Friday, January 25, 2019

Syllabus: Syntax II (Spring 2019)

Here is my graduate Syntax II syllabus for Spring 2019. Comments welcome!

Syllabus         Syntax II Syntactic Theory and Analysis                         LING-GA 2310
Spring 2019

Instructor:     Professor Chris Collins
Office:             10 Washington Place, Room 411
Phone:            28763
Time:              T/TH 11:00 to 12:15pm
Place:              10 Washington Place, Room 103
Office Hours: by appointment

Course Description:
Syntax I and II together form a comprehensive introduction to 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, psych-verbs), 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 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, and often only one reading per week. 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 read the assigned papers before class and be ready to discuss them in class.

Problem Sets
There will be short problem sets in the first half of the semester. Problem sets will be assigned on Thursday and due the following Thursday. You may discuss the homework problems together, but the actual written work must be your own.

Important: All written work in this class, including problem sets, presentations and papers must be submitted in 12pt font. Any smaller, and I cannot read it.

Paper Presentation
Each student will be responsible for presenting a paper during the semester. In your presentation, you should summarize the main data and arguments of the paper. 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 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?

Paper Proposal
Halfway through the semester, you will submit a final paper proposal. The proposal should be around 3 pages (double-spaced, 12pt) long. It should include a statement of the topic, some data (just a few sentences), a brief sketch of an analysis, 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 written feedback on your proposal. We will spend one or two class periods discussing the proposals.

Final Presentation
Students will present their papers during the last week of class. Each presentation should last around 15 minutes, with an additional 5 minutes for discussion.

Final Paper
A significant focus of the course is the final paper, which should be around 15 pages (double spaced, 12pt) long. Your aim should be to write a paper that will provide a solid foundation for future work (e.g., a syntax qualifying paper, a conference presentation or a published article). We will work on it throughout the semester.

Assignments                                       40%
            Paper Presentation                               10%
            Paper Proposal/Commentary               10%
            Final Presentation                                10%
            Final Paper                                          30%

Course Materials
You are not required to purchase any materials for this class. All readings will be posted to Dropbox. For people who need background reading, the following textbook is recommended:

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

This book is available online through the NYU library. 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 interest of the students.

Week 1:          Jan. 29, 31
            Tuesday:        Syllabus, Outline of Minimalist Syntax,
A Brief History of Generative Grammar.
            Thursday:      Merge and Remnant Movement

Muller, Gereon. 1998. Incomplete Category Fronting. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht. [chapter 1]

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

Week 2:          Feb. 5, 7
            Tuesday:        A vs. A’-Movement
            Thursday:      A vs. A’-Movement (cont.)

            Homework 1: Assigned Feb. 7, due Feb. 14

Adger, David, Alex Drummond, David Hall and Coppe van Urk. 2017. Is there Condition C Reconstruction? Proceedings of NELS 47.

Urk, Coppe van. 2015. A uniform syntax for phrasal movement: A case study of Dinka Bor [Chapter 2: Eliminating A/A-bar Positions]. PhD Dissertation, MIT.
Barss, Andrew. 2001. Syntactic Reconstruction Effects. In Mark Baltin and Chris Collins (eds.), The Handbook of Contemporary Syntactic Theory. Blackwell.

Engdahl, Elisabet. 2001. Parasitic Gaps. In Peter W. Culicover and Paul M. Postal (eds.), Parasitic Gaps. MIT Press, Cambridge.

Heycock, Caroline. 1995. Asymmetries in Reconstruction. Linguistic Inquiry 26, 547-570.

Week 3:          Feb. 12, 14
            Tuesday:        Successive Cyclic Movement
                                    [Possible student presentation: McCloskey 2002]
            Thursday:      Successive Cyclic Movement (cont.)
            Homework 2: Assigned Feb. 14, due Feb. 21

McCloskey, James. 2002. Resumption, Successive Cyclicity, and the Locality of
Operations. In Derivation and Explanation in the Minimalist Program. Edited by
Samuel Epstein and Daniel Seeley. Blackwell, Oxford.

Chomsky, Noam. 1977. On Wh-Movement. In Peter Culicover, Thomas Wasow and Adrian Akmajian (eds.), Formal Syntax, 71-132. Academic Press, New York.

Chung, Sandra. 1994. Wh-Agreement and “Referentiality” in Chamorro. Linguistic Inquiry 25, 1-44.

Collins, Chris. 1994. Economy of Derivation and the Generalized Proper Binding Condition. Linguistic Inquiry 25.1, 45-61. [This paper gives an example of a reflex of successive cyclic movement in Ewe.]

Georgi, Doreen. 2017. Patterns of Movement Reflexes as the Result of the Order of Merge and Agree. Linguistic Inquiry 48, 585-626.

