LING 3016 - Morphology and Syntax

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2024

Morphology deals with the internal structure of words and their meaningful parts. Syntax is concerned with sentence structure ? how words are combined together to form phrases, phrases combined together to form larger phrases, clauses and sentences, and how clauses are combined together to form complex sentences. Together, morphology and syntax comprise the core of the grammar of a language. Since grammar is no longer a major focus in schools, most students have little understanding of even the most basic notions such as being able to identify parts of speech, or understanding how large constructions are composed out of smaller units. Being able to identify constituents and agreement constraints will help students to improve and correct their academic writing. The course will be practical in focus and will teach students essential skills for the linguistic description and analysis of a language. Along with Phonology, this course is essential for all linguistics students and language teachers (English or otherwise).

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LING 3016
    Course Morphology and Syntax
    Coordinating Unit European Languages, and Linguistics
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 6 units of Level II undergraduate study
    Incompatible LING 2046
    Assessment 3 x Data analysis task 18% each, Plan for research report (300 word) 10%, Research report (1500-2000 word) 36%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ian Green

    This course is taught by Dr Ian Green in 2024.
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    This course aims to:
    • Develop understandings of the nature of human language and identify differences with other systems of communication
    • Develop understanding of the structure of language, specifically its morphological subsystems
    • Develop understanding of morphophonemic processes in language.
    • Develop understanding of the lexicon and lexical categories (ie parts of speech).
    • Develop understanding of compositionality, constituency and dependency relations.Develop understanding linguistic typology with regard to morphology and syntax.
    • Develop understanding about grammatical relations and their expression.
    • Develop understanding of both lexical and derivational valence and their implications for argument structure.
    • Develop understanding of a variety of complex sentence phenomena.
    • Develop in students the ability to undertake grammatical analysis of unfamiliar languages, and an awareness of the range of coding phenomena encountered.

    After successfully completing this course, students should be able to:

    1. Use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to transcribe and interpret transcriptions of unfamiliar languages

    2. Undertake a morphological analysis to identify the morphemes and allomorphs in any given language.

    3. Identify constituent structure at an advanced level.

    4. Establish and justify the lexical and grammatical categories for any given language.

    5. Articulate understandings of the nature of language.

    6. Undertake linguistic descriptive investigation of a known or unknown language through primary observation.

    7. Write a coherent and logically argued review of a published grammar of an unfamiliar language, demonstrating a familiarity with widely used terminology and technical issues involved.

    8. Confidently approach analysis of a data set drawn from an unknown language.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

    1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

    6, 7, 8
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Course text book: Thomas E Payne, 2006, Exploring Language structure: a Student's Guide. Cambridge University Press.
    Recommended Resources
    Mark Aronoff & Kirsten Fudeman, 2005, What is morphology? Malden: Blackwell.

    Laurie Bauer, 2003, Introducing linguistic morphology. Georgetown University Press.

    Andrew Carnie, 2007, Syntax: a generative introduction. Second edition. Blackwell Publishing.

    Nigel Fabb, 2005, Sentence structure. London: Routledge.

    Nicola Grandi & Livia Körtvélyessy (2015) Edinburgh Handbook of Evaluative Morphology. Edinburgh University Press.

    Martin Haspelmath & Andrea Sims, 2010, Understanding morphology, 2nd edition. Abingdon: Routledge

    Paul Kroeger, 2005, Analyzing grammar: an introduction. Cambridge University Press.

    Stephen Levinson, 1983, Pragmatics. Cambridge University Press.

    Robert M Millar (rev & ed), 2015, Trask’s historical linguistics, 3rd edition. Abingdon: Routledge

    Steven Pinker, 1994, The language instinct. London: Allen Lane

    Steven Pinker, 1999, Words and rules: the ingredients of language. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

    Maggie Tallerman, 2015, Understanding syntax, Fourth Edition. Abingdon: Routledge
    Online Learning
    On-Line Resource: World Atlas of Linguistic Structures (WALS) 
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    No information currently available.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    1 x 2-hour lecture per week (x12) 24 hours
    1 x 1-hour tutorial per week (x10) 10 hours
    4 hours Practicals/Reading per week (x12) 48 hours
    4 hours Assignment Preparation per week (x12)                48 hours
    2 hours Research per week (X 13) 26 hours
    TOTAL 156 hours
    Learning Activities Summary

    Please note that this is a guide only, and fuller details will be given during the semester.

    Week 1 
    Course Requirements
    Introduction to Morphology & Syntax
    No tutorial 

    Week 2 
    Morphological Processes

    Week 3 

    Week 4 
    Word Classes

    Week 5 
    Constituent Structure #1

    Week 6
    Constituent Structure #2


    Week 7 
    Historical morphology & syntax

    Week 8 
    Language Typology

    Week 9 
    Grammatical Relations

    Week 10 
    Voice & Valence

    Week 11 
    Multi-Clause Constructions

    Week 12 
    Theoretical perspectives on morphology & syntax

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Linguistic Practical #1     Formative/
    20% end Week 3 1, 2, 8
    Linguistic Practical #2 Formative/
    20% end Week 6 2, 4, 8
    Linguistic Practical #3 Formative/
    20% end Week 7 3, 8
    Grammar Review Summative 20% end Week 10 7, 8
    Test Summative 20% during exam period TBA 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8

    Assessment Related Requirements
    • Attendance at lectures is an essential component of the course. Many lectures will include short exercises for completion during the lecture. These will be self-corrected.
    • Attendance at tutorials is compulsory and will count towards the final mark.
    • All assessment components must be completed to qualify for a final result.
    Assessment Detail
    Linguistic Practicals
    Linguistic practical assignments will be distributed in lectures and tutorials. Further detail to be advised.

    Practical #1 - Morphology
    Practical #2 - Parts of Speech (Word Classes)
    Practical #3 - Syntactic Analysis
    Practical #4 - Grammar Review

    The test will cover a number of set chapters of your textbook and the content of the lectures. No books, dictionaries or notes can be used for the test
    1. All assignments to be submitted via MyUni/Canvas by midday on the due date.

    2. Ensure that your Tutorial Group, Level (II or III), Course Title, Assignment Title & Topic appear on the cover sheet.

    3. All assignments must be in grammatical English.

    4. Practicals may be hand-written legibly. Typed assignments must be double-spaced with a minimum 10 font.

    5. Always keep a copy of your work. (Just occasionally things do go astray)

    6. Assignments submitted late require a doctor’s certificate, counsellor’s certificate or similar proof/documentation.

    7. Extensions (normally up to one week) MUST be organised prior to the due date.

    8. Penalty with no extension is 2% per day up to 7 days (including weekends and holidays).

    9. Assignments submitted without an approved extension will not be accepted more than 7 days after the due date.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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