English and drama

Approaches to Meaning

Module code: Q1029
Level 4
30 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Seminar, Lecture, Workshop
Assessment modes: Coursework

In this module exploration of word meaning introduces you to general linguistic concepts, terminology, methods and resources, while developing skills in linguistic analysis, research and argumentation. You will investigate meaning from psychological, social, historical, theoretical, and descriptive perspectives. Questions that may be considered include: what do you know when you know a word? Where is meaning located (in the word, society, or the mind)? How many meanings can a word have? How do meanings change? How do words/meanings differ among dialects and social situations? How do we learn meanings? You will explore such questions in small, individual research projects.

Module learning outcomes

  • An understanding of distinct levels of linguistic description (sound, meaning, grammar, etc.)
  • An understanding of basic concepts relating to words and meaning (lexicon, semantics/pragmatics, reference, denotation/connotation, prototype, compositionality, lexicalisation, lexicography, necessary & sufficient conditions, etc.)
  • An understanding of some of the applications of linguistic analysis (social, historical, psychological, pedagogical, lexicographical)
  • Discipline-specific skills in linguistic definition and analysis, the use of linguistic reference tools (dictionaries, etc.), finding linguistic resources in the library (beyond the reading list), accessing linguistic data resources and collecting linguistic data, and representing linguistic data in writing.