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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Language Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Lexical Semantics (LASC11055)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryStudents will be introduced to a way of studying word meaning within a more general theory of the mental lexicon. We will look at what word meaning is; what the lexicon is; how to probe word meaning; evidence for structure in word meaning; polysemy; the lexical semantics of causation; and a typology of events. We shall also explore more focused problems. Is there a relationship between different classes of events or event types and aktionsarten? How are transitivity alternations a way of probing the verbal lexicon? How should argument linking be understood? What is the different between a "construction" and an articulated account of lexical meaning?
Course description Topics:
Event semantics; a network model of language structure.
Parts, wholes, and networks; idioms; semantics; syntax; morphology
Conceptualization, types, 'tokens', and events; spreading activation
Polysemy and semantic structure
Events and thematic roles
Resultatives and causation
Building structure: ditransitives and verbs of buying and selling
Events and Aktionsart; modelling the structure
Transitivity alternations and argument linking
Situating meaning in the utterance: modality
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 27, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 169 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The current components of assessment are a 1500 word project (40%) plus a 3000 word essay (60%).
Feedback Group presentations and class discussions by week 5 and by week 9.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. analyse complex data in linguistic meaning
  2. evaluate competing theoretical proposals
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills To give students the knowledge and analytical skills in semantic theory which will enable them to analyse the structures of English that present challenges to the analysis of meaning. The course is intended to provide students with the knowledge and skills in semantics appropriate to an Honours graduate in English language. Students should be able to progress to more specialised study in semantics from this course.

In addition, they should be equipped to explore semantic interfaces with syntax and morphology in independent work. The course is therefore also designed to motivate and equip students to undertake more advanced work in lexical semantics with respect to the structures of English.
Additional Class Delivery Information Attend all lectures as scheduled
Keywordslexical semantics,event structure,word meaning
Course organiserProf Nikolas Gisborne
Tel: (0131 6)50 3600
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
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