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Syntax: Current Issues


Admission requirements

Students must have basic knowledge of GB or Minimalist syntax (e.g., the equivalent of syntax 1 and syntax 2 in the BA linguistics programme)


This course brings the students up to date with the current issues within the Minimalist Program of syntactic theory. The course is divided into 4 blocks of three weeks each. The first block is starts with quick reminder course on minimalist syntax, using the text book by Olaf Koeneman and Hedde Zeijlstra. The second to the fourth block investigate current discussions in the Minimalist Program, starting with argument structure, agreement and Case, the structure of features, movement (head vs. phrasal), locality, linearization, functional architecture, and the notion of phases.

Course objectives

  1. Students learn the basics of the Minimalist framework of syntax (where necesssary, in reference to the government and binding framework).
  2. Students learn the basics of argumentation within syntactic theory.
  3. Students are familiarized with the current issues within the Minimalist Program.
  4. Students are capable to discussing certain linguistic phenomena using the tools within the Minimalist Program.


The timetable is available on the MA Linguistics website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load EC x 28 hours= hours

  • Lectures: 4 x 13 = 52 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 13 x 10 = 130 hours

  • Presentation: 5 hours

  • Assignment(s): 38 hours

  • Squib/short paper: 55 hours

Assesment Method

  • Assignments (Block 1): 15%

  • Three essays (Block 2-4): 75%

  • Presentation: 10% (Block 4)

Exam Review

Students are entitled to view their marked examination within a period of 30 days, following publication of the results of a written examination.


Blackboard will be used for the dissemination of all sorts of information concerning this course.

Reading list

For Block 1 we use the following textbook:
Olaf Koeneman and Hedde Zeijlstra, Introducing syntax. Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Readings for Block 2-4 will be announced through Blackboard as we go along.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Students other than MA Linguistics need permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof