Monday, September 4, 2017

Syntax I Syllabus (Fall 2017)

Here is my syllabus for Syntax I for Fall 2017. Comments welcome!

Syntax I Syllabus                              Fall 2017                                             LING-GA1310

Instructor:     Professor Chris Collins
Office:             10 Washington Place, Room 411
Phone:            2-8763
Time:              MW, 12:30 – 1:45pm
Place:              10Washington Place, Room 104
Office Hours: (by appointment)

Course Description:
Syntax I and II together form a comprehensive introduction to the concepts and principles of syntactic theory, in the framework of Principles and Parameters and Minimalism.
Syntax I is concerned with phrase structure, argument structure (unaccusatives, unergatives, transitives, double object constructions), Case and agreement (Agree), A-movement (passives, raising constructions), head movement, binding and control.
Syntax II will cover A’-movement, the left periphery, differences between A- and A’-movement, weak and strong crossover, remnant movement, successive cyclic movement, general constraints on movement (minimalist conception of phases, relativized minimality), that-trace effects, the adjunct/argument asymmetry, covert movement (QR, Wh-in situ) and multiple wh-questions.
Emphasis in both Syntax I and II will be on reading the primary literature and writing a research paper.

Course Requirements
I have carefully planned the syllabus so that you have at most one reading per class. I have also indicated additional optional readings for people who want to continue looking into the topic. Since the number of assigned readings is few, you should plan to read the assigned papers before class and be ready to discuss them in class.

Problem Sets
You may work on problem sets together, but all written work must be your own (e.g., you cannot copy the wording of your classmate and submit it as your own work). Problem sets must be typed.

Each student will be responsible for presenting one paper during the semester. In your presentation, you should summarize the main data and arguments. In addition, you should think of discussion questions, connections to other readings, and if possible, additional data that bears on the proposals in the paper. You should arrange to see me the week before your presentation to show me your handout and to discuss any questions you have about the material.

Individual Meeting
In the beginning of the semester (around the third week), each student will meet with me to discuss their paper topic. What area do you find interesting? Have you already identified some problem or data that you want to work on? Please look through syllabus and readings before our meeting.

Final Paper Proposal
Halfway through the semester, you will submit a proposal for your final research paper. The proposal should be around 3 pages long (double spaced). It should include a statement of the topic, some data (just a few sentences), a brief sketch of an analysis (if you have one), a plan for working on the topic, and a few references that you plan to study. Paper proposals will be distributed to the whole class, and one of your colleagues will be in charge of providing you written feedback. We will spend one class period discussing the proposals.

Final Paper
A significant focus of the course is the final paper, which should be around 15 pages (double spaced) long. Your aim should be to write a paper that will provide a solid foundation for future work (e.g., a QP, a conference paper or a published article). We will work on it throughout the semester.

Grading          Attendance and participation               10%
                        Assignments                                       40%
                        Paper Proposal/Commentary               10%
                        Presentation in Class                           10%
                        Final Paper                                          30%

Course Materials
You are not required to purchase any materials for this class. All readings will be posted to our course website on NYU Classes. For people who need background reading, the following text is recommended:

 Koopman, Hilda, Dominique Sportiche, and Ed Stabler 2014. An Introduction to Syntactic Analysis and Theory.

This book is available online through NYU. It is also available at a reasonable price on

The schedule may be revised. The dates may change. Topics and readings may be dropped and/or added depending on our progress and the interests of the students.

Week 1:          Sept. 4 (Labor Day – no class), 6    
Monday:        no class
Wednesday:   Syllabus, Outline of Minimalist Syntax

Collins, Chris and Edward Stabler. 2016. A Formalization of Minimalist Syntax. Syntax 19, 43-78.

Week 2:          Sept. 11, 13    Phrase Structure
Monday:        Constituent Structure Tests
Wednesday:   Merge and Labeling

Assignment 1: Assigned Sept. 13, due Sept. 20

Chomsky, Noam. 2013. Problems of Projection. Lingua 130, 33-49.

