Alternative Syntactic Theories
This course covers non-derivational theories of syntax that have focused on developing precisely formulated
grammars whose empirical predictions can be directly tested. We will briefly cover a number of different
grammatical frameworks, including varieties of dependency grammar (DG), tree-adjoining grammar (TAG),
lexical-funcational grammar (LFG), and Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG). After a survey of
each of these, we will delve more deeply into the framework of combinatory categorial grammar
The CCG portion of the course will be treated essentially like a seminar. We will read recent papers which
examine both theoretical and computational aspects of CCG. This will include, on the one hand, topics such
as the structure of the lexicon and the relation of syntax to semantics and information structure, and, on the
other hand, methods for CCG supertagging, wide-coverage CCG parsing, CCG semantic analysis,
and CCG corpora. The exact material will depend to some extent upon the interests of the
At the end of the course, students should be able to analyze linguistic data in a number of ways, read
syntactic literature from a variety of viewpoints, and understand how these formalisms, especially CCG, lend
themselves well to computational needs.
Sycamore Hall (SY) 212
L543 or L545 is recommended
Memorial Hall (MM) 317
email@example.com (remove the tasty item)
(at least for the first week)
| ||or by appointment
For the first 5 weeks, we will use a variety of readings (available online) to provide background material for
the lectures, and then we will switch to other articles, as determined by interest.
This is the current, tentative list of articles:
- (RB) Debusmann, Ralph (2000). An Introduction to Dependency Grammar.
- (JN) Nivre, Joakim (2005). Dependency Grammar and Dependency Parsing. MSI
report 05133. Växjö University: School of Mathematics and Systems Engineering.
- (A&R) Abeillé, Anne and Owen Rambow (2001). Tree Adjoining Grammar: An Overview. In
Abeillé, Anne and Owen Rambow, eds., Tree Adjoining Grammars, chapter 1. CSLI Publications.
- (AC1) Carnie, Andrew (2013). Lexical-Functional Grammar. In Andrew Carnie, Syntax: A
Generative Introduction (Third Edition), chapter 19. Wiley. http://dingo.sbs.arizona.edu/~carnie/publications/PDF/Web1.Chapter19LFG%20copy.pdf
- (MD) Dalrymple, Mary. 2006. Lexical Functional Grammar.
In Keith Brown (eds), Encyclopedia of language and linguistics (2nd edition). Oxford: Elsevier.
- (AC2) Carnie, Andrew (2013). Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar. In Andrew Carnie,
Syntax: A Generative Introduction (Third Edition), chapter 20. Wiley.
- (L&M) Robert D. Levine and Detmar Meurers (2006). “Head-Driven Phrase Structure
Grammar: Linguistic Approach, Formal Foundations, and Computational Realization”. Keith
Brown (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, Second Edition. Oxford: Elsevier.
- (S&B) Steedman, Mark and Jason Baldridge (2011). Combinatory Categorial Grammar. Draft
from Borsley & Börjars, Non-Transformational Syntax.
We’ll select other readings later in the semester, depending on people’s interests; see section on Presentations
- Homeworks: There will be five homeworks assigned early on in the semester. You will generally
have 1-2 weeks to complete each assignment. Each one will provide you with a number of exercises
to demonstrate that you grasp the material. Homework assignments are due by the beginning
of each class (9:30am)—you may hand them in or e-mail them to me. You can work together
on the homework assignments but write out your own answers. Your homework grade will be
based on both quality and effort.
- Mini-paper: You will have to write a review article covering the topic that you lead in class in
a little more depth (4-5 pages). This will be due approximately 2 weeks after your presentation
(the exact due date being agreed upon).
- Presentation: We will spend about 2/3 of the course discussing CCG. After covering
core issues, the remaining issues will depend upon the interests of the students, and each
student will be responsible for leading a discussion of a particular current paper/topic during
this time. More details will follow later in the semester, but these the topics listed at
http://groups.inf.ed.ac.uk/ccg/ and the references in S&B are probably the best starting
Also, if you go to http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/ and search for CCG, you will find recent
articles. I’ve listed some readings/areas below, but realize that these are a few years out of date
(especially for the computational work) and should be taken as suggestions for starting points
into digging deeper.
