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SEL8689 : Minimalist Syntax: Data and Theory Building (Inactive)

  • Inactive 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 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module gives students an introduction to Minimalist syntax, focusing on data from English and other languages. The content will be research-driven, based around recent publications on a specific topic in syntax and the focus will be on analysing data and constructing theory in this domain. The topic for this year will be questions.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. The basics: wh-movement, head movement and prosody
2. Question particles and pied piping (English vs. Tlingit)
3. Superiority and multiple wh-movement (English vs. German vs. Russian)
4. Successive cyclicity
5. Subject object asymmetries
6. Islands
7. Other extraction restrictions
8. Wh-in-situ and resumptive pronouns
9. Questions in signed languages
10 Signed languages and the theory of questions
11. Summary and assessment planning

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion157:0057:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities1110:00110:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SEL3426Comparative Syntax: English in a cross-linguistic context
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students will read core readings for discussion in lectures and complete analytical tasks for discussion in seminars each week. This will guide them to engage critically with published research and to test out theories empirically with controlled datasets provided first by the lecturer. As the module progresses, students will be encouraged to collect their own data and read more widely in relation to their chosen essay topic, guided by the lecturer.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research paper2A853500 words. A guided study involving data collection and analysis
Reflective log2M15500 words. Students will submit a report outlining their response to feedback on their research proposal.
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
Research proposal2MStudents will submit a proposal for their final assessment and receive feedback on it, including peer feedback.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students will complete a research paper focusing on one of the topics covered in the module or something related to these topics. This will involve additional reading and data collection and analysis in order to test one or more of the theoretical proposals discussed on the course. Students will first submit a plan for their projects to receive feedback on this from the lecturer ad from peers. They will then respond to this feedback in a written report before completing their research project.

Reading Lists