Syntactic Theory
Fall 2013

 -Readings for Sept. 3Syntactic Structures Revisited to page 35; Syntactic Structures to page 33 [Please bring these 2 books to class for the first few meetings]
-Readings for Sept. 10
Syntactic Structures Revisited to page 49; Syntactic Structures to page 48; HO on equivalent derivations. Here are a few notes about things we have been discussing.
-> HW 1, due Tuesday Sept. 17. [Homework revision policy.]
-Readings for Sept. 17
Syntactic Structures Revisited  to page 105
Syntactic Structures  Chapter 7
[Suggested readings: Syntactic Structures Ch. 6; Aspects of the Theory of Syntax, Ch. 1]
-Readings for Sept. 24
Continue Sept. 18 readings and add the following:
Syntactic Structures Revisited  to page 165
2 optional readings: Lasnik and Kupin 1977; Lasnik 1981.
(-> HW1 revision due Sept. 24 , if you elect the option to re-do)
-> HW 2, due Tuesday Oct. 1
-Readings for Oct. 1
Case Theory and A-Movement
Finish Sept. 24 readings.
A Course in GB Syntax  pp.1-5
Start "Case and Passives" Handout
->Thursday Oct. 3 NO CLASS
-Readings for Oct. 8
Finish "Case and Passives" Handout
[Suggested readings: Aspects of the Theory of Syntax, Ch.2, Section 4 and Ch.3; Grimshaw "Complement Selection and the Lexicon", which argues that we need both semantic selection and (syntactic) subcategorization.]
[Here's the Vergnaud letter inventing Case theory, as recently published in Freidin and Lasnik, Syntax: Critical Concepts.]
-Readings for Oct. 15
REALLY Finish "Case and Passives" Handout
[Optional readings: A 2008 paper of mine on The Development of Case Theory; Baker, Johnson, Roberts on Passive]
-> HW 3 , due Tuesday Oct. 22
-Readings for Oct. 22
Binding Theory
-Lasnik, H. 1994. "Noam Chomsky on Anaphora"
-Handout summarizing the development of binding theory 1973-1986
-Lasnik and Uriagereka  Chap. 2
(-> HW 3 revision due Thurs. Oct. 31, if you elect the option to re-do)
-Readings for Nov. 5
Continue Oct 22 readings; Lasnik 1981 "On Two Recent Treatments of Disjoint Reference"
[Optional: HO on the history of Binding Theory from 1955 to 1998]
-> HW 4 , due Tuesday Nov. 12
(For anyone interested, here is a transcript of the Pisa lectures that eventually became LGB)
->Squib assignment 'Proposal' due Nov. 26; squib due Dec. 12
-Readings for Nov. 12-26

WH-Movement and Bounding Theory:
Subjacency Intro handout
'Brief Overview of Subjacency/Islands 1955- '
Lasnik and Uriagereka  Chap. 4
ECP handout
Lasnik and Saito 1992 Move Alpha  pp.70-75 (This summarizes and explicates the Barriers technology)
[Optional: Rizzi's famous paper on Italian Wh-island violations. See especially the 2nd paragraph of fn. 25, the only part of the paper anyone still remembers.]
(-> HW 4 revision due Thurs. Nov. 21, if you elect the option to re-do. And make sure to to this: For each substantial change (i.e., more than correcting typos) give a few sentences indicating what you now know or understand that you didn't before.)
-> HW 5 , due Tuesday Dec. 3
Introduction to Minimalism
-Readings for Dec. 3

Handout on Superiority and Relativized Minimality; Rizzi "Relativized Minimality Effects"
Lasnik (2006) "Minimalism"
-> Extra credit HW, due Tuesday Dec. 17 [by e-mail]


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 early afternoon
Tuesday mornings
Wednesday mornings & afternoons

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