LING-532 Semantics and Pragmatics II
Spring for 2017-2018
Building on basic concepts introduced in Semantics and Pragmatics 1, in this class we take a closer look look at the semantics and pragmatics of quantifiers, negation, and conditionals, which constitute important topics in the study of meaning. We will also discuss in detail how sentences are generally taken to mean to express everything there was to be said (and not just a part of it) and whether this is best thought of in neo-Gricean pragmatic terms or in grammatical terms, as recently proposed. Specific topics we will discuss include: noun phrase quantifiers (e.g. many cats, every bike), adverbial quantifiers (e.g. often, seldom), modal quantifiers and operators (e.g. maybe, must, if), negation and presupposition, Negative Polarity Items (e.g. any, ever, give a damn), conversational implicature and Horn-scales, and, time permitting, the pragmatics of conditional sentences (‘Conditional Perfection’). The readings for the class involve chapters from text books, handbooks, as well as original papers.
Requirements: completion of readings, active class participation, presentation, reverse abstract (write abstract for a paper that already exists), final paper.
Prerequisites: Completion of Semantics and Pragmatics 1
LING-532-01 Formal Semantics
Spring for 2017-2018
Formal Semantics is intended to help students develop their skills in semantic analysis from the level achieved in Semantics and Pragmatics (LING 531) to a point where they can actively read current literature in the field. We do this by studying closely one or two topics each year, beginning with a lecture format, going over necessary background, and then moving on to a more seminar–like atmosphere. Prerequisite: Semantics & Pragmatics or permission of instructor.
The topic for Spring 2006 is modality and mood. "Modality" refers to aspects of language which allow us to speak about situations which are not real: for example, words like "should" or "possible". "Mood" refers to a paradigm of verb forms, especially those labeled "indicative" and "subjunctive", whose meaning often depends on the type of modality expressed in the sentence. Other topics closely related to modality and mood, and which we may discuss, include evidentiality and conditionals.
Other academic years
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