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Academic Year: Winter 2018

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Catherine Anderson


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 503

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 26241


Office Hours: Tuesdays 12:30-1:30, Thursdays 4:00-5:00

Course Objectives:

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • understand the scientific method of reasoning as it applies to syntax

  • analyze the structure of sentences in English and other languages using the principles of generative syntax

  • evaluate hypotheses about mental grammar using language data from English and other languages 

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required: Carnie, Andrew. (2013) Syntax: A Generative Introduction, 3rd ed. Wiley-Blackwell.

Optional: Carnie, Andrew. (2013) The Syntax Workbook: A Companion to Carnie's Syntax. Wiley-Blackwell 


Both books are available for purchase at the Campus Store and are on reserve at Mills Library.

Method of Assessment:

Assignment 1 (individual) 6% Wednesday, Jan 17, 4:30 pm
Assignment 2 (teams of 1-3) 10% Wednesday Jan 31, 4:30 pm
Takehome Test 1 (individual) 16% distributed Wednesday Feb 7, 4:30 pm, due Friday Feb 9, 4:30 pm
Assignment 3 (teams of 1-3) 10% Friday March 2, 4:30 pm
Assignment 4 (teams of 1-3) 10% Friday March 16, 4:30 pm
Takehome Test 2 (individual) 16% distributed Monday March 26, 4:30 pm, due Wednesday March 28, 4:30 pm
Optional Bonus Assignment 5 (individual) (5%)

Friday April 6, 4:30 pm

(if you choose to complete the optional bonus assignment, its weight is applied against your lowest scoring assignment)

Final Exam 32% Scheduled by the registrart during the final exam period. The final exam includes material from the entire semester. The weight of the final exam can be reduced by accruing bonus points; consult Avenue for details.


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Individual Assignments and Take-home Tests: You may submit an individual assignment or a take-home test within 48 hours of the due date for a 25% reduction in value, or within 96 hours of the due date for a 50% reduction in value. If you submit an MSAF or other approved document for an assignment or take-home test, contact Dr. Anderson immediately to arrange a revised due date. An MSAF may not be used for the Optional Bonus Assignment. 

Team Assignments: If you are working with a team on an assignment and find yourself unable to meet the deadline, it is best to remove yourself from your team and allow the remaining team members to submit the assignment on time. You can then submit your own assignment as a team of 1, either with an MSAF or other approved document for a revised due date, or within the 48- or 96-hour window for a reduction in value. 

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:

Weeks 0-1

January 4

Intro, Review, Categories & Constituency

Week 2

January 16

Structural Relations, X-bar Theory

Week 3

January 23

Binding Theory

Week 4

January 30

Functional Categories

Weeks 5-6

February 6


Week 7

February 27

Auxiliaries & Functional Categories

Weeks 8-9

March 6

Head Movement

Week 10

March 20

DP Movement

Week 11

March 27


Week 12

April 3


Other Course Information:

In this course we will be using Avenue2Learn. Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, 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 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.