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2020/21 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LING5241M Pragmatics

30 creditsClass Size: 25

Module manager: Dr Bethan Davies

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

Pragmatics is concerned with the gap between literal meaning and intended meaning, and how speakers and addressees negotiate this gap. In this module we look at how we ‘do things with words’, and how we create implicit meanings which our addressees are intended to recover. We then look at language in a broader way, taking account of social and physical context, considering areas such as (im)politeness and deixis. The final part of the module returns to the key issue of common ground, and how this can be studied in a psycholinguistic as well as a pragmatic context.


This module aims to increase students' critical awareness of major themes within the field of linguistic pragmatics. Students are introduced to key texts in order to understand both the development of the discipline and the roots of current debates.

Learning outcomes
On the completion of this module, students will:
1. understand the theoretical concerns of pragmatics as a sub-discipline of linguistics (What are the roles of linguistic content and social context in the formulation of a message? How can linguists understand the role of context and identify its various elements? How can linguists balance the cognitive and sociocultural aspects of message interpretation?)
2. have gained insights into the roots of pragmatics as a discipline, and how this has affected its development
3. have gained understanding of the potential relationship between pragmatics and other areas of linguistics, such as sociolinguistics, semantics and psycholinguistics
4. be able to demonstrate a sound knowledge of core aspects of the subject and relate this to current theoretical discussions in the literature


This module introduces the student to the core areas and issues in pragmatics. It begins by investigating the philosophical roots of the discipline, covering such areas as speech act theory, implicatures and presupposition. Current focal areas in pragmatics, such as deixis, relevance theory and (im)politeness are then considered. The final part of the module extends the scope to a more social and psychological view of discourse, including Collaborative Theory (Clark), and the work of Potter & Weatherell.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours270.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students are expected to devote 270 hours of private study time to this module, with the following suggested breakdown:
- 10 hours reading per week = 100 hours
- 9 hours preparation per seminar = 90 hours
- 80 hours of preparation for assessment

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress is monitored and supported via the module leader’s assessment of students’ contributions to presentations and discussion in seminars. Students receive written feedback on their first essay before submitting their second one.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000-word essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 26/01/2021 12:51:21


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