LINGUIST 401: Introduction to Syntax

Fall 2008
Hasbrouck 109, TTh 1.00-2.15

Rajesh Bhatt
224 South College, 577-0797
Office Hours: TTh 11.00-12.00 or by appointment


Themes: What syntactic properties are shared by all natural languages? What syntactic properties distinguish them? What do we know when we know a language? What are syntactic properties? How do we construct a theory of syntax? This course aims to equip students with the ability to address these questions in a precise and informed way. The topics include those that are central to a proper understanding of syntax: phrase structure, movement, grammatical relations, case, complementation, anaphora, and long-distance movement.


Linguist 201 (Introduction to Linguistics) or the consent of the instructor


Readings and Required Text

I will occasionally distribute short, compulsory reading assignments through the website.
Required Text: Syntax: A Generative Introduction, 2nd edition, Andrew Carnie, Blackwell Publishing, 2007. (ISBN 0-4051-3384-8) (ordered at UMass Textbook Annex).



A weekly and standing assignment is that you have to submit a written question - approximately a paragraph long - each week. The question can concern any aspect of the material we have discussed in class. If your last name begins with A-M, your question is due in class on Tuesday, and if your last name begins with N-Z, on Thursday.

Some policies concerning assignments: hard copies of assignments must be submitted in class on the assigned date. Late assignments will in general not be accepted. You are welcome to collaborate on assignments but unless indicated otherwise, you should submit individual assignments indicating who you collaborated with.

  • [1]: Challenge Problem Set 1 and 2, pgs. 31-32 of Ch. 1 of text book, assigned September 2, due September 9

  • [2]: General Problem Set 2 and 5, pgs. 56-57 and 59 of Ch. 2 of text book, assigned September 9, due September 16

  • [3]: General Problem Set 6 and 7, pgs. 59-60 of Ch. 2 of text book, assigned September 16, due September 23

  • [4]: General Problem Set 1 and 2, pgs. 96-97 of Ch. 3 of text book, assigned September 23, due September 30

  • [5]: General Problem Set 7 and 8, pgs. 99-100 of Ch. 3 of text book, assigned September 30, due October 7

  • [6]: Midterm Exam, assigned October 9, due October 21

  • [7]: General Problem Set 3, pgs. 190-191, of Ch. 6 of text book, assigned October 23, due October 30

  • [8]: General Problem Set 2, 3, and 4(e, h) on pgs. 214-215 of Ch. 7 of text book, assigned Nov. 4, due Nov. 12

  • [9]: Assignment on do-support and TPs, assigned Nov. 13, due Nov. 20

  • [10]: General Problem Set 6 on pg. 311 of Ch. 10 of text book, assigned Nov. 20, due Nov. 25

  • [11]: Problem on long adjunct movement, assigned Dec. 2, due Dec. 4

  • [12]: Final Exam, assigned Dec. 4, due by 2p.m., Dec. 12