Introduction to Semantics (LING 510), Fall 2013

Handouts, slides, and lecture notes from weekly lab sessions and guest course lectures


Lecture on science writing and the first writing project

  • Lecture handout
  • Goals of writing project: Show that you understand what the Principle of Compositionality is and how it is a crucial part of human language. Show that you can determine whether a purported “language” in fact exhibits compositionality. Show that you can read primary literature critically. Gain understanding of a particular style of writing and explanation. Even if you never intend to be a science writer, the ability to explain a complex topic in more manageable terms is a very valuable skill to have.

Lecture on semantic fieldwork and the second writing project


Week One: Introduction to set theory

Week Two: Introduction to ordered pairs, relations, and functions

Week Three: Reviewing homework 1 (on set theory, functions, and relations)

Week Four: Schoenfinkelization and writing functions for transitive verbs with lambda notation

Week Five: Reviewing lambda notation and determining truth conditions

Week Six: Midterm review on set theory, functions, lambda notation, intensions vs. extensions, plus additional discussion about adjectives

Week Seven: Presuppositions vs. entailments and the semantics of definite descriptions

Weeks Eight through Eleven: Combined lab and main class sections to conduct fieldwork on mica