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Carnie, Andrew (2011) Modern Syntax: A Course Book. Cambrdige University Press



This practical coursebook introduces all the basics of modern syntactic analysis in a simple step-by-step fashion. Each unit is constructed so that the reader discovers new ideas, formulates hypotheses and practises fundamentals. The reader is presented with short sections of explanation with examples, followed by practice exercises. Feedback and comment sections follow to enable students to monitor their progress. No previous background in syntax is assumed. Students move through all the key topics in the field including features, rules of combination and displacement, empty categories, and subcategorization. The theoretical perspective in this work is unique, drawing together the best ideas from three major syntactic frameworks (minimalism, HPSG and LFG). Students using this book will learn fundamentals in such a way that they can easily go on to pursue further study in any of these frameworks.

  • Unique approach to introducing the topic with short explanatory sections followed by stimulating practice exercises to be completed on the page

  • Feedback and comment sections allow students to monitor their understanding of the material

  • Assumes no previous background in syntax

ISBN: 978-0521863353


From the back cover :
  • An ideal point of entry into the complex and challenging science of natural language syntax. Highly recommended.' Cedric Boeckx, ICREA and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

  • 'This is a daring introduction into syntax. Rather than telling students what syntactic theory looks like, it makes them do syntax. Rather than presenting them with a standard framework, it provides students with the tools and knowledge to pursue any of the major theories. This is a friendly and experienced guide to the rough terrain and breathtaking vistas of modern syntactic theory.' Ad Neeleman, Professor of Linguistics, University College London​


Ordering Information:


Table of Contents

Part I. Basic Ideas in Syntax:

1. Defining syntax
2. Syntactic data
3. Hypotheses: rules

Part II. Categories and Subcategories:

4. Words and lexical categories
5. Functional categories
6. Pronouns
7. Other subcategories of nouns
8. Subcategories of verbs
9. Tangent: tense, aspect and mood
10. Auxiliaries

Part III. Constituents, Merge and Trees:

11. Constituency
12. Complements
13. Complements: a case study
14. Specifiers of VP and TP
15. Specifiers of NP and DP
16. Tagging
17. Adjuncts
18. Drawing trees

Part IV. Movement and Control:

19. Passives
20. Non-finite clauses 1: control constructions
21. Non-finite clauses 1: raising constructions
22. Head movement 1: auxiliaries
23. Head movement 2: main verbs
24. Wh-movement

Part V. Conclusions and Appendices:

25. Evaluating our progress
26. The next steps

Appendix 1. Glossary, symbols and abbreviations
Appendix 2. Features and their values
Appendix 3. Rules, constraints and principles.

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