24.973 | Spring 2009 | Graduate

Advanced Semantics


Homework Assignments

Approximately one week was allowed for each assignment. There were a total of 26 sessions.

[Intensional Semantics] = von Fintel, Kai, and Irene Heim. Lecture notes. “Intensional Semantics.” http://kaivonfintel.org/teaching/. (PDF)

2 5 Please do all six exercises in Chapters 1 and 2 of [Intensional Semantics]. Submit only your solutions to Exercises 1.2 and 2.1.
6 9 Submit answers to Exercises 3.4 and 3.5. Read at least one of the supplementary readings listed in Chapters 1 to 3 of [Intensional Semantics].
11 13 Read (at least) one of the recommended supplementary readings (can be continued from the last assignment) and submit at least one page of comments and questions about the reading.
14 17

When a quantifier appears in a tensed sentence, we might expect two scope construals.

Consider a sentence like this:

(1) Every professor (in the department) was a teenager in the Sixties.

We can imagine two LFs:

(2) PAST [ [every professor teenager] in the sixties]

(3) Every professor \lambda x [ PAST(x teenager)(in the sixties)]

a) Calculate the different truth-conditions which our system assigns to the two LFs. (Assume the system presented in class according to which temporal adverbials express propositions.) State the lexical entries and present your calculations step-by-step.

b) Is the sentence ambiguous in this way?

c) If not this sentence, are there analogous sentences that do have the ambiguity?

20 22 Do Exercise 7.5 in Chapter 7 of [Intensional Semantics].


Due: Ses #19

Submit a half-page description of your chosen topic and a list of titles read and to be read.

Final Paper

Due: one week after Ses #26

Preferably, this will be a didactic exposition and critical discussion of points made in one or more publications which are not among the assigned readings, but are pertinent to the topics covered in class. This is not a summary or “book report”! The focus is on laying out an argument in such a way that it can be understood and evaluated by someone who has not read the papers you are commenting on, and on making explicit connections with the concepts and arguments we have employed in class. The answer to one of the questions generated by your reading of the lecture notes and the supplementary readings could provide the foundation for your argument. The paper should be similar in form to scholarly scientific articles on relevant topics. Many suitable references will be provided in the handouts and lectures through the course. Appointments to discuss ideas for paper topics or your work in progress can be arranged throughout the semester and are highly encouraged.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2009
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments