Tag Archives: Intro
Introduction to Semantics

Eytan Zweig – University of York
Course time: Monday/Wednesday 11:00-12:50 pm and 5:30-7:20 pm on Tuesday, June 25 (no class Wednesday, July 10)
2353 Mason Hall

See Course Description

This course is an introduction to the study of meaning in language, with a focus on formal semantic theory but also touching on some issues in pragmatics and lexical semantics. We will first establish the core principles of formal semantic research, with a special focus on compositionality – how the meaning of sentences and phrases arises from the meaning of its parts. We will also discuss how every utterance involves several layers of meaning, including literal meaning, presupposition, and pragmatic implications. Then, we will look at many of the components that come together to create the meaning of sentences, showing that even seemingly simple and familiar sentences may contain surprising depths. Questions under discussion will include the semantics of modals, propositional attitudes, quantification, definiteness, and plurality.

There are no requirements for the course, but familiarity with basic set theory and logic will be helpful, as will familiarity with basic syntactic concepts such as constituency.