Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.

LINGUIST 4AS3 Topics In Advanced Semantics (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2019

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Ivona Kucerova


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 509

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23456


Office Hours: Mondays 2-3pm

Course Objectives:

This course examines advanced issues in formal semantics, seeking to evaluate the current formal semantics theory and to address the data that fall beyond the basic theory introduced in LINGUIST 3II3.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required: Heim, Irene and Angelika Kratzer. 1998. Semantics in generative grammar. Oxford: Blackwell.

Method of Assessment:

This class will be a combination of lectures and seminars. Students will be required to actively participate in the class, submit several written assignments. There will be a take-home final exam.


10% – active class participation

60% – weekly or bi-weekly written assignments

30% – take-home final exam

100% – Total

This course is mainly problem-solving oriented. The problem sets are designed to develop your analytical abilities by letting you do what linguists actually do. Homework is extremely important – you learn by doing, not just by listening or reading. Homework will force you to use the information you learned in class and/or read in your book in actual problems in a creative manner. Be prepared to work ahead. Start your homework early. This way you have time to discuss it with your classmates or with me.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late assignments will be graded 0. Only assignments submitted online will be accepted. Even though some class-work will be in small groups, only individual work will be accepted for the evaluation. If you are not sure what counts as individual work, do not hesitate to ask Dr. Kucerova for help with determining the boundaries.

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:





Reading assignment

Week 1

Jan. 7

Truth-conditional semantics; sets & functions

chtp. 1

Week 2

Jan. 14

Sets & characteristic functions; λ-notation

chpt. 2

Week 3

Jan. 21

Type-driven interpretation

chpt. 3

Week 4

Jan. 28


chpt. 4

Week 5

Feb. 4

Definite articles; Presupposition failure

chpt. 4

Week 6

Feb. 11


chpt. 5

Week 7

Feb. 18

midterm recess


Week 8

Feb. 25

Variable binding

chpt. 5

Week 9

March 4

Variables continued

chpt. 5

Week 10

March 11


chpt. 6

Week 11

March 18

Presuppositional quantifiers

chpt. 7

Week 12

March 25

Quantification and grammar

chtp. 8

Week 13

April 1

Constrains on QR

chpt. 8