Linguistics Department

Syntax/Semantics - Program of Study

In the first year, graduate students usually take two required courses related to syntax and semantics:

  • LIN 380L: Syntax I. This is a graduate introduction to syntax. Students learn the transformational framework for grammatical analysis (Principles and Parameters theory).  This course is offered every Fall semester.
  • LIN 380M: Semantics I. This is a graduate introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics.  It is normally offered every Spring semester.

Beginning in their second year, students interested in continuing in syntax and semantics can choose courses from among the following (some students may take these courses in their first year as well):

  • LIN 381L: Syntax II. The continuation of Syntax I, this course provides students with a background in the lexicalist, non-transformational approach to syntax (Lexical Functional Grammar). It is normally offered in the Spring semester.
  • LIN 381S: Semantics II is normally offered in the Fall semester.  This course deals in more depth in a series of special topics in formal semantics and/or pragmatics.
  • LIN 393S: Topics in syntax and semantics is the general title for advanced seminars in syntax and semantics.   These seminars vary in topic from semester to semester.  A seminar is normally offered most semesters.   Recent topics have included The Syntax-Lexicon Interface, Agreement and Pronouns, Lexical Semantic Typology, and Information and Intonation.  Students normally undertake original research and write a term paper for these seminars.

Finally, all students in all years also take the following course:

LIN 389S: Linguistic Research in Syntax-Semantics. This is an area meeting course designed to give students a chance to present their research for feedback and hear what their peers are doing, and read papers and books of common interest. This course is offered every semester.

Still other courses of interest to syntax and semantics students include LIN 392: Minimalist Syntax (occasional) and LIN 394K • Philosophy of Language (offered most years, topics vary), as well as courses in Computational Linguistics (see Computational Linguistics concentration).

Students will also be expected to work closely with faculty advisors in developing their own research starting from year one, either through the above classes or through one-on-one conference courses.