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Academic Year: Fall 2015

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Cassandra Chapman


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 629

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24388

Office Hours: Mondays 3:30-4:30, Thursdays 9:30-10:30 (TSH 609)

Course Objectives:

1. understand syntax as the scientific study of sentence structure;
2. apply tools from generative syntax to analyze sentence structure in English and other languages; and
3. evaluate and critique theories about mental grammar as they apply to sentence structure in English and other languages.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required: Carnie, Andrew. 2012. Syntax: A Generative Introduction. Third edition. Wiley-Blackwell.

Optional (but highly recommended): Carnie, Andrew. 2012. The Syntax Workbook: A Companion to Carnie’s Syntax. Wiley-Blackwell.

Note that there is also a second edition of the textbook in wide distribution. If you choose to use the second edition, please ensure that you check with a classmate that the problem sets are the same. Page numbers and question numbers have changed between editions and you are responsible for ensuring that you are completing the assigned work.

Method of Assessment:

Assessment Due Date Weight
Problem sets September 16, September 30, October 7,
October 28, November 9, November 30


(grade is calculated on
best five out of six)

Test 1 (45 minutes) October 19 15%
Test 2 (45 minutes) November 18 20%
Final exam TBD by registrar 30%

How work is to be submitted:

All problem sets must be submitted through Dropbox on Avenue to Learn by the due date in PDF format. Work that is not submitted in PDF format will not be accepted. Late submissions will not be accepted and will result in a grade of zero (0).

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late work:
Late work will not be accepted and students will receive a grade of 0.

Missed work:
Students can submit a McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) for up to one (1) missed problem set or test over the term. If the instructor receives an MSAF for a missed problem set, the problem set’s grade will not be included in the final course grade. If the student submits an MSAF for a missed test, the value of the test will be added to the value of the final exam. It is the student’s responsibility to use the MSAF tool and to follow up with the instructor as soon as possible after the form has been submitted. Note that MSAFs cannot be submitted during the final exam period and thus, cannot be used for the final exam.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Integrity

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  • plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  • improper collaboration in group work.
  • copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Authenticity / Plagiarism Detection

Some courses may use a web-based service ( to reveal authenticity and ownership of student submitted work. For courses using such software, students will be expected to submit their work electronically either directly to or via Avenue to Learn (A2L) plagiarism detection (a service supported by so it can be checked for academic dishonesty.

Students who do not wish to submit their work through A2L and/or must still submit an electronic and/or hardcopy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to or A2L. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, other software, etc.). To see the Policy, please go to

Courses with an On-Line Element

Some courses use on-line elements (e.g. e-mail, Avenue to Learn (A2L), LearnLink, web pages, capa, Moodle, ThinkingCap, etc.). Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of a course using these elements, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in a course that uses on-line elements will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Online Proctoring

Some courses may use online proctoring software for tests and exams. This software may require students to turn on their video camera, present identification, monitor and record their computer activities, and/or lockdown their browser during tests or exams. This software may be required to be installed before the exam begins.

Conduct Expectations

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the "Code"). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students' access to these platforms.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

Request for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar "Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work".

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students should submit their request to their Faculty Office normally within 10 working days of the beginning of term in which they anticipate a need for accommodation or to the Registrar's Office prior to their examinations. Students should also contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and tests.

Copyright and Recording

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.

Extreme Circumstances

The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.

Topics and Readings:

Date Topic Reading Due
September 9 Introduction and Review Chapter 1 Problem set 1 assigned
September 14 Parts of Speech Chapter 2  
September 16 Constituency Chapter 3 Problem set 1 due
September 21 Stuctural Relations Chapter 4  
September 23 X-bar theory
Guest lecturer
Chapter 6 Problem set 2 assigned
September 28 NO CLASS None  
September 30 Binding Theory
Guest lecturer
Chapter 5 Problem set 2 due,
Problem set 3 assigned
October 5 Binding Theory cont. Chapter 5 cont.  
October 7 Extending X-bar theory Chapter 7 Problem set 3 due
October 12-14 MIDTERM RECESS (NO CLASS)    
October 19 Test 1 None Test to be completed within class hours (45 minutes)
October 21 Theta Theory Chapter 8 Problem set 4 assigned
October 26 Theta Theory cont. Chapter 8 cont.  
October 28 Auxiliaries and Functional Categories Chapter 9 Problem set 4 due
November 2 Auxiliaries and Functional Categories cont. Chapter 9 cont. Problem set 5 assigned
November 4 Head movement Chapter 10  
November 9 Head movement cont. Chapter 10 cont. Problem set 5 due
November 11 DP movement Chapter 11  
November 16 DP movement cont. Chapter 11 cont.  
November 18 Test 2 None Test to be completed within the first 45 minutes of class, followed by a short lecture
November 23 Wh-movement Chapter 12 Problem set 6 assigned
November 25 Wh-movement cont. Chapter 12 cont.  
November 30 Advanced topic Class vote: topics in Chapters 13-16 Problem set 6 due
December 2   Class vote: topics in Chapters 13-16  
December 7 Wrap-up and review None  


Other Course Information:

In this course, we will be using Avenue to Learn. Students should be aware that when they access their electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster email accounts and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.