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Semantics and Pragmatics

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Semantics and pragmatics research at Stanford aims to develop theoretical models that appreciate and explain the complexity of meaning witnessed in language use.


The Stanford semantics and pragmatics community encompasses a broad range of interests including:

  • Lexical semantics
  • Formal semantics and pragmatics, and their interfaces with syntax
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Numerous sub-areas of psychology, philosophy, and computer science

We share the goal of grounding theories of meaning in diverse research methodologies, including:

  • Formal linguistic analysis
  • Psycholinguistic experimentation
  • Computational modeling
  • Corpus studies
  • Fieldwork on less widely studied languages


We offer courses ranging from introductory courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels to seminars on cutting edge topics and workshops focused on developing key research skills. 

Recent seminar topics have included:

  • Temporal interpretation
  • Experimental studies of quantification
  • Definiteness
  • Gradation
  • Modality
  • Negation
  • Conditionals
  • Causation


Faculty and students participate in a wide range of research projects, many of them collaborative.  Many of them also span subfields of linguistics or reach out to neighboring disciplines.  There are usually informal reading or working groups that reflect the community's ever evolving research interests, as well as occasional larger gatherings, such as Construction of Meaning Workshops and an annual SemFest

Ongoing Labs & Projects

Upcoming Events

No future events are currently scheduled in this subfield