The meaning of linguistic expressions can be studied from (at least) two different angles. We can single out a particular expression, say a word, and try to determine which concept it represents in ... read more
The meaning of linguistic expressions can be studied from (at least) two different angles. We can single out a particular expression, say a word, and try to determine which concept it represents in all its potential uses by all speakers in all possible contexts. This perspective is to some degree artificial, as there is no linguistic utterance (and, thus, no meaning of an expression) that is not influenced by the context of the specific speech situation. Yet, this perspective is probably an essential prerequisite for our understanding of the central questions: how does a string of sounds acquire a meaning in the first place and how does context contribute to this meaning? This would be the other approach then - to see how speakers use expressions (words, idioms, phrases) in specific contexts and how crucial the role of context is to linguistic communication.
In order to study the interaction between conceptual notions and the contribution of context and of speakers' intentions, 'semantics' and 'pragmatics' - according to our terminological conventions two separate, albeit related fields in linguistics - will therefore be presented as one large domain of linguistic studies that cannot be kept apart categorially.
This class will accompany the Vertiefungsseminar of the same module. Requirements for the two credit points are regular and active participation. Students who are interested in the class but cannot come in the first week, are kindly asked to notify me via email before the start of the lecture period.