Courses available in French


La poétique de la durée s’efforce d’apaiser l’hier fiévreux, de tramer ce lointain devenir.

— Glissant

French 206: Special Topics in French Linguistics — Advanced French Syntax


Required:  Riegel, M., J.-C. Pellat and R. Rioul (1994) Grammaire méthodique du français, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Course reader to be made available at Copy Central

Recommended:  Ayres-Bennett, Wendy and J. Carruthers, with R. Temple (2001) Problems and Perspectives: Studies in the Modern French Language, Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd.

Jones, Michael Allan. 1996. Foundations of French Syntax, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McLaughlin, Mairi (2011) Syntactic Borrowing in Contemporary French: A Linguistic Analysis of News Translation, Oxford: Legenda.

Rowlett, Paul (2007) The Syntax of French, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Course Description:

This is an advanced graduate course in French syntax. Although the class will be held in English, the readings will be in both French and English so you will need to have good reading knowledge of academic French. You should also have taken a course in linguistics or in French linguistics before taking this class (e.g. French 146, French 201, Linguistics 120, Linguistics 220 or Linguistics 230). We will explore a range of topics in French syntax concerning the noun phrase, the verb phrase and the order of constituents. Examples of topics include the position of the adjective, the use of the passive, dislocation, and interrogative constructions. We will also consider a set of thematic questions which focus on syntactic variation such as syntax and register, syntax and genre, and syntax and language contact. No single theoretical approach is taken to syntax : some topics are approached descriptively whereas others are approached from a particular theoretical perspective. Similarly, the balance of synchronic and historical data varies according to the topic and we will not focus exclusively on the standard language : the syntax of informal spoken French will be a major focus of the course. Students will acquire a very nuanced understanding of syntactic variation in contemporary French and an excellent understanding of the relationship between the historical evolution of the language and its current state. By focussing on French, students will also develop a better understanding of French approaches to the study of syntax and this should be of benefit to graduates in the linguistics department. A substantial part of the course will be devoted to developing your own research project in French syntax.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes