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LINGUIST 3P03 Pragmatics (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2019

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. George Thomas


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 512

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24388

Office Hours: Monday 2 -4 p.m.

Course Objectives:

Objectives and Content:

Structural linguistics, with its division into phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics, is limited to the 'grammar' or 'system' of language, where the outer social and physical world is of little or no importance.  Moreover, the maximum domain of the four divisions is usually taken to be the sentence.  This course will look at phenomena where the boundary between the word and the world (i.e. the context) is ill-defined, where social and situational factors interact with grammar, and where the highest unit is the text or discourse rather than the sentence.  Pragmatics, the study of such interactions, is an area of active research on the part of syntacticians, semanticists, logicians, sociolinguists and discourse analysists.  The course will introduce students to major pragmatic concepts, including: presupposition, speech acts, implicature, deictics and relevance theory. 

Methods and Format:

  • Combination of lecture, tutorial and discussion format.
  • New information will be introduced and discussed in the Monday sessions.  We will examine in detail pertinent examples from an array of different languages.
  • All lecture notes will be posted on Avenue Avenue to Learn - McMaster University
  • Review Exercises and Further Discussion will be conducted in the Wednesday sessions.
  • Every student is to participate actively at all times.
  • Students are required to keep a log of language examples they encounter and to share their examples during discussion periods.  Each example you should briefly indicate where you learned of it and how it illustrates, calls into question, or contradicts a concept introduced in class or the readings. The log will be turned in at the end of classes but you should provide at least one example for each class and be prepared to volunteer that example for discussion purposes. 
  • This log will form the basis of your final paper

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


Method of Assessment:


Five In-Class Quizzes            50%

Attendance                             10%

Participation                           10%

Term Paper                             30%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


Students who fail to turn up for the quizzes will receive a grade of zero. Late delivery of an assignment will receive a ten-percent penalty for each day following the advertized due date. For example, a piece of work delivered two days= late which deserved a grade of B- (70%) will receive a gra

Please note:

Students should be aware of the Statement on Academic Ethics included in the Senate Policy Statements booklet which was given to all McMaster students. Plagiarism and submission of work that is not one=s own or for which previous credit has been obtained are examples of academic dishonesty. Students should go to the Dean of Studies Office (CNH-112) if they require copies of current regulationsde of 56% (C).

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Integrity

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  • plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  • improper collaboration in group work.
  • copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Authenticity / Plagiarism Detection

Some courses may use a web-based service ( to reveal authenticity and ownership of student submitted work. For courses using such software, students will be expected to submit their work electronically either directly to or via Avenue to Learn (A2L) plagiarism detection (a service supported by so it can be checked for academic dishonesty.

Students who do not wish to submit their work through A2L and/or must still submit an electronic and/or hardcopy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to or A2L. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, other software, etc.). To see the Policy, please go to

Courses with an On-Line Element

Some courses use on-line elements (e.g. e-mail, Avenue to Learn (A2L), LearnLink, web pages, capa, Moodle, ThinkingCap, etc.). Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of a course using these elements, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in a course that uses on-line elements will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Online Proctoring

Some courses may use online proctoring software for tests and exams. This software may require students to turn on their video camera, present identification, monitor and record their computer activities, and/or lockdown their browser during tests or exams. This software may be required to be installed before the exam begins.

Conduct Expectations

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the "Code"). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students' access to these platforms.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

Request for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar "Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work".

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students should submit their request to their Faculty Office normally within 10 working days of the beginning of term in which they anticipate a need for accommodation or to the Registrar's Office prior to their examinations. Students should also contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and tests.

Copyright and Recording

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.

Extreme Circumstances

The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.

Topics and Readings:

Assigned Readings

From time to time, readings will be posted on Avenue. There will also be a small selection of books on reserve in the library from which reading will be assigned.  Students will also be required to consult sources on the Web and download e-books from the library. You will also find a select bibliography of key works on Avenue.