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Historical Comparative Syntax - LAN00104M

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Giuseppe Longobardi
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

The module will explore diachronic issues in comparative syntax, with special focus on the role of language diversity for linguistic theory.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

The module will make students able to apply formal comparative tools to the syntax of different languages, both close and remote, with special focus on data from the structure of nominal phrases.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Apply comparative methods to a wide-range of syntactic phenomena and articulate the ways in which they vary, reflecting an understanding of the notion of comparison in syntax

  • Concretely use and apply the parametric models of grammatical diversity to syntactic data

  • Explain and articulate the role of parametric models in theoretical and historical explanation;

Module content

Nominal parameter systems and their subdomains.


Task Length % of module mark
Historical Comparative Syntax Parameter setting exercise
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Historical Comparative Syntax Parameter setting exercise
N/A 100

Module feedback

Oral feedback on presentations. Feedback on summative assessment provided within University guidelines.

Indicative reading

Chomsky, N. (1957) Syntactic Structures, Mouton, ch. 6.

Chomsky, N. (1964) Current issues in linguistic theory, in J. Fodor and J.J Katz (eds.) The Structure of Language, Prentice Hall.

Diamond, J. (1997). Guns, Germs and Steel. Norton.

Longobardi, G. (2003). Methods in parametric linguistics and cognitive history. Linguistic Variation Yearbook.

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.