General linguistics : semantics and pragmatics

lfial1560  2020-2021  Louvain-la-Neuve

General linguistics : semantics and pragmatics
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information below is subject to change, in particular that concerning the teaching mode (presential, distance or in a comodal or hybrid format).
5 credits
30.0 h
Introduction to linguistics

The prerequisite(s) for this Teaching Unit (Unité d’enseignement – UE) for the programmes/courses that offer this Teaching Unit are specified at the end of this sheet.
Main themes
The course gives an overview of the different theoretical and methodological approaches to semantics and pragmatics. Traditional approaches in lexical and sentence semantics are confronted with the more recent advances in discourse and cognitive semantics, thus opening the way to pragmatic theories.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 At the end of the course, the students should:
- have developed knowledge of the explanatory principles and foundations in semantics and pragmatics,
- have developed the ability to transfer theoretical linguistic knowledge of semantics to everyday language situations,
- have acquired a good understanding of the different approaches in semantics and pragmatics.
After a brief overview of semantics in linguistics, the course considers the role of semantics on the different levels of abstraction in the linguistic system: lexical semantics (word meaning: componential analysis vs. prototype theory), situation semantics (sentence meaning: reference, entailment, propositional logic), and discourse semantics (implicature, cohesion and coherence). Also, a general overview is given of cognitive semantics (conceptual metaphor theory, image schema's, mental spaces) and a number of pragmatic theories (speech act theory, relevance theory). All theoretical concepts are illustrated with concrete everyday language examples.
Teaching methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

The course contains ex catheadra lectures but it also requires the students active participation in resolving online exercices to be realised:  « Langue et Parole » (parcours « sémantique »)
Training exercises will also be given in class.
Due to the COVID crisis, partial distance teaching (Teams) might have to be put in place. If possible, a flipped classroom format will be progressively punt in place in order to ensure active participation by all.
Evaluation methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

Oral exam (33% exercices, 67% theoretical questions)
Other information
English-friendly course: course taught in French but offering facilities in English.
Online resources
Slides, exercises and bibliography on Moodle
Disponible sur Moodle
Teaching materials
  • LFIAL1560: Sémantique et Pragmatique
Faculty or entity
Force majeure
Evaluation methods
Oral examination (in class or Teams)
Bonus: Students who present a real-life example of one of the semantic our pragmatic phenomena discussed during the course will receive a bonus point (extra point).
Theoretical questions will be restricted to the list of questions provided on Moodle (update before the Christmas holidays). No questions outside the list.
Examination mode; Plan A:
In class, 4 students per hour, mask, physical distantiation. Common preparation time (exercises + 2 theoretical questions), as soon as a student is ready, he/she presents and leaves the room after the exam. When all the students have finished, the next group enters (an e-mail explaining the procedure has been sent to the students).
Examination mode plan B (code red and/or teacher in quarantine)
Distance exam by teams (dedicated examination channel): Teacher calls the student to be examined; 2 students per half hour, preparation of the exam with open camera, download of the exercise questionnaire, submission by e-mail, oral answers to the theoretical questions.

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Bachelor in Modern Languages and Literatures: German, Dutch and English

Minor in Linguistics

Bachelor in Modern Languages and Literatures : General