School of Computer Science

Module 06-21155 (2017)

Language & Logic

Level 1/C

David Parker Semester 1 10 credits
Co-ordinator: David Parker
Reviewer: Peter Hancox

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


The module provides some of the knowledge and skills necessary for the rigorous communication of information via natural language as well as formal languages.


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:

  1. analyse the information content and structure of statements in both natural and formal languages
  2. demonstrate an ability to prove statements and arguments expressed in symbolic logic
  3. encode natural language statements and arguments in symbolic logic and make simple logical inferences
  4. demonstrate basic skills in proving correctness properties of programs



Teaching methods

2 hrs/week lectures, tutorials and exercise classes

Contact Hours: 23


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

Supplementary (where allowed): 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