Semantic Theory 2019


Note: The final exam will take place on Thursday, July 18, and will start at 10:00 sharp!

Course Overview

Semantic Theory is a core course of the Master of Science programme in Language Science and Technology (LST), taught at the department of Language Science and Technology (formerly: Computational Linguistics and Phonetics) at Saarland University.

Place: Building C7.3, Seminarraum (1.12)
Time: Tuesday and Thursday 10:15-11:45
Start date: 11.04.2019

Noortje Venhuizen (email: noortjev at coli.uni-saarland dot de) and
Harm Brouwer (email: brouwer at coli.uni-saarland dot de)

Prerequisites: Familiarity with first-order predicate logic. (Please contact us in case you are not sure you meet this requirement)

Literature: The slides will form the study material for this course. Additional recommended reading material can be found in:

  • Gamut, Logic, Language, and Meaning, Vol. 2, University of Chicago Press, 1991
  • Winter, Elements of Formal Semantics, Edinburgh University Press, 2016 (first three chapters freely available for download: [])
  • Kamp & Reyle, From Discourse to Logic, Kluwer, 1993

These books are available through the Semesterapparat for Semantic Theory at the Campus-Bibliothek für Informatik und Mathematik.

Exercises and Exam: There will be a written exam at the end of the semester. Your grade for this exam will be your grade for the course.

There will be 8 sets of exercises, spread out over the weeks. Exercises can be done in teams of up to three students. Each team turns in only one copy of their solution, with the names of all the members of the team clearly marked on the solution.

To be admitted to the final exam, you must obtain a 'pass' for 7 out of the 8 exercises (in other words, you may skip or fail at most one exercise sheet).


The course takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:15-11:45. These sessions will be flexibly used for lectures and exercise sessions. Sometimes we will start a session with exercise discussions and then continue with a lecture. So you are encouraged to participate regularly if you don't want to miss anything.

Week 0 (April 9 & 11)

  • April 9: Orientation day (no class)
  • April 11: Introduction to Semantic Theory [slides]

Week 1 (April 16 & 18)

Week 2 (April 23 & 25)

  • April 23: Type Theory [slides]
  • April 25: no class

Week 3 (April 30 & May 2)

  • April 30: Exercise session (discussion Exercise 1)
  • May 2: Type Theory + Exerices [exercise sheet 2]

Week 4 (May 7 & 9)

Week 5 (May 14 & 16)

Week 6 (May 21 & 23)

Week 7 (May 28)

NB: No class on May 30 (Christi Himmelfahrt)

Week 8 (June 4 & 6)

Week 9 (June 11 & 13)

Week 10 (June 18)

NB: No class on June 20 (Fronleichnam)
  • June 18: Distributional Fomal Semantics [slides]

Week 11 (June 25 & 27)

Week 12 (July 2 & 4)

  • July 2: Current Issues in Semantic Theory [slides]
  • July 4: no class

Week 13 (July 9 & 11)

Exam Week (July 15-19)

  • July 18: Semantic Theory Exam (starts at 10 AM sharp!)
    Location: C7.3, Seminarraum (1.12)