Alternative approaches to syntax

The achievements of Noam Chomsky in the field of linguistics, and syntax in particular, have been so dominant that students might be forgiven for thinking that there are no alternatives to the Chomskyan paradigm. In fact, there have been major changes, particularly  during the last twenty years or so; while Chomsky’s contribution has been huge, many linguists have lost faith in the program of research laid out by “the father of modern linguistics”. In this course, we will look at the historical development of Chomskyan syntax and consider alternative ways of explaining the relevant data.

Noam Chomsky. Photo. By Duncan Rawlinson [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

We will start with the basics and review some fundamental issues. By the end of the course, you should have a good understanding of the difference between Transformational and Unification Grammar, the two main approaches within Generative Grammar.

Featured image: Raphael [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Anyway, check out the PowerPoint slides here.