Syntax is the study of sentence structure, how words are put together to form larger meaningful units. Much of the work in syntax deals with the problem of characterizing the mental grammar of a speaker, i.e., what is the nature of the unconscious knowledge that a native speaker has that allows him/her to produce an infinite number of new sentences. This course is intended to help students develop the tools to do syntactic analysis of natural languages. Rather than focusing on the details of the theory per se, we will be concerned mainly (a) with syntactic argumentation, i.e. how to form hypotheses about data and ’argue for’ them given certain assumptions; and (b) with the development of a precise vocabulary to describe syntactic facts across languages.

Course Contents

  1. Phrases and its types
  2. Clauses
  3. Sentences
  4. Types of sentences
  5. The Negative Transformation
  6. The Passive Transformation
  7. Word order Transformations
  8. Agreement & case

Recommended Readings:

  1. Booij, G. (2007). The Grammar of Words: an Introduction to Morphology. OUP.
  2. Culicover, W.P., & Jackendoff, R. (2005). Simpler Syntax. Oxford: OUP.
  3. Flabb, N. (2007). Sentence Structure. (Second edition). Taylor & Francis.
  4. Kampson, R., Meyer-Viol, W., & Gabbay, D. (2001). Dynamic syntax: the Flow of Language Understanding. Blackwell Publishing.
  5. Radford, A. (2004). English Syntax: an introduction. CUP.
  6. Roberts, G. I. (2007). Diachronic Syntax. Oxford: OUP. 56
  7. Roberts, G. I. & Roussoua, A. (2003). Syntactic Change: a minimalist approach to grammaticalization. Cambridge University Press.
  8. Warner, R. A. (1993). English Auxiliaries: Structure and History. C.U.P.