University of Aberdeen by 5gG0BP


									                  University of Aberdeen


                   SESSION 2007-2008

                  EL 5549
Describing and Teaching the Morphology and
             Syntax of English
                        (30 credits)

                   Tues 9-10 Taylor A12
                    Fri 9-10 Taylor C49

       Head of School: Professor Chris Fynsk

       Department Postgraduate Officer (research students):
       Dr Shane Murphy

       Course Team
       Dr Barbara Fennell (Convener)
       Taylor A43
       Tel.: (01224-27)2490
       Office Hour: Tuesday 2pm-3pm
       Friday 1-2

       Dr Mark Garner (Moderator)
       Taylor B06
       Tel. (01224-27)2631

                   EL 5549 MORPHOLOGY AND SYNTAX

Pre-requisite(s): Available only to registered postgraduate students

Co-requisite(s): None

Note(s): None

This course will involve detailed exposition and analysis of descriptive rules of
morphology and syntax. Discussion of learner difficulties and fossilization will
be included as will detailed discussion of the gap between competence and
performance in morpho-syntax. Focus will be on: tense, aspect, modality,
agreement, negation, general complementation and relativization.

24 x 1 hour seminars (2 per week); some weeks will consist of directed
exercises and self study

3 written exercises (33.3% each)

Course aims

This course aims to advance students’ knowledge of the descriptive rules of
morphology and syntax. Particular emphasis will be placed on critical areas of
morpho-syntax such as aspect, modality, agreement, tense, negation, general
complementation and relativization, which can challenge even advanced
learners of English as a second or foreign language.

Learning Outcomes

     Knowledge and Understanding of:-            Practical Skills – able to:-

        advanced rules of English                 approach and analyse linguistic
         morphology and syntax                      material from a variety of sources
        descriptive rules and actual              synthesise and apply the findings
         usage of grammatical features of           of scholars to the linguistic
         English                                    material with which they are faced
        key areas of learner difficulty           apply an understanding of the
        factors involved in the                    morphology and syntax of English
         fossilization of English                   to other contexts

Intellectual Skills – able to:-         Transferable Skills – able to:-

   comprehend some of the major           discuss complex issues with
    principles of the morphology            clarity and cogency, both orally
    and syntax of English                   and in writing, at a level
   understand the difficulties             appropriate to advanced students
    involved in teaching these             write clearly, succinctly,
    structures to non-native learners       grammatically and idiomatically
   analyse linguistic data and judge      organise study time effectively
    its suitability for teaching to
    ESL/EFL students

Teaching and Learning Methods

    Intellectual Skills                     Practical Skills

     Seminar discussion and written         Seminar presentations, and written
    work will help students to              work, will provide students with
    comprehend the complexities of          practice in talking and writing about
    English morphology and syntax           the morphology and syntax of English
     Seminar discussion and written         Analytical skills will be enhanced
    work will include detailed              by close analysis of texts from
    examination of the structure of         different varieties of English
    English sentence
     Seminar discussion and written
    work will develop an understanding
    of the difficulties of acquiring the
    grammar of English as a Second

    Transferable Skills

     The Department’s “Guide to
    Written work” will spell out basic
    rules of correct writing
     Guidelines in the course
    handbook on the structure of
    individual presentations will
    encourage effective synthesis and
     Guidelines in the course
    handbook coupled with intensive
    guidance will encourage the
    development of skills in the analysis
    of linguistic materials
    Clearly specified submission dates
    will help students to organise their
    study time effectively

The course will be assessed by 3 written exercises (each worth 33.3%).
Exercise 1 is to be handed in by Friday of Week 4; Exercise 2 by Friday of
Week 8; Exercise 3 by Friday of Week 12.

Late submission: 3 marks will be deducted for late submission (up to a week
late) without supportive medical evidence. Work submitted after this date will
receive a NIL grade.

The definition of Plagiarism is the use, without adequate acknowledgement, of
the intellectual work of another person in work submitted for assessment. A
student cannot be found to have committed plagiarism where it can be shown
that the student has taken all reasonable care to avoid representing the work
of others as his or her own.

Students are required to familiarise themselves with the contents of the
Department handout Guidance on Avoiding Plagiarism, which is available
from the School Office.

