MA Linguistics

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
The Grammar of English Noun Phrases

Unit code LELA70121
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Linguistics & English Language
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Topics to be covered:
- introduction to English noun phrases
- noun classes in English
- the structure of the English noun phrase
- pre-head dependents
- post-head dependents
- genitive constructions
- determiners
- definiteness and indefiniteness
- reference
- quantification
- intensification
- historical development of the English NP

Learning outcomes

This course is an in-depth examination of nominal categories in English and the structure of English noun phrases. The perspective is descriptive rather than theoretical. Using existing reference works and corpus-based analysis, the goal of the course is to work towards a descriptively adequate model of the noun phrase and its elements.

Learning outcomes:
Knowledge and understanding
Students should (a) have a detailed knowledge of the categories involved in the construction of English noun phrases; (b) have read grammatical descriptions of various levels of difficulty concerning nominal categories in English and be able to critically evaluate them; (c) be able to undertake a basic corpus-based analysis using the British National Corpus.

Practical skills
Students will be able to analyze noun phrases and describe nominal categories, using the descriptive methods developed in the course. They will have learned to perform corpus searches and apply basic qualitative and quantitative analyses.

Intellectual skills
Students should develop skills of problem-solving, building an analysis on the basis of corpus-based data, critically assessing and comparing different descriptions, constructing and refining an argument defending their analysis.

Transferable skills
Students should develop skills of successful self-directed study and learning, with appropriate time management. Students will refine their essay writing and presentation skills.

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly one-hour lecture + one-hour seminar
Two three-hour tutorials (week 3 and week 1)

Recommended reading

Recommended texts
Recommended texts
- Payne, John & Rodney Huddleston. 2002. Nouns and noun phrases. Chapter 5 of Rodney Huddleston & Geoffrey K. Pullum. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Bache, Carl. 2000. Essentials of Mastering English: A Concise Grammar. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Additional readings will be made available for each lecture and for the two reading seminars.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Additional notes

The aim of the course is to examine one area of English Grammar in greater depth, and work towards fine-grained levels of grammatical description. The students will be challenged to evaluate existing grammatical descriptions against the variety and flexibility of actual language use.

Lecture: Tuesday 9.00-10.00
Seminar: Tuesday 10.00-11.00
Tutorial: Tuesday 14.00-17.00 (weeks 3 and 10)

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