Syntactic Theory
Fall 2011

Previous weeks

-Readings for Oct. 11
Start "Case and Passives" Handout
-Readings for Oct. 18
Continue "Case and Passives" Handout
A Course in GB Syntax pp.1-20
-Readings for Oct. 25
Finish "Case and Passives" Handout
[Here's the Vergnaud letter inventing Case theory, as recently published in Freidin and Lasnik, Syntax: Critical Concepts.]
-> HW 3 , due Tuesday Nov. 1
-Readings for Nov. 1 - Nov. 8
Binding Theory:
-Lasnik and Uriagereka  Chap. 2
-Chomsky (1995) Chap. 1, 1.4.2  (pp. 92-110)  [You might find it useful in the next couple of weeks to read this whole chapter.] 
-Lasnik, H. 1994. "Noam Chomsky on Anaphora"
-Handout summarizing the development of binding theory 1973-1986
(-> HW3 revision due Nov. 8, if you elect the option to re-do. See HW revision policy.)
->Squib assignment 'Proposal' due Nov. 29; squib due Dec. 19
-> HW 4 , due Tuesday Nov. 22
-Readings for Nov. 15: Finish the Binding Theory stuff
-Readings for Nov. 22-Dec. 6
WH-Movement and Bounding Theory:
Subjacency handout
Lasnik and Saito 1992 Move Alpha  pp.70-75
ECP handout
'Brief Overview of Subjacency/Islands'
Lasnik and Uriagereka  Chap. 4
Handout on Superiority and Relativized Minimality
((CourseEvalUM Submissions Open Now Through December 14: Evaluation site ))
[Here's Sobin's paper on Comp-trace effects.]
->HW 5, due Thursday Dec. 8
-Readings for Dec. 13
Handout on Superiority and Relativized Minimality
Lasnik (2006) "Minimalism"
[And, not required at all, but if you are interested: My paper on formal and functional approaches to locality.]
->Squib due Dec. 19  BY E-MAIL
->Extra credit HW due Mon. Dec. 19 BY E-MAIL (I won't be on campus) : Make up a question about syntax and answer it (Up to 6 points)


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 evenings
Tuesday mornings
Wednesday mornings & afternoons until 3:00
Thursday afternoons (until 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 '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  [See below for compilation of typo corrections]
-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[[Now out of print; I will make the book available in the department pdf locker.]]
-Lasnik 1999 Minimalist Analysis (selected portions) Blackwell 978-0631210948