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SEL8026 : Generative Syntax

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Michelle Sheehan
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


Students are familiarised with a scientific approach to syntax. Major syntactic phenomena (categories, features, rules, principles) are dealt with in the context of contemporary syntactic theory. Students develop their skills in sentence analysis, learn how to test hypotheses and argue for theoretical explanations.

Outline Of Syllabus

- Aims and context: the scientific study of language;
- Phrase structure, X' theory, Merge, Bare Phrase Structure
- Argument structure, theta-theory;
- Case, Agreement, Binding
- Movement: A'-movement, A-movement, head movement;
- Syntactic features and valuation
- Discourse and syntax; the left periphery
- The architecture of grammar: Logical Form, Phonetic Form;
- Cross-linguistic syntactic variation

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1167:00167:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture211:0021:00Shared with SEL2089
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00essay consultation
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SEL2089Syntactic Theory
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures (shared with SEL2089): To introduce and discuss theoretical concepts and methodology.

Seminars: To apply theoretical concepts and methods to linguistic examples, and practice analysis of linguistic expressions.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A1004000 word essay
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Portfolio1MPortfolio of semi-weekly problem sets (pre- and post-seminar)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The problem set portfolio gives the students a sense of their progress across the semester with respect to the necessary basic analytic skills in syntactic theory which will be relevant for the final assessment.

The final assessment is an extended problem set through which the students demonstrate understanding of syntactic theory, analysis, and argumentation, and ability to apply knowledge of theory and analysis to empirical and/or theoretical problems, using methods of scientific inquiry.

Reading Lists