At the end of the module, students have a basic understanding of the grammatical mechanisms involved in simple declarative sentences and in questions. They should be able to 1. Identify constituents and their role in the clause structure. 2. Illustrate constituents in the form of tree-diagrams. 3. Apply the basic operations of Merge and Agree for the syntactic analysis of a sentence. 4. Combine syntactic theory with empirical data.
Course Content (Syllabus)
The course introduces students to several properties of 'mental grammar' (the system of rules that determines a speaker/hearer's language). We ask what sort of knowledge someone who 'knows a language' has and try to answer that question by developing some of the essential building blocks of natural language grammars theory in the framework of Generative Grammar (the Principles and Parameters approach). We begin with the structure of the clause according to X-bar theory and the information contained in the linguistic Lexicon. Based on the principal operations Agree and Merge we analyse passives, interrogatives, relative clauses and the distribution of pronouns, reflexives and full noun phrases.