LING 2052 - Semantics: The Study of Meaning

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2023

Semantics is the study of meaning. It includes lexical semantics, the study of the meaning of words, the meaning of grammatical morphemes, sentence semantics and pragmatics (the study of meaning in context). The course teaches a range of approaches to the study of semantics, including dictionary definitions, prototype theory, componential analysis and semantic primitives. There is a strong focus on semantic change and cross-cultural semantics in this course.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LING 2052
    Course Semantics: The Study of Meaning
    Coordinating Unit Linguistics
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level I undergraduate study including LING 1101
    Assessment Practical 1 - 10%, Practical 2 - 10%, Tutorial Presentation 20%, Essay (1500 words) 30%, Exam (1.5 hours) 30%.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ian Green

    Course Coordinator (2021): Dr Ian Green | |  0438 756 936


    Guest Lecturer: Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann, 

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Lectures: livestreamed Monday 9-11am, recordings available shortly after the lecture

    Tutorials: face-to-face Tuesday 11am-12pm Lower Napier LG28  |  online Wednesday 2-3pm
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Demonstrate a knowledge of a range of approaches to analysing lexical semantics.
    2 Demonstrate an understanding of sense relations between words.
    3 Perform a componential analysis.
    4 Explain the relationships between semantics and grammar
    5 Demonstrate an understanding of sentence semantics.
    6 Explain the principles of semantic change.
    7 Write a coherent and logically argued essay in response to a question posed drawing on a range of perspectives and source material
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Textbook: Saeed, John I. (2016). Semantics (4th ed.) Chichester, England: Wiley Blackwell
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures and analytical/problem-solving tutorials drawing on, and extending, material covered in lectures and/or in the course text-book or in other material referenced in the course.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    2 X 1-hour lectures per week 24 hrs per semester
    1 X 1-hour tutorial per week X10 weeks 10 hours per semester
    4 hours reading per week 48 hours per semester
    3 hours semantics analysis/problem solving per week 36 hours per semester
    3 hours assignment preparation per week 36 hours per semester
    2 hours revision 2 hours per semester
    TOTAL 156 hours per semester
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1 Language, concepts, meaning: is there a dictionary in your head?
    Week 2 Word meaning
    Week 3 Sense vs Reference; Semantics vs Pragmatics (Professor Ghil‘ad Zuckermann)
    Week 4 Phono-Semantic Matching(Professor Ghil‘ad Zuckermann)
    Week 5 Logic & Truth
    Week 6 Types of Situations
    Week 7 Types of Participants
    Week 8 Pragmatics
    Week 9 Speech Acts
    Week 10 Meaning Components
    Week 11 Cognitive Semantics
    Week 12 Semantic variation and change
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Practical exercise in semantic analysis #1 due end of Week 3 10%
    Practical exercise in semantic analysis #2 due end of Week 6 10%
    Tutorial Presentation due as negotiated sometime in Weeks 7-10 20%
    1500–2000 word essay due end of week 9 30%
    End of semester exam due beginning of week 14 30%
    Assessment Detail
    Students undertake a short semantic analysis of sets of language data -10% weighting per practical.

    1000 word (or equivalent) tutorial presentation:
    Studentsgive an in-tutorial live or prerecorded presentation on a negotiated topic in semantic theory and analysis -20% weighting.

    1500 word essay:
    Students will be required to write a 1500 word research essay on a semantics topic, drawing on library research as well as on semantic analysis of their own data -30% weighting.

    An online exam to be undertaken at the end of semester -30% weighting.

    Assessment for Semantics at Level III will involve problems of a higher level of difficulty thanproblems set for Semantics at Level II. At Level III a greater level of abstraction will be required. Separate exam papers will be set differing in the level of conceptual difficulty.

    Tutorial topics need to relate to the topic covered that week. Specific topics need to be negotiated with the Course Coordinator with an abstract submitted prior to presentation
    All assignments are to be submitted online via MyUni.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.