Course announcement: Semantics 4 / Seminar in Semantics

Semantics 4, LING 665 /

Seminar in Semantics, LING 765

Winter 2016, Bernhard Schwarz

MW 11:35-12:55, 1085 Penfield, R. 117 

This year’s edition of Semantics 4/Seminar in Semantics will focus on presupposition, a phenomenon of at the interface of semantics and pragmatics. “Presupposition” refers to linguistically marked content that is understood as taken for granted by a speaker at the outset of a speech act (such as an assertion), and in some sense as not belonging to the main semantic content of that speech act. We will read some recent works on foundational issues in presupposition, including so-called presupposition projection. We will also investigate the meaning contributions of particular presupposition triggers (i.e. expressions whose use gives rise to  presuppositions) and we will study the role of presupposition in patterns of perceived unacceptability (such as polarity sensitivity effects and and island effects).  Some useful resources for students who would like to get a head start:

  • Beaver, David I., and Bart Geurts. 2014. Presupposition. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward N. Zalta. Winter 2014 edition.
  • Sudo, Yasutada. 2014. Presupposition. In Oxford Bibliographies in Linguistics, ed. Mark Aronoff. Oxford University Press.



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