Word Order Variation and Scrambling

This course examines major issues in word order variation in the Slavic languages, with data mostly drawn from Russian, but also using Serbo-Croatian for comparative purposes as much as possible. The course leads students from a description of the basic theoretical issues involved in word order into the most recent proposals (EPP-driven A-scrambling, movement vs base-generation, reconstruction, purely derivational approaches). I will present an overview of as many of the current issues as possible but will also present some of my own work, esp. in lectures 4 and 6.

  1. Introduction: Theoretical importance of word order: Optionality, interfaces, motivation
  2. Configurationality and canonical orders: VP-level and S-level
  3. Theories of Scrambling: Constrained movement; base-generation; landing sites; directionality theories
  4. Inversion Constructions and A-Scrambling
  5. Topic / Focus, Theme/Rheme, and A'-Scrambling
  6. The derivational approach