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

Week 4:          Feb. 19, 21
            Tuesday:        Islands
                                    [Possible Student Presentation: Sichel 2018]
            Thursday:      Islands (cont.)
Sichel, Ivy. 2018. Anatomy of a Counterexample: Extraction from Relative Clauses. Linguistic Inquiry 49, 335-378.

Boskovic, Zeljko. 2015. From the Complex NP Constraint to Everything: On Deep Extractions Across Categories. The Linguistic Review 32, 603-669.
Collins, Chris. 2015. Relative Clause Deletion. In Ángel J. Gallego and Dennis Ott (eds.) 50 Years Later: Reflections on Chomsky’s Aspects. Vol. 77 of MIT Working Papers in Linguistics. MITWPL, Cambridge.
Citko, Barbara. 2016. Islands. Oxford Bibliographies.

Kayne, Richard. 1994. The Antisymmetry of Syntax. MIT Press, Cambridge
[Section 8.2: Relative Clauses in English]

Hulsey, Sarah and Uli Sauerland. 2006. Sorting Out Relative Clauses.
Natural Language Semantics 14: 111-137.

ISAT [chapter 10: Wh-Questions: Wh-Movement and Locality]

Rizzi, Luigi (1982). Violations of the wh-Island Constraint and the Subjacency Condition. Chapter 2 in Issues in Italian Syntax, 49-76. Foris, Dordrecht.
Rackowski, Andrea and Norvin Richards. 2005. Phase Edge and Extraction: A Tagalog Case Study. Linguistic Inquiry 36, 565-599.
Ross, John Robert. Infinite Syntax. Ablex Publishing Corporation.

Sprouse, Jon and Norbert Hornstein. 2013. Experimental Syntax and Island Effects: Toward a Comprehensive Theory of Islands. In Jon Sprouse and Norbert Hornstein (eds.), Experimental Syntax and Island Effects. Cambridge University Press.

Week 5:          Feb. 26, 28
            Tuesday:        That-Trace
                                    [Possible Student Presentation: Browning 1996]
            Thursday:      That-Trace (cont.)

            Homework 3: Assigned Feb. 28, due March 7

Browning, Maggie. 1996. CP Recursion and that-t Effects. Linguistic Inquiry 27, 237-255.

Culicover, Peter. 1993. Evidence against ECP Accounts of the That-T Effect.
            Linguistic Inquiry 24, 557-561.

Pesetsky, David. 2017. Complementizer-Trace Effects. Wiley Blackwell Companion to Syntax. (

Rizzi, Luigi. 2006. On the Form of Chains: Criterial Positions and ECP Effects. In Lisa Cheng and Norbert Corver (eds.), Wh-movement Moving On. MIT Press, Cambridge.

Rizzi, Luigi and Ur Shlonsky. 2007. Strategies of Subject Extraction. In Uli Sauerland and Hans-Martin Gaertner (eds.), Interfaces + Recursion = Language? Mouton de Gruyter, New York.

Sobin, Nicholas. 1987. The Variable Status of Comp-Trace Phenomena. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 5, pgs. 33-60.

Week 6:          Mar. 5,7
Tuesday:        Islands: Asymmetries
            Thursday:      Islands: Asymmetries (cont.)

            Homework 4: Assigned March 7, due March 14

Postal, Paul. 1998. Three Investigations of Extraction. MIT Press, Cambridge. [Chapter 2, Chapter 3 [section 3.2.2], Appendix A: Mistaking Selective Islands for Non-islands]

Collins, Chris. 1991. Why and How Come. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 15, 31-45.

Rizzi, Luigi. 2001. Relativized Minimality Effects. In Mark Baltin and Chris Collins (eds.), The Handbook of Contemporary Syntactic Theory, 89-110. Blackwell, Oxford.

Rizzi, Luigi. 1990. Relativized Minimality. MIT Press, Cambridge.

Ross, John Robert. 1984. Inner Islands. In Claudia Brugman and Monica McCaulay (eds.), Berkeley Linguistics Society. Berkeley, California.

Week 7:          March 12,14
            Tuesday:        Left Periphery: Basics
                                    [Possible Student Presentation: Rizzi and Bocci 2017]
            Thursday:      Left Periphery: Overt Top and Foc Heads
                                    [Aboh 2004: chapters 7,8]

Aboh, Enoch. 2004. The Morphosyntax of Complement-Head Sequences. Oxford
University Press. [chapter 7: Focus and Wh Constructions, chapter 8: Argument Topics
and Yes-No Questions]

Rizzi, Luigi and Giuliano Bocci. 2017. Left Periphery of the Clause: Primarily Illustrated for Italian. Blackwell Companion to Syntax. Blackwell.

Abels, Klaus. 2012. The Italian Left Periphery: A View from Locality. Linguistic Inquiry 43, 229-254.

