Fundamentals of Syntax
Fall 2000, TuTh 10.30-12
Office: Linguistics Department
(2016 Sheridan Rd.), Rm. 12
Office Hours: M 10-11; Th 12-1 (or by appointment)
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:
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.
(i) you should acknowledge your collaborators (say who you worked with),
(ii) you must write up the assignments individually
(by yourself, alone, solo).
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:
The basics of phrase structure (X-bar theory)
The basics of clausal architecture; functional and lexical categories
The lexicon; types of lexical information; the interaction between the
lexicon and the phrase structure system (the theory of selection); and
the basics of argument structure (theta theory)
Movement and Case
Control ("equi" deletion)
The "internal subject hypothesis" and the internal organization of predicate