Syncart v.2 draft

The Map of the Left Periphery


Theoretical Issues







The SynCart Project


Since February 2014, The Department of Linguistics of the University of Geneva hosts the project “Syntactic Cartography and Locality in Adult Grammar and in Language Acquisition”, funded by an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council.


The project aims to break new ground in syntactic theory, comparative syntax and acquisition by combining three main strands of research:

1.   the cartography of syntactic structures, which attempts to draw detailed maps of syntactic configurations;

2.   the theory of syntactic locality, with special reference to intervention and delimitation principles;

3.   the minimalist investigation of the fundamental ingredients of syntactic computations.


Interconnected issues of cartography and locality are addressed both in the adult grammar, and in language acquisition.


There is much to expect from a close integration of these domains, which can complement and strengthen each other in substantive ways. The acquisition component introduces important variations on the theoretical themes, thus crucially enriching the empirical basis of the theoretical component; reciprocally, the solid theoretical structure of the project will offer new explanatory dimensions and generate novel research questions for acquisition studies.


The “complementizer system” is one privileged locus where cartography and locality meet, as much of the movement action targets this zone of the syntactic tree. The research will then primarily focus on the properties of this area, in adult grammars and in language acquisition.


This website intends to inform on the research generated by the project and on its theoretical and descriptive background; it also aims at offering analytical and bibliographical tools which may be of help to pursue research on cartography and locality.