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  • A Program for Evolutionary Syntax: Syntactic Reconstruction and Syntactic Fossils

    Ljiljana Progovac

    This course follows a simple idea, that syntax evolved gradually/incrementally (through well-defined stages), and that these stages are not only still evident in various modern constructions (“fossils”), but that they also provide a scaffolding for building more complex structures.

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  • Computational Learning of Syntax

    Alexander Clark

    This course will look at the computational and mathematical theory of how grammars can be learned from strings.  
    Any theory of language acquisition must at bottom rest on some solution to this problem.

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  • Computational Minimalism

    Greg Kobele

    A precise formal understanding of a linguistic theory is vital for distinguishing between contentful and notational aspects of a linguistic proposal, for pinpointing cross-framework agreements and disagreements, and for making principled connections to other empirical domains.

    This course will present recent transformational syntax (`minimalism') in terms Stabler's minimalist grammar (MG) formalism. To get a feel for the formalism, we will engage in a hands-on analysis of basic aspects of constructions like raising, auxiliaries, expletives, and passives.

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  • Empirical Applications of Type-Logical Categorial Grammar

    Yusuke Kubota, Robert Levine

    The goal of this course is to familiarize students with Type-Logical Categorial Grammar (TLCG) as a framework that provides a new perspective on the syntax/semantics interface of natural language. While TLCG has so far been mostly studied in its connection to mathematical logic, our course emphasizes its value to the working linguist as a framework for characterizing linguistic generalizations, especially in empirical domains that have been widely regarded as problematic or even intractable in the mainstream linguistic literature, including both transformational and nontransformational appr

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  • Introduction to Morphosyntax

    Vera Gribanova, Andrew Nevins

    This course explores the basic principles governing word structure and their interaction with phrasal and clausal syntax. Goals include: examining the evidence for taking morphemes to be syntactically independent units; introducing the mechanisms by which morphemes are combined and ordered, using the formal tools made available to us by Minimalist syntax and Distributed Morphology; and investigating cases in which syntactic structure and prosodic requirements conflict.

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  • Introduction to Syntax

    David Pesetsky

    This elementary-level course will acquaint you with some of the important results and ideas of the last half-century of research in syntax. We will explore a large number of issues and a large amount of data so that you can learn something of what this field is all about — emphasizing ideas and arguments for these ideas in addition to the the details of particular analyses. Though there are various approaches to syntax under active investigation, this class will highlight one particular approach, sometimes called Principles and Parameters syntax.

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  • Lexicalist Approaches to Syntax

    Stephen Wechsler

    In lexicalist approaches to syntax, words are equipped with information about the way they combine with other constituents and the meaning of the resulting combination.  The lexicon also encodes the systematic relations between word forms, such as voice alternations and derivational cognates. There are no syntactic transformations mapping one sentence structure to another.  This course is an introduction to two important lexicalist frameworks, Lexical-Functional Grammar and Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar. 

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  • Passives in Distributed Morphology

    Heidi Harley

    In a syntacticocentric morphology, morphological operations must obey what Koontz-Garboden (2010) called the Monotonicity Hypothesis: syntactic and semantic functors can be added, but not deleted, by morphological processes.

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  • Semantic Variation in Nominal Expressions

    Amy Rose Deal

    Both the semantics and the syntax of nouns and complex nominals appear to vary to a significant degree across languages. Loci of variation include articles and determiners; number marking, classifiers and measure constructions; and indexical elements such as personal pronouns. This course asks: To what extent is variation in these areas the result of differences in the semantics of otherwise parallel lexical items? To what extent does it reflect variation at the syntax/semantics interface, or in the lexicon? (How) does the variation affect the range of meanings that can be conveyed?

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  • Silent syntax? Experimental investigations of ellipsis

    Ming Xiang

    The central question for ellipsis resolution is how the phonologically silent material at the ellipsis site is recovered from the antecedent. The answer to this question bears upon some fundamental issues of linguistic inquiry, including whether postulating “silent” syntactic representations is necessary, and what is the division of labor between syntactic and discourse constraints. Against the background of an extensive theoretical discussion on ellipsis, this course examines the existing experimental findings on ellipsis processing. We will primarily focus on three questions.

