Undergraduate prospectus

Course Information

Meaning in Language

Module summary

Module code: LING1026
Level: 5
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Literature, Lang. and Theatre
Module Coordinator(s): Maria Arche

Specification

Pre and co requisites

None.

Aims

 To provide students with the necessary skills to analyse meaning at word, sentence and discourse level.
 To provide students with a holistic view of how all the components of language contribute to meaning (Lexical meaning, Phonology, Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics).
 To develop analytical skills and logical reasoning further by examining complex linguistic issues where different factors interfere.
 To develop inquiry skills further by evaluating data (e.g. identification of similarities and differences) and proposing different hypothesis to account for them in a uniform way.
 To gain a deeper knowledge and become confident with the use of empirical research methods in Linguistics: use of native judgments and corpora.
 To raise awareness of social and industrial applications of semantics (e.g. Forensics, Computer Industry).



Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

Learning Outcomes:

1. Identify meaning relations among words.
2. Express and analyse the meaning of words and sentences formally.
3. Analyse the meaning of words and sentences in discourse by taking into account all the factors that can play a role (lexis meaning, phonological properties, syntax and pragmatic context).
4. Identify and discuss all the features that play a role in determining the meaning and interpretation of words and sentences in discourse.
5. Analyse and assess linguistic issues critically; propose logical answers and evaluate their validity and scope.
6. Apply linguistic analysis for practical purposes (e.g. legal or criminology purposes).



Indicative content

• Lexical semantics. Relation between the meanings of words.
• Sentential semantics. Assertion and Presupposition. Entailment.
• Truth conditional semantics. Elementary set theory.
• Meaning in Syntax: quantifiers and scope. The role of context.
• Discourse analysis. Actual speech production. Misunderstandings: study of specific situations (e.g. courtroom interaction).
• Intertextuality: analysing how texts are embedded within texts and how this impacts on our interpretations of their meaning.
• The negotiation of meaning: English language between natives of different languages. English as a Lingua Franca.
• Language as evidence. Analysing messages. Forensic Linguistics.

Teaching and learning activity

• Lectures.
• Seminars.
• Problem-sets.


Assessment

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Portfolio
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment (Please use the numbers above to refer to these) 1-6
Weighting % 25
Pass Mark 40
Word Length 2500
Outline Details: Problem sets about lexical and sentential semantics.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Essay
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment (Please use the numbers above to refer to these) 1-6
Weighting % 25
Pass Mark 40
Word Length 2,500
Outline Details: Topic relating to Semantics to be agreed with the tutor.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Exam
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment (Please use the numbers above to refer to these) 1-6
Weighting % 50
Pass Mark 40
Word Length 2,500
Outline Details: Two and a half-hour paper with questions from all the topics of the course.