LING419: Fitting Syntax and Semantics Together
Spring 2010

When a human being knows a language, he/she knows that certain sounds are paired with certain meanings. In your syntax classes, you've basically learnt that certain sounds are paired with certain tree structures. The aim of this course is to complete the picture by looking at how those tree structures relate to meanings, and look at why the syntax-centric approach that you have been exposed to has become popular.

Course syllabus


Final paper guidelines

The final paper is due at 9am, Monday 17 May. Here are some tips on how to go about it.


This is subject to change, as stated on the syllabus.

Date Topic Student(s)
Readings Notes/Extras
Mon 25 Jan Course intro/CG basics Steedman 1996, ch.2
(just the parts marked "syntax")
Steedman 1992, pp.8-14
(ignore the "aside on combinators")
Wed 27 Jan CG basics
Mon 1 Feb Intro to semantics and lambda notation Steedman 1996, ch.2
(now ignore just 2.1.3, 2.1.4, 2.1.5 and 2.2.4)
Understanding slashes and lambdas
Wed 3 Feb Intro to semantics and lambda notation
Mon 8 Feb Cancelled — snow
Wed 10 Feb Cancelled — snow
Mon 15 Feb Intro to semantics and lambda notation
Wed 17 Feb Quantification in CGs Steedman 2000, section 4.4
Warning: (52) is somewhat misleading
Mon 22 Feb Quantification in CGs
Wed 24 Feb Quantification and Relative Clauses in CGs Semantics of relative clauses
Mon 1 Mar Island effects: CG accounts Steedman 1996, ch.3 (just focus on sections 3.4.1 and 3.5.1)
Summary: Islands in CG
Wed 3 Mar Island effects: CG accounts
Mon 8 Mar Island effects: Transformational accounts Haegemann 1994 excerpts: Subjacency and ECP
Wed 10 Mar Island effects: Evidence from Chinese Huang 1982 (mainly sections 1 and 3) More Huang on LF (section 4.3)
Mon 15 Mar Spring Break
Wed 17 Mar
Mon 22 Mar Formal transformational grammar Levon, Olivia Handout; Kobele 2006 section 1 Stabler 1997
Wed 24 Mar Quantification in transformational grammar Lily, Sherrod Handout; Heim and Kratzer 1998, ch.6, ch.7
Mon 29 Mar Conservativity of determiners Rachel, Mardy Handout; Hunter and Conroy 2008 Barwise and Cooper 1981
Wed 31 Mar Interim summary/recap
Mon 5 Apr Event semantics: Why do we do it? Heather, Mickkie Handout

Parsons 1990, ch.1-2
Landman 2000, ch.1?
Wed 7 Apr Event semantics: How do we do it?
Mon 12 Apr Event semantics: How do we do it?
Wed 14 Apr Adjunction Hornstein et al. 2005, ch. 6, sections 6.1 to 6.3 Carnie 2007, ch.6, ch.7 on DPs
Mon 19 Apr Adjunction in Bare phrase structure Tom, Laura Handout; Hornstein and Nunes 2008 (Don't worry about section 5)
Wed 21 Apr Paper topic discussions Anton, Levon, Julia, Mardy
Mon 26 Apr Paper topic discussions Diana, Rachel, Sherrod, Olivia
Wed 28 Apr Paper topic discussions Tom, Laura, Heather, Lily
Mon 3 May Meaning and verification Anton, Diana Handout, Slides; Hunter et al. 2008 Pietroski et al. 2009
Wed 5 May Grammars and processing Chomsky 1965 Edelman and Christiansen 2002,
Green and Morgan 1996,
Hornstein et al. 2005, sec. 6.4
Mon 10 May Grammars and processing; Wrap up Steinberg 1993, Kintsch 1974

Controversy about islands

Required background from Syntax I

For those who feel that their syntax background may be rusty, here's a guide to which parts of the LING311 textbook (Syntax: A Generative Introduction by Andrew Carnie, 2007, second edition) it would be good to review:

Back up to Tim's web page