Linguistics 503: Semantics II

Course Description

This is the second of a two-course sequence in formal semantics, designed to introduce students to the core empirical domains of natural language semantics and to familiarize them with the analytical tools involved in the investigation of these domains. The focus of this class is truth-conditional aspects of meaning and the compositional interpretation of phrases and sentences. Students will develop skills in semantic analysis and argumentation while constructing a compositional semantics for a fragment of English. Along the way, we will also develop explicit hypotheses about a core set of semantic phenomena, including argument structure, relative clauses, quantification, binding and anaphora, and intensionality.

Download the syllabus here.


Our primary textbook (available at the BU Bookstore) will be:

Heim, Irene and Angelika Kratzer. 1998. Semantics in Generative Grammar. Blackwell: Malden.

Any additional readings will be made available to you.

Course Evaluation

Weekly homework assignments 70% ; Final paper 20% ; Regular attendance/participation 10%


  • For M 12/7 & W 12/9, please read Chapter 12 of Heim and Kratzer.
  • REMINDER: Your final papers are due on Friday, December 18 at 5pm (via email or delivered to my office).

Class Info

  • Fall 2015
  • MWF 2-3, KCB 102

Instructor Info

  • Peter Alrenga
  • 617.353.6221
  • 621 Commonwealth Ave #110
  • OH: Tu 10-12 / F 3-4
      (and by appt)