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Introduction to Syntax - LAN00011C

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Norman Yeo
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module will run

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

Module aims

This module familiarises students with two basic skills:

Core syntactic concepts

Methodologies employed in developing such concepts

Modern syntactic theories, as a branch of science, aim to account for as many facts as possible using the smallest number of hypotheses. Students will learn how this is done.

Module learning outcomes

Knowledge outcomes

You will understand:

The goals of syntactic theory: observational, descriptive and explanatory adequacy

Scientific (and syntactic) argumentation

Cross-linguistic variations and their explanation

The notions of productivity and recursion

The basic nature of Universal Grammar

The competence/performance distinction in linguistics

The difference between lexical and functional categories

Basic grammatical and thematic relations

The distinction between arguments and modifiers

Behavioural outcomes

You will be able to:

Identify the lexical category of English words

Apply syntactic tests for constituency

Gloss and label examples

Identify clause boundaries in complex sentences

Identify different types of verbal category

Identify grammatical functions, such as subjects and objects

Draw trees and labeled brackets for basic English sentences

Identify major clause types: passive, relatives, interrogatives etc.

Indicative assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Exercise set 1
N/A 10
Essay/coursework
Exercise set 2
N/A 15
Essay/coursework
Exercise set 3
N/A 15
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Introduction to Syntax
8 hours 60

Special assessment rules

None

Indicative reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Reassessment: Introduction to Syntax
8 hours 100

Module feedback

Feedback within 20 working days of submission.

Indicative reading

Sportiche, D., Koopman, H. and E. Stabler (2014) An introduction to syntactic analysis and theory. Wiley Blackwell.



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University constantly explores 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. In some instances it may be appropriate for the University to notify and consult with affected students about module changes in accordance with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.