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

Undergraduate Course: Lexical Semantics (LASC10011)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course looks at linguistic and philosophical issues concerning the nature of word meaning, arguably one of the most intractable and controversial topics in linguistic theory. Beginning with the standard view of sense as sets of meaning relations between words, the course explores problems posed by the interaction of syntactic constructions and meanings, the vagueness inherent in certain word meanings, the context dependence involved in interpreting polysemous meanings and finally looks at whether words as isolated forms really can be considered to have any semantic meaning at all.
Course description This course explores the semantics and pragmatics of words: what they can mean; how their meanings can be described; and how their meanings can change in context. It starts with a look at the nature of lexical relations and whether they can furnish us with a theory of word meaning and then goes on to explore some of the linguistic controversies surrounding word meaning: the differences in meanings expressed by content words and grammatical words; the nature of events described by words; argument alternations; homonymy, polysemy and vagueness. Philosophical conundrums are also explored such as the nature of causation in word meaning; whether word meanings are atomic or decomposable; whether any exhaustive definition of a word's meaning is possible in principle; and the pragmatics of lexical meanings.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: LEL2A: Linguistic Theory and the Structure of English (LASC08017)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Linguistics/Language Sciences courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
To give students the knowledge and analytical skills in lexical 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 lexical semantics appropriate to an Honours graduate in Linguistics or 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 lexcial semantics with respect to the structures of English.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Teaching Contact Time: 9 weeks out of 11 at 3 hours/week = 27 hours
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Nikolas Gisborne
Tel: (0131 6)50 3600
Course secretaryMs Lynne Robertson
Tel: (0131 6)50 9870
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