School of Computer Science

Module 06-21155 (2010)

Language & Logic

Level 1/C

Mark Lee Semester 2 10 credits
Co-ordinator: Mark Lee
Reviewer: Peter Hancox

The Module Description is a strict subset of this Syllabus Page.


The aims of this module are to:

  • provide an understanding of the declarative portion of natural language
  • show how to analyse the information conveyed through statements
  • explain how to formalize this information content using rigorous natural language as well as formal languages such as symbolic logic
  • explain the notions of logical consequence, validity and consistency
  • show example applications of the rigorous use in Computer Science of natural language and formal languages such as symbolic logic
  • provide a foundation for further modules on formalising software requirements, information systems analysis, and information security policies
  • give an introduction to issues in natural language processing
  • provide a taster and motivation for studying more formal logic and reasoning systems

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:

  • communicate information rigorously in natural language
  • analyse the information content of natural language statements by recognizing valid conclusions and identifying consistent collections of statements
  • analyse the structure of natural language arguments and identify classical fallacies
  • encode natural language statements in symbolic logic and make simple logical inferences
  • demonstrate knowledge of the Computer Science applications of rigorous natural language as well as formal languages such as symbolic logic

Teaching methods

2 hrs/week lectures, tutorials and exercise classes


  • Sessional: 1.5 hr examination (80%), continuous assessment (20%).
  • Supplementary: 1.5 hr examination (100%).

Detailed Syllabus

  1. Declarative language: problems due to ambiguity, vagueness, generality; Computer Science applications, e.g., security policies or software requirements
  2. Natural language structure: syntax, semantics and pragmatics
  3. Basics of argument structure: premises, conclusions, evidence
  4. Logical connectives and the propositional calculus: simple notions of truth, falsehood, validity and soundness
  5. Truthtables as a means to prove validity
  6. Natural deduction in Propositional Logic
  7. First Order Predicate Logic
  8. Natural deduction in Predicate Logic

Programmes containing this module