24.954 | Spring 2010 | Graduate

Pragmatics in Linguistic Theory


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session


This course is the third and final part of our graduate introduction to semantics. The other two classes are 24.970 Introduction to Semantics and 24.973 Advanced Semantics. The semester will be divided into somewhat independent units. One unit will be devoted to conversational implicatures (mainly scalar implicatures) and another to presupposition. In each unit, we will discuss basic concepts and technical tools and then devote some time to recent work which illustrates their application.


24.970 and 24.973 or approximately equivalent background. I will presuppose technical material more or less on the level of Heim, Irene, and Angelika Kratzer. Semantics in Generative Grammar. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1998, pp. 1-32. ISBN: 9780631197133. You should be familiar with possible world semantics of modal and attitude constructions, as well as basic concepts from syntactic theory.

Course requirements

Homework Exercises

Occasionally you will be assigned short homework assignments based on the topics covered in lectures.


A squib consists of critical discussion of an article (or a group of related articles) which is relevant to the topics covered in this class. Students will choose a topic of interest, and turn in a squib on the last day of class. You will also be required to turn in a short proposal during the semester.

Reading Assignments

Only a few papers will be required reading for the whole class. This will leave you plenty of time to browse through related literature and find things to write your squib about, and you should begin with that immediately.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2010
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments