Universiteit Leiden

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Theoretical Linguistics


Syntacticians study how words combine into larger units (phrases and sentences) in human languages and how the combinatorial possibilities determine word order and grammatical relations between parts of a sentence.

They determine the principles behind the formation of these larger units, establishing both the rules of sentence composition in specific languages as well as the cognitive principles that underlie the linguistic capacity of the human brain. 

What we do

Working within the framework of generative grammar, syntacticians at LUCL investigate languages and language structures from these perspectives with a primary focus on (present and past) varieties of among others Dutch, English, French, Italian, Hungarian as well as Bantu and Chinese languages and dialects.

Research topics include:

  • linguistic variation between related and unrelated languages and dialects
  • description and analysis of historical states of language
  • language change 
  • grammatical aspect
  • argument and event structure
  • linguistic aspects of omission
  • form and meaning of quantificational, numeral and measure expressions
  • the syntax-information structure interface
  • the syntax-prosody interface
  • the syntax-morphology interface
  • the syntax-semantics interface
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