LING218-12S2 (C) Semester Two 2012

Formal Semantics

15 points
09 Jul 2012 - 11 Nov 2012


This course provides an introduction to the main semantic phenomena of natural language and to a simple formal analysis, based on first-order logic, of the semantic structure of sentences. Topics will include truth-conditional theories of meaning, modality and possible worlds, predicates and arguments, truth-functional connectives, quantifiers, tense, scopal ambiguity, and the event-based analysis of action sentences.

This course provides an introduction to central semantic phenomena in natural language, with an emphasis on practical analysis. Throughout the course we will use simple formal representations, based (mainly) on first order logic, to analyse the semantic structure of sentences. Topics will include semantics and pragmatics, truth conditions, predicates and arguments, quantifiers, and tense and aspect.
The main aims of this course are to give students a good working understanding of important topics and issues in formal semantics, and to develop students' skills in the practical analysis of data. Given the analytic emphasis, the exercises and practical classes are extremely important.

Learning Outcomes


LING101 or LING111 or ENGL123 or ENGL112 or any 15 points in PHIL


LING202, PHIL251

Equivalent Courses

Streams Day Time Where Notes
Stream 01 Wednesday 11:00am-1:00pm Logie 103 9 Jul - 19 Aug,
3 Sep - 14 Oct
Thursday 11:00am-12:00pm Locke 403 9 Jul - 19 Aug,
3 Sep - 14 Oct

Course Coordinator

Lisa Matthewson


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Participation 10%
Homework Assignments (3) 30%
Written Test 1 09 Aug 2012 30%
Written Test 2 11 Oct 2012 30%


Recommended Reading

Kearns, Kate; Semantics; 2nd ed; Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Course links

Library portal
The course outline is available on LEARN (only for students enrolled in this course).

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $619.00

International fee $2,688.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see School of Languages and Cultures.

All LING218 Occurrences

  • LING218-12S2 (C) Semester Two 2012