This is the first part of a two-term journey through syntax. The aim of this journey is that you'll be able to recognize and name syntactic phenomena, and construct such constructions in a language of your choice; you'll have some general background in syntactic theories and typological profiles that lets you identify specifically interesting constructions, constructions that challenge existing theories or corroborate their extend; you'll be able to understand theories that analyse these phenomena and make predictions based on them, and you'll be able to come up with possible structural analyses of sentences on the fly; as such, you'll make steps towards reaching a syntactic auto-pilot, that constantly scans what you hear and say and that reacts when you come across a sentence for which you cannot find a meaningful analysis.

The subject matter that you'll be acquiring these skills by is mostly the field of word order. The nice thing about word order is that every language has one, and so you can investigate it in every language (in contrast, there is not much to research in terms of morphological agreement in, say, Mandarin). The theoretical problem that we'll focus on is that word order doesn't directly inform you about constituency and hierarchical structure most of the time. Therefore, we have to find ways to gain access to the hierarchal structure of sentences. I will encourage you to work on your native language or the language of your choice.

In this first term, we lay the groundwork for the empirical investigations in the upcoming term. In order to show that you've understood a certain theoretical construct or phenomenon, you will write a contribution to the public Wikipedia. Writing for Wikipedia requires a thorough understanding of a subject allowing you to explain something to a wide audience. As a result, you may even be able to make your friends and family understand what you're studying! Editing Wikipedia will also be part of the curriculum.