production
Skip to Content

LN4010: MINIMALISM AND MICROVARIATION (2021-2022)

Last modified: 16 Aug 2021 13:56


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 First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr Elspeth Edelstein

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

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

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

None.

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

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

In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown

  • 2 Seminars during University weeks 14 - 19

More Information about Week Numbers


In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

First Attempt

1 x Essay 2500-3000 words (75%)
1 x Seminar Assessment (25%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.