Germanic Languages | The Structure of Modern German
G551 | 2823 | Rex Sprouse
G551: The Structure of Modern German(3 CR)Professor Rex Sprouse
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 morpho-syntax (word order and inflection)
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 Ramers (2000). 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. Every time the course is offered
(typically, once every four semesters), a different set of three
topics (beyond the introductory material) is explored; thus,
students may take the course more than once. Tentative plans call
for examination of the following topics in Spring 2004:
(1) The locative alternation
(2) Passives and middles
(3) The syntax and semantics of adverbs
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 33%
Course paper and presentation 67%
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.
Green, Georgia M. & Jerry L. Morgan (2002) Practical Guide to
Syntactic Analysis. (CSLI Lecture Notes, 67.) Stanford, CA: Center
for the Study of Language and Information. ISBN: 1-57586-348-0.
Ramers, Karl Heinz(2000) Einführung in die Syntax. (UTB, 2174.)
Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag. ISBN: 3-8252-2174-1.
articles and book chapters on reserve in BH 643