LING306-21S1 (D) Semester One 2021 (Distance)

Topics in Syntactic Theory

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 27 June 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 7 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 14 May 2021


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

Different languages have a variety of ways to indicate “who is doing what to whom.” The order of constituents (e.g. subject, object and verb) in the clause is one: in English, The man bit the dog means something different from The dog bit the man. In other languages, the grammatical function of a constituent is additionally marked on either the noun phrase, the verb, or both. In this course, the question of how languages mark who is doing what to whom is explored from a cross-linguistic perspective. We will look at some of the main ways in which the various types of relationships between constituents in the clause are expressed in different languages. What are the possible (and probable) systems of organisation and categories we find? How do languages encode different relations, and how is this connected to other things we know about language, like semantics or information structure, and factors outside of language? We will have a look into a variety of functional and usage-based explanations for the forces that shape grammar.

Relation to other courses:
This is one of a range of 300-level courses available for students majoring in Linguistics either for the BA or the BSc, alongside LING307, LING310, and LING320. It can also be taken by students majoring in English Language or other disciplines.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

1. Show knowledge and understanding in the research domain of syntactic typology and be familiar with basic theories and methods;
2. Relate critically to literature about syntactic typology;
3. Demonstrate the ability to apply theories and methods to identify and formulate issues and to plan and carry out a limited research project within a given time frame;
4. Demonstrate the ability to present and discuss your research questions and research results orally and in writing.

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


Course Coordinator

Dineke Schokkin


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Final Project 40% Week 13
Mid-term project 30% Week 7
Learn Quiz 30% Released weekly, due next week

Textbooks / Resources

There is no textbook for this course. Weekly readings will be posted on Learn.

Course links

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

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,570.00

International fee $7,000.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, 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

  • LING306-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021
  • LING306-21S1 (D) Semester One 2021 (Distance)