Course syllabus



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LINGUIST 724: Semantics and Pragmatics

SEMESTER 2, 2020

15 points


Teacher: Professor Yan Huang

Office hours: Monday 11-12

Office: Arts 2 - Room 323


Extension Phone:  87809

Course delivery format:

E.g. - 2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of tutorial

(Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online)

Summary of Course Description:   

This course deals with a wide range of issues especially in pragmatics. Topics may include the domain of pragmatics, implicature (both conversational and conventional), presupposition, speech act, deixis, reference, pragmatics and cognition (focusing on relevance theory), pragmatics and the lexicon, pragmatics and semantics, and pragmatics and syntax with special reference to Chomsky’s anaphora and binding theory. There are two versions of this course A and B, depending on students’ previous knowledge status of the subject. Version B is more advanced than version A.     

 Course outcomes:


Coursework Assessment and Exam Details: May be subject to change prior to the beginning of Semester.

Two 3,000-word essays, each worth 50% of the final grade

Prescribed Texts:

Huang, Yan (2014) Pragmatics. 2nd edition, Oxford University Press.

Lecture outline/topics and readings:

We’ll concentrate on the pragmatics part.

1 Truth-conditional semantics and the domain of pragmatics

    What is truth-conditional semantics? Basic notions in semantics and pragmatics (sentence, utterance, proposition, propositional content, truth value, truth condition, entailment). Why pragmatics?

Huang ch 1.


2 Conversational implicature (I):  classical Gricean theory of conversational implicature

   Co-operative principle and maxims of conversation, relationship between the speaker and the maxims, conversational implicatureO vs conversational implicatureF, GCI vs PCI, properties of conversational implicature.

Huang Secs 2.1.1-2.1.6.

 3 COnversational implicature (II): neo-Griciean pragmatic theory

   Horn’s typology of conversational implicature, Levinson’s typology, interaction of conversational implicature, current debates, embedded implicature.

Huang Sec2.2.-2.4.

 4 Conventional implicature

     What is conventional implicature? Properties of conventional implicature, conventional vs conversational implicature.

Huang sec 2.5.

 5 Presupposition (I): the phenomenon

     What is presupposition? Properties of presupposition: (i) constancy under negation, (ii) defeasibility, projection problem

Huang sec 3.1-3.2

 6 Presupposition (II): the analyses

     Filter-satisfaction analysis, cancellation analysis, accommodation analysis.

Huang sec 3.3.

 7 Speech acts (I)

Performative vs. constative, explicit vs. implicit performative, syntactic and semantic properties of explicit performative, Austin’s felicity conditions.

Huang 4.1 - 4.4.

8 Speech acts (II)

Locutionary, illocutionary and perlocutionary speech acts, Searle’s felicity conditions, typology of speech acts, indirect speech acts, politeness, speech acts and culture.

Huang 4.5 – 4.7.

 9 Deixis (I)

    What is deixis? Deitic vs. non-deictic expression, gestural vs. symbolic use, deictic centre, deictic projection, person deixis, time deixis.

     Huang 5.1 – 5.2.2.

10 Deixis (II)

                                          Space deixis, frames of spatial reference, social deixis, discourse deixis, emotional deixis.

11 Pragmatics and the lexicon (I)

Lexical narrowing, lexical underspecification, two types of lexical narrowing, lexical broadening, lexical cloning.

Huang (2009): Neo-Gricean pragmatics and the lexicon, IRP 1:1 (to be distributed) Sections 4-5. Lexical cloning in English, JoP 86.

12 Pragmatics and the lexicon (II)

Lexical blocking, lexicalization asymmetry: logical operators.

Huang (2009): Neo-Gricean pragmatics and the lexicon, IRP 1:1 (to be distributed) Sections 6-7.

13 Pragmatics and syntax (I)

Chomsky’s views about language and linguistics, Chomsky’s binding theory, problems for Chomsky’s binding theory.

Huang Secs 9.1 – 9.3.

14 Pragmatics and syntax (II)

A revised neo-Gricean pragmatic theory of anaphora, Logophoricity, Typological and theoretical implications.

Huang Sec 9.4 - 9.5.

Workload and deadlines for submission of coursework:           

The University of Auckland's expectation is that students spend 10 hours per week on a 15-point course, including time in class and personal study. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. Deadlines for coursework are set by course convenors and will be advertised in course material. You should submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you may be required to provide supporting information before the assignment is due. Late assignments without a pre-approved extension may be penalised by loss of marks – check course information for details.

Course summary:

Date Details Due