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

Undergraduate Course: Current Issues in Morphology (LASC10070)

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 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course comprises an in-depth exploration of one or two current research topics in morphological theory. The focus will often be on topics that concern the interface of morphology with syntax.
Course description The relation of morphology to syntax is a topic of central interest in modern linguistics. It comprises several subtopics, such as the following.

- There seem to be many connections between the inflectional make-up of a language and its syntactic behaviour. Languages with rich verbal inflection tend to be able to drop subjects from sentences, while languages with poorer inflection tend not to do this. Languages with rich nominal inflection tend to have more word order possibilities than languages with poorer inflection. The question is to what extent such apparent connections hold up empirically, and why they would hold.

- The phenomenon of 'agreement', in which a relationship between two different elements in the sentence (such as the subject and the tense-bearing verb) is expressed morphologically by adding a particular inflectional affix to one of the elements. Agreement seems to be conditioned by syntactic factors such as the relative position in the syntactic structure of the two elements and whether or not other particular elements intervene between the two. The question then is how morphological agreement inflection can be conditioned by syntax.

- There are indications that syntactic rules and principles cannot see inside complex words. Syntax will treat a complex verb like 'apolog-ize' just like it treats a simplex verb; it is claimed there are no syntactic rules that are sensitive to whether a word is complex or simplex, or that can manipulate the parts of a complex word separately. Exceptions of various sorts to this phenomenon of ?lexical integrity? have been claimed to occur however. The question is to what extent the phenomenon holds true, and why natural languages should show this behaviour.

The above are just a subset of the many ways in which morphology and syntax interact. The exact topics that will be discussed in the course can differ somewhat from year to year, but they will be related to this general topic.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: LEL2A: Linguistic Theory and the Structure of English (LASC08017)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have completed at least 3 Linguistics/ Language Science courses at grade B or above for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses. Students should have sufficient knowledge of morphological and syntactic theory. In case of doubt, ask the Course Organiser for advice.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 27, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 169 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. Take-home essay, 1000 words (30%)
2. Essay, 3000 words (70%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
To be able to read current literature on morphology, in particular on the morphology-syntax interface; to formulate and evaluate analyses of linguistic data in the light of theoretical proposals; to reason critically; to identify and solve problems; to independently formulate and test hypotheses; and to compare and evaluate competing hypotheses and theories.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Teaching Contact Time: 9 weeks out of 11 at 3 hours/week = 27 hours
Course organiserDr Peter Ackema
Tel: (0131 6)50 3495
Course secretaryMs Lynne Robertson
Tel: (0131 6)50 9870
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