Semantics and Pragmatics

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
22 May 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA QQ13 English Language and Linguistics,
BA QQ15 English Language and Linguistics (Including Placement Year),
BA QQ16 English Language and Linguistics (Including Foundation Year),
BA QQ3D English Language and Linguistics (Including Year Abroad),
MLINQA15 English Language and Lingistics (Including Placement Year),
MLINQA16 English Language and Linguistics (Including Year Abroad),
MLINQQ14 English Language and Linguistics,
BA LQ31 English Language and Sociology,
BA RQ93 Modern Languages and English Language,
BA RQ99 Modern Languages and English Language (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA P510 Journalism and English Language,
BA P511 Journalism and English Language (Including Placement Year),
BA P512 Journalism and English Language (Including Year Abroad),
BA R114 Language Studies and Linguistics,
BA R115 Language Studies and Linguistics (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

What is 'meaning' as it relates to words and sentences? How is the meaning of a sentence affected by the context it is produced in? These are the fundamental issues to be addressed in Semantics and Pragmatics. We examine the relationship between what is said and what is meant. The first part of the course will examine basic issues in Semantics. The second part of the course will examine the distinction between a speaker's words and what a speaker means by those words – the domain of pragmatics. It will consider the foundational concerns of pragmatics: deixis, implicature and speech act theory.

Module aims

The main aims of the module are:
• to introduce students to the fundamental concepts and theoretical foundations of the study of word, sentence and utterance meaning,
• to familiarise students with the basic analytic resources to study word meaning, sentence meaning, and utterance interpretation,
• to provide students with practical experience of applying the tools and techniques in the analysis of linguistic phenomena
• to familiarise students with a range of issues and debates in contemporary semantic and pragmatic theory and enable them to apply their knowledge in the investigation of other areas of linguistic study.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will:

1. Have an understanding of the theoretical foundations of Semantics and Pragmatics.
2. Be familiar with the study of meaning (Semantics and Pragmatics) through investigating aspects of sentence and utterance interpretation.
3. Be able to bring to bear a range of conceptual and analytical tools on Semantic and Pragmatic data.
4. Be able to sustain reasoned argumentation through exemplification of Semantic and Pragmatic concepts.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Two-hour lecture/seminar per week


  • Griffiths, Patrick. (2017) An introduction to English semantics and pragmatics, ©2006, 2017: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Griffiths, Patrick. (2017) An introduction to English semantics and pragmatics, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   3000 word essay    100% 
Exam  120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Rebecca Clift, email: rclift@essex.ac.uk.
Dr. Rebecca Clift & Dr Hannah Gibson
Dr. Hannah Gibson, 4.317, tel: 2204 Dr. Rebecca Clift, 4.332, tel: 2888



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 608 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
608 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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