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SEL1028 : Introduction to the Structure of Language 2: Morphology and Meaning

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Gary Taylor-Raebel
  • Lecturer: Dr Rebecca Woods
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To introduce the concepts and categories of linguistic morphology (the interface between syntax and phonology) and of semantics and pragmatics (linguistic meaning beyond the syntactic). The module will introduce the linguistic terminology used in the subfields of morphology, semantics and pragmatics, and will help the student to develop knowledge of the morphological and morphophonological variation shown by the world’s languages.

The module will also help to develop students’ abilities to undertake morphological, semantic and pragmatic analysis and argumentation.

In developing students' understanding of the applications of morphology, 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

This module builds on the foundations of syntax and phonology laid down in the first semester module SEL1027, examining (1) the relationship between syntax and phonology and (2) linguistic considerations that lie 'beyond the syntactic'. Throughout the module, teaching will explicitly address both the theory and the practice of linguistics, and will include applications of theoretical concepts to real-world data.

Two primary areas of human linguistic competence are investigated: morphology and semantics/pragmatics. Morphology (word formation) concerns the internal structure of words, including the ways in which new words are formed, and its study forms an interface between the core areas of syntax and phonology. This module explains and illustrates the basic concepts and distinctions used in morphology, such as inflectional and derivational processes, allomorphic variation and what conditions it, morphological typology and variation in the languages of the world, and the relationship between morphological processes and both syntax and phonology. Hands-on morphological analysis of data from English and from numerous other languages forms a central part of the module content. We also examine the historical processes leading to morphological change.

In examining linguistic aspects of meaning, the course first introduces those aspects of meaning that are determined by the syntax, such as quantification. It then moves on to discuss aspects of meaning where the syntax makes a contribution, including modal logic and truth conditions. Finally, the course discuss with a discussion of pragmatics, including inference and conversational implicature and concludes by considering the distinction between semantics and pragmatics.

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists