Paulina Lyskawa, The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø & Maša Bešlin, University of Maryland

Ling A: Introduction to Syntax

Paulina Lyskawa (Uit) Maša Bešlin (University of Maryland)

This course is an introduction to the foundational findings and concepts of the generative approach to the syntax of natural languages. Some of the issues we will touch on include: the hierarchical organization of expressions in language; the syntax of disjoint reference and covariation (a.k.a. Binding Theory); and movement (i.e., the displacement of syntactic units) and its subtypes. For each of these, we will first present a sampling of the kind of data that (hopefully) convinces us that there is a phenomenon to be explained, in the first place. Then, we will present (and critically evaluate) theoretical accounts of these phenomena. In doing so, we will keep our sights set on the following overarching factors: cross-linguistic differences, and cross-linguistic invariants (a.k.a. "universals"), and how to account for each; and the relationship between the linguistic system that humans end up acquiring and the data/input available to them in the course of this acquisition.