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

Fall 2005

SPN 383N • Spanish/English Contrastive Analysis

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47325 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
BEN 1.118

Course Description

This course examines how the English and the Spanish languages critically differ in the way sentences are structured in accordance with the meaning that needs to be communicated. One important goal of this course is to help Spanish teachers understand what constitutes the areas of difficulty for English speakers learning Spanish. Although we cover syntactic/semantic topics, we approach them strictly from a descriptive point of view. The topics to be covered are the following: Unit ONE: Basic Structure of Sentences Different types of verbs (intransitive, transitive, ditransitive, copulative, etc.) Syntactic Functions, subject and object, and how they are (un)realized. Semantic Roles (agent, theme, goal, etc.) and syntactic functions: How they are aligned. Unit TWO: Behaviors of Unstressed Pronouns (me, te, lo, etc.) Clitic Climbing (Quiero leerlo vs. Lo quiero leer) and Trigger Verbs Different Functions of se Unit THREE: Mood/Tense/Aspect Tense and Aspect (Aspectual Classes and Perfectivity) with special attention to the preterite/imperfect contrast Subordination (Complementation) and Mood Selection -Indicative vs. Subjunctive -Infinitive vs. Subjunctive Subjunctive and Tense/Aspect (Me alegró que vinieras vs. Me alegró que hubieras venido) Unit FOUR: Interface (Syntax/Semantics/Discourse) Word Order (Presentational/Declarative Sentences and Wh-Questions) Overt and Null Arguments

Grading Policy

No previous training in linguistics is required; however, good familiarity with both the Spanish and the Engish grammar is mandatory. The final grade will be based on the following breakdown: 1. Participation 10 2. Mid-term Exam (2) 50 3. Occasional Review Quizzes 15 4. Project 20 5. Homework 5 Total 100


1. There is no required textbook for this course. The reading materials will come from different sources, and a course packet will be prepared by the instructor. 2. Hand-outs prepared by the instructor, containing explanations, problem-solving analyses, and exercises.


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