LSA.206 | Explaining Syntactic Universals
course web site: http://email.eva.mpg.de/%7Ehaspelmt/ExplainingSyntacticUniversals.html
This class will compare three different approaches to explaining syntactic univerals: the Greenbergian functional-typological approach, the Chomskyan principles-and-parameters approach, and more recent optimality-theoretic approaches. Especially the Greenbergian and Chomskyan traditions have usually not taken much notice of each other, but I will examine the generative approach from a functionalist perspective, asking to what extent the competing orientations are incompatible or complementary. Some of the work in optimality-theoretic syntax over the last decade has brought functionalist thinking into the generative mainstream, so the relation between this work and traditional Greenbergian functionalism will also be prominent in the class. Examples will be drawn from some of the major empirical domains of syntax (argument coding, word order, anaphora, complex sentences).
Prerequisites: Previous experience with theoretical and cross-linguistically oriented syntax is necessary to follow this class, but no detailed knowledge of any particular framework will be presupposed.