2017-2018 / LROM0068-1

French Syntax


30h Th

Number of credits

 Bachelor in French and Romance languages and literatures : general5 crédits 


Nicolas Mazziotta

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The course investigates various issues in French grammar using phrase-structure based (Chomsky) and dependency based models (Tesnière, Meaning-Text Theory).
The main thematic issues are:

  • Classifying words into parts of speech (POS) and distinguishing between so-called "nature" (form) and "function";
  • Classifying the complements of the verb;
  • Subordination of clauses;
  • Coordination;
  • Structures that are deemed specific to Oral French.
We focus on the dialectics between traditional description and syntactic models.
Group exercises will investigate specific phenomena in French grammar, selected with the help of the teacher.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

By the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  • explain the concepts and issues investigated during the lessons;
  • analyse a specific issue that has not been  investigated during the course in a critical and creative way;
  • use explicit sample data to elaborate the analysis.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills


  • Traditional grammatical notions.
  • Main concepts of descriptive linguistics

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

  • Theoretical lessons introducing the main notions.
  • Lecture(s) by invited speaker(s) (to be confirmed).
  • Sessions consisting of group exercises: analyses and oral presentation/debate.

Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)

The course is face-to-face.

Recommended or required readings

Downloadable syllabus (ecampus)
Reference materials

  • Christopher Laenzlinger, Initiation à la Syntaxe formelle du français. Le modèle Principes et Paramètres de la Grammaire Générative Transformationnelle, Bern, Peter Lang, 2003.
  • Igor Mel'¿uk/Jasmina Mili¿evi¿, Introduction à la linguistique. Volume 2. Paris, Hermann, 2014. [Introduction to the synctactic module of the Meaning-Text Theory.]
  • Philippe Monneret, Exercices de linguistique, Paris, PUF, 1999. [Exercises on Lucien Tesnière's model]
  • Olivier Soutet, La linguistique, Paris, PUF, 2005. [Additional material and general outline of Lucien Tesnière's model]
  • Lucien Tesnière. Éléments de syntaxe structurale, Paris: Klincksieck.
  • Marc Wilmet. Grammaire critique du français, Bruxelles: De Boeck, 2010.
  • Other texts and references may be made available on eCampus.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral examination. Exercises can give a bonus/malus of 1 or 2 to the final grade.

Work placement(s)

Organizational remarks

The course takes place during Q2, every Wednesday from 1PM to 3PM.
Contact the teacher if necessary.


Teacher Nicolas MAZZIOTTA Phone: 04 366 53 82 Email: nicolas.mazziotta@ulg.ac.be