The details
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
28 September 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA Q16012 English Language and Linguistics,
MA Q10012 Linguistics

Module description

This course is an introduction to syntactic theory and aims to understand the ways that
we can understand syntactic variation in the languages of the world. For example, what determines why objects come before a verb in Japanese, but afterwards in English? Why do languages like Spanish and French put their question words at the beginning of a sentence, while others like Swahili leave them at the end? What rules out sentences like *herself likes pizza in English? This module provides a solid foundation in the tools involved in syntactic analysis and theoretical approaches to the study of human language.

Module aims

This module provides a thorough grounding in the key theoretical tools adopted in syntactic theory. This module presents foundational material for the study of syntax, the tools of syntactic analysis and skills of syntactic argumentation. It will also facilitate the development of practical and analytic skills, and pave the way of research independence on topics related to syntactic theory.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this half module, students should
• Understand key linguistic concepts and terminology
• Be able to identify the category of words and the major phrases in a sentence
• Be familiar with syntactic structures that exist in the world’s languages
• Have developed some of the key analytical skills employed in syntactic research
• Have the ability to engage with original syntactic research
• Construct a syntactic analysis for linguistic data in English and other languages
• Be able to identify topics for further research

Module information


Learning and teaching methods

A two-hour interactive seminar combining group and independent work, as well as practical data-based tasks.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Assignment 1 (500 Words)    30% 
Coursework   Assignment 2 (1000 Words)    30% 
Coursework   Assignment 3 (1500 Words)    40% 

Additional coursework information


Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Aicha Belkadi, email: ab23575@essex.ac.uk.
Aicha Belkadi
Room: 4.201



External examiner

Dr Ian Cunnings
University of Reading
Associate Professor in Psycholinguistics
Available via Moodle
Of 36 hours, 36 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Language and Linguistics

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