Fundamentals of Syntax

Linguistics 306
Fall 2000, TuTh 10.30-12
Northwestern University

Instructor: Prof. Chris Kennedy
Office: Linguistics Department (2016 Sheridan Rd.), Rm. 12
Phone: 491-8054
Office Hours: M 10-11; Th 12-1 (or by appointment)

Course description

The goals of this course are to introduce students to the fundamental principles of recent work in theoretical syntax, to place them in a position to pursue more advanced study in syntax, and to provide a foundation for their own research. No textbook will be used; instead, the course will proceed on the basis of class discussion and weekly written assignments. Although the primary source of linguistic data will be English, examples will also be drawn from other languages both in class and on the assignments. In addition, several readings from the primary research literature may be assigned for discussion in the second half of the quarter.

Assignments and evaluation

Evaluation will be based on 9 weekly assignments plus a take-home final. In order to pass this class, you must hand in at least seven of the nine assignments, as well as the final. The weekly assignments will take the form of short papers (5-10 pages) which require students to explain problematic data sets by using, and extending, the set of theoretical assumptions adopted in class. Evaluation will be based equally on analytical content and strength of argumentation, with particular focus on the presentation of empirical justification for claims and the form and clarity of the exposition. Students are strongly encouraged to work together in developing solutions to the problems on the assignments, with the following two requirements:
(i)     you should acknowledge your collaborators (say who you worked with), and
(ii)    you must write up the assignments individually (by yourself, alone, solo).
Assignments that do not satisfy these requirements will not be accepted. Assignments will be handed out on Thursdays and will be due at the beginning of class the following Tuesday. Late assignments will not be accepted.

The take-home final will be a slightly longer version of the standard weekly assignment (roughly 10-15 pages), with broader scope. The final is due in my office by 5 pm on Wednesday, December 6.

Topics to be discussed

Time permitting, the following topics will be covered in (roughly) the order laid out below: