Germanic Languages | The Structure of Modern German
G551 | 2632 | Professor Rex Sprouse
G551 The Structure of Modern German (3 cr.)
MW, BH 322
Prerequisite: None. In particular, this course does not have as a
prerequisite any specific background in linguistics.
Syntax is the branch of linguistics devoted to the study of the
structure of phrases and sentences, and semantics is concerned with
issues of interpretation. This course introduces students to the
study of the syntax and the syntax-semantics interface in Modern
German within recent, mainstream generative theory, with emphasis on
description, analysis, and argumentation. German-English similarities
and contrasts in sentence structure and the interpretation of
sentences will be highlighted, as well as the place of German syntax
within the broader typological space of the world’s languages. In a
nutshell, the broad issues are the following:
(1) What constitutes a well-formed phrase or sentence of German,
and what are the principles that determine this?
(2) What effects does word order have on the interpretation of
German phrases and sentences?
The course will begin with a brief introduction to syntactic analysis
on the basis of the Fromkin textbook. Most of the course will be
devoted to careful reading and discussion of recent scholarly
articles and book chapters treating (primarily) German syntax and the
syntax-semantics interface. During this part of the course, each
student will present an article to the class and write up a brief
summary and review of it (ca. 5 to 8 pages). At the end of the term,
students will submit a final course paper (ca. 15 to 25 pages) and
give a thirty-minute class presentation based on it.
Class participation 25%
Article presentation/summary/review 25%
Course paper and presentation 50%
This course counts toward the fulfilment of the Linguistics
requirements for the M.A. in Germanic Studies and for the Ph.D. in
Modern German Literature and Culture. It is strongly recommended for
students pursuing the Ph.D. in Germanic Linguistics and Philology.
Fromkin, Victoria (ed.) (2000) Linguistics: An Introduction to
Linguistic Theory. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers. ISBN: 0-631-
19711-7. [Note: Current plans call for using this textbook for
general background in G548 and G558 as well.]
articles on reserve in BH 643