BA English Language and French

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Pragmatics: Meaning, Context, and Interaction

Unit code LELA20292
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Linguistics & English Language
Available as a free choice unit? No


This module covers the ways in which the context of communication impacts on the meanings that are conveyed by language users.
Addressing language use as a form of social action, the module considers how meaning arises from the use of language in conjunction with basic conversational structures and principles and with various forms of non-demonstrative inferencing.
The creation and maintenance of interpersonal relations, as well as the impact of culture and cultural differences are emphasized throughout.
Finally, ways in which contextual factors may contribute to shaping the linguistic system itself, are discussed.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Study of Meaning LELA10332 Pre-Requisite Recommended


The module addresses the question of how meaning is created and interpreted by the use of language in communicative contexts. More specifically:
  • The distribution of labor between the linguistic code and features of the context.
  • The typology of contextually generated meanings.
  • The specific principles that can be hypothesized to underlie different types of contextually generated meaning.
  • The ways in which the structure of verbal interaction itself can create meanings.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
  • identify and analyze the empirical phenomena that are central to pragmatics, including recurrent patterns in verbal interaction;  
  • analyze new data representing language use in context applying appropriate methodologies, as well as a precisely defined metalinguistic and metadiscursive vocabulary;
  • understand the main theoretical approaches to the different subfields of pragmatics, and the relations that obtain between those approaches;
  • reflect critically on their own communicative practice and that of others.



Teaching and learning methods

16 ½ hours of lectures, 16 ½ hours of seminars featuring a variety of tutor-led and student-led activities, including regular practice exercises.

Knowledge and understanding

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:
  • understand basic pragmatic concepts and their theoretical importance
  • understand how linguistic meaning interacts with recurrent patterns of verbal interaction, with different types of inferences, with interactants’ desire to maintain interpersonal relations, and with aspects of culture, to produce situated understandings
  • understand the multifaceted nature of contexts of communication
  • understand the semantics/pragmatics distinction and ways in which it can be drawn 
  • understand the basic ways in which communicative context can contribute to meaning change over time

Intellectual skills

Upon successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
  • explain basic pragmatic concepts and their theoretical and descriptive importance 
  • be able to apply those concepts accurately to previously unseen communicative data
  • reflect critically on their own use of language and that of others, in both monocultural and multicultural settings

Practical skills

Upon successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
  • Analyze everyday communication in both the oral and the written channel
  • Make a theoretically informed choice between competing understandings of specific communicative episodes

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Upon successful completion of this module, students will have developed:
  • Enhanced communication skills
  • Enhanced analytical skills
  • Enhanced argumentation skills
  • Enhanced abstract and critical thinking skills
  • Enhanced time management skills 

Employability skills

¿ Communication skills ¿ Analytical skills ¿ Argumentation skills ¿ Abstract and critical thinking skills ¿ Time management skills

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Formative or summative


Weighting within unit

(if summative)

Mid-term exam

Formative and Summative

2 hours


Final exam


2 hours


Active participation (incl. regular submission of assigned work)






Assessment task



2 hrs


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or summative

Oral and written feedback on student contributions in class and on Blackboard



Written generic feedback and oral personalized feedback on assessment performance

Formative and summative


Recommended reading


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Maj Hansen Unit coordinator

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