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.
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.
W 11/1
M 11/6
8   Case theory
A first look at case. Case features. Case checking.
Supplementary material: Grammatical relations.
W 11/8
M 11/13
9   Nonfinite clausal complements
Selectional restrictions. Subject control. Raising. Object control. More nonthematic subjects.
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.
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.
M 12/4 12   Subjacency and the ECP
Please read the whole chapter except for the following material: "The Empty Category Principle" and "Is subjacency an independent principle?"
Supplementary material: Node relations.
W 12/6 14   The verb-second (V2) parameter
V2 in German. V2 in the history of English.
M 12/11 Review session.
M 12/18 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.

Last modified: 28 Aug 17