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Module

SEL2089 : Syntactic Theory

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Anders Holmberg
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

- Acquaint the student with concepts and explanatory mechanisms in contemporary syntactic theory.
- Explore the application of these concepts to the syntax of present-day languages with a particular focus on English, covering major syntactic phenomena, categories, rules and principles.
- Develop critical thinking skills through the examination of different explanatory approaches to problems in the syntax of mainly, but not exclusively, present-day English.

Outline Of Syllabus

Following on from SEL1027, this module provides a more comprehensive and deeper understanding of the syntax of natural language with modern English as the main object of study. It is a required course for students on Linguistics degrees, but is open to any student who has taken SEL1027.Topics to be addressed include phrase structure (X’-Theory), argument structure (theta-roles), Case, agreement,noun phrase structure, binding, various kinds of movement, ellipsis, locality, Logical Form, architecture of grammar, syntactic variation. Not necessarily all of these are covered every year.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion154:0054:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials181:0018:00Non-synchronous online lectures
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading170:0070:00Including at least I hour individual tutorial with module leader (online or in person)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Present-in-person timetabled or synchronous online, timetabled
Guided Independent StudySkills practice124:0024:00Practicing syntactic analysis
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study125:0025:00N/A
Total200:00
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SEL8026Generative Syntax
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce students to the knowledge and skill outcomes. Seminars consolidate the skill outcomes through conceptual questions distributed for discussion and problem sets to be discussed in seminar. Private study is an important part of the programme, requiring close reading of the material both in advance of lectures and as a follow-up to them.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination991M2024h online take-home exam
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A803000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The mid-term examination gives the students a good sense of their progress as regards the necessary basic analytic skills. The end of module essay tests the students' understanding of syntactic theory by asking them to apply their knowledge of the theory to a given syntactic problem.

Reading Lists

Timetable