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Syntactic Agreement


Admission requirements

Basic knowledge of syntax


This course will address syntactic agreement from a typological as well as formal point of view.
The students will be introduced to those syntactic tools and notions that are necessary to analyze agreement facts. They will be confronted with many puzzling agreement facts, and asked to actively contribute to their analysis. After being introduced to a number of possible analyses/interpretations of the facts, they will have to think on open questions and debate on possible solutions, in order to learn how to shape syntactic argumentation and how to build a solid syntactic analysis.
There will be miniworkshops where students will be invited to present papers on some agreement facts, and discuss them with the rest of the class.

The course will be organized around the advanced syntax textbook Syntactic agreement, to appear later this year with CUP, and it will address 5 main areas:
1.What is agreement? (Features/ agreement as a rule/ agreement as a relationship/ agreement as an operation, categories and agreement)
2. Where is agreement, when does it take place and in which direction does it go? (Syntactic vs morphological agreement/PF vs NS agreement/agreement domains/long distance agreement, upwards or downwards agreement)
3. Verb-argument agreement
4. Modifier-noun agreement and intrasentential agreement
5. Agreement oddities

Course objectives

  1. Students are able to understand and analyze complex syntactic phenomena.
    1. Students are able to discuss scientific literature.
    2. Students are able to develop an opinion on which analysis is preferable for given linguistic phenomena.
    3. Students are able to formulate hypothesis on given syntactic phenomena.
    4. Students are able to present syntactic papers and defend them in front of an audience.
    5. Students are able to formulate scientific questions and interact in a conference environment.


Wednesday 11.15-13.00
The timetable will be available by June 1st on the website

Mode of instruction

Seminar + workshops

Course Load

  • the students will need to read the material taught at class, and present 3 overviews of one phenomenon (190 hours for ResMa/250 hours for MA students)

  • ResMa students are also requested to write a short squib on one agreement phenomenon (60 hours)

Assessment method

MA students will have to give 3 workshop presentations, on 3 agreement phenomena of their own choice, and get at least a 6 in all of them.

ResMA students will have to give 3 workshop presentations, on 3 agreement phenomena at their choice, and get at least 6 in all of them. They will also have to write a short essay/squib, which will also need to be valued with at least a 6 for them to pass the exam.

Resit: students who fail the course may resit the essay.


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course.

Reading list

D’Alessandro, Roberta (to appear). Syntactic Agreement. [Key Topics in Syntax]. Cambridge University Press – other material suggested in class


Enrolment in uSis is obligatory. If you have any questions, please contact the student administration, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

When registering, students that are registered for the specialisation that this course belongs to, or the Research Master, take priority. The deadline for registration is August 15. All other students should contact the coordinator of studies

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs

Contact details

Master Linguistics student administration, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144;