Linguistics 461: Introduction to Syntax

Course Info

Instructor Info



This course is an introduction to the central concepts of formal syntactic analysis (parts of speech, phrases, structural relations, clauses, etc.) and the methodology of developing and applying such concepts.

Note: To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz, 206-543-8924 (V/TTY). If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating that you have a disability which requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to the instructor so we can discuss the accommodations you might need in this class.


Students are expected to complete the assigned readings before each lecture. Homeworks are due at the beginning of class on the days indicated. Unavoidable late homework submissions (e.g., due to illness) should be approved in advance by the instructor. Homeworks submitted late without prior approval will have points deducted.

Students may discuss homework assignments with each other, but everyone must write up their assignments separately.

Grades will be based on 8 homework assignments (50%), 2 midterms (25%), a final exam (20%) and class participation (5%). Class participation includes participating in discussions on the EPost bulletin board.

Grading distribution:
4.0 = 95% and above3.4 = 89%
3.9 = 94%3.3 = 88%
3.8 = 93%3.2 = 87%
3.7 = 92%3.1 = 86%
3.6 = 91%3.0 = 85%
3.5 = 90%and so on

Schedule of Topics and Assignments

1/6Organization, IntroductionCh 1 
1/8No class - to be made up as review session
at the end of the quarter
1/13Sentence structure
Word-level categories
1/15Phrasal categories2.4-2.6HW1
Answer Key
Mean: 80 Median: 87.5
1/20Words used as phrases
Testing the structure
1/22Review HW2
Answer Key
Mean: 81 Median: 85
Make up
1/27Midterm Answer Key
Mean: 89 Median: 89
1/29Guest lecture:
The nature of phrase-markers
2/3Constraints on p-markers
Generating p-markers
Conflating categories
The nature of categories
NB: Slides updated 2/9/04
Answer Key
Mean: 87 Median: 90
2/10 NP structures4.2-4.4HW4
Answer Key (updated 2/23)
Mean: 78 Median: 83
2/12Class cancelled (sorry!)  
2/17Optionality, complements v. adjuncts4.5-4.6 
2/19Nominal and adjective premodifiers4.7-4.8HW5
Answer Key (updated 2/25)
Mean: 84 Median: 85.75
2/26Midterm  Answer Key
Mean: 84 Median: 85.75
3/2Verb phrases, adjectival phrases
prepositional phrases
3/4Generalizing and eliminating
categorial rules
Answer Key
Mean: 89 Median: 91.75
3/9Other clauses6.2-6.4 
3/11More on clauses6.5-6.8HW7
Answer Key
Mean: 93 Median: 97
Balmer 205
3/15Final Exam: Smith 307 10:30-12:20 HW8 (optional)
HW 8 Answer Key
Mean: 81 Median: 84
Final Answer Key
Mean: 84 Median: 85.5