- Linguistic issues:
- Theoretical & linguistic foundations of CCG
- Binding Theory: S&B sec. 5.1, Steedman 1996
- Scrambling + cross-linguistic issues: S&B sec. 7, Foster, 1990, Hoffman 1995, Treschsel
2000, Baldridge 2002, Enrico and Baldridge (to appear)
- Gapping: S&B sec. 8, Steedman 1990, Karamanis 2000, Bozsahin 2000, White &
- Lexicon: McConville 2006, 2007
- Multi-modal CCG: Jaconbson 1990, 1992a, Hepple 1990, Baldridge 2002, Baldridge &
Kruijff 2003, Hoyt & Baldridge 2008
- Semantics: Baldridge & Kruijff 2002, Villavicencio 2002
- Information Structure: S&B sec. 9, Prevost 1995, Steedman 1991, 2000a, Prevost &
- Computational issues:
- Processing/Performance issues: S&B sec. 10, Carin & Steedman 1985, Altmann &
Steedman 1988, Kruijff et al 2007, Hockenmaier, Bierner, & Baldridge 2004, White
2006, Espinosa, White, & Mehay 2008
- Complexity: Hockenmaier & Young 2008, Koller & Kuhlmann 2009, Vijay-Shanker &
Weir 1990, 1993, 1994
- Corpora & tagging: Hockenmaier 2006, Baldridge 2008
- Parsing: Clark 2002, Hockenmaier & Steedman 2002a, 2002b, Clark, Hockenmaier, &
Steedman 2002, Hockenmaier 2003a, 2003b, 2006 Clark & Curran 2004, 2007, Gildea
& Hockenmaier 2003
- NLP applications: Birch, Osborne, & Koehn 2007, Hassan, Sima’an, & Way 2009,
Baldridge et al 2007, White 2006, Villavicencio 2002, Zettlemeoyer & Collins 2009,
Pintadosi et al 2008
- Project: Near the end of the semester, you will have a chance to develop a grammar in the CCG
formalism, using OpenCCG. More details for this project will be available later in the
|Homeworks ||30%||(=5@6% each)
(from the Dean for Academic Standards and Opportunities)
Academic Integrity: As a student at IU, you are expected to adhere to the standards and policies detailed in
the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct (http://www.iu.edu/~code/). When you submit
an assignment with your name on it, you are signifying that the work contained therein is all yours, unless
otherwise cited or referenced. Any ideas or materials taken from another source for either written or oral use
must be fully acknowledged. If you are unsure about the expectations for completing an assignment or taking
a test or exam, be sure to seek clarification beforehand. All suspected violations of the Code will be handled
according to University policies. Sanctions for academic misconduct may include a failing grade on the
assignment, reduction in your final course grade, a failing grade in the course, among other possibilities,
and must include a report to the Dean of Students who may impose additional disciplinary
Students with Disabilities:
Students who need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me to arrange an
appointment as soon as possible to discuss the course format, to anticipate needs, and to explore potential
I rely on Disability Services for Students for assistance in verifying the need for accommodations and
developing accommodation strategies. Students who have not previously contacted Disability Services are
encouraged to do so (812-855-7578; http://www.indiana.edu/~iubdss/).
