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ET230: Morphology and Syntax


What structures do the world’s languages have in common and how are they different? How can we classify languages? Why do languages change? This module expands on concepts introduced during Linguistics: Understanding Language in order to provide core knowledge and skills for students in the core linguistic domains of morphology and syntax. You’ll learn about more advanced morpho-syntactic features of a wide range of the world’s languages and how these features interact with semantics. You’ll explore methodologies to document, study, and analyse real-world language data. You’ll also be introduced to research in subfields of linguistics such as typology and language change.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe morphological, syntactic and semantic patterns of the languages of the world.
  • Label morpho-syntactic and semantic features of languages with disciplinary terminology.
  • Analyze raw linguistic data to determine features of a language.
  • Categorize changes in languages resulting from language internal and external factors.
  • Propose appropriate methodologies to document and study language.
  • Discuss core theories, findings, and approaches from a range of linguistic disciplines.

Learning Experience


Core content will be presented during weekly 2-hour lectures.


We will meet in a weekly 1-hour small-group seminar to practice and apply course concepts.



One 1500-word assignment (50%)


2-hour written examination (50%)

Preparatory Reading

  • Haspelmath, M., & Sims, A. (2013). Understanding morphology. Routledge.
  • Tallerman, M. (2014). Understanding syntax. Routledge.
  • Velupillai, V. (2012). An introduction to linguistic typology. John Benjamins.

Academic Staff

Ellen Smith-Dennis