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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

A drive for simplicity and efficiency in syntactic analysis has led to the Minimalist Programme, an updated take on generative grammar. At the same time, many linguists are now tapping into the possibilities of morphosyntactic variation between dialects: for instance, contrasts between the ‘Standard’ construction in (1) and the ‘non-Standard’ Scottish form in (2).

(1) The cat wants to be fed

(2) The cat wants fed

Such small grammatical differences can provide insight into broader syntactic theory. This course will use data from different varieties of English to give students a deeper understanding of current questions and approaches to syntax.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Elspeth Edelstein

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Programme Level 4
  • Language And Linguistics (LN) (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Expanding on ideas covered in the Level 3 course Dissecting Sentences, this course will explore the Minimalist model of syntactic analysis. This theoretical framework will be introduced by examining microvariation in morphosyntax, small grammatical differences between dialects that have implications for how we view syntax on a macro level. Examination of real-world data from different varieties of English will help students develop the skills to assess arguments regarding syntactic structure and conduct their own analyses.

By the end of this course students will:

  • understand the primary differences between the Minimalist Programme and preceding approaches to syntactic study
  • have the tools to conduct and assess syntactic analysis within a Minimalist framework
  • be familiar with a number of outstanding theoretical questions in modern-day syntactic work

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

There are no assessments for this course.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.



Course Learning Outcomes


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