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Aspects of a Theory of Syntax - LAN00016I

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

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This module introduces you to the structure of new and more complex constructions, as well as several key theoretical notions in syntax. You will investigate more deeply the differences between underlying and surface structure and use the theoretical concepts you have learned to explain the grammatical constraints that we observe in the empirical data.

Module learning outcomes

  • Select and apply appropriate syntactic diagnostics to a wider range of novel constructions

  • Identify and represent the structure of a wider range of more complex constructions

  • Employ theoretical arguments to explain and predict the grammaticality of novel data sets

  • Formulate more complex theoretical generalisations about grammatical constraints

By the end of the module students will be able to do the following:

  • Identify and draw trees for more complex sentences with more than one clause

  • Identify different types of predicates that take clausal complements

  • Identify and explain a variety of constructions that involve different types of movement

  • Identify and explain cases where movement violations have occurred

  • Use abstract theoretical concepts to explain grammatical phenomena

Module content

We aim to cover the following topics in this module:

  • Binding

  • Raising and control

  • Wh-constructions and island constraints

  • Split-VP (VP-shell) structures

Indicative assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Short answers and tree drawing
N/A 40
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Aspects of a Theory of Syntax
3 hours 60

Special assessment rules

None

Indicative reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Aspects of a Theory of Syntax
N/A 100

Module feedback

Every week, you will do exercises and receive in-class oral feedback.

For submitted assessments, you will receive individual written feedback within 25 working days of your submission.

Indicative reading

The required textbook is:

  • Sportiche, D., Koopman, H., and Stabler, E. (2014) An introduction to syntactic analysis and theory. Oxford: 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.