Syntactic Theory
Fall 2018

<<CHECK this site frequently. I will be regularly posting reading and HW assignments, and occasional class notes.>>
-Readings for Aug. 28
Syntactic Structures Revisited to page 35; Syntactic Structures to page 33 [Please bring these 2 books to class for the first few meetings] [[Note: Today ONLY class will end at 4:00 (because of orientation meeting for new LING grad students).]]
Here are some multiple center embedding examples of the type argued by Chomsky and Miller to be grammatical but unacceptable (for processing reasons)
-Readings for Sept. 4: 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 and will be discussing. And here is the passage I mentioned from LSLT: LSLT on no recursion in the base
-> HW 1, due Tuesday Sept. 11. [Homework revision policy.] [[[pdf submission by e-mail is required. Name your file "Familyname_HWn"; thus, if I were submitting this one, it would be "Lasnik_HW1".]]]
-Readings for Sept. 11
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. 18: Continue Sept. 11 readings and add Syntactic Structures Revisited to page 124. Suggested reading: "Aspects of the Theory of Phrase Structure"
-> HW 2, due Tuesday Sept. 25. [Homework revision policy.]  [[[pdf submission by e-mail is required. Name your file "Familyname_HWn"; thus, if I were submitting this one, it would be "Lasnik_HW2".]]]
-Readings for Sept. 25
Finish the Syntactic Structures and Syntactic Structures Revisited readings previously assigned.
Syntactic Structures Revisited  to page 165
A Course in GB Syntax  pp.1-5
Here's a 'wish list' theory of trnsformations, i.e., the classic theory modified towards greater explanatory adequacy. 1 more optional reading Lasnik 1981
-Readings for Oct. 2: Finish Sept. 25 readings
   Case Theory and A-Movement
Start "Case, Passives, and Government " Handout
-Readings for Oct. 9:  Finish "Case, Passives, and Government " Handout. [[Optional readings: 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; Baker, Johnson, Roberts 'Passive Arguments Raised'.]]
-> HW 3, due Tuesday Oct. 16  [In working on this, really finish "Case, Passives, and Government " handout; look again at wish list; discussion of government and distribution of trace and PRO (more on this in Lasnik and Uriagereka 1988 A Course in GB Syntax 48-52, 92-93)
   Binding Theory
-Readings for Oct. 16: Begin looking at Overview of BT handout; Lasnik and Uriagereka  Chap. 2 
-Readings for Oct. 23-30: Finish Overview of BT handout and Lasnik and Uriagereka  Chap. 2.
[Optional, if you want to see Chomsky's original 1973 presentation of TSC, SSC, RI, etc. "Conditions on Transformations".]
Lasnik 1981 "On Two Recent Treatments of Disjoint Reference"  (About need to provide interpretation for inexing relations, and difficulties in doing so.)
[Optional: Lasnik 1976 "Remarks on Coreference" (Origin of Condition C.)]
->Squib assignment 'Proposal' due Nov. 15; squib due Dec. 13
-> HW 4, due Tuesday Nov. 13 
-Readings for Nov. 6: Finish all Binding Theory stuff; add Chomsky 1995 The Minimalist Program pp. 92-101 (for problems about indexing, and a possible solution).
    WH-Movement (A-bar Movement) and Bounding Theory - Islands, Subjacency, and refinements of the ECP :
-Readings for Nov. 13:
Subjacency Intro handout
'Brief Overview of Subjacency/Islands 1955- '
Lasnik and Uriagereka  Chap. 4
ECP handout 
-Readings for Nov. 20-27:
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 Thursday Nov. 29
Dec. 4.   HW5 Discussion; evidence for PF status of (some) island violations. Fox and Pesetsky on linearization. Uriagereka Multiple Spell-Out
Ross evidence against WH-island constraint.


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 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"
-Referential dependence, coreference, non-coreference. "Binding Theory"
-WH-movement and related phenomena ("Who did you see?") "A'-movement"
-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]

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