Foto: Matthias Friel
last update: 28.2.We're on a selective journey through syntax. The aim of this journey is that you'll be able to recognize and name syntactic phenomena, and identify and construct such phenomena in a language of your choice; you'll have some general background in syntactic theories and cross-linguistic patterns that lets you identify specifically interesting constructions, constructions that challenge existing theories or corroborate their extend; you'll be able to understand theories that analyse these phenomena and make predictions based on them, and you'll be able to come up with possible structural analyses of sentences on the fly; as such, you'll make steps towards reaching a syntactic auto-pilot, that constantly scans what you hear and say and that reacts when you come across a sentence for which you cannot find a meaningful analysis.The subject matter that you'll be acquiring these skills by is mostly the field of word order. The nice thing about word order is that every language has one, and so you can investigate it in every language (in contrast, there is not much to research in terms of morphological agreement in, say, Mandarin). The theoretical problem that we'll focus on is that word order doesn't directly inform you about constituency and hierarchical structure most of the time. Therefore, we have to find ways to gain access to the hierarchal structure of sentences. Before we can do that, we'll first have to learn to thoroughly control for influences of information structure. I will encourage you to work on your native language or the language of your choice. I also encourage you to contribute to our ongoing project "Consequences of Head Argument Structure for Syntax" of our SFB1287.We lay the groundwork for empirical investigations as we venture through the term, constructing items and preparing syntactic fieldwork for each phenomenon we cover as we go. In order to show that you've acquired the skills we set out to acquire, you'll prepare a handout documenting your syntactic fieldwork. This prepares you for what research in a group is like: you first discuss what you want to investigate, then you gather the data, and finally you present them to your peers.
In case you already acquired quite some syntactic competences, either through an earlier rendition of this course or through colleagues, you can also enroll for a research internship. There, you will collect data on either a language of your choosing, or if we already have data on that language, one that we assign to you, in our SFB project. In order to enroll for a research intership, you must obligatorily contact me first!
ps. My name is now Andreas Pregla.
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