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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2013/2014

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Ivona Kucerova


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 509

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23456


Office Hours: tba

Course Objectives:

This course is a continuation of 2SY3 (3I03) and will examine advanced issues in syntax-morphology and syntax-semantics interfaces. The students will become familiar with the current theories of syntax and its interfaces and will have an opportunity to practice their theoretical knowledge on small research assignments. Topics to be covered include issues of locality, A versus A-bar movement, head movement, unaccusativity, raising vs. control, islands, overt vs. covert movement.

The class will be a combination of lectures and tutorials. In the end of the class, students will be able to critically evaluate primary literature and begin their own research projects.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

course materials will be provided online and in the class; there is no additional cost associated with the class

Method of Assessment:

This class will be a combination of lectures and tutorials. Students will be required to actively participate in the class, submit weekly problem sets and participate in their evaluation by creating answer keys and grading schemes for peer-review evaluations, thus developing further professional skills. The purpose of the problem sets is to ensure that students understood concepts covered in the class and they will provide an opportunity to apply the class material to new research material.

10% - active class participation (based on preparedness and discussion in the class)
10% - class presentation (related to assigned problem sets)
60% - problem sets (see below for details)
20% - final paper (either a squib on students ́ own research or critical review of literature)


There will be 12 assignments. Each assignment worth 5 points; 60% of the final grade in total). Assignments will be submitted in the class. Late assignments will be graded zero (0).

Each student will be required to present a solution and a grading scheme for one problem set. Coming up with a solution, a grading scheme, presenting it and defending it in front of the class will be worth 10% of the final grade. All students will participate in the peer-review grading process in each class.

The final paper can be either a literature review either on a topic covered in the class or related to a topic covered in the class. Alternatively, a student can submit a so-called squib, i.e., a short paper identifying a problem with a theory or a new set of data not covered by the theory. A squib does not need to contain a solution: it is enough if the student precisely characterizes why the current theory cannot account for the data. The page limit for both the literature review and a squib is 10 pages. The papers are due the last day of the classes (April 4, 2012). Papers must be submitted electronically through the avenue in a pdf format. Late submissions will be graded zero (0).


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

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.