LING 3037 - Semantics: The Study of Meaning

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2021

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 3037
    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 6 units of Level II undergraduate study including LING 1101
    Course Description 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.
    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • 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

    Week 9
    Speech Acts

    Week 10
    Meaning Components

    Week 11
    Cognitive Semantics

    Week 12
    Semantic variation and change

    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Tutorial sessions will involve small group work of 3 to 5 students on problem solving & semantic analysis exercises.
  • 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
    Practical exercise in semantic analysis #1, due end of Week 3, 10% weighting.

    Practical exercise in semantic analysis #2, due end of Week 6, 10% weighting.

    Tutorial Presentation, due as negotiated sometime in Weeks 7-10, 20% weighting

    1500–2000 word essay, due end of week 9, 30% weighting

    End of semester exam, due beginning of week 14, 30% weighting
    Assessment Detail
    Practicals: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.

    Exam: 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.

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