Germanic Languages | Structure of Modern German
G551 | 25001 | Rex Sprouse
G551: Structure of Modern German (3 CR) 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 topics
(beyond the introductory material) is explored; thus, students may
take the course more than once. Tentative plans for Spring 2006 call
for examination of central issues in comparative morphosyntax of the
Germanic languages such as the position of verbs, the internal
structure of “Noun Phrases,” the distribution of expletive subjects,
and syntax of sentential complementation.
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%
Green, Georgia M. & Jerry L. Morgan (2001) Practical Guide to
Syntactic Analysis. 2nd edition. (CSLI Lecture Notes, 135.) 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