Anglistik - B M - Beyond the Word. How to do Things with Words


General information

Course name Beyond the Word. How to do Things with Words
Course type Lecture
Course code 050206
Course coordinator Prof. Dr. Lieselotte Anderwald
Examination office  
Short summary The lecture course provides an introduction to pragmatics, i.e. studying meaning in context.

Information about study level

Study level Bachelor (Year 3)
Also possible for Bachelor and Master

Information about credit points, evaluation and frequency

ECTS 2,5
Evaluation Exam
Frequency winter term

Information about teaching language

Teaching language English
Minimum language requirement B1
Further information on the teaching language  

Information about requirements

Recommended requirements The lecture is aimed at BA students near the end of their studies. Knowledge of linguistic terminology and methods is required. Students are expected to study the preparatory reading.

Information about course content, reading list and additional information

Course Content Whereas semantics studies the meaning of words (or larger units) quite abstractly, pragmatics is concerned with studying meaning in context. This context can range from the very local (the referent of you in you should attend regularly, or the difference in meaning between a tree outside my window and the tree outside my window) to the very global (which conditions have to be met for communication to be successful? How can we mean more than we say? What is politeness?).
This lecture course starts by looking at the more local phenomena first and introduces students to such concepts as reference, deixis and presuppositions, before moving on to the more global, and even philosophical questions; and indeed, pragmatics in the Anglo-American tradition has been shaped since the 1960s by a trio of famous language philosophers: John L. Austin, his student John P. Searle, and H. Paul Grice. We will discuss speech acts (doing things by saying them), felicity conditions (which have to obtain for our speech to be understood, or to make sense), and maxims of conversations (which, when violated, give rise to intended or unintended implications). In the last part of this lecture course, we will look at modern followers (or not) of this established tradition and discuss what new approaches like the Q- and R-principles, Relevance Theory, or Politeness Theory have to offer to the study of meaning in context.
Reading list  
Additional information