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In this brief essay I explore how X-bar syntax, the module in the theory of grammar that defines the head-complement relation in particular languages, may be used as an effective pedagogical tool when teaching college students encountering the theory of grammar for the first time. In particular, I pursue two distinct but interrelated objectives: (i) to show that X-bar theory, within its limits, can be used to teach such students the empirical nature of the study of constituent structure in an optimally simple way, and (ii) to propose a variant of X-bar theory that could supplement any English pedagogical grammar that already uses the syntactic categories of NP, VP, AP, and PP to represent and define constituent structure and functions.

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University of New Mexico Working Papers in Linguistics, Vol. 2, 1994, 43-49



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