SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics

Syntax (Masters)

Module Code:
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Term 1

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate…

  • familiarity with the basic ideas of LFG
  • the understanding of how to apply linguistic tools in the analysis of data from various languages
  • a knowledge of a range of core syntactic constructions which have figured in the development of linguistic theory
  • basic skills in syntactic argumentation


This course will be taught over 10 weeks with 3 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

This course is intended to provide an introduction to the grammatical theory Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG). LFG takes a highly surface-oriented approach to syntactic analysis and differs from other syntactic frameworks in placing a key role to relational notions such as "subject", "object" and "adjunct". This course introduces key ideas of LFG and develops analyses of a range of phenomena within the theory, for example, the major valence-changing operations, relative clauses, serial verbs and clause-chaining. The focus will be on analysing syntactic constructions in English and many other languages. The course will provide a foundation for any student who wishes to write an MA thesis in syntax.

Method of assessment

One essay of 1,500 words to be submitted on day 1, week 7, term 1 (20%); one essay of 1,500 words to be submitted on Friday, week 10 (20%); one essay of 3,000 words to be submitted on day 1, week 1, term 2 (60%).

Suggested reading

  • Kroeger, P. (2004) Analyzing Syntax, A lexical-Functional Approach, Cambridge University Press.
  • Tallerman, M. (2005) (2nd edition) Understanding Syntax, Hodder Arnold.
  • Kroeger, P. (2005) Analyzing Grammar: an introduction. Cambridge University Press.
  • Dalrymple, M. (2001) Lexical-Functional Grammar, Syntax and Semantics.
  • Falk, Y. (2001) Lexical-Functional Grammar: An introduction to parallel constraint-based syntax. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.


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