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Semantics 1


Admission requirements



There are systematic patterns in how sentence meanings in natural language are computed based on the meanings of the sentence's components plus the way these components are put together in syntax. Formal Semantics is a theoretical framework that enables us to empirically investigate and describe these patterns, employing tools made available by linguistics, logic and cognitive science.
This course is the first course of the two-semester introduction to formal semantics. Topics of the first semester include:

  • Classification of meanings,

  • Lexical semantics,

  • Sentence meanings as truth-conditions,

  • Principle of compositionality,

  • Propositional logic,

  • Predicate logic,

  • Discourse and pragmatics.

Course objectives

  • To learn the basic notions of formal semantics.

  • To acquire the basic skills to analyze the meanings of simple declarative sentences.

  • To be able to read and write propositional and predicate logical formulae.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

There will be a final written exam (open book) with short open questions. In addition, continuous assessment will take place through weekly mini-exams at the beginning of class, each consisting of a few short questions lasting a couple of minutes in total. The mini-exams test students’ understanding of the preceding lectures and homework. In case of structural inability to attend, a replacement for the mini-exams will be conceived (writing assignment).


Your final grade will be computed as the weighted average of: the average of mini-exams (50%) and the final exam (50%). The average of mini-exams will be computed after dropping two lowest/missing results



A resit will be offered in the form of a substantial writing assignment, replacing portions of the original grade selected by the student. This writing assignment will cover the same topics as the portions of the original grade it replaces, and will be of a corresponding size.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

A course in semantics Altshuler, Parsons & Schwarzschild, MIT Press, 2019

as well a supplementary materials that will be provided during the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

not applicable


For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats
E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress contact the Coordinator of Studies


not applicable