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Processing Syntax and Semantics


Admission requirements

Students must have registered for Psycholinguistics, Neurolinguistics, Semantics 1 and Syntax 1. Although
not mandatory, it is very helpful if students have taken Experimental Methods I, and Statistics I in the


In this course we review the classic literature on syntactic and semantic processing with a focus on
different parsing theories and experimental work from the past 40 years, covering to name a few, issues
such as: ambiguity resolution and garden-paths; plausibility, frequency and working memory effects in
processing and the use of grammatical constraints such as binding or islanhood in parsing.

During the first block of the course, we will discuss essential psycholinguistic models up to the most
current ones. In the second block of the course, we will cover the processing of syntactic phenomena,
phenomena at the syntax-semantics interface and phenomena at the syntax-prosody interface.

Course objectives

  • Students acquire basic background knowledge on the classic literature and theories on (syntactic and semantic) sentence processing.

  • Students are able to analyze and compare different parsing models.

  • Students are able to recognize different psycholinguisitics and neurolinguitic methods applied to sentence processing.

  • Students develop critical thinking about the literature covered in the lectures and in the assignments.

  • Students are able to formulate a research question on sentence processing and to generate an
    original experiment proposal or a proposal of an experiment that critically extends previous experimental work.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


Students will get their total grade (5 ECs) out of the following combination: (i) 40% of the grade will be based on bi-weekly summaries and exercises connected to articles whose topics will be discussed during the course program. (ii) 60% of the grade will be based on a research paper to be produced at the end of the course.
Bi-weekly assignments are mandatory and a prerequisite to hand-in the research paper.


The final grade will be a weighted average of the bi-weekly assignments (40%) and the final research paper (60%). Completion of all the assignments is mandatory and a pre-requisite to be eligible for the submission of the final research paper.


The resit will consist of rewriting the paper that the student submitted for the course based on the feedback from the Instructor.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Selected Chapters and articles from different sources will be listed weekly in Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

not applicable


For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats
E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress contact the Coordinator of Studies


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