English Syntax 2: The Sentence

Course title: English Syntax 2: The Sentence
Course coordinator: Professor Irena Zovko Dinković
Instructors: Professor Irena Zovko Dinković
Status: mandatory
ECTS credits: 6
Semester: 4th (summer)
Enrollment requirements: passed exam in Syntax 1: Word Classes

Objectives: to introduce the students to the more complex aspects of sentence structure, for example, the argument structure of the predicate, complex and compound sentences, etc. as well as the semantic relationships among different parts of the sentence. Students also analyze different linguistic phenomena such as transitivity, aspect, ellipsis, etc., and compare them to the Croatian language and other languages. At the end of semester the students are introduced to the basic tenets of the main formal and functional syntactic theories in order to gain a wider perspective not only on the syntax of English but also on general language mechanisms.

Week by week schedule:

  1. General information about the course. Revision of Syntax I.
  2. Dependency relations. Syntactic and semantic arguments of verbs. Grammatical relations and meaning. (Miller, ch. 11; Burton-Roberts, 38-45; Van Valin, pp. 22-26)
  3. Coordination. Properties of sentence elements. (Burton-Roberts, pp. 30-35; Greenbaum & Quirk, 10.1.−10.18; Miller, pp. 88-93; Van Valin, pp. 41-43)
  4. Subjects. Subject-verb agreement.
  5. Behavioral properties of grammatical relations: direct and indirect objects. (Van Valin, pp. 35-37, 59-62, 67-69, 70-78; Miller, pp. 93-99)
  6. Transitivity. Verb alternations. (Miller, pp. 51-53; Burton-Roberts, pp. 81-91; Van Valin, 60-64)
  7. Revision. Mid-term exam.
  8. Tense and aspect. (Miller, pp. 143-151)
    9. Modality and voice: active and passive. (Miller, pp. 136-142, 151-154; Longman)
  9. Pro-forms and reference. Ellipsis. (Burton-Roberts, pp. 141-145, 219-220; Miller, p. 17; Longman)
    11. Sentence types: questions and negation.(Miller, pp. 107-111; Longman)
  10. Complex sentences. Relative clauses. (Burton-Roberts, pp. 228-236; Miller, pp. 64-65; Van Valin, pp. 46-49)
  11. Functions of subordinate clauses: nominal and adverbial clauses (Longman, Greenbaum & Quirk, 15.1.−15.9)
  12. Information structure: theme and rheme, focus and topic.
  13. Final revision. End-term exam.

Course description:
The units are presented as Powerpoint presentations accompanied by handouts. After each unit, the students are given homework, which they check with the instructor in class. They are also expected to read at home the relevant parts of obligatory reading. Exercises and additional materials (handouts, articles, web links…) are available to students on the Omega e-learning system.

Course requirements:
Students should attend the classes regularly, actively participate in class and solve the homeworks. During the semester, there are two reviews. The students have the option of taking a mid-term and an end-term exam, which give a combined grade. The last week of the course is dedicated to preparing students for the final exam. The final exam is written and the grade is numeral.

Obligatory reading (selected chapters and pages):
– Greenbaum, Sidney, Randolph Quirk, Geoffrey Leech & Jan Svartvik (1990). A Student’s Grammar of the English Language, Harlow: Longman.
– Biber, Douglas, Susan Conrad, Geoffrey Leech (2002). Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English, Harlow: Longman.
– Van Valin, Robert D. Jr. (2001). An Introduction to Syntax, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Suggested reading:
– Burton-Roberts, Noel (1997). Analysing Sentences: Introduction to English Syntax, Harlow: Longman
– Dryer, Matthew (1986). Primary objects, Secondary Objects, and Antidative, Language 62 (4): 808 – 845
– Hopper, Paul & Sandra Thompson (1980). Transitivity in Grammar and Discourse, Language 56 (2): 251 – 299
– Huddleston, Rodney & Geoffrey Pullum (2005). A Student’s Introduction to English Grammar, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
– Kučanda, Dubravko (1999). O logičkom subjektu, Filologija 32: 75 – 90
– Lambrecht, Knud (1984). Information structure and sentence form. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
– Miller, Jim (2001). An Introduction to English Syntax, Edinburgh:
Edinburgh University Press.
– Nichols, Johanna (1986). Head-Marking and Dependent-Marking Grammar, Language 62 (1): 56 – 119
– Palmer, Frank R. (1994). Grammatical roles and relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press