Linguist 230b: Advanced semantics & pragmatics — Syllabus

Brief description

The primary goal of this course is to cover advanced topics in semantics and pragmatics that are central to research in those fields. The course is aimed at advanced graduate students who plan to do research in semantics, pragmatics, or philosophy of language. Prerequisites: Linguist 130A/230A or permission from instructor. 2–4 units.


All course-related email should be sent directly to the course instructor:

Attendance and in-class participation in discussions (30%)

The course will be discussion-based, so it is essential that students attend every class and participate in all the discussions.

Weekly assignments (40%)

Assignments will be distributed on Mondays and due one week later, by the start of class. The first assignment is an exception to this pattern, in that you have two weeks to complete it. Please submit assignments vai the course Canvas site.

Final project (30%)

The final project for the course will take the form of a 12–14 page paper. The paper can be on any topic in semantics or formal pragmatics. The only requirement is that it synthesize a coherent area of the literature, thereby displaying a degree of mastery of that area. After assignment 4, the assignments will be devoted to work on the project — establishing scope (including the set of papers to cover), clarifying expectations, etc.


You are permitted to work together on the assignments. However, you must write up and hand in your own unique assignment, and it must list at the top all the students with whom you worked. Final projects must be solo efforts, though you can of course help each other with them.

Variable credit options

Policy on late work

Each student will have a total of 6 free late (calendar) days applicable to any assignment except the final project paper. These can be used at any time, no questions asked. Each 24 hours or part thereof that a homework is late uses up one full late day. Once these late days are exhausted, any homework turned in late will be penalized 10% per late day. Late days are not applicable to final projects.

Academic honesty

Please familiarize yourself with Stanford's honor code. We will adhere to it and follow through on its penalty guidelines.

Students with documented disabilities

From Stanford's Office of Accessible Education:

Students who may need an academic accommodation based on the impact of a disability must initiate the request with the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). Professional staff will evaluate the request with required documentation, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare an Accommodation Letter for faculty dated in the current quarter in which the request is being made. Students should contact the OAE as soon as possible since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. The OAE is located at 563 Salvatierra Walk (phone: 723-1066, URL: