Fall 2020 - LING 324 D100

Semantics (3)

Class Number: 2519

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 8:30 AM – 11:20 AM

  • Prerequisites:

    LING 282W; or LING 222 and any lower division W course.



Basic formal aspects of meaning (e.g. compositional semantics, truth conditional semantics and quantification in natural language) and how they are distinguished from pragmatic aspects of meaning. Quantitative.


People use sentences to mean things: to convey information about themselves and about states of affairs in the world. This class introduces the study of how meaning is encoded and expressed in natural language. We will examine basic concepts in the study of formal aspects of meaning, e.g. compositional semantics, truth-conditional semantics and quantification in natural language. Basic formal tools and techniques in doing semantic analysis will be studied, supplemented by rigorous problem-solving exercises. We will also discuss how formal aspects of meaning are distinguished from the pragmatic aspects of meaning: e.g., contextual dependence of meaning and conversational implicature.

This is a blended course. Students will be able to choose whether they want to learn the course material through pre-recorded videos or by attending lectures on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra during class time each week.
Blended: Instruction take place through pre-recorded lectures and all materials available on Canvas, but there are also online meetings for which participation is mandatory.

There are roughly one-and-a-half hours of pre-recorded lecture videos each week. These videos will be separated into three to five smaller sections on Canvas, each accompanied with a written review of the material, new examples, and a mastery exercise to test your understanding of the basics.

Live lectures will cover the same material as the pre-recorded videos with additional time to work on example problems, ask questions, and discuss assignments or tests. Live lectures take place during class hours on Thursdays from 8:30 am to 11:20 am.

Office Hours: Regular office hours will be held on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Students will also be able to make appointments for private office hours on Zoom or other accessible platforms (Skype, Discord, Blackboard).

Tech Required: Computer, Microphone (for office hours). Tests will not require a webcam or microphone.


  • Mastery Exercises 10%
  • Assignments (7) 25%
  • Detailed Assignment Solution (1) 5%
  • Open-Book Tests (5) 60%
  • No Final Exam


It is strongly recommended that you see the Student Advisor regarding your degree requirements at least two semesters before you plan to graduate.  Unless you meet both faculty and major/minor requirements, your graduation cannot be approved.

Students should familiarize themselves with the Department's Standards on Class Management and Student Responsibilities at http://www.sfu.ca/linguistics/undergraduate/standards.html.

Please note that a grade of “FD” (Failed-Dishonesty) may be assigned as a penalty for academic dishonesty.

All student requests for accommodations for their religious practices must be made in writing by the end of the first week of classes or no later than one week after a student adds a course.

Students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability must contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (at caladmin@sfu.ca).




No textbook; readings will be provided on Canvas.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).