LING40300 Meaning

Academic Year 2021/2022

This module explores meaning inside and outside of language. The ability to ‘mean’ is explored as a human faculty that only interacts with language, rather than underlying it. A distinction is drawn between Lexical and Compositional semantics, and various theories of lexical semantics are be examined. The features of language that need to be explained by any theory of semantics are identified. The role of context in decoding speakers' intentions will be examined, and various theories of language in use will be explored.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Understand the role of meaning in language
Evaluate the various theories concerning the mental lexicon
Distinguish between Lexical and Compositional Semantics
Analyse the role of non-linguistic factors in linguistic meaning
Understand the concepts and theoretical approaches in pragmatic research
Analyse the pragmatic processes involved in the construction of lexical, structural and textual meaning

Indicative Module Content:

Meaning and Literal meaning, Semiotics
Encoding Meaning in Language, Message Model, Interpretative Semantics, Language Processing
Pragmatics and Semantics, Principles and Rules, Contexts, Speaker Intention
Theories of Pragmatics - From Ordinary Language Philosophy to Relevance
Lexical and Compositional Semantics
Relationship Between Linguistic Expressions, Sense
Relationship Between Linguistic Expressions and the World, Reference
Knowledge of language and the Lexicon: what aspects need to be explained
Relationship Between Linguistic Expressions and Language Users
Lexical Storage and theories of Lexical Semantics

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
As a result of the constraints due to Covid-19, lectures will be online to begin with.
It is likely that there will be no lectures on campus.
It is most likely that there will be no lectures on campus. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Essay Week 7 n/a Graded No


Essay: essay Week 12 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback given to student after assessment submission

Aitchison, J. (1994) Words in the Mind. 401.9/AIT
Asher, R. E. (ed) (1994) The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. 410.3
Blakemore, D. (1992) Understanding Utterances. 306.44/BLA
Blakemore, D. (2002) Relevance and Linguistic Meaning. 401.41/BLA
Brown, P. and S. Levinson (1987) Politeness: Some universals in language usage. 401.9/BRO
Crystal, D. (1997) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. R400/CAM
Davis, S. (1991) Pragmatics: a reader. 401.41/DAV
Fromkin, V., R. Rodman & N. Hyams (2003) An Introduction to Language. 410/FRO
Geeaerts, D. (2010) Theories of Lexical Semantics.
Grundy, P. (2000) Doing Pragmatics. 306.44/GRU
Harley, T. (2001) The Psychology of Language. 401.9/HAR (SLC)
Huang, Y. (2007) Pragmatics. 401.41/HUA
Jackendoff, R. (1993) Patterns in the Mind. 401.9/JAC
Jackson, H. (1988) Words and Their Meaning. 412/JAC
Jaszczolt, K. M. (2002) Semantics and Pragmatics. 401.43/JAS
Leech, G. N. (1981) Semantics: The Study of Meaning. 412/LEE
Leech, G. N. (1983) Principles of Pragmatics. 401/LEE
Levinson, S. (1983) Pragmatics. 401/LEV
Löbner, S. (2002) Understanding Semantics. 401.3/LOB
Lyons, J. (1977) Semantics, Vols I and II. 412/LYO
Mey, J. (1993) Pragmatics: An Introduction. 401.41/MEY
Saeed, J. (1997) Semantics. 401.43/SAE
Strazny, P. (ed) (1998) The Encyclopedia of Linguistics. R410.3/STR
Wilson, R. & F. Keil (1999) The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences. R153.03/MIT
Yule, G. (1996) Pragmatics. 401.41/YUL (SLC)
Name Role
Professor Jamal Ouhalla Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31 Mon 13:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 Wed 13:00 - 13:50