ELCS4006 - Comparative Syntax
Value: 0.5 course units
Tutor: Dr Vieri Samek-Lodovici
Assessment: 3 hour desk examination
This module introduces students to Syntactic Theory. The human mind does not view sentences as an unstructured stream or sequence of words. Rather, it conceives sentences as internally structured. Each sentence is formed by smaller phrases, themselves composed by even smaller phrases, and with further decompositions being present until the level of single words. Syntactic Theory is the study of how words and phrases combine into larger units. The main constraints governing this process are the same across all languages, forming what generative linguists call the Universal Grammar of human language, or ‘UG’.
This module explores the main components of such grammar, exploring (i) the internal representation of linguistic constituents, (ii) the conditions governing how words and phrases combine together into larger phrases, (iii) the nature of syntactic movement, which can morph linguistic expressions into new ones through the movement of their internal components. The module will focus on modern European languages.
The module will be based on an introductory textbook to generative syntax. Additional material will be made available by the tutor where necessary.