Ling 554
Rice University
Suzanne Kemmer
Course Information homepage

Seminar in Semantics: Advanced Lexical Semantics

This course is designed to develop skills in semantic analysis and the in the written expression of semantic analyses. The focus will be on lexical semantics, but lexical analyses will be developed with reference to a constructional syntactic framework.

The theoretical framework is eclectic but will be fundamentally usage-based in the sense of Langacker 1987, 2000. The semantic tools needed for analyses will be drawn from 1) traditional structuralist semantics 2) conceptual semantics, primarily focusing on the theories of Langacker, Talmy, and Fillmore, but incorporating other tools, where needed or useful, from theories such as the conceptual metaphor theory of Lakoff and the conceptual blending theory of Fauconnier and Turner.

The focus will be on English lexical semantics, but the basic tools developed are intended to be useful for any language.


Auditors' requirement: attendance at about half of the class meetings.


Part I: Background notions. Data. Analysis in some concrete domains. Some force dynamic lexical items (e.g., open, close). Dimensional terms. Other relational terms as time allows.
Part II: Motion and force. Cutting, breaking. Other force dynamic domains, e.g. fluid.
Part III: The lexical semantics of verbs in complement structures



Sources of data will be eclectic. Traditional data sources such as systematic construction of examples will be used for illustrative purposes. Use of data from corpora will be introduced and students will need to learn the use of MonoConc Pro, a simple concordance program for searching and sorting linguistic data. Issues regarding data will be raised and examined at appropriate points.

Questions and Issues



© 2007 Suzanne Kemmer
Last modified 23 Jan 2007