Introduction to semantics

This course is part of the programme
Cognitive science of language Third Level

Objectives and competences

The course provides an overview of the linguistic theory in the domain of formal semantics. For students with a necessary background, the course serves to systematize their knowledge, for all others the course aims to establish a necessary level of knowledge in semantic theory.

• Ability to do independent research in formal semantic theory
• Ability to identify interesting and theoretically significant problems in formal semantics


A completed course at the level of the course “Introduction to Semantics” or “Formal methods in linguistics” at the II. Degree Linguistics program at UNG.


• Denotation, truth conditions
• Theory of reference
• Lambda calculus
• Presuppositions and implicatures
• Quantification and logical form
• Intensionality

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge of the fundamental aspects of formal semantics, the formal theory of meaning.


• Shalom Lappin (ur.). 1997. The Handbook of Contemporary Semantic Theory- Oxford: Blackwell
• Gennaro Chierchia in Sally McConnell-Ginet. 2000. Meaning and Grammar: an introduction to semantics. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
• Irene Heim in Angelika Kratzer. 1998. Semantics in Generative Grammar. Oxford: Blackwell.
• Peter Ludlow (ur.). 1997. A Readings in the Philosophy of Language. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.


Homework assignments and final term paper (50% / 50%).

Lecturer's references

Associate professor of Linguistics at the University of Gorica.


  1. SAUERLAND, Uli, STATEVA, Penka. 2007. Scalar vs. epistemic vagueness : evidence from approximators. V: FRIEDMAN, Tova (ur.), GIBSON, Masayuki (ur.). Proceedings from Semantics and Linguistic Theory XVII, Ithaca: Cornell University, str. 228-245.
  2. SAUERLAND, Uli, STATEVA, Penka. 2011. Two types of vagueness. V: ÉGRÉ, Paul (ur.), KLINEDINST, Nathan (ur.). Vagueness and language use, (Palgrave studies in pragmatics, language and cognition). Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, str. 121-145.
  3. SAUERLAND, Uli, STATEVA, Penka. 2007. Introduction. V: SAUERLAND, Uli (ur.), STATEVA, Penka (ur.). Presupposition and implicature in compositional semantics, (Palgrave studies in pragmatics, language, and cognition). Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, str. 1-11.
  4. STEPANOV, Arthur, STATEVA, Penka. 2009. When QR disobeys superiority. Linguistic inquiry, ISSN 0024-3892, vol. 40, no. 1, str. 176-185.
  5. SHARVIT, Yael, STATEVA, Penka. 2002. Superlative expressions, context, and focus. Linguistics and philosophy, ISSN 0165-0157, vol. 25, no. 4, str. 453-504