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

Fall 2007

SPN 383M • Introduction to Spanish Syntax/Semantics

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
49465 MW
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
MEZ 1.104

Course Description

This course examines what elements go into building a Spanish sentence - simple and complex -, and how these elements are structured to convey particular meanings. The objective of this course is two-fold: a) to provide a training to analyze Spanish data and to draw generalizations from them, and b) to provide an empirical foundation for more specialized and formal studies in Spanish syntax as well as in other areas of Spanish linguistics. This course also helps future Spanish college professors to improve their grammatical knowledge of Spanish and to understand what constitutes the critical differences between English and Spanish in the way sentences are structured. The course is organized into the following five units.

Unit ONE: Verbs and arguments Thematic roles (Agent, Theme, etc.) and Argument Selection (Subject and complements) Semantics of transitive, ditransitive, intransitive and copulative (ser/estar) constructions Syntactic Functions, subject and object, and they are (un)realized Unit TWO: Tense/Aspect Tense (Present, future, and past) Aspect: Situation aspect and viewpoint aspect (with a special reference to the preterite/ imperfect contrast) Unit THREE: Behaviors of unstressed pronouns, clitics Morphophonological properties of clitics: Clitichood, clitic placement, and clitic clusters Distribution of clitics Clitic-climbing Multi-functional clitic se Unit FOUR: Subordination and Mood Selection Finite and non-finite clauses Mood Selection (Indicative vs. Subjunctive) Mood and Aspect Me alegró que vinieras vs. Me alegró que hubieras venido) Unit FIVE: Interface (Syntax/Discourse) Word Order Overt and null arguments

Grading Policy

The final grade will be based on the following breakdown: 1. Participation 15 2. Exams (Take-home essays) 40 3. Occasional Review Quizzes 10 4. Research Project (Presentation+paper) 30 5. Homework 5 Total 100


1. There is no required textbook for this course. The reading materials will come from different sources (See Bibliography below), and a course packet will be prepared by the instructor. 2. Hand-outs prepared by the instructor, containing explanations and problem-solving analytical exercises. Basic Bibliography Campos, Hector. 1993. De la oracion simple a la oracion compuesta : Curso superior de gramática española. Washington, D.C. : Georgetown University Press. Clements, J. Clancy and Jiyoung Yoon (eds.) 2005. Functional Approaches to Spanish Syntax. Palgrave Macmillan. Haverkate, Henk 2002. The Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics of Spanish Mood. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Nishida, Chiyo. (in progress) Spanish Syntax and Semanticsfor Language Specialists. University of Texas. Ms. Smith, Carlota. 1991/1997. The Parameter of Aspect. Dordrecht: Reidel. Suñer, Margarita. 1982. Syntax and Semantics of Spanish Presentational Sentences-types. Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press.


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