This course is part of the programme
Master in SL studies - Linguistics

Objectives and competences

• Students are introduced to classical and current theoretical achievements in the linguistic field of semantics;
• They are acquinted with major topics like compositionality, type theory, extensional and intensional meaning, etc.


Formal Foundations of Linguistic Theory


This course is intended not only as an overview of the modern field of semantics but also as a source for the acquisition of formal tools for semantic analysis. These tools allow us to compositionally interpret different syntactic structures available across languages.

Intended learning outcomes

Students acquire a basic overview of classical and current semantic theorizing on:

 theories of meaning,,
 compositionality and the syntax-semantics interface,
 relations and non-verbal predicates,
 modification,
 definiteness,
 quantification, quantifier movement, restrictions on quantifier movement,
 relative clauses,
 deictic and anaphoric reference.


  • Heim, I. and A. Kratzer. 1998. Semantics in generative grammar. Boston: Blackwell.
  • Chierchia, G. and S. McConnell-Ginet. 1990. Meaning and grammar, MIT Press. de Swart, H. 1998. Introduction to natural language semantics, CSLI Publications.
  • Articles from various journals like Linguistic Inquiry, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Syntax, Lingua, The Linguistic Review, Natural Language Semantics, Language, Linguistics, etc


• Class attendance and active participation during lectures and seminars, 2 homework assignments, • written or oral final examination.

Lecturer's references

SAUERLAND, Uli, STATEVA, Penka. 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, 2011, str. 121-145.
STEPANOV, Arthur, STATEVA, Penka. When QR disobeys superiority. Linguist. inq., 2009, vol. 40, no. 1, str. 176-185.
STEPANOV, Arthur, STATEVA, Penka. Successive cyclicity as residual wh-scope marking. Lingua. [Print ed.], dec. 2006, vol. 116, no. 12, str. 2107-2153.
STATEVA, Penka, How different are different degree expressions? MIT Working papers in Linguistics, 2002.