nl en

Topics in Linguistics D: Experimental Pragmatics


Admission requirements

Understanding of central concepts in pragmatics (truth-conditional meaning, implicatures, speech acts). This may have been acquired through the MA course Pragmatics or through self-guided study. Please contact the instructor for self-study suggestions before the start of the course.


This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to the emerging field of Experimental Pragmatics. Experimental Pragmatics uses the methodologies of cognitive psychology to address questions in pragmatic theory. As a test-bed for competing accounts of meaning in context, Experimental Pragmatics has two main advantages: first, it provides us with objective data about utterance interpretation as opposed to those arrived at after reflective intuition; and second, it uses techniques that enable the study of pragmatic processing below the level accessible to introspection, such as, for instance, the time-course of implicature derivation. However, Experimental Pragmatics is also subject to some challenges regarding its ability to accurately reflect the pragmatic abilities of naïve speakers in interaction. We survey a wide range of studies touching on literal meaning and metaphor interpretation, scalar implicatures, politeness and lying phenomena, and using offline, time reaction, eye-tracking, MRI and ERP methodologies to gain a better understanding of the contributions and limitations of experimental pragmatic studies to date.

Course objectives

Students will:

  • Learn about different experimental methodologies used in pragmatics research

  • Develop an understanding of the advantages and limitations of using experimental methodologies to address theoretical questions in linguistics

  • Acquire the ability to assess the appropriateness of an experimental method to address specific questions

  • Design a short experimental pragmatics study and motivate their choice of methodology


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


Short weekly assignments: 30%
Oral presentations: 50%
Final paper: 20%


See above


Resit is only possible for the final paper. If the grade for the oral presentations is too low and averaging between this and the final paper resit grade results in fail (less than 5.5), only the grade for best two presentations will be kept (i.e. the best two presentations will count for 50% and this will be added to the 50% gained from the weekly assignments and the final paper).

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized. .

Reading list

Recommended textbooks (not required):
Noveck, Ira (2018) Experimental Pragmatics. Cambridge University Press (e-book available at the University Library website). (selected chapters)

Weekly readings will be made available through Brightspace


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on this website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

not applicable


For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats

E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

Coordinator of Studies


not applicable