Basis of Assessment: Good work will be identified by the accuracy of the
information, quality of argument, use of evidence, relevance to topic and
quality of expression. Inaccuracies in punctuation, spelling, grammar, idiom,
referencing and bibliography, and sloppiness in presentation (numerous
insertions, deletions, coffee stains, etc.)will be penalised by the deduction of
up to 4 marks.

Format: Work should be word-processed whenever possible.

Conventions of reference: students should use one of the standard
conventions of reference: MHRA, Harvard, MLA. Marks will be deducted for
inadequate referencing.

Absence from Classes on Medical Grounds

Candidates who wish to establish that their academic performance has been
adversely affected by their health are required to secure medical certificates
relating to the relevant periods of ill health (see General Regulation 17.3).

The University’s policy on requiring certification for absence on medical
grounds or other good cause can be accessed at:


You are strongly advised to make yourself fully aware of your responsibilities
if you are absent due to illness or other good cause. In particular, you are
asked to note that self-certification of absence for periods of absence up to

and including eleven weekdays is permissible. However, where absence has
prevented attendance at an examination or where it may have affected your
performance in an element of assessment or where you have been unable to
attend a specified teaching session, you are strongly advised to provide
medical certification (see section 3 of the Policy on Certification of Absence
for Medical Reasons or Other Good Cause).

Attendance: Attendance at all classes is compulsory. Attendance records will
be taken at all seminars.

Resit arrangements: Resits are not permitted.

Course Plan
Please note that this plan should be read as a guide only; it is subject to small

Introduction to the course.

        GB Ch 2               Metalanguage
        GB Ch 4               Subject-Verb Agreement

        GB Chs 5-6            Phrase Structure Rules

        GB Ch 7               Tense and Aspect

        GB Chs 8-9            Modals

        GB Ch10-11            Negation and Questions

        GB Chs 13-15          WH-Questions and Similar Structures

Wk 7
        GB Chs15-17           Articles, Reference, Quantifiers

Wk 8
        GB Ch18               The Passive Voice

Wk 9
        GB Chs 20-21          Adjectives and Prepositions

Wk 10
        GB Chs 24, 26         Conjunctions and Logical Connectors

Wk 11
        GB Chs28-29           Relative Clauses

Wk 12
        GB Chs 31-32          Complementation

Textbook: Celce-Murcia, Marianne and Larsen-Freeman, Diane (1999) The
Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher’s Course. USA: Heine & Heinle.

Some Resources
Note: this course is designed to be research-driven. With this in mind, you
should treat the following list of books, articles and dissertations as a guide.
By this point in your studies, you should be using bibliographies to provide
resources for as wide as possible a reading. I would recommend in particular
the Modern Languages Association (of America) (MLA) database, which is
available on Floor 3 of the QML. As useful is the Year’s Work in English
Studies, which can be found on Floor 3 as well.
        Some of these books may also be available as e-books on It is always worth your while doing
general searches on this system. If you don’t understand the way the system
works, please ask. A number of journals with some relevance to this course
are available from the library online; some are only available in that format.
        By all means use the internet to look for resources; bear in mind,
however, that the only qualification you require to publish on the internet is
possession of a computer and a modem. If something looks radically different
from what you have read in a print source, you should treat the www-source
with some caution. The Language and Linguistics section has its own web
resource page at

                          Selective Bibliography

(There are also references at the end of each chapter of The Grammar Book)

Leech, Geoffrey (2006) A Glossary of English Grammar. Edinburgh: EUP

Swan, Michael (2001) Learner English: A Teacher’s Guide to Interference and
    Other Problems. Cambridge: CUP

Swick, Edward (2005) Practice Makes Perfect: English Grammar for ESL
    Learners. New York: McGraw Hill.

Van Gelderen, Elly (2002) An Introduction to the Grammar of English.
    Amsterdam, Philadelphia: Benjamins.

Wardhaugh, Ronald (2003) Understanding English Grammar: A Linguistic
    Approach. Malden, Mass.; Oxford: Blackwell.

Williams, James, D. (2004) The Teacher’s Grammar Book. Mahwah,
      N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum


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