36820 - Grammatical Functions

Y. N. Falk
Office 7812
Office Hours: Sundays & Wednesdays 14:45-15:30

Semester A 2010-1 Sunday/Wednesday 10:30-12:00 Room 2604
MA Course, Generative Linguistics

"Grammatical functions" are notions like "subject" and "object". This course will examine the role of grammatical functions in syntactic description and their place in linguistic theory through the investigation of a wide range of constructions (passive, raising, control, wh constructions, predication, etc.).

Course Outline

  1. Passive
    1. Universal Characterization: Grammatical Functions
    2. Grammatical Functions and the Lexicon
    3. Monostratal vs. Multistratal
  2. What are Grammatical Functions?
  3. Multifunctionality
    1. Functional Control
    2. Long-Distance Dependencies ("Wh movement")
  4. Subjects
  5. Objects
  6. Classification of Grammatical Functions
    1. Argument vs. Non-Argument; Core vs. Non-Core; Unrestricted vs. Restricted
    2. Lexical Mapping Theory
  7. Clausal Complementation
    1. OBJ
    2. COMP
    3. COMP and OBJ
    4. OBJ and OBL
    5. Open Argument Functions

Course requirements

End-of-year short paper (due 10 February)
for students taking the course as a seminar: Seminar Paper

Handouts available for downloading in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format

Note: If these don't print correctly on your printer but display properly in Acrobat, try using the "Print as image" option in Acrobat.
Syllabus (10 Oct)
Chomsky on Grammatical Functions (10 Oct)
Icelandic Passive and Case (17 Oct)
Long-Distance Dependencies (17 Nov)
Classes of Grammatical Functions (22 Dec)
Complement Clauses as OBJ (2 Jan)
Complement Clauses as COMP (2 Jan)



Assigned 10 October for 17 October: Perlmutter, David M., and Paul M. Postal (1983) "Towards a Universal Characterization of Passivization." in David M. Perlmutter, ed., Studies in Relational Grammar 1. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 3-29. (originally presented at the BLS3 conference in 1977) You need only read to the top of p. 11.

Assigned 17 October for 24 October: Joan Bresnan (1982) "The Passive in Lexical Theory." in Joan Bresnan, ed., The Mental Representation of Grammatical Relations. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 386.

Assigned 27 October for 3 November: Perlmutter, David M. (1984) "The Inadequacy of Some Monostratal Theories of Passive." in David M. Perlmutter and Carol G. Rosen, eds., Studies in Relational Grammar 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Read pp. 3-12 (to end of secion 2) and 31-end (sections 9, 10)

Assigned 31 October for 7 November: Yehuda N. Falk (2006) section of Subjects and Universal Grammar. pp. 16-24.

Assigned 7 November for 14 November: Kaplan, Ronald M. and Joan Bresnan (1982) "Lexical-Functional Grammar: A Formal System for Grammatical Representation." in Joan Bresnan, ed., The Mental Representation of Grammatical Relations. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 17-42. Read pp. 220229; ignore the section on subject-auxiliary inversion on p. 228..

Assigned 14 November for 21 November: Kaplan, Ronald M. and Annie Zaenen (1989) "Long-Distance Dependencies,Constituent Structure, and Functional Uncertainty." in Mark R. Baltin and Anthony S. Kroch, eds., Alternative Conceptions of Phrase Structure. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 17-42.

Assigned 21 November for 28 November: Yehuda N. Falk (2006) Subjects and Universal Grammar. pp. 2-16; 28-32; 39-44; 47-60; 73-83

Assigned 8 December for 15 December:

Assigned 19 December for 26 December: Bresnan, Joan, and Lioba Moshi (1990) "Object Asymmetries in Comparative Bantu Syntax." Linguistic Inquiry 21: 147185.

Assigned 29 December for 5 January:

Assigned 5 January for 12 January: Yehuda N. Falk (2005) "Open Argument Functions". in Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King, eds., Proceedings of the LFG 05 Conference, University of Bergen. 136-153.