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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 Dishonesty

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.

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.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. 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:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

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.

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. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

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.