Study Programmes 2017-2018
Questions de syntaxe
Duration :
30h Th
Number of credits :
Master in modern languages and literatures : German, Dutch and English (120 ECTS)5
Master in linguistics (120 ECTS)5
Master in modern languages and literatures : general (120 ECTS)5
Lecturer :
Laurent Rasier
Language(s) of instruction :
French language
Organisation and examination :
Teaching in the second semester
Units courses prerequisite and corequisite :
Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program
Learning unit contents :
The course gives a broad but non-exhaustive overview of syntactic research.
The first part of the class deals with general theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues in the fields of syntax, syntactic theory and syntactic research. It tackles the issues of data collection (tests), data description (terminology, theoretical frameworks), and data represetation.
Starting from the main theoretical frameworks in general linguistics (structuralism, generativism, functionalism, cogntivism), the second part of the course is devoted to more specific questions:
- Place and representation  of syntax in a model of speech production (encoding) and speech perception (decoding)
- Relationship between syntax and the other components of language, i.e. the issue of syntactic interfaces (incl. syntax-lexis and syntax-discourse interface)
- Syntactic variation, incl. an introduction to syntactic typology, to contrastive syntax, and to the comparative analysis of registres and genres (formal vs. informal language, written vs. spoken language). In 2017-2018, the course will mainly focus on the syntax-pragmatics interface.
- Syntax in L1 and L2 acquisition

Theses issues will be dealt with in case studies involving various syntactic phenomena in French but also in other (non-)related languages.
Learning outcomes of the learning unit :
Mastering and being able to identify and apply syntactic notions, in particular: syntactic categories and functions, valencies, constituent structures, relationships between lexicon, semantics and syntax, between syntactic base and different types of coding.
Personnal and critical reflection on syntax, its relationships with other components of language, its place in a psycholinguistic model of speech production and perception.
Critical approach to syntactic theory and syntactic research.
Prerequisite knowledge and skills :
Basic knowledge of (general) linguistics, grammar (terminology, nature, and syntactic functions), language typology.
For the "grammatical prerequisites" for this course, see the chapters 6 to 10, 13, 14, 15 in "Grammaire de base" (see references below). Since the notions are elementary, mistakes in this area (in particular mistakes in determining syntactic categories) will be considered big mistakes at the exam.
Very good knowledge of French.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods :
The course will consist of lectures and seminars (presentation and discussion of scientific articles).
Texts will have to be read and exercises to be made at home; the exercises will be corrected and commented on in class and constitute a good preparation for the examination.
Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning) :
Face-to-face. 30 hours; 2nd semester; See
Recommended or required readings :
Basic notions:
S.-G. Chartrand, Cl. Simard, Ch. Sol: Grammaire de base. De Boek, 2012.
Readings related to the course's main topic:
Butler, C., R. Hidalgo Downing & J. David (eds) (2007), Functional Perspectives on Grammar and Discourse, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Callies, M. (2009), Information Highlighting in Advanced Learner English, Amsterdam: John Bejamins.
Hedberg, N. & R. Zacharski (2007), The Grammar-Pragmatics Interfacce, Amsterdam: John Bejamins.
Schwabe, K. & S. Winkler (2007), On Information-Structure: Meaning and Form, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Tomasello, M. (2014), The New Psychology of Language. Cognitive and Functional Approaches to Language Structure. Volumes I and II, New York: Psychology Press.
Trotzke, A. (2017), The Grammar of Emphasis. From Information Structure to the Expressive Dimension, Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.
Powerpoint presentations (see MyULg), reader of scientific articles made available at the beginning and/or during the course.
Assessment methods and criteria :
Oral exam. An additional paper will asked for at the end of the course.
Work placement(s) :
Organizational remarks :
Contacts :
Enseignant titulaire Laurent RASIER Département de Langues et littératures germaniques Place Cockerill, 3, 4000 Liège Tél. 04 366 54 03 E-mail
  Secrétariat Sabrina DEWAR Place Cockerill 3, 4000 Liège Tél. 04 366 54 66 E-mail: 
Items online :
Online Notes
Notes available on MyULg.