Course syllabus



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LINGUIST 320: Topics in Pragmatics

SEMESTER 2, 2020

15 points

Teacher: Professor Yan Huang

Office: Room 323, CLL Building

 Ph. 87809; Email

Course delivery format:

2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of tutorial

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

Summary of Course Description:   

Pragmatics - the systematic study of language use in context - is a rapidly developing discipline in linguistics and the philosophy of language. This series of lectures continue to provide a more advanced introduction to the central topics in pragmatics. Among the issues to be dealt with in individual lectures may include speech acts, presupposition, deixis, pragmatics and the lexicon, pragmatics and semantics, and pragmatics and Chomsky’s formal syntax, focusing on binding and anaphora.


Course outcomes:



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

Coursework:   One 3,000-word essay, worth 50%

 Final examinations, 2 hours, worth 50% of the final grade

Prescribed Texts:

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

A reading list will be provided.

Other readings will be indicated.

Lecture outline/ topics and readings:

This may be subject to changes.

1 Speech acts (I)

Performative vs. constative, explicit vs. implicit performative, syntactic and semantic properties of explicit performative, Austin’s felicity conditions, locutionary, illocutionary and perlocutionary speech acts, Searle’s felicity conditions, typology of speech acts,.

Huang Ch 4 Secs 4.1 - 4.4.


2 Speech acts (II)

   Indirect speech acts, politeness and impoliteness, speech acts and culture.

   Huang Ch 4, Sections 4.6-4.7.


3 Presupposition (I): the phenomenon

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

Huang Ch 3. Secs 3.1-3.2


4 Presupposition (II): the analyses

     Filter-satisfaction analysis, cancellation analysis, accommodation analysis.

Huang Ch 3. Secs 3.3.


5 Deixis (I)

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

 Huang Ch 5. Sec 5.1.


6 Deixis (II): space deixis

                              Three universal linguistic frames of spatial reference, grammaticalisation of space deixis, semantic parameters of space deixis.

 Huang Ch 5. Sec 5.2.


7 Pragmatics and the lexicon (I)

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

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