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

Fall 2009

SPN 383N • Introduction to Spanish Syntax and Semantics

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
48280 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
BEN 1.118

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, DO, IO, and other complements) •Semantics of transitive, ditransitive, and intransitive constructions •Syntactic Functions, subject and object (DO & IO), and how 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 preterit/imperfect contrast) Unit THREE: Behaviors of unstressed pronouns, clitics •Morphophonological properties of clitics: Clitichood, clitic placement, and clitic clusters •Distribution of argument clitics and their syntactic status: Several alternatives •Multifunctional clitic se •Restructuring and Clitic-climbing Unit FOUR: Subordination and Mood Selection •Three types of finite clauses (nominal, adjectival, and adverbial) •Mood Selection (Indicative vs. Subjunctive) in finite clauses •Mood and Aspect (Me alegró que vinieras vs. Me alegró que hubieras venido) Unit FIVE: Interface (Syntax/Discourse) - Time permitting •Word Order •Overt and null arguments

Grading Policy

1. Participation 15 2. In-class Short Review Tests (3-4) 20 3. Take-home Essays (1) 15 4. Research Project (Presentation+paper) 35 (10+25) 5. Small Research Task 10 (By completion) 6. Homework 5 (By completion) Total 100


1. There is no required textbook for this course. The reading materials will come from different sources, including the book manuscript in preparation by the instructor. They will be made available in class for photo-copying. 2. Hand-outs prepared by the instructor.


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