SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics

Topics in Lexical Semantics

Module Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 2
Taught in:
Term 2


General Linguistics 152900069 or equivalent; Meaning and Interpretation 152900100 is desirable, but not required.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental ways in which words and sentences are associated with meaning and interpretation in context. They should be acquainted with the assumptions and goals that underlie different approaches to lexical semantics and with the relationship between semantics at the lexical, sentential and discourse levels. They should also have an understanding of how word meaning relates to our more general conceptual knowledge about the world, and how the components of lexical meaning are defined and structured.


Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

This course provides an overview of various approaches to lexical semantics including componential analysis, Lexical Conceptual Semantics and Cognitive Semantics.

Method of assessment

One two-hour written examination taken in May/June (70%); continuous assessment (30%).

Suggested reading

Core Readings

Main text
  • Saeed, John (2011) Semantics (3rd ed), Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
Additional Readings

Available from the convenor at the beginning of the course.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules