Research seminar: Current trends in semantics and pragmatics I

This course is part of the programme
Doctoral study programme Cognitive Science of Language

Objectives and competences

The primary goal of this course is to familiarize the students with the current issues in modern semantics and pragmatics. Before the start of the intensive seminar the students must study the literature assigned by the instructor on their own, including scientific articles to be discussed during the seminar.

The acquired competences are:
-Ability to critically think about a given linguistic topic and finding theoretically relevant data
-Ability to solve specific theoretical linguistic problems.
Lectures are organized as a weekly or biweekly intensive course.


Introduction to semantics.


Results of the current linguistic investigations by the worldwide known linguists.

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge of current topics and problems in semantics and pragmatics.


  • Related to the specific content of the course - articles from linguistic scientific journals – Linguistic Inquiry Catalogue E-version E-version, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory E-version, Lingua Catalogue E-version, Language Catalogue E-version, Theoretical Linguistics Catalogue E-version, The Linguistic Review Catalogue E-version .
  • Sauerland, Uli, and Stateva, Penka. 2007 (eds.). Presupposition and implicature in compositional semantics: Palgrave studies in pragmatics, language, and cognition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Catalogue
  • Noveck, Ira A., and Sperber, Dan. 2006. Experimental pragmatics. Hampshire: Palgrave. Catalogue
  • Hackl, M. 2009. On the grammar and processing of proportional quantifiers: most versus more than half [Mar]. Natural Language Semantics 17:63–98. E-version
  • Crain, Stephen. 2012. The emergence of meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University press.


• Active participation at the lectures (50%) • final project on the topic connected with the course content (50%). During the intensive course students present their own research on the topic of the seminar. Before the start of the intensive course, students must read and work through the required literature on their own. This literature includes scientific articles that will be discussed during the course.

Lecturer's references

Full professor of Linguistics at the University of Potsdam.


  1. M. Zimmermann, J. DeVeaugh Geiss, S. Toennies & E. Onea. 2020. (Non-) exhaustivity in focus partitioning across languages. In V. Hegedús & I. Vogel (eds.), Apporaches to Hungarian 16. Benjamins, Amsterdam. 207-230.
  2. E. Onea and M. Zimmermann. 2019. Question in discourse: An overview. In M. Zimmermann, E. Onea, K. v. Heusinger (eds.), Questions in discourse. Vol.1: Semantics. Leiden: Brill. 5-117.
  3. J. DeVeaugh-Geiss, S. Toennis, E. Onea & M. Zimmermann. 2018. That's not quite it: An experimental investigation of (non-)exhaustivity in clefts. Semantics and Pragmatics 11(3).
  4. Wird schon stimmen! A degree operator analysis of 'schon'. 2018. Journal of Semantics 35(4): 687-739.
  5. K. Hartmann and M. Zimmermann. 2012. Focus marking in Bura: Semantic Uniformity matches syntactic heterogeneity. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 30(4): 1061-1108.