LING306-12S2 (C) Semester Two 2012

Topics in Syntactic Theory

30 points
09 Jul 2012 - 11 Nov 2012


This course follows on from second-year syntax, covering selected advanced topics and current research in syntactic theory.

Minimalism is a syntactic research program that has been very influential over the past 15 years.
This course provides a practical introduction to Minimalist syntactic analysis. Building on the
theoretical foundations of transformational syntax covered in LING 206, we will take a closer look
at current approaches to binding theory, theta-roles, phrase structure, and movement. We
will discuss different case and agreement systems and examine the nature of raising and control
structures. A particular focus of our investigations will be the study of syntactic differences and
similarities between a wide range of languages, which we will try to account for in terms of
morphosyntactic features and parameter settings. To this end all course participants are asked to
collect and analyse data from a language other than English. Students may therefore find it
helpful to have some familiarity with another language and/or ready access to a native speaker.

Learning Outcomes

Through their experiences with this course, students are anticipated to be able to:

  • work both independently and collaboratively to identify patterns in syntactic data, formulate and test hypotheses, and tackle syntactic puzzles with no easy solution

  • collect foreign language data on a range of syntactic topics and use them to test the limitations of a given theoretical approach to syntactic variation

  • develop original arguments based on the analysis and comparison of syntactic data from English and other languages

  • communicate their findings effectively, using appropriate linguistic terminology, and supporting their arguments with illustrative examples and diagrams


LING201 or LING206 or LING211 or LING217

Streams Day Time Where Notes
Stream 01 Wednesday 1:00pm-3:00pm Kirkwood KE06 9 Jul - 19 Aug,
3 Sep - 14 Oct
Friday 4:00pm-5:00pm Kirkwood KE06 9 Jul - 19 Aug,
3 Sep - 14 Oct

Course Coordinator

Heidi Quinn


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Weekly workshop preparations 20%
Discussion of data and findings in class 10%
Test 30%
Written assignment 40%


Required Texts

Adger, David; Core syntax: a minimalist approach; Oxford University Press.

Course links

Library portal
The course outline is available on LEARN (only for students enrolled in this course).

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,239.00

International fee $5,375.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences.

All LING306 Occurrences

  • LING306-12S2 (C) Semester Two 2012