SKS Chapter 3: Syntactic Analysis Introduced [sections 3.4-3.7].

Collins, Chris. 2002 . Eliminating Labels. In Samuel Epstein and Daniel Seely (eds.), Derivation and Explanation in the Minimalist Program, 43-64. Blackwell.

Week 3:          Sept. 18, 20    Head Movement
Monday:        V to T, T to C
                        [Possible Student Presentation: Pollock 1997]
Wednesday:   General Issues

Pollock, Jean-Yves. 1997. Notes on Clause Structure. In Liliane Haegeman (ed.), Elements of Grammar, 237-279. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.

Roberts, Ian. 2011. Head Movement and the Minimalist Program. In Cedric Boeckx (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Minimalism, 195-219. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Cinque, Guglielmo. 1999. Adverbs and Functional Heads: A Cross-Linguistic Perspective. Oxford University Press, Oxford [Chapter 2: A Case for Adverb Phrases in Spec]

Harley, Heidi. 2013. Diagnosing Head Movement. In Lisa Lai-Shen Cheng and Norbert Corver (eds.), Diagnosing Syntax, 112-119. Oxford University Press.

Lasnik, Howard. 1995. The Forms of Sentences. An Invitation to Cognitive Science: Language, Vol. 1, 283-310. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Pollock, Jean-Yves. 1989. Verb Movement, Universal Grammar, and the Structure of
IP. Linguistic Inquiry 20.3: 365-424 [especially sections 1-3].

Week 4:          Sept. 25, 27
Monday:        VP Internal Subjects
                        [Possible Student Presentation: McCloseky 1997]
Wednesday:   Basics of DP

Assignment 2: Assigned Sept. 27, due Oct. 4 [Greenberg’s Universal 20].
                         (Be prepared to discuss your data on Tuesday, Oct. 2)

Bernstein, Judy. 2001. The DP Hypothesis: Identifying Clausal Properties in the Nominal Domain. In Mark Baltin and Chris Collins (eds.) The Handbook of Contemporary Syntactic Theory, 536-561.

McCloskey, James. 1997. Subjecthood and Subject Positions. In Liliane Haegeman (ed.), Elements of Grammar, 197-235.  Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecth. [Sections 1-6]

Abney, Steven Paul. 1987. The English Noun Phrase in its Sentential Aspect. Doctoral Dissertation, MIT.

Breuning, Benjamin. 2009. Selectional Asymmetries between CP and DP Suggest that the DP Hypothesis is Wrong. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 15.

Chocano, Gema and Esther Torrego. Forthcoming. Quantifier Float. In Martin Everaet and Henk van Riemsdijk (eds.), The Companion to Syntax, 2nd Edition. Wiley-Blackwell.

Longobardi, Giuseppe. 1994. Reference and Proper Names: A Theory of N-Movement in Syntax and Logical Form. Linguistic Inquiry 25.4, 609-665.

McCloskey, James. 2000. Quantifier Float and Wh-Movement in an Irish English. Linguistic Inquiry 31, 57-84.

Simpson, Andrew and Saurov Syed. 2016. Blocking Effects of Higher Numerals in Bangla: A Phase Based Analysis. Linguistic Inquiry 47, 754-763.

Sportiche, Dominique. 1988. A Theory of Floating Quantifiers and its Corollaries for Constituent Structure. Linguistic Inquiry 19.3, 425-449.

Week 5:          Oct. 2, 4
Monday:        Greenberg’s Universal 20 (Class Exercise)
Wednesday:   Case Theory: Basics

Note:   On Monday October 2 students (in groups of one or two) will come to class prepared to show how Cinque 2005 applies to their selected language. Each group will have 15 minutes of presentation time. Your written work will be due on October 4.

Cinque, Guglielmo. 2005. Deriving Greenberg’s Universal 20 and its Exceptions. Linguistic Inquiry 36.3, 315-332.

