Universiteit Leiden

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Theoretical Linguistics

Semantics and pragmatics

Semantics and pragmatics are united in the study of linguistic meaning.

  • Semantics studies the information that words and sentences carry on their own.
  • Pragmatics studies how speakers rely on this information to communicate a specific meaning in context.

What we do

The members of the semantics and pragmatics group do cutting-edge research on various semantic and pragmatic topics, including:

  • The intricate interplay between semantics, pragmatics and prosody in the case of questions. Recent topics include the relation between questions and disinformation, and French wh-in situ questions.
  • The exciting subfield of cross-linguistic semantics, with a primary focus on quantity expressions across languages and the count/mass distinction.
  • The subtle ways in which the (intended) status of information in the discourse, so-called information structure, interferes with the form and meaning of sentences.
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