Semantics 2, SoSe 2015

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Course description

In this course we will look at questions concerning the meaning of adjectives and adverbs such as

  • What is the meaning of "tall" and "small" if a "tall mouse" is much smaller than a "small elephant"?
  • How come a "red car" is both red and a car, but a "fake car" is not even a car?
  • If you give "the right answer", any other answer would have been wrong, but if you give "the wrong answer" why is then not every other answer correct?
  • How can we capture the observation that a "beautiful dancer" can be someone ugly who dances beautifully, but a "beautiful dancing shoes" cannot be ugly shoes for dancing beautifully?

We will discuss both the empirical side of these and other issues and how we can formalize our observations and integrate them into the framework of the syntax-semantics interface developed in the "Semantics 1" class.

After the class, the participants will be able to distinguish various types of modifiers and to characterize their meaning in a precise way.

Term paper projects

Specification for wiki-based term papers

General remarks:

  • Put all your material on the wiki page associated with your project or link it from there.
  • Mark all content that you have created with your name.
  • Didactic considerations: Every e-learning object should be accompanied by a paragraph on the didactic considerations. Do not forget to include references to background literature and links.
  • Expected time for individual types of tasks:
    • Technical training: 5 h
    • Wiktionary online exercises: 5-10 h per exercise (setting up the exercise, programming it in the wiki, didactic considerations)
    • Video: 3 h per minute (planning, preparing slides, writing the text, recording, cutting, didactic considerations)
    • Background reading of linguistic papers: 1 h for every 3 pages.

Requirements for the individual study programs:

  • for BA English Studies, BAES 3.4 (Vertiefungsmodul 2): 4 CP for the Modulprüfung, i.e. 120 hours of work on the wiki.
  • for L2/L5 (short term paper, included in the 4 CP for the course): 30 hours of work on the wiki.
  • for L3 (optional, long term paper): 4 CP for the term paper, i.e. 120 hours of work on the wiki.

Individual wiki-based term paper projects

Helpful links

Many links have been collected in the context of a previous class, Hauptseminar "New Media in Teaching Semantics", WiSe 2012/13.

Here are links that were mainly collected in that course:

Links to e-learning sites for linguistics

Podcasts and e-lectures

Links to resources

e-learning platforms

Links to tools for creating e-learning material


Some basic how to manuals for mediawikis (like this one):

Creating online exercises

In this wiki, we use the online exercise format provided by wikiversity. You can also play around with functions already implemented in mediawiki, like for example collapsable elements.

At present we do not recommend any of the free online exercise tools since they are all outdated and not actively supported. We list some options nontheless but warn that they may have problems.

Creating audio content


  • XnConvert: Easy to use image converter.
  • GIMP: Very complex and powerful image manipulation program.
  • HandBrake: Video converter.
  • Miro Video Converter: A simple converter for almost any video to MP4, WebM (vp8), Ogg Theora, or for Android, iPhone, and more.


Links to tutorials