24.903 / 24.933 Language and its Structure III: Semantics and Pragmatics

As taught in: Spring 2005

A cartoon illustrating the concept of structural ambiguity.

A cartoon illustration of structural ambiguity.  (Image courtesy of MIT OpenCourseWare.)


Undergraduate / Graduate


Prof. Kai von Fintel

Course Description

This course gives an introduction to the science of linguistic meaning. There are two branches to this discipline: semantics, the study of conventional, "compositional meaning", and pragmatics, the study of interactional meaning. There are other contributaries: philosophy, logic, syntax, and psychology. We will try to give you an understanding of the concepts of semantics and pragmatics and of some of the technical tools that we use.

*Some translations represent previous versions of courses.