French and Italian | Advanced French Syntax
F671 | 26002 | Vance, Barbara S.


This course offers both a continuation of F577 and a focus on a
particular area of advanced syntax, Diachronic Syntax (joint-listed
as Linguistics L760). The “generative enterprise” is predicated on
the observation that children acquire, effortlessly and perfectly,
the language that is spoken around them. And yet a brief look at the
history of most any language shows us that there is some slippage
somewhere – that the grammar acquired by generation x is not always
the same as that acquired by generation x +n. The field of generative
diachronic syntax seeks ultimately to explain how grammars change
over time. Its tools are (1) careful examination of historical texts
(2) syntactic analysis (3) application of insights from research on
language acquisition (1st and 2nd) and (4) application of insights
from research on language variation. For their semester projects,
students will choose an area of French grammar to explore from a
diachronic perspective.