Haegeman, Liliane. 2012. Adverbial Clauses, Main Clause Phenomena, and the Composition of the Left Periphery. The Cartography of Syntactic Structures, Volume 8. Oxford Uuniversity Press, Oxford. [Chapter 1:  Background: The Articulated Structure of the Left Periphery.]

Rizzi, Luigi. 1997. The Fine Structure of the Left Periphery. In Haegeman, Liliane (ed.),
Elements of Grammar, 281-337. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.

Rizzi, Luigi. 2010. Some Properties of Criterial Freezing. In E. Phoevos Panagiotidis (ed.), The Complementizer Phase: Subjects and Operators. Oxford University Press.
Due:    Paper Proposals
Note: Send your proposal to the other students in the class. Be ready for discussion on Monday, March 26.

Week 8:          March 19,21   [Spring Break]

Week 9:          March 26, 28
            Tuesday:        Discuss Paper Proposals.
            Thursday:      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 one other student on their proposal before March 26 (e-mailed by Monday, March 25th at the latest). The written comments should be 1-2 pages (double spaced).

Week 10:        April 2,4
            Tuesday:        Quantifier Raising: Basics
            Thursday:      Quantifier Raising (cont.)

May, Robert. 1977. Grammar of Quantification. Doctoral Dissertation, MIT [Chapter 1]

Fox, Danny. 2003. On Logical Form. In Randall Hendrick (ed.), Minimalist Syntax, 82-123. Blackwell, MA. (

Kayne, Richard. 1998. Overt vs. Covert Movement. Syntax 1.2, 128-191.

Kiss, Katalin and Jurgen Pafel. 2017. Quantifier Scope Ambiguities. Blackwell Companion to Syntax. Blackwell.

Week 11:        April 9,11
Tuesday:        Quantifier Raising
                        [Possible Student Presentation: Beghelli and Stowell 1997]
            Thursday:      Quantifier Raising (cont.)

Beghelli, Filippo and Tim Stowell. 1997. Distributivity and Negation: The Syntax of Each and Every. In Anna Szabolcsi (ed.), Ways of Taking Scope, 71-107.

Kennedy, Christopher. 1997. Antecedent-Contained Deletion and the Syntax of Quantification. Linguistic Inquiry 28, 662-688.

Potsdam, Eric. 2013. CP-Negation and the Domain of Quantifier Raising. Linguistic Inquiry 44, 674-684.

Szabolcsi, Anna. 2010. Quantification. Cambridge University Press.

Week 12:        April 16,18
            Tuesday:        Wh-in-Situ: Overview
                                    [Possible Student Presentation: Cheng 2009]
            Thursday:      Wh-in-Situ (cont.)

Cheng, Lisa. 2009. Wh-in-situ from the 1980s to Now. Language and Linguistics Compass, 3/3, 767-791.
Baker, C.L. 1970. Notes on the Description of English Questions: The Role of an Abstract Question Morpheme. Foundations of Language 6, 197-219.

Huang, James. 1982. Move Wh in a Language without Wh-Movement. The Linguistic Review 1, 369-416.

Richards, Norvin. 2001. Movement in Language. Oxford University Press, Oxford. [chapter 1: Introduction, chapter 2: Subjacency Forever, chapter 3: Featural Cyclicity and the Ordering of Multiple Specifiers].

Week 13:        April 23,25
Tuesday:        Wh-in-Situ: Intervention Effects
                        [Possible Student Presentation: Beck 1996]
            Thursday:      Wh-in-Situ: Intervention Effects

Beck, Sigrid. 1996. Quantified Structures as Barriers for LF Movement. Natural Language Semantics 4, 1-56.

Beck, Sigrid and Shin-Sook Kim. On Wh- and Operator Scope in Korean. Journal of East Asian Linguistics 6, 339-384.

Pesetsky, David. 2000. Phrasal Movement and its Kin. MIT Press, Cambridge. [selected sections]

Kotek, Hadas. 2016. Covert Partial Wh-Movement and the Nature of Derivations. Glossa 1(1), 1-19.

Kotek, Hadas and Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine.  2016. Covert Pied-Piping in English Multiple Wh-Questions. Linguistic Inquiry 47, 669-693.

Week 14:        April 30, May 2
            Tuesday:        Negated Quantifier Phrases
            Thursday:      Negated Quantifier Phrases (cont.)

Collins, Chris and Paul Postal. 2014. Classical NEG Raising. MIT Press, Cambridge
[Chapter 13: Horn Clauses: Preliminaries]

Blanchette, Frances and Chris Collins. 2018. On the Subject of Negative Auxiliary Inversion. Canadian Journal of Linguistics, 1-30.

Collins, Chris. 2017. A Scope Freezing Effect with Negated Quantifier Phrases. Natural Language Semantics 25, 315-327.
Week 15:        May 7, 9
            Tuesday:        Final Presentations
Thursday:      Final Presentations

            Due:    Final paper is due on Friday, May 10th.

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