Syntactic Theory
Fall 2014

THERE WILL BE CLASS NOV. 20, BUT A SHORT ONE 2:00 - 2:55 (because of  Baggett Lecture starting at 3:00)  

-Readings for Sept. 2Syntactic 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. 9: 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.And here are the multiple center embedding examples I mentioned.
-> HW 1, due Tuesday Sept. 16. [Homework revision policy.]  [[[pdf submission by e-mail is encouraged.]]]
-Readings for Sept. 16
Syntactic Structures Revisited  to page 105
Syntactic Structures  Chapter 7
[Suggested readings: Syntactic Structures Ch. 6; Aspects of the Theory of Syntax, Ch. 1]
Here's the Lasnik-Kupin article, which, among other things, introduces Reduced Phrase Markers. [Not required reading, just in case you're interested.]
-Readings for Sept. 23
Continue Sept. 16 readings and add the following:
Syntactic Structures Revisited  to page 165
1 more optional reading Lasnik 1981.
(-> HW1 revision due Sept. 23 , if you elect the option to re-do)
-> HW 2, due Tuesday Sept. 30
-Readings for Sept. 30
Finish the Syntactic Structures and Syntactic Structures Revisited readings previously assigned.
(-> HW2 revision due Oct. 7, if you elect the option to re-do)
-Readings for Oct. 7
Syntactic Structures Revisited  to page 165
A Course in GB Syntax  pp.1-5
-Readings for Oct. 14
Case Theory and A-Movement
Finish Oct. 7 readings. Heres a summary of the 'wish list' theory of trnsformations.
Start "Case and Passives" Handout
-Readings for Oct. 21
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 Vergnaud's letter to Chomsky and me (giving comments on the ms. of "Filters and Control") inventing Case theory, as published in Freidin and Lasnik, Syntax: Critical Concepts. And here's the Lasnik-Freidin 1981 article pointing out the problem raised by null operators for the morphological version of the Case Filter.]
-> HW 3 , due Tuesday Oct. 28
-Readings for Oct. 28
Binding Theory
-Lasnik and Uriagereka  Chap. 2
-Lasnik, H. 1994. "Noam Chomsky on Anaphora"
-Handout summarizing the development of binding theory 1973-1986   [revised 10/28/14; 11/8/14]
-Readings for Nov. 4
Continue Oct. 28 readings; Lasnik 1981 "On Two Recent Treatments of Disjoint Reference"
[Optional (in case you want to see earlier and later history than the Oct. 28 HO gives, and a few authors in addition to Chomsky]: HO on the history of Binding Theory from 1955 to 1998]
->Squib assignment 'Proposal' due Nov. 20; squib due Dec. 17
-Readings for Nov. 11
Finish Oct. 28-Nov. 4 readings
-> HW 4 , due Tuesday Nov. 18
-Readings for Nov. 18
WH-Movement and Bounding Theory - Islands and Subjacency:
Subjacency Intro handout
'Brief Overview of Subjacency/Islands 1955- '
Lasnik and Uriagereka  Chap. 4
[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.]
THERE WILL BE CLASS NOV. 20, BUT A SHORT ONE 2:00 - 2:55 (because of  Baggett Lecture starting at 3:00)
-Readings for Nov. 25 - Dec. 2
Lasnik and Uriagereka  Chap. 4
ECP handout    [This has been revised 12/1]
Lasnik and Saito 1992 Move Alpha  pp.70-75 (This summarizes and explicates the Barriers technology)
ECP handout Part 2: More on argument -adjunct island asymmetries
-> HW 5 , due Tuesday Dec. 9
Transition to Minimalism
-Readings for Dec. 9
Handout on Government (and the potential for eliminating it)
Handout on Superiority and Attract
Lasnik (2006) "Minimalism"    (Optional)


Tuesday 2:00-4:30
1108B MMH


Thursday 2:00-3:30
1108B MMH

Howard Lasnik, instructor

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

Office hours:

Monday afternoons
Tuesday mornings
Wednesday mornings; afternoons after  1:30

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