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  • Syntax-Phonology Interface

    Caroline Féry

    A number of approaches to the syntax-prosody interaction will be introduced and compared: the transformational and cyclic approach of Chomsky & Halle, prosodic hierarchy, edge-based/alignment theory and recursive mapping will serve as main theoretical models. At the same time, different kinds of languages-intonational languages, tone language, phrase-based languages-will be investigated for their properties at the syntax-prosody interface, so that universals and language-specific phenomena can be kept apart.

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  • The Structure of Karuk

    Andrew Garrett, Line Mikkelsen

    Karuk, a language isolate spoken in northern California, has a highly agglutinating morphology (and intricate morphophonological patterns) paired with free word order. This course will focus on topics in Karuk morphology, morphosyntax, and syntax that are especially interesting from the point of view of linguistic theory and typology. We will emphasize the use of a large corpus of morphologically tagged texts, from a variety of genres over a century of documentation, in doing primary analytic research on an endangered language with few remaining fluent speakers.

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  • The Syntax and Semantics of Discourse-Oriented Features: The grammar of speaker and addressee

    Miok Pak, Paul Portner, Raffaella Zanuttini

    Our course will focus on three areas where features of discourse context interface with syntactic representation:

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  • Topics in Algonquian Morphology and Syntax

    Amy Dahlstrom, Monica Macaulay

    This course focuses on several topics in the complex morphology and nonconfigurational syntax of languages of the Algonquian family, including issues and controversies arising in the traditional analysis of the tripartite or bipartite verb stems, the syntactic role played by many of the derivational verbal suffixes, and recent syntactic analyses of Algonquian derivational morphology.  The course will also present the complex inflectional system of Algonquian verbs, including the controversial topic of inverse verbs, and an overview of word order issues (e.g.

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  • Topics in Austronesian Syntax

    Edith Aldridge

    This course surveys syntactic phenomena and variation among Austronesian languages, including Formosan, Philippine, Indonesian, and Oceanic languages. A wide variety of phenomena will be examined, with special attention being given to the well-studied topics of word order and voice/alignment. This course will also consider how diachronic change accounts for syntactic variation among Austronesian languages.

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  • Topics in Bantu Syntax

    Jeff Good, Brent Henderson

    This course will consider select topics in the syntax of Bantu languages with an emphasis on the relationship between morphological phenomena such as agreement and syntactic phenomena such as argument structure and information structure relations in the clause. Formal, descriptive, and typological perspectives will be considered and readings will draw on a range of theoretical traditions that have been applied to the study of Bantu languages. A brief introduction to the comparative Bantu linguistics will also be provided in order to provide context for the data to be discussed.

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  • Topics in Chinese Syntax

    Lisa Cheng

    In this course, various topics of Chinese syntax will be discussed, including the structure of clefts, relative clauses, noun phrases, and comparatives. We will draw data from Mandarin and Cantonese and occasionally some other dialects.

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  • Topics in Syntax and Semantics of Slavic

    David Pesetsky, Sergei Tatevosov

    The last decade or two has witnessed an explosion of interesting investigations of the syntax and semantics of the Slavic languages. This class will explore several interconnected semantic and syntactic phenomena of this language family. The course aims to provide an overview of several live topics, and to spur interest in investigation the many intriguing but unsolved puzzles that these languages present. Topics to discussed will include verb-stem morphology and verbal aspect; nominal case and the internal structure of the Slavic noun phrase; clause structure and scrambling.

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  • Verb-initiality

    Maria Polinsky

    This course will examine several approaches to the syntax of verb-initial (V1) languages with a special emphasis on Mayan and Austronesian languages. Some V1 languages are strictly VSO, others are VOS, and a significant number combine both orders. We will explore the factors that underlie these alternations. A number of V1 languages can be more adequately characterized as predicate-initial, with V1 being just a subset of clause-initial predicates. We will also discuss and analyze structural properties that are or may be associated with V1.

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