Friday, 11 September 2009

Courses I offer this autumn

I offer 4 courses in our linguistics department this term:

(1) Discourse Analysis,
(2) Schools of Modern Linguistics,
(3) Fundamentals of Grammatical Analysis, and
(4) Transformational Grammar.

I post the syllabuses of the courses below for your information:

IAU, First Term of 1388-1389 (2009-2010)
An MA course in:
Discourse Analysis
Instructor: A. R. Lotfi, Ph.D.

Course Description and Objectives

This course is intended to introduce the participants (the MA students of linguistics) to the basics of pragmatics, text linguistics, and discourse analysis. It is intended to offer insights into functional linguistics in general, how functional accounts of language depart from formal ones, and perhaps more importantly, how a more unified picture of language emerges via the convergence of insights from these two major camps of linguistic studies.
Attendance is strongly recommended for all classes. Weekly readings should be completed prior to the class in which they are to be discussed. Your final score will include: (a) final exam (80 percent) (b) a term project (20 percent).


Ariel, M. 2008. Pragmatics and Grammar. CUP.

Blakemore, D. 2002. Relevance and Linguistic meaning. CUP.

Bybee J, and P. Hopper. 2002. Frequency and the Emergence of Linguistic
Structure. Benjamins.

Van Dijk, T. A. (1977). Text and Context: Explorations in the Semantics and
Pragmatics of Discourse. Longman.

Fairclough, N. 1995. Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language.

Hedberg, N. and R. Zacharski. 2007. The Grammar-Pragmatics Interface. Benjamins.

Horn, L. and G. Ward. 2005. The Handbook of Pragmatics. Blackwell.

Jaworski, A. and N. Coupland. 1999. The Discourse Reader. Routledge.

Levinson, S. C. 1983. Pragmatics. Cambridge university Press.

Schiffrin, D, D. Tannen, and H. Hamilton. 2001. The Handbook of Discourse
Analysis. Blackwell.

Sperber, D. and D. Wilson. 1986. Relevance: Communication and Cognition.

Wichmann, A. 2000. Intonation in Text and Discourse. Longman.

Theories of meaning
Speech acts
Grice’s theory
Relevance theory
Text linguistics
Critical Discourse Analysis
Information structure
An MA course in:
Schools of Modern Linguistics
Instructor: A. R. Lotfi, Ph.D.


Formalism v. Functionalism
(de Saussure, Bloomfield, and Chomsky)
Functional linguistics
(Firth, Halliday, van Dijk and Kintsch)
Optimality Theory
(Prince and Smolensky)

Required Texts:

Beaugrande, R. D. (1991). Linguistic Theory: the discourse of fundamental works.

Darnell, M., E. Moravcsik, F. Newmeyer, M. Noonan, and K. wheatley (1999).
Functionalism and Formalism in Linguistics Vol 1 (General papers). John Benjamins.

Kager, R. (1999). Optimality Theory. Cambridge University Press.

Prince, A. and P. Smolensky (2004). Optimality Theory: Constraint interaction in Generative Grammar. Blackwell.

Course Requirements:
Final exam 80%
Classroom presentations/papers 20%

Ahmad Reza Lotfi, Ph. D
Faculty member of Islamic Azad University at Khorasgan (Esfahan)
Member of the Advisory Board of LINGUIST list (


An MA course in:
Fundamentals of Grammatical Analysis
Instructor: A. R. Lotfi, Ph.D.

Course Description and Objectives

Grammarians today are hugely divided among themselves both in theory and practice. Even within generative linguistics as a relatively coherent enterprise of constructing generative grammars, and/or universal principles, they have trodden such different paths in their enquiries of language that practitioners of P&P, GPSG, LFG, and (more recently) OT cannot communicate easily with each other anymore.
This course is intended to introduce the participants (MA students of linguistics at Azad University) to the basic concepts involved in syntactic analysis, and the common terminology recurring in different theories of grammar. At the end of the course, the students are expected to be able to read on their own about different theories of grammar especially those generically categorized as generative.
Attendance is strongly recommended for all classes. Weekly readings should be completed prior to the class in which they are to be discussed. Your final score will include: (a) final exam (90 percent), and (b) weekly chapter summaries (10 percent).


Van Valin, Robert Jr. (2004). An Introduction to Syntax. Cambridge University Press.

Kroeger, Paul R. (2005). Analyzing Grammar: An introduction. Cambridge University Press.

Course Outline:

Week 1 Grammar: A system of rules
Week 2 Word structure
Weeks 3-4 Syntactic categories and relations
Weeks 5-6 Syntactic dependencies
Weeks 7-9 Constituent analysis
Weeks 10-11 Argument structure and subcategorisation
Weeks 12-13 Case and agreement
Weeks 14-16 Conclusion: Theories of syntax

Ahmad R. Lotfi
Faculty Member of English Dept. (Graduate Studies)
Azad University at Khorasgan


An MA course in:
Transformational Grammar
Instructor: A. R. Lotfi, Ph.D.


Transformational grammar: Basic concepts
Government and Binding Theory (The P & P approach)
Phrase structure
Interface levels
Minimalist syntax
Unitarianist Grammar

Required Texts:

Carnie, A. (2002). Syntax: A generative introduction. Blackwell.

Chomsky, N. (1995). The Minimalist Program. MIT Press.

Chomsky, N. (1981). Lectures on Government and Binding. Dordrecht: Foris.

Hornstein, N. (1995). Logical Form: From GB to Minimalism. Blackwell.

Lasnik, H., and J. Uriagereka with C. Boeckx (2005). A Course in Minimalist Syntax:
Foundations and prospects. Blackwell.

