Linguistics 250, F18, Introduction to syntactic theory

Course information and syllabus


M W 2-3:30
Williams 203

Instructor: Dr. Beatrice Santorini

Office hours

beatrice AT sas DOT upenn DOT edu
3401 Walnut Street, C Wing, Suite 333C
Th 12-1:30 or after class

Dates Readings Assignments and solutions Due dates
W 8/29 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 Part 1: W 9/5
Part 2: F 9/7
M 9/3 Labor Day
W 9/5
M 9/10
2   Constituent structure
Tests for determining syntactic constituenthood. Some complications. Representing constituenthood.
Supplementary material: Finiteness in English. Node relations.
A2 Part 1: M 9/10
Part 2: F 9/14
W 9/12
M 9/17
W 9/19
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 9/17
Part 2: F 9/21
M 9/24
W 9/26
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 9/26
Part 2: F 9/28
M 10/1
W 10/3
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 10/3
Part 2: F 10/5
Th 10/4 - Su 10/7 Fall break - irrelevant for us
M 10/8
W 10/10
M 10/15
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: W 10/10
Part 2: F 10/12
W 10/17 Exam 1, in class.
M 10/22
W 10/24
M 10/29
W 10/31
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 10/29
Part 2: F 11/2
M 11/5
W 11/7
8   Case theory
A first look at case. Case features. Case checking.
Supplementary material: Grammatical relations.
A8 Part 1: W 11/7
Part 2: F 11/9
M 11/12
W 11/14
9   Nonfinite clausal complements
Selectional restrictions. Subject control. Raising. Object control. More nonthematic subjects.
A9   Part 1: n/a
Part 2: F 11/16
M 11/19 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: T 11/27
W 11/21 - Su 11/25 Thanksgiving break - no Wednesday class
M 11/26
W 11/28
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 12/3 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.
W 12/5 14   The verb-second (V2) parameter
V2 in German. V2 in the history of English.
M 12/10 Review session.
Th 12/13, 6-8 p.m. Exam 2.

Last modified: 1 Aug 18