SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics

Syntax (Masters)

Module Code:
Taught in:
Term 1

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module, 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


Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week consisting of a lecture.

Scope and syllabus

This module 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 module 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 module will provide a foundation for any student who wishes to write an MA thesis in syntax.

Method of assessment

A data set analysis of 1000 words to be submitted on day 1 of week 6 in the term the course is taught (40%); an essay of 3000 words to be submitted on day 1 of the following term (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.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules