Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.


Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2013/2014

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Susan Bejar


Office: TSH 622

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24537

Office Hours: Tuesday 10:30 - 11:20

Course Objectives:

• Define, describe and identify major classes of nominal predication.

• Identify empirical and theoretical questions/puzzles/problems pertaining to nominal predication

• Apply analytic strategies and linguistic methodologies to address empirical/theoretical problems

• Make strategic use of primary literature:

     -identify and synthesize main/relevant hypotheses and arguments;

     -identify and synthesize contrasting/comparable approaches

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Links to assigned readings will be posted on the course website. Some readings may be made available as a reserve readings at the library.

Students are responsible for photocopying class handouts when they make presentations B and C (see Assessment)

Students should bring loose-leaf paper to class for in-class writing exercises

Method of Assessment:

5% – Regular attendance and active class participation

10% – Occasional small homework exercises (primarily designed to assist you with your research project)

15% – Presentation A: assigned reading (to be scheduled) (work in pairs permitted)

15% – Presentation B: research question (October 15, 22, 29)

15% – Presentation C: research project (November 26, December 3)

40% – Final paper (December 3)

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date, except for Presentation A. The handout/slides for Presentation A must be submitted electronically (as a .pdf attachment to an email) 24 hours before class as they will be posted to the course website.

Penalty for late assignments will be 10% of the total mark per day. Missed presentations will only be rescheduled under exceptional circumstances. If a student misses a presentation for legitimate (and documented) reasons, then the content will likely have to be submitted in essay form.


McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

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.

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.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. 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:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

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.

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. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:


Lecture Topic


Sept 10



Sept 17

Nouns vs. verbs

Baker 2003 (Chapters 1-3)

Sept 24

Small clauses and copular clauses

Citko 2011, Mikkelsen 2011, Bowers 2001

Oct 1

Properties of nominal predicates

Julien 2005, Becker 2000

Oct 8

Predication vs equation

Moro 1997 (Appendix), Adger & Ramchand 2003

Oct 15

Specificational clauses I

Presentations of student research questions

Higgins 1973 (Chapters 1,5), Moro 1997 (Chapter 1)

Oct 22

Specification clauses II

Presentations of student research questions

Heggie 1988, Mikkelsen 2005, Heycock 2012


Oct 29

Specificational clauses III

Presentations of student research questions

Den Dikken 2006 (chapters 2-4)


Nov 5



Nov 12



Nov 19


Collins and Postal 2012

Nov 26

Presentations of student research


Dec 3

Presentations of student research



Important note: The assigned readings may be augmented/changed as we proceed, depending on the level of the class. The instructor reserves the right to modify the pace of the course during the term as needed. Reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. It is the responsibility of the student to check their McMaster email and course websites weekly during the term and to note any changes.


 Preliminary reading list (to be revised as needed)


Adger, D. & G. Ramchand. 2003. Predication and Equation. Linguistic Inquiry 34.3: 325-359.

Baker, M. 2003. Lexical Categories: Verbs, Nouns and Adjectives. Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 102. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.

Becker, M. 2000. The Development of the Copula in Child English: The Lightness of Be. PhD Thesis. UCLA. Los Angeles, CA.

Bowers, J. 2001.  Predication. The Handbook of Contemporary Syntactic Theory. Eds: M. Baltin & C. Collins, pp 299-333. Blackwell: Malden, MA.

Citko, B. 2011. Small Clauses. Language and Linguistics Compass Online Library.

Collins, C. and P. Postal. 2012. Imposters. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.

den Dikken, M. 2006. Relators and Linkers: The syntax of predication, predicate inversion, and copulas. MIT Pres: Cambridge, Mass.

Heggie, L. 1988. The syntax of copular structures. Ph.D. dissertation, USC.

Heycock, C. 2012. Specification, equation and agreement in copular sentences. Canadian Journal of Linguistics  57.2: 2209-240.

Higgins, F. R. 1973. The pseudo-cleft construction in English. Ph.D. dissertation, MIT.

Julien, M. 2005. Nominal arguments and nominal predicates. In J. Hartmann & L. Molnarfi, eds. Comparative Studies in Germanic Syntax: From Afrikaans to Zurich German, pp 115-140. Linguistik Aktuell. John Benjamins: Amsterdam.

Mikkelsen, L. 2005. Copular Clauses: Specification, predication and equation. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Mikkelsen, L. 2011. Copular clauses. In C. Maienborn, K. von Heusinger, and P. Portner (eds.) Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning, volume 2, 1805-1829. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Moro, A. 1997. The raising of predicates: Predicative noun phrases and the theory of clause structure. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.