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Advanced Topics in Syntax - LAN00003H

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Peter Sells
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

Broadening the empirical coverage of previous syntax modules, extending to languages beyond English, with a focus on syntactic structures and syntactic features.

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2021-22 to Summer Term 2021-22

Module aims

This module aims to support independent research in formal generative syntax by encouraging discussion with staff and peers engaged in related research.

Note that a Research Extension module can be taken alongside this module, for students who wish to write a dissertation.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will typically:

  • have an overview of the core syntactic properties of clausal structure across a variety of languages
  • be familiar with modern generative accounts of different clausal constituent orders
  • be able to read and evaluate primary theoretical literature on syntactic analysis
  • plan, research and write a final essay on formal syntactic description and analysis

Module content

The module will run seminar-style, with a focus on different clausal structures, in the first instance across languages of Europe, from Irish to Russian. Students will read articles and chapters, and will be called upon to make presentations of parts of the readings. Part of each seminar meeting will be given over to summarisation of the key points and main implications of the analyses. Students will choose their topic for the final essay after the first eight weeks of classes.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Formative feedback

Written feedback within 10 working days.

Summative feedback

Written feedback within 20 working days.

Indicative reading

Selected indicative readings:

Adger, David. 2003. Core Syntax. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Zanuttini, Raffaella. 1994. Re-examining Negative Clauses. In G. Cinque et al. (eds.) Paths towards Universal Grammar, Studies in Honor of Richard S. Kayne. Georgetown, Georgetown University Press, 427-451.

Mikkelsen, Line. 2015. VP anaphora and verb-second order in Danish. Journal of Linguistics 51, 595-643.

Gribanova, Vera. 2017. Head movement and ellipsis in the expression of Russian polarity focus. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 35, 1079-1121.

McCloskey, James. 2017. Ellipsis, polarity and the cartography of verb-initial orders in Irish. In Enoch Aboh, Eric Haeberli, Genoveva Puskás, and Manuela Schönenberger (eds.), Elements of comparative syntax: Theory and description. Berlin, De Gruyter, 99-151.

Vicente, Luis. 2009. An alternative to remnant movement for partial predicate fronting. Syntax 12, 158-191.

Zeijlstra, Hedde. 2008. On the syntactic flexibility of formal features. In: Theresa Biberauer (ed), The Limits of Syntactic Variation. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 143-174.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.