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Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

French (FR)

FR 419 French Semantics (3) The study of meaning in human language with a special focus on how it is encoded in French.

FR 419 French Semantics (3)

The aim of this course is to provide upper level undergraduate students in French with a relatively informal introduction to the field of semantics as it applies to the French language. Semantics is the subfield of theoretical linguistics that seeks to make explicit the rules native speakers use to interpret stable aspects of the meaning of natural language sentences. The course will begin by comparing and contrasting semantic and pragmatic aspects of meaning – an important undertaking since only the former are assumed to be subject to invariable rules of grammar. The conclusions reached in this portion of the course will then be extended to account for a very special type of language – humor – in a particular context, France. That as, it will be shown that a more complete understanding of this linguistic behavior entails recognition of the relative contributions of pragmatics and semantics. We will then turn to a survey of the classic model-theoretic approach to lexical and compositional aspects of semantic meaning, with important (sociolinguistic) refinements to the standard approach to lexical semantics being discussed in detail. With a survey of the fundamentals of the field in place, we will then undertake an investigation of specific topics in semantics, looking first at the status of thematic roles in semantic theory (focusing on work by David Dowty). Here we will examine the important implications his work holds for the initial mapping of arguments into sentence structure, not only for primary transitive verbs, but also unaccusative and psych-verbs. We will then examine current analyses of causation in French, certain aspectual distinctions, and semantic, pragmatic, and syntactic approaches to negative and positive polarity items, n-words, and minimizers.


General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Summer 2011
Prerequisite: FR 316

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.

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