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Topics in Linguistics A


Admission requirements

Syntax 2


The ‘Topics in Linguistics’ courses offer up to date courses on linguistic research by LUCL staff. The actual content of these courses vary – one semester there may be a course on formal semantics, another semester a course on tense and aspect in a specific language. Since Topics in Linguistics courses are usually on fresh content, actual topics will be known shortly before courses commence. Please check the Programme Linguistics Research
Topics in Linguistics courses discuss topical research by LUCL members; the courses are taught by the actual researchers.

In linguistics, ‘ellipsis’ refers to the omission of a phrase that would otherwise be required by the remaining elements in the clause. The example in (1) illustrates the omission of a VP () in English.

(1) John does not walk fast, but Peter does .

Several conditions must hold for ellipsis to apply successfully. First, ellipsis is only allowed when a proper antecedent is present somewhere in the discourse. In other words, the omission of a word or phrase must somehow be recoverable from the context. Second, it is generally accepted in syntactic theory that ellipsis must also be licensed. It is this latter property that we will mainly explore in this course. To illustrate what is meant by licensing, consider the following pair of sentences. The interrogative wh-phrase in (2a) allows ellipsis of the clause next to it, but the relative wh-phrase in (2b) does not, even though a proper antecedent is present in the context.

(2) a. I saw someone, but I don’t know who _. b. *John did not see someone who walked, but I did see someone who ._

In this course, we will compare several types of ellipsis and explore what it is that licenses them.


The timetable will be available by June 1st at the website of Linguistics. Please check the Timetable

Semester 1, Monday 13.15-15.00

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Presentation and paper



Course objectives

At the end of the course, the students will be able to:
• Critically evaluate different theories of ellipsis licensing.
• Identify different types of ellipsis and categorize these on the basis of their characteristics.
• To write a paper on the general topic of ellipsis.


Prospective students, please check the Study Abroad/Exchange website for information on how to apply.

Aanmelden voor Contractonderwijs

After application, students are to register for courses and exams through uSis

Contact information

By E-mail: Coordinator of Studies