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

Undergraduate Course: Syntax: Theory and Practice (LASC10084)

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
SummaryThe course will situate the work that students have already done in syntax in years 1 and 2 with respect to basic issues in syntactic theory: the domain of syntax, the nature of syntactic systems. It will develop a systematic overview of the properties of a generative grammar, working through some of the most basic syntactic constructions that have been studied, and focussing on reasoning and argumentation in developing a syntactic analysis.
Course description The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the modern generative approach to syntax. Students taking this course will already be familiar with a number of important syntactic phenomena and with some of the important concepts and terms that make it possible to describe the syntax of human languages in a precise way, and to understand descriptions in the current literature. In this course we will be building on these foundations, in order to gain an understanding of how researchers have tried, and are trying, to address questions such as: What is a possible syntactic system? What are the primitives of syntax? How different can the syntax of one language be from the syntax of another?

The course will set out in a systematic way a generative approach to these questions, with the aim of bringing students to the point at which they will be able to begin to read, in a critical way, the primary literature in the field. At the same time, there will be an emphasis throughout on understanding how hypotheses about syntax┐syntactic analyses┐are developed, tested, compared, and evaluated. From the beginning of the course students will be doing exercises and getting hands-on practice in doing syntax. Material will be presented through lectures, readings, and videos; classes will require active participation.
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 Syntactic Theory and English Syntax (LASC10065)
Other requirements It is strongly recommended that students should also have passed LEL2D: Cross-linguistic variation: limits and theories (LASC08020)
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have completed at least 3 Linguistics/Language Sciences courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. One of these courses must have a substantial focus on syntax.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
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 70 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework (1 item): 30%
2-hour exam: 70%
A formative take-home assessment will also be provided.
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have an overview of a current syntactic theory
  2. Have an overview of some of the syntactic phenomena that have been central to syntactic theorizing
  3. Be able to give syntactic arguments for and against particular analyses
  4. Be able to approach the primary literature
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Caroline Heycock
Tel: (0131 6)51 1999
Course secretaryMs Lynne Robertson
Tel: (0131 6)50 9870
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