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Advanced Topics in Syntax - LAN00003H

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Nina Radkevich
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

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

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Additional information

With respect to pre-requisites the following modules are equivalent. 

Second year modules

  • Intermediate Syntax, Aspects of a Theory of Syntax

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

This module aims to support independent research in formal generative syntax by encouraging discussion with staff and peers, engaging with materials from current high-level research.

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

Module learning outcomes

Before you start the module you should:

  • be familiar with the principles of generative syntax

  • be familiar with the concepts of the architecture of grammar

  • be able to understand and formulate complex argumentation

By the end of the module students should minimally:

  • be familiar with theoretical and empirical issues regarding major parametric differences in clausal structure, constituent order, and formal mechanisms of analysis

  • be able to engage with primary research literature

  • be able to conduct independent syntactic research

  • be able to 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 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 in the second half of the semester.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 1 1000 words
N/A 20
Essay 2 4000 words
N/A 80

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay 1 1000 words
N/A 20
Essay 2 4000 words
N/A 80

Module feedback

Written and oral feedback on formative assessments within 10 working days.

Written and oral feedback on summative assessments within 25 working days.

Indicative reading

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.

Walkden, George. 2016. Eastern Generative Grammar summer school lectures on V2, 1-16.

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.

Abels, Klaus. 2001. The predicate cleft construction in Russian. In Steven Franks and Michael Yadroff (eds.), Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics 9. Bloomington, IN, Michigan Slavic Publications, 1-19.

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

Harizanov, Boris and Vera Gribanova. 2019. Whither head movement? Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 37, 461-522.

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.