Graduate School

Research seminar: Current trends in syntax I

This course is part of the programme:
Cognitive science of language Third Level

Objectives and competences

The primary goal of this course is to familiarize the students with the most relevant issues of modern syntactic theory. The acquired competences are:

-Ability to critically think about a given linguistic topic and finding theoretically relevant data

-Ability to solve specific theoretical linguistic problems.

Lectures are organized as a weekly or biweekly intensive course.


Introduction to syntax

Content (Syllabus outline)

Results of the current linguistic investigations by the worldwide known linguists.

Intended learning outcomes

-Knowledge of current topics and problems in contemporary syntactic theory.

-Understanding the differences in manifestation of the universal grammatical principles in a concrete language or language family

-Experience with working with non-native language data, also with speakers of a selected language


Vezana na konkretno vsebino predmeta (članki iz jezikoslovnih znanstvenih revij – Linguistic Inquiry, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Lingua, Language, Theoretical Linguistics, The Linguistic Review …).


Active participation at the lectures (50%) -final project whose topic is connected with the content of the course (50%) During the intensive course students present their own research on the topic of the seminar. Before the start of the intensive course, students must read and work through the required literature on their own. This literature includes scientific articles that will be discussed during the course.

Lecturer's references

Full professor of Linguistics at the University of Leiden.


1. Cheng, L. 2013. Syntactic diagnostics in the study of human language. In: Lisa L.-S. Cheng and Norbert Corver (eds.) Diagnosing Syntax, 1-17. Oxford University Press.

2. Cheng, L. and L. Downing. 2013. Clefts in Durban Zulu. In: Katharina Hartmann & Tonjes Veenstra (eds.), Cleft Structures, 141-163. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

3. Cheng, L. 2009. On every type of quantificational expression in Chinese. In: Monika Rathert and Anastasia Giannakidou (eds.) Quantification, Definiteness, and Nominalization, 53-75, Oxford University Press.

4. Cheng, L. 2007. Verb copying in Mandarin Chinese. In: Norbert Corver and Jairo Nunes (eds.) The Copy Theory of Movement On the PF Side, John Benjamins, p. 151- 174.

5. Cheng, L. and N. Corver. 2006. Lines of inquiry on wh-movement. In: L. Cheng and N. Corver (eds.) Wh-movement Moving on, MIT Press, p. 1-18.

University course code: 3JEZ028

Year of study: 1

Semester: 1-2

Course principal:



  • Lectures: 45 hours
  • Individual work: 135 hours

Course type: elective

Languages: english

Learning and teaching methods:
• lectures • individual work under supervision of the lecturer responsible for the course • presentation and interpretation of the student's own research in open class discussion • discussion of published research articles on the selected topic