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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Language Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Syntactic Theory and English Syntax (LASC10065)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course offers an integrated approach to the theoretical and descriptive study of the English language. The aim of the course is to combine a descriptive survey of some of the core constructions of English, with an exploration of current syntactic theory as it can be used to analyse these phenomena. It deals mostly with syntax, touching on morphological and semantic issues as necessary, and is intended both to provide students with the background necessary to approach the primary literature and to give them experience in developing skills in data analysis and syntactic argumentation.
Course description In trying to make a syntactic theory work, we are looking to see how we can create a restrictive framework which allows us to model (accurately and parsimoniously) the various phenomena of the language or languages that we are exploring. In the early years of modern syntax, all manner of new phenomena were discovered in English which hadn't, before, been noticed let alone analysed. Several of these constructions now number among the core problems of modern linguistic theory, and in this course we shall explore a number of these constructions. To give an example, we shall explore issues in English data such as why we can say "He bought a car and drove a motorbike" but not "*what did he buy and drive a motorbike" when we can say both "he bought a car and drove it" and "what did he buy and drive". Such issues do not only exist in the phenomena, though: they need to be analysed and understood, and it so we shall also investigate how modern linguistic theory accounts for the various phenomena that we explore, and set out to understand what a theory should be able to do, what might falsify a proposal, and how we can set about evaluating competing analyses.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: LEL2A: Linguistic Theory and the Structure of English (LASC08017)
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Syntax: Theory and Practice (LASC10084)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Linguistics/Language Sciences courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of the course, students will be able to:
- accurately describe and analyse primary data from English
- relate data explicitly to principles of syntax
- independently formulate and test hypotheses
- construct and evaluate syntactic argumentation
Reading List
Huddleston, Rodney and Geoffrey K. Pullum (2005) A Student's Introduction to English Grammar. (viii+312pp). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Huddleston, Rodney and Geoffrey K. Pullum et al. (2002) The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; xvii + 1842 pp.

Stefan Mueller (2015) Grammatical theory: Form transformational grammar to constraint-based approaches. Berlin: Language Science Press.

Hudson, Richard (1990) English Word Grammar. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

McCawley, James D (1997) The Syntactic Phenomena of English. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Pollard, Carl and Ivan A. Sag (1994) Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Sag, Ivan A., Thomas Wasow, and Emily M. Bender (2003) Syntactic Theory: a formal introduction. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Contact Time: 9 weeks out of 11 at 3 hours/week = 27 hours
Course organiserProf Nikolas Gisborne
Tel: (0131 6)50 3600
Course secretaryMiss Samantha Bell
Tel: (0131 6)50 3602
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