Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Pragmatics

From Winter 2018/19 to Summer 2021, at HU Berlin

This course provides an introduction to pragmatics, an important subfield of linguistics. Pragmatics is the study of contextualized meaning in language. In pragmatics, we examine the relationship between the meaning of an utterance and the context in which the utterance is produced. In this course, we will explore a wide range of topics in the discipline, such as presupposition, implicature, speech acts, deixis and reference. Students will read original and recent work in these areas, and engage themselves in analyzing different types of utterances and their meanings as they are shaped by different pragmatic factors. At the end of the course, students will be familiar with the basic topics in pragmatics. Exercises, assignments and the final exam will focus on the analysis of spoken and written utterances from different perspectives. Students will learn about different strategies for identifying patterns and labelling of pragmatic phenomena. Another goal of the course is to enable students to write descriptive accounts of their analyses of utterances (texts/dialogues), and to explain how the study of pragmatics contributes to a better understanding of language.

Course syllabus