Linguistics 3022, code # 53810, Section TY11, Semantics, Spring, 2018 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
General Description of the Course:
How do languages succeed in capturing the full range of meanings that human beings are capable of putting together in their minds? In linguistics, semantics, or the study of meaning in human languages, tries to answer this question, and this course will begin by focusing on key concepts and terminology in semantics. We will also look at three specific approaches to semantics: decompositional semantics, which breaks up the meaning of a word into smaller units; formal semantics, which uses logic and the concept of truth to account for sentence meaning; and cognitive semantics, which sees sentence meaning as related to and inseparable from cognitive abilities having to do with perception and reasoning. We will see how a wide variety of languages (including, to name just three, Ibibio, a Niger-Congo language of Nigeria; Tzeltal, a Mayan language of Mexico; and Nez Perce, a Penuthian language of Idaho, U.S.A.) handle various aspects of meaning, such as the different sets of color terms, verb tenses, and gender pronouns that exist in different languages. This course is intended to give you the foundation you need to go on to study linguistic semantics at a more advanced level. Assignments will include weekly problems in semantics; an open-book midterm and final; and a short term paper.
Required Texts :
Allwood, Jens, Lars-Gunnar Anderson and Osten Dahl, Logic in Linguistics, Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Students must attend regularly, arrive on time and must be prepared to participate, having done the assigned work. Participation will count for 20% of the overall grade for the course..
There will be assigned problem sets due on each class day.
There will be an open-book midterm.
There will be an open-book final.
There will be five short quizzes.