552.241 (20S) Topics in Theoretical Linguistics: Reference and definiteness

Sommersemester 2020

Anmeldefrist abgelaufen.

Erster Termin der LV
05.03.2020 12:00 - 16:00 N.2.57 On Campus
... keine weiteren Termine bekannt


LV Nummer Südostverbund
LV-Titel englisch
Topics in Theoretical Linguistics: Reference and definiteness
Proseminar (prüfungsimmanente LV )
8 (25 max.)
zum Moodle-Kurs

Zeit und Ort

Liste der Termine wird geladen...


Intendierte Lernergebnisse

The main objective of the course is to enhance students' understanding of the relationship between a linguistic expression (a nominal phrase) and the entity it refers to. At the end of the course, students should be able to identify the basic (sub)types of reference and the ways of establishing reference, as well as justify the use of particular NP types as signals of reference. Ultimately, this should lead to a better understanding of the role of the articles and other determiners, also in cases where their use in English may differ from that in German (presumably most students are (native) speakers of German). 

Lehrmethodik inkl. Einsatz von eLearning-Tools

The course is intended as a proseminar, combining theory and practical work encouraging active participation of all students. There will be homework in the form of preparing short (5 minutes') presentations. Students will also be required to study one or two scholarly papers as part of their homework. 



The content of the course will range over the following topics:

1. The notion of reference. The relationship between a linguistic expression, its meaning and its referent. 

2. Types of reference: definite, indefinite, generic. Specificity and non-specificity. The notion of uniqueness.

3. Establishing reference: exophoric (e.g. deictic) and endophoric (anaphoric, cataphoric) reference.

4. Nominal phrases as referring expressions. The function of determiners (the articles, pronouns, genitive NPs).

5. (In)Definite NPs as signals of the referent's (in)accessibility for the hearer. The role of shared knowledge between the speaker and the hearer.

6. The origin and the role of the articles. The use of the articles in English (possibly incomparison with German).

7. Generic reference and the ways of expressing it in English (possibly in comparison with German).

8. Inherent uniqueness: reference with proper names.


Heine, Bernd. 1997. Cognitive Foundations of Grammar. New York: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 4)

Langacker, Ronald W. 2000. Grammar and Conceptualization. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. (Chapters 8 & 9)

Lyons, Christopher. 1999. Definiteness. Cambridge University Press.

Radden, Günter, and René Dirven. 2007. Cognitive English Grammar. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins. (Chapters 4—7)

Reference grammars of English:

Biber, D., Finegan, E., Johansson, S., Conrad, S., and G. Leech. 1999. Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Huddleston, G., and G. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leech, G., and J. Svartvik. 1985. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman.


Im Fall von online durchgeführten Prüfungen sind die Standards zu beachten, die die technischen Geräte der Studierenden erfüllen müssen, um an diesen Prüfungen teilnehmen zu können.


A seminar paper. (No exam.)



A theory-based analysis of referential expressions in a passage of text of one's own choice (300-400 words).There should be a short theoretical introduction preceding the analysis. Alternatively, the student may choose to write on a specific topic pertainingto reference.


Clarity of presentation, coherence, accurate Analysis.


Note Benotungsschema

Position im Curriculum

  • Bachelor-Lehramtsstudium Bachelor Unterrichtsfach Englisch (SKZ: 407, Version: 19W.2)
    • Fach: Topics in Linguistics I (Pflichtfach)
      • ENI.002 Topics in Theoretical Linguistics ( 2.0h PS / 3.0 ECTS)
        • 552.241 Topics in Theoretical Linguistics: Reference and definiteness (2.0h PS / 3.0 ECTS)
          Absolvierung im 3., 4. Semester empfohlen
  • Bachelorstudium Anglistik und Amerikanistik (SKZ: 612, Version: 15W.2)
    • Fach: Fachliches Grund- und Aufbaustudium Linguistics (Pflichtfach)
      • Modul: Aufbaustudium Linguistics
        • 4.3 Topics in Theoretical Linguistics ( 0.0h PS / 3.0 ECTS)
          • 552.241 Topics in Theoretical Linguistics: Reference and definiteness (2.0h PS / 3.0 ECTS)
            Absolvierung im 3. Semester empfohlen

Gleichwertige Lehrveranstaltungen im Sinne der Prüfungsantrittszählung

Es liegt keine gleichwertige Lehrveranstaltung im Sinne der Prüfungsantrittszählung vor.