The Building Blocks of Language: Syntax and Semantics
The course aim is to provide an introduction to the study of the English language from a syntactic and semantic perspective.
The main topics covered will be:
- The Building Blocks of Language: Words, Word Classes and Phrases
- Clauses and Sentences (both Simple and Complex)
- Predicates, Arguments and Thematic Roles
The Information structure of the English Sentence:
- Given and New Information (topic and focus);
- Variation in the Structure of the Sentence (fronting, inversion, cleft sentences, extraposition, existential sentences)
- The Structure of the English Lexicon;
- Currently available Lexicographic Resources for the Study of the English Lexicon;
- Levels of Meaning;
- Main Sense Relations (syntagmatic, paradigmatic)
- The representation of Meaning: Componential Analysis, Semantic Fields, Prototype Theory, Frame Semantics
Aarts, Bas (2001) English Syntax and Argumentation, 2nd edition, London, Palgrave Macmillan
*Crystal, David (1995) The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press (Ch. 8 - The Nature of the Lexicon: 117-123; Ch. 9 – The Sources of the Lexicon: 124-135; Ch. 11- The Structure of the Lexicon: 156-169)
*Fillmore, Charles and Beryl T. Atkins (1992) "Toward a Frame-Based Lexicon: The Semantics of RISK and its Neighbors" in Adrienne Lehrer and Eva Feder Kittay (eds.) Frames, Fields and Contrasts, Hillsdale, N.J., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: 75-102
*Jeffries, Lesley (2006) Discovering Language. The Structure of Modern English, London, Palgrave (Ch. 6; 7.5-7.8)
*Petruck, Miriam (1996) “Frame Semantics” in Jef Verschueren, Jan-Ola Östman, Jan Blommaert, and Chris Bulcaen (eds.). Handbook of Pragmatics, Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.
Texts marked by * will be a available at a copy shop near the University, starting from the beginning of the course.
Advanced and Optional:
Violi, Patrizia (1996) Significato ed Esperienza, Milano, Bompiani
Saeed, John I. (2003) Semantics, London, Blackwell
Additional bibliographic references will be indicated during the course. Class presentations will be made available on-line during the course.
Biber, Douglas, Susan Conrad and Geoffrey Leech (2002) Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English, London, Longman
- Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd Edition, Collins
- Merriam Webster English Dictionary
- Hoepli Advanced Learner’s Dictionary Inglese-Italiano/Italiano-Inglese (2008), Milano, Hoepli
-Grande Dizionario Inglese Hazon Garzanti, nuova edizione 2008, Milano, Garzanti
|Aarts Bas||English Syntax and Argumentation (Edizione 6)||Palgrave Macmillan||2008|
Written test including open questions, exercises and analyses. The test will last 2 hours and will be in English.
English Language 1;
English C1 level (Computer-based test);
English Literature 1.
Final Remarks: students are recommended to check the course homepage regularly for an updated version of the program.