340

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


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

Method of assessment

Take-home Assignment (15000 words) – 65%
In-Course Test (40 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.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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