Pragmatics and Discourse

Academic year
Subject Area
Linguistics-Anglo-American Studies
Language of Instruction
Other Languages of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

Not applicable.

Teaching Methods

Oral presentations, lectures, language analysis from naturally occurring instances of use, class debates and group work. Assessment according to the Rules of Assessment of the 1st cycle of studies.

Learning Outcomes

The course introduces basic tools and concepts in semantics, pragmatics and discourse to analyse meaning in English. By the end of the term the student will have developed the metalanguage that will enable her/him to

a) Identify distinct contributions of semantics, pragmatics and discourse analysis to the study of meaning and meaning-making process in English;

b) Use adequate terminology to identify and describe formal and functional mechanisms in the construction of linguistic meaning in English;

c) Know how to describe and explain dynamics of verbal and non-verbal negotiation and meaning-making in authentic English-based communicative contexts;

d) Situate semantic, pragmatic and discursive analytical frameworks in the light of their defining theoretical stances regarding language and meaning-making process.

Work Placement(s)



The course starts with a debate on the meaning of meaning: sense and reference; proposition, sentence and utterance, among others. We first focus on 'the linguistic system of English' by briefly describing basic aspects of word and sentence meaning. The exercise of semantic, pragmatic and conversational inferencing follows and leads to situated understandings of 'context'. Focusing on 'speakers', and then on speakers' interactions in 'communicative events mediated by English', different pragmatic and discursive aspects follow: speech acts, conversational exchange, face, politeness and relevance, cohesion and coherence. The course ends by integrating language with context and paves the way into discourse studies.

Head Lecturer(s)

Maria Clara Bicudo de Azeredo Keating

Assessment Methods

Continuous assessment
Mini Tests: 25.0%
In-class participation : 25.0%
Frequency: 50.0%

Final assessment
Exam: 100.0%


Cutting, Joan (2015) Pragmatics: A Resource Book for Students. 3rd Edition. London: Routledge.

Griffith, Patrick & Cummins, Chris (2016) An Introduction to English Semantics and Pragmatics. Edinburgh Textbooks on the English Language. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Hurford,J, Heasley,B., Smith, M.B. (2007) Semantics: A Coursebook. Cambridge: CUP.

Kreidler, Charles (2013) Introducing English Semantics. 2nd Edition. London: Routledge

Levinson, S. (1983). Pragmatics. Cambridge: CUP.

Lyons, J. (1981). Language, Meaning and Context. London: Fontana.

Mey, Jacob (1998) Concise Encyclopedia of Pragmatics. Amsterdam: Elsevier

Verschueren, Jef (1999). Understanding Pragmatics. London: Arnold 

Collins COBUILD Intermediate English Grammar (2004). London: HarperCollins. 

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 5th ed. (2009) Harlow: Pearson Longman.