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Semantics 2


Admission requirements

Students must have passed Semantics 1.


This course provides an advanced introduction to the study of natural language meaning, mostly from the perspective of referential semantics and its integration with pragmatics, i.e., the study of language use. We will rely on the freely available book ‘Analyzing meaning’ by Paul Kroeger (2019), supplemented with primary research literature as well as additional notes and exercises by the instructor. We will be investigating meaning-related empirical phenomena in various languages.
This is the second course of a two-semester semantics program. Having established the foundations in the first semester, the second semester covers additional active research topics such as modals, conditionals, causation, tense and aspect, and questions.

Course objectives

  • The student will be able to summarize central topics in the primary research literature on referential semantics and pragmatics.

  • The student will be able to use formal tools (set theory, logic) in order to model the composition of sentence meaning according to referential semantics, and to compute detailed predictions of a given theory in referential semantics.

  • The student will be able to read the primary literature in referential semantics and pragmatics, at the level of summarizing and critically reviewing, at a conceptual and formal level, the core phenomena and explanations of a given paper.

  • The student will be able, both in writing and in classroom discussions, to creatively explore and then formally develop possible semantic/pragmatic explanations for a given empirical phenomenon.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


There will be two written exams, one halfway and one at the end, with a mix of closed questions, short open questions and potentially essay questions. Throughout the course, additional writing-and-reviewing assignments will be marked on a simple pass/fail basis. Only students with at least 80% of these assignments passed can pass the course. Some of the writing-and-reviewing assignments lead up to a short paper to be submitted at the end for a grade.


Your final grade will be computed as the weighted average of the two exams (40% each) and the final paper (20%), with a maximum grade of 5.0 (fail) if insufficient writing-and-reviewing assignments are passed.


A resit will be offered in the form of a substantial writing assignment, replacing portions of the original grade selected by the student. This writing assignment will cover the same topics as the portions of the original grade it replaces, and will be of a corresponding size.

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

Paul R. Kroeger (2019). Analyzing meaning: an introduction to semantics and pragmatics [Freely available]: (
In addition, supplementary materials, research articles and exercises will be provided during the course.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory


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

For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress contact the Coordinator of Studies


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