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Information structure of the sentence: Syntax-semantics interface

Associate teachers


ECTS credits


Number of hours: Lectures + Seminars + Exercises

15 / 15 / 0

Course objectives

Introduction to relevant linguistic problems related to the phonological, syntactic and semantic interface in realization of the information structure of a sentence. Training for the design of linguistic tests in order to determine the grammaticaliti and verify the sentence structure.

Enrolment requirements and/or entry competences required for the course


Learning outcomes at the level of the programme to which the course contributes

  • Apply theoretical knowledge of the fundamentals of the six core disciplines and their relationship within cognitive science.
  • Apply specific knowledge and skills from selected disciplines constituting cognitive science.
  • Integrate insights, methods, and levels of analysis across different disciplines into a unified framework for understanding the human mind and cognition in general.
  • Critically evaluate cognitive science findings and synthesize information to be employed in a collaborative professional environment.

Course content (syllabus)

  • Introduction to the course structure and literature.
  • Discussing linguistic levels and levels of linguistic analysis.
  • Examining combinatoriality and rules of grammaticality.
  • Assessment of grammaticality and sentence structure validity.
  • Discussion on the syntactic and semantic components of sentence semantics.
  • Examining the components of the information structure of a sentence.
  • Analysis of the interface between phonological and syntactic elements in shaping the information structure of a sentence.
  • Exploring the role of word order in sentence information structure.
  • Analysis of the interface between semantic and syntactic elements in shaping the information structure of a sentence.
  • Instructions for the seminar paper. Discussion on topics and methodology.
  • Midterm exam.
  • Examining the grammar of specific types of sentences with regard to the information structure of the sentence.
  • Presentation of seminar papers and discussion.
  • Presentation of seminar papers and discussion.
  • Presentation of seminar papers and discussion.

Student responsibilities

Regular class attendance, submitted seminar paper before taking written exam

Required literature

  • Jackendoff, R. (2002, 2009). Foundations of Language: Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution. Oxford University Press.
  • Lambrecht, K. (1994). Information Structure and Sentence form. Topic, focus, and the mental representations of discourse referents. Cambridge University Press.
  • Selkirk, E. (2001). «The syntax-phonology interface.» International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, eds. N.J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes, 15407-15412. Oxford: Pergamon.
  • Wedgwood, D. (2005). Shifting the Focus: From static structures to the dynamics of interpretation. Elsevier.
  • Jana Willer-Gold, Boban Arsenijevic, Mia Batinic, Michael Becker, Nermina Cordalija, Marijana Kresic, Nedžad Leko, FL Marusic, Tanja Milicev, Nataša Milicevic, Ivana Mitic, Anita Peti-Stantic, Branimir Stankovic, T Suligoj, J Tusek, Andrew Nevins (2018) "When linearity prevails over hierarchy in syntax." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115 (3) pp. 495-500.

Optional literature

  • Cecilia, H. (2018). Cognitive Gadgets: The Cultural Evolution of Thinking. The Belknapp Press of Harvard University Press.
  • Arnold, Jennifer E. «Marking salience: The similarity of topic and focus» (unpublished article)
  • Butler, Christopher S. (2005). «Focusing on focus: A comparison of Functional Grammar, Role and Reference Grammar and Systemic Functional Grammar.» Language Sciences 27 (2005) 585-618.
  • Pereltsvaig, A. (2004). «Topic and Focus as Linear Notions: Evidence from Italian and Russian.» Lingua 114 (2004). 324-344.