810 Syntax seminar (3 units)

Spring 2009


TuTh 2:30 - 3:45 - Hasbrouck Add 106




Rajesh Bhatt []


Intensive investigation of a previously unexplored topic in syntax under close faculty supervision. Topic varies. Phi-features (Person, Number, Gender) play an important role in linguistic theory. For example, the uninterpretable/interpretable distinction on phi-features is taken to be the driving force behind most syntactic operations in versions of the Minimalist Program. In this course, we will explore how the syntactic system manipulates phi-features giving rise to the phenomena of Agreement. We will also examine how there are significant distinctions between different kinds of phi-features. These differences become visible in a number of domains: in morphosyntax via agreement restrictions and the person-case constraint, and in semantics via constraints on interpretation. Our goal will be to develop an integrated understanding of the fundamental properties of phi-features. This will involve a proper appreciation of the asymmetries between the different kinds of phi-features and how these asymmetries might follow from the design of the basic syntactic primitives. The Tuesday class will be open to all and will be organized around lectures. The Thursday class will be for students and will involve working through a number of empirically and conceptually complex papers.