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Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Fall 2006

SPN 383N • Spanish Generative Syntax

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
49230 W
6:00 PM-9:00 PM
BEN 1.118

Course Description

An overview of the main structural features of Spanish is presented which emphasizes its nature as a Pro-drop language and utilizes current linguistic methodology. The topics to be covered include null/overt pronouns, determiners, impersonal and passive reflexives, wh-clauses, free subject order, and agreement, among others.

Chomsky's Principles and Parameters and Minimalist theory are applied to the description of Spanish as a language which allows unpronounced subject and object pronouns with a finite verb. The structural features of the language derive by Universal Grammars (UG) principles operating on the system of agreement inflections, rather than by construction-specific rules. Binding principles that define the use of unstressed pronouns account for Spanish null pronouns, which are identified by subject agreement affixes and pronominal object clitics. Inflectional affixes require Verb-movement, and this affects the form of verbal complements, in particular, clausal ones. Differences in the distribution and Case-marking of que vs. that, word-order in wh-clauses, preposition-stranding, control and obviation phenomena, Exceptional Case-marking structures, as well as the movement of pronominal clitics, follow from V-movement. The Pro-drop property is also responsible for the functional use of reflexives in passive, middle-voice and impersonal sentences, as well as for the lexical preference of the language for psych-verbs that are Dative-assigners, vg. alegrar, gustar, enojar, etc.

Grading Policy

A (take-home) Mid-term exam A (single or co-authored) Term paper (Topic must be approved by early OCT; First draft: due on NOV 12; Final version: due on DEC 12)


Zagona, Karen. 2002. The Syntax of Spanish. Cambridge University Press. Radford, Andrew. 1997. Syntax: a Minimalist Introduction. Cambridge University Press. Additional required readings: Ausðn, Adolfo and Marcela Depiante. 2000. "On the syntax of parecer ('to seem') with and without experiencer". Hispanic Linguistics at the Turn of the Millennium, ed. By Campos, Héctor, et al. 155-170. Demonte, Violeta. 1995. Dative alternation in Spanish. Probus 7, 5-30. Di Tulio, Angela. 2004. Los verbos psicolïgicos y la estatividad. Realizaciones del espa ìol. Cuadernos de Lingüðstica XI, ed. By Fábregas, Antonio and M. E. Simoni. Instituto Universitario Ortega y Gasset, Madrid. 23-42. Franco, Jon. 1990. Towards a typology of psych-verbs: evidence from Spanish. MITWPL 12. 46-92. Montrul, Slvina. 1996. Clitic-doubled dative subjects in Spanish. Grammatical theory and Romance languages : selected papers from the 25th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL XXV), ed. by Zagona, Karen. John Benjamins, Amsterdam. 183-195. Su ìer, Margarita. 1988. The role of agreement in clitic-doubled constructions. NLLT 6. 391-434. Torrego, Esther. 1996. Experiencers and raising verbs. Current Issues in Comparative Grammar, edited by Freidin, Robert. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 101-121. Zubizarreta, Marða-Luisa. 1994. El orden de palabras en espa ìol y el caso nominativo. Gramática del Espa ìol, ed. de V. Demonte. Public. de NRFH, 21-49. Topics of Study: [Abbreviations: Z: Zagona; R: Radford] 1. Overview of the grammar (Z, 7-68) - Grammar (R, 1-24), Categories (R, 29-43) - X-bar theory, Theta-theory, Clause structure (Handout notes) 2. The Noun phrase: Argument vs. Predicate NP, Complement vs. Adjunct, Case (Z, 73-94) - Categories (R, 44-56) 3. The Noun phrase: Determiners, Specifiers of Predicate NP, Constituent order (Z, 94-116) - Structure (R, 61-80) 4. The Verb phrase (Z, 118-135) - Empty categories (R. 82-100) 5. The Verb phrase (Z, 135-156) - Head Movement (R, 106-124) 6. VP-related functional categories: V/T relation, Auxiliaries (Z, 158-182) - Operator movement (R, 130-147) 7. VP-related functional categories: Clitics; Negation (Z, 184-200) - Subjects (R, 151-168) 8. Subjects, topics and constituent order: Free subject order; Focus / topic (Z, 202-219) - A(rgument) movement (R, 175-192) 9. Subjects, topics and constituent order: Dislocations, Subject order, Pro-drop (Z, 220-238) - VP shells (R, 198-218) 10. A-bar movement, and head movement: Wh-movement, Focus (Z, 241-254) - Agreement projections (R, 223-245)


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