Dominique Sportiche works on formal syntax. He has focused on the theory of constituent structure, and properties of the syntax/semantics interface (especially in French and the Romance languages) as they bear on the architecture of syntactic or grammatical theory and on cognition in general. He has published work on phrase structure, agreement, clitics, and reconstruction phenomena. His current theoretical interests and ongoing works include phrase structure and the functional sequence, the internal structure of VPs, reconstruction phenomena, and the binding theory. From an empirical standpoint his work focalizes primarily on various aspects of the syntax systems of English, and of French and the Romance languages (complementizers, relative pronouns, reflexive constructions, binding theory). In recent years his work has extended to the relation between linguistic theory and (i) linguistic impairment (in Huntington’s disease patients), (ii) very early acquisition of syntax and (iii) grounding theoretical choices in more systematic methods of data collection and control (particularly regarding the binding theory, and the French complementizer system).


Overview of some of the papers, and some hand outs or things which have not yet (fully) made it in article form:

  • mittalk98.pdf  : This the handout of a talk given at MIT in 1998 presenting material taught at UCLA around 96-97. It builds on the previous but the basic idea that there is no process of head movement at all is explored a bit further.
  • A number of talks between 1996 and the present were given on reconstruction under A-movement. The content of these talks is now part of the
  • 2005 paper: Division of Labor between Merge and Move. Here is a description of the general ideas: SplitDPsSplitVPs.pdf . Here are a couple of representative handouts and an abstract which people request from time to time: mittalk97.pdf , glow99abs.pdf , glow99ho.pdf
  • French predicate clitics and clause structure (1995) & Subject clitics in French and Romance (1995): aboutclitics.pdf
  • lsrl94.pdf : This is the hand out of a talk given at the LSRL94 conference (Linguistic Symposium on Romance Linguistics) ( it was also presented at Cornell in 93): the basic idea is that there is no adjuncts or adjunction in syntax, only subjects and complements. It examines several different cases of putative adjunction, e.g. adverbs ( argues to be predicates of events, etc..), adjectives (ditto..), successive cyclic adjunction a la Barriers ( clausal structure has many more COMP positions than previously believed – based on agreement phenomena found in Kilega)…
  • Movement Agreement and Case (1990):  aboutmac.pdf



  • Introduction to the Study of Language (Ling 1)
  • Introductory Syntax ( Ling. 120B )
  • Advanced Syntax ( Ling. 165B )


  • Graduate Introduction to Syntax I ( Ling. 200B ), II ( Ling. 206 ) or III ( Ling. 216 ),
  • Syntax Seminars on Current Topics (Ling 252)
  • Syntax and Semantics (Ling 262): a discussion group meeting weekly usually on Fridays 2-4pm.