Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit is an introduction to important concepts in semantics, and provides the necessary basis to understand current areas of research in the discipline. Semantics is the branch of linguistics dedicated to the study of meaning in natural language (NL), and is concerned with the representation of meaning at the lexical, phrasal and sentential levels. When we use language, the meaning we convey is contributed to by a range of factors. Semantics is chiefly concerned with literal meaning, and describes the relations between words and expressions to the real world. The unit mainly concerns denotational, truth-functional theories of meaning and covers topics such as the semantics of noun phrases and verb phrases, as well as key concepts such as language and metalanguage and a range of phenomena including ambiguity, vagueness and presupposition.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Linguistics major sequence
  • Level 3 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate understanding of key concepts in semantic theory (e.g. language and metalanguage, sense and reference); (2) demonstrate understanding of key semantic phenomena (e.g. ambiguity, vagueness, entailment, presupposition); (3) apply methods of semantic analysis in order to describe the meaning of a range of expressions (e.g. quantifier NPs, modal expressions, definite and indefinite NPs, temporal and aspectual expressions); and (4) represent the meaning of a range of expressions by translating them into a formal language.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial participation; (2) assignments; and (3) examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Luisa Miceli
Unit rules
LING2001 Grammatical Theory: the Structure of Sentences
or LING2202 Grammatical Theory (Syntax)
LING3305 Semantics
Contact hours
36—lectures: 2 hours per week (over 13 weeks)
tutorials: 1 hour per week (up to 12 weeks)
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.