Pesetsky, David and Esther Torrego. 2011. Case. In Cedric Boeckx (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Minimalism, 52-72. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Kayne, Richard. 1994. The Antisymmetry of Syntax. MIT Press, Cambridge.

Vergnaud, Jean-Roger. 1977. Letter to Noam Chomsky and Howard Lasnik. In Robert Freidin, Carlos P. Otero and Maria Luisa Zubizarreta (eds.), Foundational Issues in Linguistic Theory: Essays in Honor of Jean-Roger Vergnaud, 3-15. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Week 6:          Oct. 9 (Fall Recess – no class), 11   
Monday:        no class
Wednesday:   Case Theory: Theories of Case
                        [Possible Student Presentation: Marantz 2000]

Assignment 3: Assigned Oct. 11, due Oct. 18

Marantz, Alec. 2000. Case and Licensing. Proceedings of ESCOL, 234–253.
Cornell Linguistics Club. Republished in Reuland (2000), 11–30.

Baker, Mark. 2015. Case: Its Principles and Parameters. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Pesetsky, David and Esther Torrego. 2004. Tense, Case and the Nature of Syntactic Categories. In Jacqueline Gueron and Jacqueline Lecarme (eds.), The Syntax of Time, 495-538. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Week 7:          Oct. 16, 18      Binding Theory
Monday:        Binding Theory: Basics
Wednesday:   Binding Theory: Reconstruction

SKS Chapter 7: Binding Theory, Chapter 13: Advanced Binding and Some Typology.

Barss, Andrew. 2002. Syntactic Reconstruction Effects. In Baltin and Collins (eds.), The Handbook of Contemporary Syntactic Theory, 670-696. Blackwell.

Huang, C.-T. James. 1993. Reconstruction and the Structure of VP: Some Theoretical Consequences. Linguistic Inquiry 24.1, 103-138.

Week 8:          Oct. 23, 25     
Monday:        Binding Theory: Exempt Anaphors
                        [Possible Student Presentation: Charnavel and Zlogar 2015]
Wednesday:   Double Object Constructions

Due:    Paper Proposals due Monday October 23.
Note: Paper proposals will be posted on NYU Classes. Please read them, and be ready for discussion on Monday, October 30.

Barss, Andrew and Howard Lasnik. 1986. A Note on Anaphors and Double Objects. Linguistic Inquiry 17: 347-354.

Charnavel, Isabelle and Chrissy Zlogar. 2015. English Reflexive Logophors. Proceedings of CLS 51, 83-97.

Larson, Richard. 1988. On the Double Object Construction. Linguistic Inquiry 19, 335-391.

SKS Chapter 12: Inward Bound: Syntax and Morphology Atoms

Week 9:          Oct. 30, Nov. 1
Monday:        Discuss Paper Proposals.
Wednesday:   Discuss Paper Proposals (cont.)

 Reading:       Each student is required to read all the proposals by the other students.

Due:    Each student is required to provide written feedback to an assigned student on their proposal before October 30 (e-mailed by October 29 at the latest, please cc me). The written comments should be 1-2 pages (double spaced).

Week 10:        Nov. 6, 8         Argument Structure
Monday:        ApplP 
[Possible Student Presentation: Pylkkänen 2008]
Wednesday:   Relating DOCs and the prepositional dative construction
                        [Possible Student Presentation: Hallman 2015]

Assignment 4: Assigned Nov. 8, due Nov. 15

Hallman, Peter. 2015. Syntactic Neutralization in Double Object Constructions. Linguistic Inquiry 46, 389-424.

Pylkkänen, Liina. 2008. Introducing Arguments. Cambridge: MIT Press. [pages 1-64]

Baker, Mark and Collins Chris. 2006. Linkers and the Internal Structure of the vP. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 24, 307-354.

Collins, Chris. 2017. A Smuggling Approach to the Dative Alternation. Ms., NYU.

