Linguistics/Psychology 315/515
Prof. Suzanne Kemmer
Fall 2010

Course information
Course schedule (this page)
Reading list
Links to research

Course Schedule (under construction)

Full references to readings will be published on the Reading List as soon as possible.

Completed problem assignments are to be submitted to Owlspace via uploading to the Assignments module. They must be in the form of Word files, not .pdf.

Reading Responses are also to be submitted to Owlnet via uploading to the Assignments module. After the first week, these will be generally due the day we discuss a reading, at 9:00 a.m.

MAug 23 Introduction. Organizational issues. What is meaning? Narrowing the focus of study to what semanticists mean by 'meaning'. Representations: linguistic representations (e.g. words, sentences), other semiotic representations (e.g. traffic lights and other non-linguistic signals/symbols), and perceptual, non-semiotic or partially semiotic representations (pictures, movies, dance, music). No reading.
WAug 25 What is meaning? The semiotic triangle: Name/label; concept; referent. Basic concepts and distinctions in Semantics: Expression meaning (non-contextualized), utterance meaning (contextualized), and communicative meaning (contextualized, with inferences). Lexical meaning vs sentential meaning. Exploring the meaning of a word (assassinate) via semantic intuitions. Riemer 13-21; Löbner 3-11)
FAug 27 Meaning triangle reviewed. Background for the logical theory of meaning. The 'referential theory' of meaning. Is meaning just reference? Problems. Introducing "Sense": an important component of meaning lying outside reference to things in the world. (Where? In our minds? in the community? there are different views.) Sense vs. reference. Riemer and Löbner readings above cont.; Riemer 87-98
MAug 30 Background for the logical approach to meaning cont. Sense and Reference cont. Referentiality. Referential and non-referential expressions. Reference and predication. Riemer 87-98 cont; Cruse 19-26.
WSept 1 Denotation vs. Reference. Propositions. Compositionality. Issues in Compositionality. Idioms; Collocations; Cliches. Cruse 19-26; Cruse 67-77. Assignment 1, change in plan as of Sept 1 12:00pm: In class I told students assignment 1 would be posted on this date. However, we will not have Assignment 1 yet. We are going to wait until Sept. 13.
FSept 3 Meaning as Logic. Note: We discovered most students in the class have not had any logic at all. I assigned Saeed 305-354 for Sept 3, and we covered some simple representations in propositional logic in class. But we can take a step back and start with the groundwork contained in the readings by Riemer and Lobner in the Resources under Formal Semantics. Riemer 173-178; Lobner 57-62.
MSept 6 Labor Day - no class. Read Riemer and Lobner as above; can preview Saeed reading which we will cover in more detail later.)
WSept 8 Meaning and truth. Prepositional logic and truth-functional connectives. Meaning in logic and meaning in natural language. Riemer 173-178 as background. Riemer 179-189 and Lobner 57-62. (Saeed can be previewed)
FSept 10 Basic predicate logic. Translating English into a logical metalanguage; solving some problems in logical representation of language. Ambiguity; quantifiers. Riemer 189-201. Saeed 305-315
MSept 13 Formal Semantics: The Semantics of the Logical Metalanguage (Saeed 315-322). How formal semantics deals with lexical meaning: meaning postulates (Saeed 323-325). Saeed 315-325; (useful extra: Larson 1-25, a summary on Formal Semantics). Problem Assignment #1 posted.
WSept 15 Saeed 325-337; graduate students also Saeed 340-438 (on anaphora and quantifiers); Riemer 215-216; Frawley 29-33
FSept 17
MSept 20
WSept 22
FSept 24 Problem Assignment #1 due before class. Grace period until 5:00 p.m.
MSept 27
WSept 29
FOct 1
MOct 4
WOct 6
FOct 8
MOct 11 Midterm Break: No Class
WOct 13
FOct 15
MOct 18
WOct 20
FOct 22
MOct 25
WOct 27
FOct 29
MNov 1
WNov 3
FNov 5
MNov 8
WNov 10
FNov 12
MNov 15
WNov 17
FNov 19
MNov 22
WNov 24
FNov 26 Thanksgiving holiday, no class
MNov 29
WDec 1
FDec 3 Conclusion

© Suzanne Kemmer
Last modified 8 Sept 2010