The syntax of a language is the way its users combine words into sentences. This is more commonly known as the grammar of a language and this advanced course consequently connects with introductory courses like English grammar(s) (ENGL1031) or Grammatical description (LING2050). However, whereas these introductory courses present the basics of grammatical analysis in a traditional, “theory-neutral” way, this course will move one level up and offer first introductions to three contrasting theoretical frameworks for the study of sentence structure: a “generative” or “rule-based” one, a “functional” one, and a “cognitive-functional” or “usage-based” one.
1. Generative grammar (Minimalism)
2. (Systemic) Functional Grammar
3. Construction grammar
The principal aim of the course is to create awareness that different theoretical outlooks lead to different descriptions of the same phenomena, as much in syntax as in any other area. Students will acquire knowledge of the basic architecture of a number of different approaches to the description of sentence structure and will gain practical experience in applying these different models in sentence analysis.
There will be a three-hour combined lecture and exercise session each week.
Assessment for the course is 100% coursework. This is made up of an in-class test (50%), oral contributions in the exercise sessions (10%) and an annotated analysis of a self-compiled data set (40%).
A number of article/chapter-length required readings will be provided in the course of the semester.