Argument Structure and Syntax

Sentence structure diagram for the sentence 'John sent a package to Mary.' There are five branch points.

Sentence structure diagram for the to-dative sentence "John sent a package to Mary." Diagram is found in Marantz, A. "Implications of Asymmetries in Double Object Constructions." Chap. 4 in Theoretical Aspects of Bantu Grammar 1. Edited by Sam A. Mchombo. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications, 1993, pp. 113-151. Learn more from "Argument Structure and Ditransitive Verbs in Japanese" in lecture notes.


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2003



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Course Features

Course Highlights

One highlight of this course is the various recent analyses of "object." We will look at objects in a variety of constructions in English, the internal arguments of distransitive verbs in Japanese, and so forth.  See Miyagawa and Tsujioka in the readings for discussion related to Japanese.

Course Description

This course is a detailed investigation of the major issues and problems in the study of lexical argument structure and how it determines syntactic structure. Its empirical scope  is along three dimensions: typology, lexical class, and theoretical framework. The range of linguistic types include English, Japanese, Navajo, and Warlpiri. Lexical classes include those of Levin's English Verb Classes and others producing emerging work on diverse languages. The theoretical emphasis of this course is on structural relations among elements of argument structure.

Shigeru Miyagawa, and Alec Marantz. 24.953 Argument Structure and Syntax, Spring 2003. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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