Kratzer, Angelika. 1996. Severing the external argument from its verb. In J. Rooryck and L. Zaring (eds.), Phrase Structure and the Lexicon, 109-137. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Rappaport Hova, Malka and Beth Levin. 2008. The English Dative Alternation: the Case for Verb Sensitivity. Journal of Linguistics 44, 129-167.

Week 11:        Nov. 13, 15     Unaccusativity
Monday:        Unaccusativity
Wednesday:   Unaccusativity

Levin, Beth and Malka Rappaport Hovav. 1995. Chapters 1-2 in Unaccusativity. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

McCloskey, James. 1993. A Crude Test for Unaccusativity in English. In Geoffrey K. Pullum and Eric Potsdam (eds), Syntax and Santa Cruz 2, 21-24.

Perlmutter, David. 1989. Multiattachment and the Unaccusative Hypothesis: the Perfect Auxiliary in Italian. Probus 1, 63-119.

Harley, Heidi. 2011. A Minimalist Approach to Argument Structure. In Cedric Boeckx (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Minimalism, 427-448. Oxford University Press.

Kayne, Richard. 1993. Toward a Modular Theory of Auxiliary Selection. Studia Linguistica 47, 3-31.

Week 12:        Nov. 20, 22 (Thanksgiving – no class)       
Monday:        Raising and Control: Basics
Wednesday:   No class

Davies, William D. and Stanley Dubinsky. 2004. The Grammar of Raising and Control: A Course in Syntactic Argumentation. Blackwell, MA. [Chapters 1-3]

Postal, Paul. On Raising. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Week 13:        Nov. 27, 29     Control and Raising (cont.)
Monday:        Control as Movement             
[Possible Student Presentation: Hornstein 1999]
Wednesday:   Control is not Movement       
[Possible Student Presentation: Landau 2003]

Hornstein, Norbert. 1999. Movement and Control. Linguistic Inquiry 30, 1: 69-96.

Landau, Idan. 2003. Movement out of Control. Linguistic Inquiry 34, 471-498.

Hornstein, Norbert and Jairo Nunes. 2014. Minimalism and Control. In Andrew Carnie, Yosuke Sato and Daniel Siddiqi (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Syntax, 239-263.  Routledge, New York.

Landau, Idan. 2007. Movement-Resistant Aspects of Control. In William D. Davies and Stanley Dubinsky (eds.), New Horizons in the Analysis of Control and Raising, 293-325. Springer, Dordrecht.

Landau, Idan. 2013. Control in Generative Grammar: A Research Companion. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge [pages 8-28]

Polinsky, Maria and Eric Potsdam. 2002. Backward ControlLinguistic Inquiry 33, 24-282. 

Potsdam, Eric, and Maria Polinsky. 2012. Backward RaisingSyntax 15, 75-108.

Week 14:        Dec. 4, 6          Passive
Monday:        External Argument is Projected
Wednesday:   External Argument is not Projected
                        [Possible Student Presentation: Breuning 2013]

Bruening, Benjamin. 2013. By Phrases in Passives and Nominals. Syntax 16, 1-41.

Collins, Chris. 2005. A Smuggling Approach to the Passive in English. Syntax 8.2, 81-120.

Alexiadou, Artemis, Elena Anagnostopoulou and Florian Schäfer. 2015. External Arguments in Transitivity Alternations: A Layering Approach. Oxford University Press. [Chapter 4: A Typology of Voice]

Alexiadou, Artemis, Elena Anagnostopoulou and Florian Schäfer. 2017. Passive. Ms.

Baker, Mark, Kyle Johnson and Ian Roberts. 1989. Passive Arguments Raised. Linguistic Inquiry. 20, 219-251.

Chomsky, Noam. 1957. Syntactic Structures. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin.

Collins, Chris. 2017. On the Implicit Argument in the Short Passive. Ms., NYU.

Legate, Julie. 2014. Voice and v: Lessons from Achenese. MIT Press, Cambridge.

Week 15:        Dec. 11, 13      Wrap-Up
Monday:        Wrap-Up
Wednesday:   Wrap-Up

Friday:           Final Papers Due

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