1. Protolinguist resources: Teaching yourself syntax

    Syntax is an area of linguistics that studies how words combine to create phrases and sentences. In this resource post, I provide a ton of links to learn more about syntax and an overview of how to approach them.* 

    Basic Syntax

    The main activity that people associate with syntax is drawing syntax trees representing the structure of sentences. The links below describe why we use trees, what they represent, and how to draw them.

    More syntax

    Once you have some familiarity with basic trees, there’s also movement, a process which explains the difference between, for example, “I will read the book” and “what will I read?” 


    Drawing syntax trees is easiest on paper, but there are a variety of tools that are used to make electronic syntax trees.  

    Advanced Syntax

    Fun with Syntax

    *Notes: Some of the links overlap in content, especially chapters and slides. This is deliberate, so if you don’t like how something is explained in one place, try somewhere else. Content is taken from a variety of sources, which may use slightly different theories or simplifications: don’t panic. Reading the first few links will cover about as much material as the syntax section of an intro linguistics course; reading everything would be closer to an upper-year undergrad syntax course, so don’t feel like you have to work your way through absolutely everything. If you have questions about what you’re reading, you will probably get a faster response posting in #linguistics where multiple people can see you and reply than messaging me directly.

    This post is part of a series on resources for teaching yourself linguistics. Update: semantics, corpus, experimentaldescriptive grammarphilosophy of language/linguistic anthropology. Previously: morphologyphonetics/phonology and my original protolinguist post. Any comments/feedback very much appreciated, especially if you are trying to learn more about linguistics or if you have more (fun or serious) syntax links to add. Posts will be tagged #linguistics and #protolinguist, and I’ll be checking both.

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