Semantic Dimensions. Connectives, Particles & co.

Uni Konstanz, Sommersemester 2014

Course Details

Lecturer: Tatjana Scheffler
Seminar: Tuesdays, 11:45-13:15
G 306
Tutorial: Tuesdays, 17:00-17:45
V 738
Level: MA, LA E alt


active participation
regular readings

for credit

participation in the tutorial
presentation of a research paper & lead discussion
final paper (Hausarbeit)


Semantic operators don’t contribute equally to sentence meaning. Instead, we have to differentiate between different semantic "dimensions", such as assertion ("what is said"), presupposition, and conventional implicature.

In this seminar we will study words and expressions that operate on multiple dimensions, or whose assignment to a particular dimension is difficult. We will look at how semantic dimensions can be differentiated and formally modeled. We apply the introduced tests and formal models to some individual expressions, in particular, connectives and particles.

For the final paper, students can carry out corpus studies to analyze the semantic dimensionality of a particular lexical item using the methods introduced in the course, instead of the usual literature discussion.


Date Topic / Presenter Ex.
22.4. Dimensions of Meaning (TS)
C. Potts. 2013. Presupposition and Implicature.
29.4. Dimensions of Meaning (2)  
6.5. Formal Analysis of CIs (TS)
read: Potts (2005), chapter 3 (ILIAS)
ex 1
13.5. Varieties of CIs (TS)
read: McCready (2010)
20.5. denn / weil (TS)
read: Scheffler (2013) - ILIAS
27.5. Good Reasons - K. Mann
read: McCready/Takahashi (2011) - ILIAS
3.6. intro particles - J. Steindl
read: Kratzer (1999) and Zimmermann (2011)
10.6. bestimmt / gewiss (TS)
read: Ebert et al. (2009)
17.6. wohl - K. Ertl
read: Zimmermann (2008)
24.6. Intensifiers
read: McCready/Schwager (2009) and Gutzmann/Turgay (2012) + G/T (2014)
1.7. Potts: The expressive dimension + Zimmermann reply (TS)  
8.7. TBA - Y. Viesel  
15.7. Y. Hara: Japanese 'darou' (particle similar to 'wohl') - K. Mann
read Chapter 5 of Hara's dissertation
22.7. mini conference (all present their projects!) -

Literature (tentative; will not all be addressed)

Papers without online links can be requested from TS.

Dimensions of Meaning

C. Potts. 2013. Presupposition and Implicature. (Ms. for Blackwell Handbook of Semantics)

C. Potts. 2005. The Logic of Conventional Implicature

E. McCready. 2010. Varieties of Conventional Implicature

M. Simons et al. 2010. What projects and why. SALT

D. Gutzmann. 2013. Expressives and beyond. An introduction to varieties of use-conditional meaning. In: Gutzmann, Daniel & Hans-Martin Gärtner (eds.): Beyond Expressives: Explorations in Use-Conditional Meaning. Leiden: Brill. 1–58.



T. Scheffler. 2013. Two-Dimensional Semantics. Chapter 4: Denn and Weil – Causal Connectives in Two Dimensions.

E. Onea & A. Volodina. 2009. Der Schein trügt nämlich. Linguistische Berichte.

E. Karagjosova. 2011. Discourse Particles, Discourse Relations, and Information Structure: The Case of Nämlich

E. McCready & Y. Takahashi. 2011. Good Reasons.

I. Max. 2004. Assertion und Präsupposition. Zur Semantik und Pragmatik von Konnektoren. In: Blühdorn: Brücken schlagen.



A. Kratzer. 1999. Beyond Ouch and Oops.

L. Mayol. 2008. Catalan 'Déu n’hi do' and Levels of Meaning in Exclamatives. WCCFL.

C. Ebert, C. Ebert and S. Hinterwimmer. 2009. The semantics and pragmatics of bestimmt and gewiss.

E. McCready & M. Schwager. 2009. Intensifiers. Paper presented at Workshop on Non-truth-conditional Meaning, DGfS, Osnabrück.

P. Grosz. 2009.German particles, modality and the semantics of imperatives. NELS.

M. Schwager. 2009. Modality and speech acts: troubled by German ruhig.

Bayer & Obenauer. 2011. Discourse particles, clause structure, and question types.


Expressives / Evidentiality

S. Neale. 1999. Colouring and composition. In Robert Stainton (ed.), Philosophy and linguistics, 35–82. Boulder, CO: Westview Press

C. Potts. 2006.The expressive dimension.

M. Zimmermann. 2006.I like that damn paper – Three comments on Christopher Pottsユ The expressive dimension.

C. Potts et al. Expressives and Identity conditions

Patrick Dendale, Liliane Tasmowski, Introduction: evidentiality and related notions, Journal of Pragmatics, Volume 33, Issue 3, March 2001, Pages 339-348, ISSN 0378-2166, (

T. Scheffler. 2009. Evidentiality and German Attitude Verbs.

Gutzmann, Daniel & Eric McCready. 2014. Using descriptions. Submitted to Empirical Issues in Syntax and Semantics 10.

Last modified: Thu Jun 26 11:38:25 CEST 2014