According to traditional conceptions of language, grammar consists (i) of a lexicon, roughly defined as a list of words or components of words with their grammatical properties and their meaning, and (ii) a series of rules determining how (components of) words are combined into well-formed and meaningful words (morphology), and words into grammatical and meaningful sentences (syntax and semantics). This view of language needs another set of rules to explain how the meaning of words and sentences is influenced by context and how sentences can be used in communication (pragmatics).
In this course we will verify to what extent this conception of grammar can describe and explain language use. In order to do so, we will see how it describes the internal structure and the meaning of words and how it analyses the structure and meaning of sentences. In doing so, we will discover the limits of the traditional view of language and raise the question how the functioning of language can be understood in a more adequate way.