First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Human and Social Sciences and Cultural Heritage
Course unit
SUP9085902, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
LE0610, Degree course structure A.Y. 2008/09, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination SYNTAX
Department of reference Department of Linguistic and Literary Studies
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge CECILIA POLETTO L-LIN/01

Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge Degree course code

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses L-LIN/01 Glottology and Linguistics 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 42 108.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2008 course timetable

Prerequisites: No prerequisite required
Target skills and knowledge: Detailed knowledge of modern syntactic theory and of the phenomena discussed in the course (see section on contents)
acquisition of the hability to follow a complex line of argumentation in the domain of formal linguistics and in particular a) hability to reproduce complex argumentations b) hability to find counterexamples to a given argumentation.
The course includes an introduction to formal theories of modern syntax. Starting from the notion of constituent, we will take into account X' theory, the structure of main and embedded clauses and some typical phenomena of Romance, in particular of modern and old Italian. On this empirical basis we will discuss some general notions like (a general restrictions on human language in relation to the acquisition of the mother-tongue b) the notion of szntactic movement and the general constraints imposed on it. We will discuss the following phenomena a) the split in different verbal classes with respect to auxiliary selection (theory of unaccusativity) b) preposing phenomena like left dislocation, focalization and cleft clauses (theory of the left periphery) c) phenomena related to the realization of pronouns (null subjects, syntactic position of different types of pronouns and clitic doubling). Every topic will be discussed on the basis of a series of scientific articles in small groups and with the professor with excercises.
Examination methods: written test with excercises and open questions in equal parts. The exam lasts 1,30 hours. The moodle webpage contains the text of a mock exam and information about duration and modalities of the course.
Specific exams for Erasmus students which do not involve native competence of the Italian language are foreseen. Please contact the professor.
Specific exams for students with disabilities are foreseen, please contact the professor.
Assessment criteria: The evaluataion criteria of the course will concern
a) the hability to treat the phenomena investigated in the course within the framework of the theories discussed in class
b) the critical and argumentative habilities
Course unit contents: 1. Introduction to the course: description, modalities of the course, exam. General problems of syntax: language acquisition. Evidence for innate knowledge.
2. Repetition of general topics: Xì structure of constituents, constitutency tests.
3. The structure of the IP, clitics and negation
4. The pro drop theory and the position of the subject
5. Verbal classes: transitives, ditransitives, unaccusatives, passives.
6. Postverbal subjects for various verb classes.
7. Wh-movement in interrogatives, relatives exclamatives
8. verb movement in interrogatives
9. Verb second
10. Locality problem: relativized minimality
11. Left dislocation and Focalization
12. The diachronic perspective: medieval Italian
13. Verb secondo in Old Italian
14. Verb second correlates in Old Romance: null subjects
15. Verb second correlates in Old Romance: the Tobler Mussafia law
16. OV cases in Old Italian I
17. OV cases in Old Italian II
18. The structure of nominal expressions
19. The structure of adjectival phrases
20. Recap, mock exam discussion
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: General lecture from the professor in the first part of the lesson
group work in the second part of the lesson
correction of exercises in class and via moodle
Additional notes about suggested reading: SThere is no handbook for this course. See online course on moodle which contains: a) slides of the course b) reading materials c) exercises d) mock exam, syllabus of the lessons.
Students who have no basic knowledge for syntax can refer to the materials and videos of the introductory course
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Problem based learning
  • Working in group
  • Problem solving

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

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