Linguist 130a/230a: Introduction to semantics & pragmatics (2021)

Course Tue/Thu 10:30-11:50 am via Zoom
Teaching staff email
Canvas Zoom links, course videos, submit work, exercises
Ed forum Discussion
InstructorChris Potts
Office hrsMon 9-10 am & 5-6 pm Pacific
TAElisa Kreiss
SectionFri 9-10 am Pacific
TAAnissa Zaitsu
SectionWed 6-7 pm Pacific


Covid-19 😷: Our course is fully online this year. The course material lends itself really well to the online format, but we've never done it this way before, so we'll be experimenting and adjusting as we go, looking for ways to make the most of this difficult situation. —Chris

Plan Assignment Reference
Jan 12
  1. Overview of topics [annotations]
  2. Screencast: Course overview
  3. Screencast: Entailment [slides]
  4. Screencast: Overview of topics
  1. Assignment 1 [due Jan 26; tex]
  2. Reading response 1 [closes Jan 26; tex]
  3. Quiz 1 [due Jan 19]
  4. Reading response 2 [closes Feb 2; tex]
  5. Quiz 2 [due Jan 26]
  1. Partee 1995, p. 311-330
Jan 14
  1. Partee 1995: Towards a compositional theory
  2. Screencast: Guiding principles
  3. Screencast: Proper names
  4. Screencast: Adjectives and semantic composition [slides]
  5. Screencast: Vagueness and context dependence
  6. Syrett et al. 2009: Theoretical foundations
  7. Adjectives experiment: Results and analysis
  8. Screencast: Syrett et al.'s theoretical foundations, and a look at our experiment
Jan 19
  1. Partee 1995, p. 330-342
  2. Syrett et al. 2009, §2
  3. Optional: Devitt and Sterelny 1995, §3–4
  4. Optional: remaining sections of Syrett et al. 2009
Jan 21
Jan 26
  1. Quantifiers
  2. Screencast: Quantificational determiners [slides]
  3. Screencast: Quantificational determiner properties [slides]
  1. Assignment 2 [due Feb 2; tex]
  2. Reading response 3 [closes Feb 9; tex]
  3. Quiz 3 [due Feb 2]
  1. Keenan 1996
  2. Optional: von Fintel and Matthewson 2008, §3
Jan 28
Feb 2
  1. Semantic composition
  2. Semantic grammar in Python
  3. Screencast: Technical preliminaries [slides]
  4. Screencast: Semantic lexicon [slides]
  5. Screencast: Semantic grammar [slides]
  1. Assignment 3 [due Feb 9; tex]
  2. Reading response 4 [closes Feb 16; tex]
  3. Quiz 4 [due Feb 9]
  1. Optional: Heim and Kratzer 1998, §1
  2. Optional: Heim and Kratzer 1998, §2
Feb 4
Feb 9
  1. Compounds and the limits of compositionality
  2. Screencast: Compounds, part 1: background
  3. Screencast: Compounds, part 2: experiments
  4. Screencast: Compounds, part 3: in-class experiment
  5. Verb meanings and verb alternations
  6. Screencast: Verb meanings and verb alternations
  1. Assignment 4 [due Feb 16; tex; bib]
  2. Quiz 5 [due Feb 16]
  1. Levin et al. 2019, §1-4 and Appendix A
Feb 11
Feb 16
  1. Pragmatic enrichment: Introduction by example
  2. Introduction to pragmatics
  3. Screencast: Grice Part 1
  4. Screencast: Grice Part 2
  1. Assignment 5 [due Feb 23; tex]
  2. Quiz 6 [due Feb 23]
  3. Reading response 5 [closes Mar 2; tex]
  4. Guidance on final projects
  1. Grice 1975
Feb 18
Feb 23
  1. Contrarian positions on lexical meaning
  2. Conversational implicature
  3. Screencast: Conversational implicature [slides]
  4. Screencast: Diagnosing conversational implicatures
  1. Midterm exam [due Mar 2; tex]
  2. Screencast: Midterm overview
  3. Reading response 6 [closes Mar 9; tex]
  1. Optional: E.O. Keenan 1979
  2. Optional: Stiller et al. 2011
Feb 25
Mar 2
  1. Introduction to the Rational Speech Acts model
  2. Screencast: Introduction to the Rational Speech Acts model [slides]
  3. Python implementation of RSA
  4. Example calculations in RSA
  1. Assignment 6 [due Mar 9; tex]
  2. Quiz 7 [due Mar 9]
  1. Goodman and Frank 2016
Mar 4
Mar 9
  1. Presupposition
  2. Screencast: Presupposition, part 1
  3. Screencast: Presupposition, part 2
  4. Diagnosing different kinds of meaning
  5. Screencast: Diagnosing different kinds of meaning [slides]
  1. Assignment 7 [due Mar 16; tex]
  2. Reading response 7 [closes Mar 23; tex]
  3. Quiz 8 [due Mar 16]
  1. Simons 2006, §1-3
  2. Optional: Heim and Kratzer 1998, §4.4
Mar 11
Mar 16
  1. Speech acts
  2. Screencast: Sentence types and illocutionary forces [slides]
  1. Reading response 8 [closes Mar 23; tex]
  2. Reading response 9 [closes Mar 23; tex]
  3. Quiz 9 [extra credit; closes March 23, 10:30 am]
  4. All late work must be turned in by Mar 23, 11:59 pm anywhere on earth
  1. Solan and Tiersma 2005, §3: "Consensual searches"
Mar 18
    Swearing
  1. Optional: Podcast: The Allusionist 4: Denotating the C-bomb
  2. Optional: Podcast: Every Little Thing: F-ck yeah: Can cursing make you stronger?
  3. Optional: Jay 2000, §3, 5, 10

[Stanford W21 academic calendar]