Module Details

LG614-7-SP-CO: Syntactic Theory Ii

Year: 2017/18
Department: Language and Linguistics
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No
Comments: A pass in LG514 Syntactic Theory I (or ability to demonstrate equivalent knowledge).

Supervisor: Dr Doug Arnold
Teaching Staff: Dr Doug Arnold
Contact details: Dr Doug Arnold, 4.334, 2084,

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

This module offers an in depth introduction to Head Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG) a contemporary constraint based formalism.

The first part of the module will introduce the basic mechanism of types and constraints and show how a variety of linguistic phenomena can be accommodated within the framework. We will look in particular at head-complement structures, head-subject structures, raising and control sentences, unbounded dependencies, anaphora and valency alternations.

In the second part of the module, the aim is to choose a number of research papers from the recent literature to focus on. Individual students will be responsible for presenting these papers to the class, which will then be the topic of their assignment for the Module. Wherever possible, the topic and paper selected will be one that feeds directly into a student's dissertation topic.
Learning outcomes: By the end of the module you will have a good understanding of the theoretical apparatus of HPSG, and be able to use it to describe and analyse a range of syntactic phenomena; you will have experience of handling linguistic data and of linguistic argumentation. You will be able to consult the primary literature with some confidence.

Learning and Teaching Methods

10 classes by 2 hour seminars


100 per cent Coursework Mark


Assignment Written 100


  • Borsley, Robert D. 1996. Modern Phrase Structure Grammar. Blackwell textbooks in linguistics, No. 11, Blackwell Publishers.
  • Jonathan Ginzburg and Ivan A. Sag. Interrogative Investigations: the Form, Meaning and Use of English Interrogatives. CSLI Publications, Stanford, Ca., 2001.
  • Kim, Jong-Bok and Sells, Peter. 2008. English Syntax: An Introduction. Stanford, Ca.: CSLI Publica- tions.
  • Mu"¡ller, Stefan. 2016. Grammatical Theory: From Transformational Grammar to Constraint-Based Ap- proaches. Textbooks in Language Sciences, No. 1, Berlin: Language Science Press.
  • Pollard, Carl J. and Sag, Ivan A. 1994. Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Sag, Ivan A. 2012. Sign-Based Construction Grammar: An Informal Synopsis. In Hans C. Boas and Ivan A. Sag (eds.), Sign-based Construction Grammar, CSLI Lecture Notes, No. 193, pages 69–202, CSLI Publications.
  • Sag, Ivan A., Wasow, Thomas and Bender, Emily M. 2003. Syntactic Theory: A Formal Introduction. Stanford, Ca: CSLI Publications, second edition.

Further information