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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 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:


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.