Syntactic Theory

[ back to course directory |

Previous weeks

HW#4 Due Nov. 13
-Readings for Nov. 13
Subjacency handout
Lasnik and Saito 1992 Move Alpha  pp.69-75
ECP handout
Lasnik and Uriagereka  Chap. 4
HW#5 Due Nov. 27
Squib assignment One page 'proposal' due Wed. Nov. 21;
                              Paper due Thursday, December 6
-Readings for Nov. 27
Chomsky (1995) section on Economy of Representation (150-154)
Chomsky (1995) section on Minimal Link Condition (294-297) and Attract/Move (297-299)
Rizzi (2001) "Relativized Minimality Effects"
Collins (2001) "Economy Conditions in Syntax"
-Readings for Dec. 4 Lasnik (2001) "When can you save a structure by destroying it?" Sect. 3
Extra credit HW exercise:
Make up 2 questions about material we have covered and answer (at least)
one of them. Due Dec. 11


Tuesday 2:00-5:00
1108B MMH


Thursday 11:00-12:00
1108B MMH

Howard Lasnik, instructor

1106 Marie Mount Hall
<lasnik [AT] UMD [DOT] edu>
(301) 405-4929

Office hours:

Monday afternoons & evenings
Tuesday mornings
Wednesday mornings, and afternoons after 4:00

Course description

Intensive introduction to transformational syntax

Subject matter
-The nature and source of syntactic knowledge
-Formalization of the infinitude of language
-Formalization of phrase structure
-Properties of syntactic transformations
-Syntactic information and lexical information
-The following phenomena will be examined in detail:
-English verbal morphology; main verbs vs. auxiliary verbs; development of theories of these phenomena over the years,
driven by considerations of explanatory adequacy. "Head movement"
-'Passive' and related phenomena, where an expression occurs in subject position but is 'understood' in another.
("John was arrested") "A-movement"
-Relationship between these phenomena and (abstract) nominal morphology. "Case theory"
-WH-movement and related phenomena ("Who did you see?") "A'-movement"
-Referential dependence, coreference, non-coreference. "Binding Theory"
-Locality constraints on A'-movement: islands; Subjacency; ECP

Course requirements

-5 sets of homework problems
-1 review paper summarizing and discussing the arguments of an article chosen from a list I will give you.
-1 'squib': a short paper outlining an interesting paradigm or phenomenon, and showing how it relates to some issue
or question of theoretical importance. The paper need not provide a solution for the problem it raises.
-Finally, I am aiming for a highly interactive class. To encourage this, I will count class participation toward your grade to some extent.


Required texts

-Chomsky 1957 Syntactic Structures
Walter de Gruyter 978-3110172799
-Lasnik (with Depiante and Stepanov) 2000 Syntactic Structures Revisited
MIT Press 978-0-262-62133-5
-Chomsky 1995 The Minimalist Program (chapters 1 (and 2))
MIT Press 978-0262531283

Recommended texts

-Chomsky 1965 Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (Chapter 1 and other selected portions)
MIT Press 978-0-262-53007-1
-Chomsky 1981 Lectures on Government and Binding (selected portions)
Walter de Gruyter 978-3110141313
-Lasnik and Uriagereka 1988 A Course in GB Syntax (selected portions)
MIT Press 978-0-262-62060-4[[Currently out of print, but Amazon seems to have some copies; otherwise I will make the book available.]]
-Lasnik 1999 Minimalist Analysis (selected portions) Blackwell 978-0631210948