Radford, A. (2004). English Syntax: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press.

Course Requirements:
Final exam 80%
Term project (thesis summaries) 20%

Ahmad Reza Lotfi, Ph. D
Faculty member of Islamic Azad University at Khorasgan (Esfahan)
Member of the Advisory Board of LINGUIST list (


Please send your comments yo either of my email addresses.

Ahmad R. Lotfi

Saturday, 25 July 2009


My name is Ahmad R. Lotfi. I'm a member of the Academic Staff of Azad University at Khorasgan (Esfahan) where I offer Syntactic Argumentation, Issues in Linguistics, and Discourse Analysis to Ph. D/M.A students of ELT. I'm also a member of the Advisory Board of the LINGUIST List (Eastern Michigan University. Wayne State University), URL: .

My research interests include minimalist syntax, second language acquisition studies in generative grammar, and Iranian linguistics. For the past 10 years, I have been developing a radically minimalist theory of syntax. The original outline of the theory is available online as an unpublished manuscript (Semantico-Phonetic Form: A Unitarianist Grammar) via the link below:


Semantico-Phonetic Form is a unitarianist theory of language in two different but inter-related senses: first, it assumes that the Conceptual-Intentional and Articulatory- Perceptual systems (responsible for semantic and phonetic interpretations respectively) access the data at one and the same level of interpretation; hence a single interface level—Semantico-Phonetic Form, SPF. Second, it is unitarianist in that (although a still formalist theory of language) it potentially permits the incorporation of both formalist and functionalist explanations in its formulation of the architecture of language. Within the framework of Semantico-Phonetic Form, and as an alternative proposal toChomsky's minimalist thesis of movement, the Pooled Features Hypothesis proposes that "movement" is the consequence of the way in which the language faculty is organised (rather than a simple"imperfection" of language). The computational system CHL for human language is considered to be economical in its selection of formal features from the lexicon so that if two LIs (to be introduced in the same derivation) happen to have some identical formal feature in common, the feature is selected only once but shared by the syntactic objects in the derivation. It follows that the objects in question must be as local in their relations as possible. The locality of relations as such, which is due to economy considerations, results in some kind of (bare) phrase structure with pooled features labelling the structural tree nodes that dominate the syntactic objects. Pooled features, in a sense, are structurally interpreted. Other features, i.e. those not pooled, will be interpreted at SPF.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Selected Publications

_(2006). Agreement in Persian. Linguistik Online29.

_(2006). Feature Sharing v. Feature Checking: An Analysis of Persian Pre- and Post-verbal
CPs. California Linguistic Notes. Vol. XXX1 No. 1.

_ (2003). Persian Wh-riddles. In Multiple Wh-Fronting, C. Boeckx and K. K. Grohmann
(eds), 161-186. Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins Publishing Company.

_ (2003). Intonation contours, yes/no questions, and minimalist syntax: A unitarianist
perspective. Cognitive Science 1:70-83.

_(2002). Minimalist program revisited: Chomsky’s strength to trigger movement. In Proceedings
of the 34th Linguistics Colloquium (Germersheim 1999), R. Rapp (ed), 131-140. Frankfurt

am Main, Peter Lang.

_(2002). Dances with the Quantifiers. Journal of Language and Linguistics 1.

_(2001). Persian ‘bayad’: A violation of the extended projection principle? California

Notes 1. URL:

_(2001). Iconicity: A Generative Perspective. Working Papers in LinguisticIconicity.

Lotfi, A. R. and M. Shahrokhi. 2005. Interlanguage subjectivity. Journal of Language and Linguistics.
Vol. 4 No. 2. URL:

Lotfi Khajooi, M. and A. R. Lotfi. (2004). Teaching vocabulary to Iranian students of English:
The application of Rosch’s Prototypicality Model in vocabulary learning. Danesh va Pezhouhesh. No. 4.

Lotfi, A. R. and N. Vaziri Tehrani. (2002). Thinking-for-speaking effects in English (L1=Persian)
interlanguage. Danesh va Pezhouhesh 13, 14: 31-41.

Lotfi, A. R. and A. Ameri Golastan. (2002). Wh-extraction from claim-type constructions in Persian-
speaking L2 learners’ English interlanguage. Danesh va Pezhouhesh 10: 13-22.

Lotfi, A. R. and N. Saei-pour. (2001). Access to X-bar theory: A Study of (L1=Persian) English
interlanguage. Danesh va Pezhouhesh 7: 13-24.

Sharifian, F. and A. R. Lotfi. (2003). Rices and waters: The mass/Count distinction in Modern
Persian. Anthropological Linguistics 45(2): 226-244.


Syntax: Uriagereka (1998) URL:

General Linguistics: Darnell, Moravcsik, Newmeyer, Noonan & Wheatley, eds. (1998)

Syntax: Martin, Michaels & Uriagereka, eds. (2000) URL:

SLA: Gass & Macky (2000) URL:

Linguistic Theories: Bybee & Hopper, eds. (2001) URL:

General Linguistics: O'Grady, Archibald, Aronoff & Rees-Miller, eds. (2001)

Syntax/Semantics: Di Sciullo, ed. (2003) URL:

Syntax/Language Acquisition: van Hout et al (2003) URL:

Syntax/Computational Linguistics: Kruijff & Oehrle, eds. (2003)

Syntax: Brody (2004) URL:

Syntax: Schweikert (2005) URL:

Syntax: Everaert & van Riemsdijk, ed. (2006) URL:


A more detailed bibliography is available via the link below to Online Faculty Information System
(OFIS) at Azad University.


*NOTE* Once in OFIS, you must click on Members on the left, and then on my photo in order to be directed to my OFIS page.