Introduction to Semantics

Subject Name: 
Cognitive Science
Course Number: 
Hampshire College
This course presents Semantics as a cognitive phenomenon: what aspects of the representation of reality are relevant for speakers when they use language to convey meaningful utterances? The first part of this course will provide basic insights into classic topics in Semantics such as the nature of meaning, the problem of sense and reference, lexical semantics, meaning as logic form, and meaning as context of use. The second part will explore the relation between language and cognition from a cognitive-functional framework (Cognitive Semantics). Finally, the third part will show how linguistic structures in different languages are motivated through the cognitive principles proposed in the second part. We will apply this Usage-Based approach to morphosyntactic analysis, particularly the nature of grammatical categories, the semantic basis of grammatical relations such as subject and object, and the conceptual motivation behind active, passive, middle and causative constructions in different languages. Prerequisite: One course in linguistics, philosophy of mind, or introduction to anthropology.
Writing and Research Instructor: Carlos Raul Molina-Vital. In this course, students are expected to spend at least eight to ten hours a week of preparation and work outside of class time. This time includes doing the core readings, as well as all the assignments, preparing short presentations, and analysis of problem sets relevant for this class.
Linked Course: 
Multiple required components--lab and/or discussion section. To register, submit requests for all components simultaneously.
Linked Course Comments: 
This course has unspecified prerequisite(s) - please see the instructor.
Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.
Schedule #: 

Course Sections

Introduction to Semantics
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
1 4.0 Carlos Molina-Vital 02:30PM-03:50PM M,W Adele Simmons Hall 221