Module Catalogue 2024/25

SEL1028 : Introduction to Language Structure 2: Syntax, semantics and pragmatics

SEL1028 : Introduction to Language Structure 2: Syntax, semantics and pragmatics

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Gabriel Martinez Vera
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Code Title
SEL1027Introduction to the Structure of Language 1: Phonetics, Phonology & Morphology
Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



To introduce the concepts and categories of syntax (constituent structure, hierarchy) and of semantics and pragmatics (meaning beyond the syntactic). This module will help establish a basic understanding of language structure and meaning with respect to developing the skills necessary for examining and describing linguistic data. This module will heighten metalinguistic awareness in a systematic way that will inform and enhance the sensitivity, accuracy, and clarity of the student's knowledge of language structure and meaning. The module will also help to develop students’ abilities to undertake syntactic, semantic and pragmatic analysis and argumentation. In developing students’ understanding of the applications of syntax, semantics and pragmatics in linguistic problem-solving, the module will provide a practical, analytical, and theoretical foundation for more advanced modules and independent study work handling these topics.

Outline Of Syllabus

The core of the module consists of laying out the foundations for the study of language, in particular syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Syntax concentrates on linguistic structure, in particular, the structure of phrases and sentences, which includes English sentence structure, involving syntactic structure, constituency, categories, displacement, complementation, etc. Semantics and pragmatics focus on meaning, such as those aspects of meaning that are determined by the syntax, as well as those aspects of meaning that go beyond the syntactic, including inference and conversational implicatures. This module will lay the foundations for more advanced modules such as sociolinguistic aspects of language and the acquisition of language.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of this module students should:

i. have acquired knowledge of the basic concepts and categories of syntax, semantics and pragmatics;
ii. have acquired basic skills in syntactic, semantic and pragmatic analysis and argumentation;
iii. be familiar with reading and processing syntactic, semantic and pragmatic data;
iv. understand how syntax, semantics and pragmatics can be applied to problems of a linguistic nature, including analytical problems;
v. display a basic understanding of the place of syntax, semantics and pragmatics within the grammar.

Intended Skill Outcomes

The following key skills are relevant to the assessment in this module, and will be formally assessed:
• Structured and systematic organization and analysis of complex data.
• Critical thinking and argumentation.
• Written presentation using appropriate linguistic terminology and conventions.
• Independent learning.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion145:0045:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading194:0094:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice142:0028:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures deliver the basic concepts and principles involved, including their applications. All lectures deliver both analytical and practical tools for understanding language, its structure and its development. Small group seminars require the student to read ahead of the session and to undertake linguistic analysis of problem sets. These skills are also practised in advance of the seminar when data are examined and arguments are marshalled. The directed reading elements require the student to read the assigned materials carefully and to consider questions arising from the reading.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M45multi-part assignment consisting of syntax problem-sets & short essay questions (about 1000 words)
Written exercise2A45multi-part assignment consisting of semantics/pragmatics problem-sets & short essay questions (about 1000 words)
Prob solv exercises2M10weekly "pop" quizzes on concepts, definitions, short problem sets in syntax, semantics and pragmatics
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment focuses on the student's ability to handle complex data sets and to argue for specific solutions to problems relating to language structure, including problems of an analytical and practical nature. The assessments also test the student's ability to write clearly, concisely and unambiguously in English of an appropriate style.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2025/26 entry will be published here in early-April 2025. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.