Linguistics 250, F17, Introduction to syntactic theory

Course information and syllabus


M W 2-3:30
Williams 1

Instructor: Dr. Beatrice Santorini

Office hours

beatrice AT sas DOT upenn DOT edu
3401 Walnut Street, C Wing, Suite 333C
T 1-2:30 or after class

T.A.: Faruk Akkus

Office hours

akkusf AT sas DOT upenn DOT edu
Williams 645
T 3-5

Dates Readings Assignments and solutions Due dates
W 8/30 1   Foundational issues
Prescriptive versus descriptive grammar. Rule formation and syntactic structure in language acquisition. More evidence for syntactic structure. Universal Grammar. Generative grammar.
Supplementary material: Expletive elements in English. Modals and auxiliary verbs in English. Questions.
References for grammatical terminology.
Hauser, Marc et al. 2002 (full reference).
Fitch, W. Tecumseh et al. 2005 (full reference | alternate link).
A1-2 Part 1: W 9/6
Part 2: F 9/15
M 9/4 Labor Day
W 9/6
M 9/11
2   Constituent structure
Tests for determining syntactic constituenthood. Some complications. Representing constituenthood.
Supplementary material: Finiteness in English. Node relations.
W 9/13
M 9/18
W 9/20
3   Some basic linguistic relations
Argumenthood. Modification. Predication.
Supplementary material: Adjectives. Expletive elements in English. Finiteness in English. Grammatical relations. Reference and related notions. Thematic roles.
A3 Part 1: M 9/18
Part 2: F 9/22
M 9/25
W 9/27
4   Introducing the X' schema of phrase structure
The X' schema for elementary trees. Deriving simple and complex sentences. The adjunct relation. A typology of syntactic dependents (complements, specifiers, adjuncts).
Supplementary material: Grammatical relations. Modals and auxiliary verbs in English. Reference and related notions. Thematic roles.
A4   Part 1: W 9/27
Part 2: F 9/29
M 10/2
W 10/4
5   Extending the X' schema
Noun phrases. Parallels and differences between noun phrases and sentences. Noun phrases as DPs. Adjective phrases. Prepositional phrases. Crosslinguistic variation in headedness.
Supplementary material: Nouns.
A5   Part 1: W 10/4
Part 2: F 10/6
Th 10/5 - Su 10/8 Fall break - irrelevant for us
M 10/9
W 10/11
M 10/16
6   The verb movement parameter
Verb raising: V moves to I in the syntax. Tense lowering: I moves to V in the morphology. Cues for the acquisition of verb raising. Verb raising and related issues in the history of English.
Supplementary material: Modals and auxiliary verbs in English. Node relations.
A6 Part 1: n/a
Part 2: F 10/13
W 10/18 Exam 1, in class, covering chapters 1-6.
Scoring guidelines for Exam 1.
M 10/23
W 10/25
M 10/30
7   VP shells
A VP shell analysis of double-object sentences. Direct versus indirect causation. Extending the VP shell analysis to other constructions. Locality constraints on idioms.
Supplementary material: Thematic roles.
A7 Part 1: M 10/30
Part 2: F 11/3
W 11/1
M 11/6
8   Case theory
A first look at case. Case features. Case checking.
Supplementary material: Grammatical relations.
A8 Part 1: M 11/6
Part 2: F 11/10
W 11/8
M 11/13
9   Nonfinite clausal complements
Selectional restrictions. Subject control. Raising. Object control. More nonthematic subjects.
A9 Part 1: M 11/13
Part 2: F 11/17
W 11/15
M 11/20
10   Passive
Characteristics of the passive. A movement analysis. The passive and nonfinite complementation. Structural versus inherent case. The passive of double-object sentences.
Supplementary material: Thematic roles.
A10 Part 1: n/a
Part 2: M 11/27
W 11/22 - Su 11/26 Thanksgiving break - no Wednesday class
M 11/27
W 11/29
11   Wh- movement in English
A movement analysis of questions. Constraints on movement (island constraints, Comp-trace effect). Relative clauses as instances of wh- movement.
Supplementary material: Questions.
A11   Part 1: n/a
Part 2: M 12/4
M 12/4 14   The verb-second (V2) parameter (note change in order of chapters 12 and 14)
V2 in German. V2 in the history of English.
A14 Part 1: n/a
Part 2: M 12/11
W 12/6 12   Subjacency and the ECP (note change in order of chapters 12 and 14)
Please read the whole chapter except for the following material: "The Empty Category Principle" and "Is subjacency an independent principle?"
Supplementary material: Node relations.
M 12/11 Review session.
M 12/18, 9 p.m. Exam 2. The final exam focuses on chapters 7-11, the part of chapter 12 covered in class, and chapter 14. Chapter 13 is not covered. The exam is cumulative in the sense that it assumes knowledge from earlier chapters. o
Scoring guidelines for Exam 2.

Last modified: 4 Dec 17