|Month||Date||Topic ||Reading ||Assignments
|Jan. || 13||Intro to class (pdf, 2x3.pdf) || || |
| || 15||Basic syntactic constructions (pdf, 2x3.pdf) || ||
| || 20||Basic syntactic constructions (symbol handout: .pdf) || ||
| || 22||Dependency Grammar (DG) (pdf, 2x3.pdf, 1x3.pdf) ||RB ||
| || 27||Dependency Grammar (DG) ||JN, pp. 1–12||
| || 29||Tree-Adjoining Grammar (TAG) (pdf, 2x3.pdf, 1x3.pdf) ||A&R ||
|Feb. || 3||TAG || ||HW1 due
| || 5||Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG) (pdf, 2x3.pdf, 1x3.pdf) ||AC1 ||
| || 10||LFG ||MD || |
| || 12||LFG || ||HW2 due
| || 17||Head-driven PSG (HPSG) (pdf, 2x3.pdf, 1x3.pdf) ||AC2 ||
| || 19||HPSG ||L&M || |
| || 24||CCG background: lambda calculus (see these slides) || ||HW3 due
| || 26||Combinatory Categorial Grammar (CCG) (pdf, 2x3.pdf, 1x3.pdf)||S&B ||
|Mar. || 3||CCG overview || || |
| || 5||CCG linguistic issues ||TBA ||
| || 10||CCG linguistic issues ||TBA ||
| || 12||CCG linguistic issues ||TBA ||HW4 due
| || 17||No class, Spring Break || ||
| || 19||No class, Spring Break || ||
| || 24||CCG linguistic issues ||TBA ||
| || 26||CCG linguistic issues ||TBA ||
| || 31||CCG linguistic issues ||TBA ||
|Apr. || 2||CCG linguistic issues ||TBA ||
| || 7||OpenCCG (handout) || ||
| || 9||CCG computational issues ||TBA ||
| || 14||CCG computational issues ||TBA ||HW5 due
| || 16||CCG computational issues ||TBA ||
| || 21||CCG computational issues ||TBA ||
| || 23||CCG computational issues ||TBA ||
| || 28||CCG computational issues ||TBA ||
| || 30||CCG computational issues ||TBA ||
|May || 7||Projects due (Thursday), 5pm || ||
This syllabus is subject to change. All important changes will be made in writing, with ample time for
For one’s own knowledge, here are some recommended books for comparing different frameworks:
- Borsley, Robert (1999). Syntactic Theory: A Unified Approach (2nd Edition).
- Borsley, Robert and
Kersti Börjars (2011). Non-Transformational Syntax: Formal and Explicit Models of Grammar.
- Brown, Keith and Jim Miller (1996). Concise Encyclopedia of Syntactic Theories.
- Green, Georgia and Jerry Morgan (2001). Practical Guide to Syntactic Analysis (2nd Edition).
- Horrocks, Geoffrey (1987). Generative Grammar
- Müller, Stefan (2003) Grammatiktheorie (in German) (2nd Edition),
- Sag, Ivan A., Thomas Wasow, and Emily M. Bender (2003). Syntactic Theory: A Formal
Introduction (2nd Edition). http://web.stanford.edu/group/cslipublications/cslipublications/site/1575864002.shtml
- Sells, Peter (1985). Lectures on Contemporary Syntactic Theories.
- van Riensdijk, Henk C. and Edwin Williams (1986) Introduction to the Theory of Grammar.
And books for more on individual frameworks:
- DG: Tesnière, Lucien (1959). Elements of Structural Syntax. Translated by Timothy Osborne
and Sylvain Kahane (2015). https://benjamins.com/#catalog/books/z.185/main
- DG: Mel’čuk, Igor (1988). Dependency Syntax: Theory and Practice.
- TAG: Abeillé, Anne and Owen Rambow, eds. (2001). Tree Adjoining Grammars.
- HPSG: Pollard, Carl and Ivan Sag (1994): Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar.
- LFG: Dalrymple, Mary (2001). Lexical-Functional Grammar (Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 34).
- LFG: Dalrymple, Mary, Ronald M. Kaplan, John T. Maxwell III, and Annie Zaenen (1994).
Formal Issues in Lexical-Functional Grammar. http://web.stanford.edu/group/cslipublications/cslipublications/site/1881526364.shtml
- CCG: Steedman, Mark (2000). The Syntactic Process.
Conference websites & other helpful meta-sites:
Automatic tools for grammar-writing:
Finally, if you’re relatively new to syntax, references outlining the phenomena might help, e.g.:
- Burton-Roberts, Noel (2013). Analysing Sentences: An Introduction to English Syntax (Third
- Huddleston, Rodney and Geoffrey K. Pullum (2005). A Student’s Introduction to English
- The Sag et al (2003) & Borsley books above.