Semantics and Philosophy of Language

The details
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 13 December 2024
15 March 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA Q16012 English Language and Linguistics,
MA Q10012 Linguistics,
MLINQA15 English Language and Lingistics (Including Placement Year),
MLINQA16 English Language and Linguistics (Including Year Abroad),
MLINQQ14 English Language and Linguistics

Module description

This module is intended to provide a basic introduction to formal semantics, a key component of modern linguistics. We assume no prior knowledge of semantics in this module, and no prior understanding of logic. In the early weeks we will spend time working on examples and exercises in class to provide some basic introduction to the use of logic in the analysis of natural language semantics. We will then examine a range of core topics concerning word and sentence meaning in contemporary semantics, with the focus on understanding what the issues are. Topics will include propositional and predicate logic, basic notions of predicate and modifier and of compositional meaning, the semantics of different types of noun phrases and natural language quantifiers. Other topics could include some of generalized quantifier theory, tense/aspect, referential opacity, and information structure.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to give students an understanding of the key topics in the field of semantics as well as the necessary basic formal tools to be able to engage with research in contemporary semantic research.

Module learning outcomes

Learning outcomes: By the end of this module you will:
*be familiar with what constitutes the domain of semantics, and how it relates to other sub-fields of linguistics.
*have developed some understanding of the role of logics as tools in describing and analysing natural language semantics and some facility with using these tools.
*have been introduced to, and reflected upon, a number of key topics in semantics.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

10 x 2 hour class sessions.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   In Class Group Presentation    20% 
Coursework   Assessment 1    40% 
Coursework   Assessment 2    40% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Kyle Jerro, email: k.jerro@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Kyle Jerro
4.125; k.jerro@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Ian Cunnings
University of Reading
Associate Professor in Psycholinguistics
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Language and Linguistics

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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