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Introduction to Generative Syntax

Organizing institution
Utrecht University, Faculty of Humanities (UU)
Course code
Course fee (incl. housing)
€ 400
Advanced bachelor level

In this course, students will be introduced to the basics of generative linguistics, the theoretical framework evolved from and based on Noam Chomsky’s work. The formal tools of generative linguistics enable linguists to explore the complex and fascinating system underlying sentence structure and sentence meaning. The theory accounts for the creativity of human language and other characteristics that make it unlike the communication system of any other animal.

While language finds expression in culture, and is commonly associated with it, language is a biological property of the human species, not a cultural one. It is found in all humans, regardless of their culture, and all language systems are equally complex. We will look at syntax, the abstract properties of human language structure, and learn how to formalize the rules that govern it. As we will see, only a handful of syntactic principles are needed to generate an infinite number of possible sentences from a finite set of words available in a language. Topics covered will include the major concepts used to analyze linguistic phenomena in the generative tradition, such as phrase structure, movement, binding, and logical form.

Tags: linguistics, syntax, chomsky, humanities

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Kirsten Schutter MSc


Background in language studies or linguistics, interested in formal linguistics and background from other humanities fields or sciences.


Provide students with an introduction to the Government and binding framework in generative linguistics as a basis for continuation into Minimalism.


Daily 2 1/2 hour session; max one hour homework per day.


• € 400 - Course + course materials + housing
• € 200 - Course + course materials

All Linguistic courses can be combined. If you apply for more than one course, you receive € 50 combination discount per extra course.
This discount will be processed by the course director. If the discount has not been processed please contact the course director.

» Overview of all available discounts


Utrecht Summer School doesn't offer scholarships for this course.


Ileana Grama
T: +31 (0)30 253 6060
E: i.c.grama@uu.nl

» Contact Utrecht Summer School


Deadline for registration: 13 August 2017

Application closed