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Processing Syntax and Semantics


Admission requirements

Student must have completed Psycholinguistics, Neurolinguistics, Semantics 1, Syntax 1, and Statistics.


In this course we review the classic literature on syntactic and semantic processing with a focus on different parsing theories and experimental work from the past 40 years, covering among others issues such as ambiguity resolution and garden-path, locality, plausibility, frequency and working memory effects.
We discuss essential psycholinguistic models, the processing of syntactic phenomena (such as long-distance dependencies and binding), phenomena at the syntax-semantics interface (such as negative polarity item(s) licensing) and syntax-prosody interface (such as processing of wh-in-situ questions).

Course objectives

  • Students acquire basic background knowledge on the classic literature and theories on (syntactic and semantic) sentence processing

  • Students are able to analyze and compare different parsing models

  • Students are able to formulate a research question on sentence processing and to generate an
    original experiment proposal


BA Linguistics

Mode of instruction


Course load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

  • Lectures: 26 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 40 hours

  • Assignment(s): 38 hours

  • Preparation and writing of paper: 36 hours

Assessment method


Students will get their total grade (5 ECs) out of the following combination:

(i) 40% of the grade will be based on bi-weekly summaries and bi-weekly PeerMark exercises of articles whose topics will be discussed during the course program

(ii) 60% of the grade will be based on a research paper to be produced at the end of the course

Bi-weekly assignments are mandatory and a prerequisite to hand-in the research paper.


The resit will consist of rewriting the paper that the student submitted for the course based on the suggestions for improvement suggested by the Instructor.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • specifying the materials to be discussed during the lectures

  • additional information about reading summaries and PeerMark assignments

  • uploading the class material

Reading list

Selected Chapters and articles from different sources will be listed in Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website


For questions about the content of the course, please contact the teacher:
Letitia Pablos Robles

Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats

E-mailaddress Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats:

Coordinator of Studies: Else van Dijk