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Linguistics 5: English Word and Sentence Structure


Admission requirements

Pass mark for Linguistics 3 (or similar course)


This course focuses on the structure of words (morphology) and the structure of sentences (syntax) in English and on how these two interact. We will analyze the ways in which English words are formed by studying the ways in which the building blocks of words (morphemes) combine, as well as the rules that allow us to combine words into phrases and phrases into sentences. In doing so, we will investigate the interaction between morphology and syntax in English as well as cases where the boundary between morphology and syntax is not always clear. An example of how morphology and syntax interact is found in the English passive voice: passive verbal morphology affects the sentence structure by reducing the number of arguments (the Agent is suppressed). An example showing that the boundary between morphology and syntax is not always clear is the English phrasal verb (e.g. call up), which has both word-like properties (can be used to form new words) and phrase-like properties (can be separated by syntactic operations such as constituent movement). We will discuss how proposals for split functional projections in syntax (notably split VP and split IP) can account for the morphosyntactic phenomena examined.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of morphological terminology (e.g. ‘word’, ‘morpheme’ and ‘affix’)

  • Knowledge of a number of theoretical proposals for the morphology and syntax of English

  • Insight into the morphology and syntax of English

  • Insight into the relation between morphology and syntax

  • The ability to analyse morphological and syntactic structure

  • The ability to formulate morphological and syntactic arguments


The timetable is available on the BA English website

Mode of instruction

Seminar (2 hours)

Course Load

The course load of this course is 280 hours.

  • 26 hours spent on attending the seminars

  • 164 hours for studying the compulsory literature

  • 90 hours for preparing the exams

Assessment method


Written exam.


  • Research proposal and essay (800 words) 30%

  • Participation and (group) presentation 10%

  • End-of-term written exam 60%

  • Taking part in a group presentation is a pre-requisite for taking the written exam.


Resit written exam and/or re-write essay

Exam review

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.


Attendance is compulsory. Missing more than two tutorials means that students will be excluded from the tutorials. Unauthorized absence also applies to being unprepared, not participating and/or not bringing the relevant course materials to class.



Reading list

  • Lieber, Rochelle (2015). Introducing Morphology (2nd revised edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (selected chapters).

  • Additional reading (to be announced)


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English
and Dutch

Students other than from the BA English Language and Culture studies need permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.