The study of the rules that govern the arrangement of words to create well-formed sentences in a given language.

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Analogs of Lambek grammar that can encode structural ambiguity?

My understanding is that in basic lambek/categorial grammar, the basic objects are strings. Does anyone know of variants where one can have multiple trees for the same string?
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Why is 'internal Merge' possible at all in a theory that rests on Economy and Strict Cyclicity?

In his March 2014 MIT lectures, Chomsky continues to claim that 'internal Merge', which yields the traditionally problematic 'displacement' property, is, in fact, the simplest and most economical ...
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78 views

Evidence for/against Lexical integrity principle

Some (mostly lexicalist) theories of syntax assume that there's a 1-to-1 relationship between the words in a sentence and the nodes in its syntax tree. It seems pretty obvious to me. Is there ...
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97 views

Vocatives and Case Assignment

Vocatives, which are basically nouns that refer to the person to whom the speech event is directed, are said to be detached from the sentences in which they occur. Mary, I hate you. I don't think I ...
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21 views

Can you help me with syntax trees of reciprocal nouns and pronouns? [closed]

My dad believes himself to be intelligent. The rumors about Jack have amused him. (him=Jack)
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61 views

Where can I find a list of abbreviations used in tree diagrams of sentences?

When I visited the EzTreeSee website at http://eztreesee.coli.uni-saarland.de/ and entered "Mary had a little lamb," I immediately encountered abbreviations that I had never seen before, to wit... ...
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55 views

Dependency tree with “seem”

Could someone please tell me what's the dep. tree of "John seemed to fall asleep"? The problem is I don't know if "John" depends on "seem" or "fall".
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55 views

How do dependency grammars account for information structure

In phrase structure grammars, discourse functions (topic, focus) have structural positions (cf. topicalization in English, right-edge focus in Russian, clause-initial focus in Welsh, preverbal focus ...
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75 views

Suggestions for subjects about syntax [closed]

My professor asked us to do a presentation about syntax..and don't know which topic I should present...it'll be a 20 min. presentation. I hope someone could help me with list of topics so I could ...
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30 views

Thematic roles adjunct

I am a little confused when it comes to giving a theta role to some of my sentences. I got: James got a ball yesterday. where James has the role as BENEFICIARY. Got is the main predicate. a ball is ...
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54 views

Is my syntax tree correct

I have got this sentence to draw a binary tree to but I don't know if it is correct?
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3answers
90 views

How do formal theories analyse the syntax of polysynthetic languages?

How is syntax of polysynthetic languages (e.g. Inuktitut, Mohawk) represented in formal theories of syntax? In many cases, a sentence consists of only one or two words so the syntax tree is rather ...
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60 views

Formalization of information structure

There are many different accounts of "information structure" ("information packaging", "topic-comment", "theme-rheme distinction"). Is there a "frameworkless" formal definition of what topic/focus is? ...
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Are there languages, other than Mandarin, in which negation differs depending on the time interval at which a non-event fails to occur?

Assuming that languages do not create complexities in vain, the existence in Mandarin of two different propositional negation devices - via “bù”, an adverb, and “méi” or “méiyou” (verbs) - seems to ...
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54 views

Is it common to analyze grammatically motivated vowel alternation as an occurence of discontinuous morphemes?

For example, are the triconsonantal roots in Arabic (like k-t-b --write) considered to be discontinuous morphemes? How about the English roots (s-ng -- sing, sang, sung, song) and (beg-n -- begin, ...
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4answers
84 views

Syntax and linguistics

I know that syntax deals with the ways words are put together to form phrases and sentences, I would like to know how does it relate to linguistics more broadly.
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What heads can an adverbial phrase have?

What heads can an adverbial phrase have? Consider the following examples: I'll go to bed [soon]_AdvP. I'll go to bed [in an hour]_AdvP. I'll go to bed [when I've finished my book]_AdvP. ...
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76 views

Wordplay in ancient texts

I learned once that ancient texts (for example in Latin) did not separate words. Was that always true or only in specific kinds of documents and writings. Since I have been a bit interested in ...
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85 views

Nominative Case Assignment and VP-Internal Subjects

From what I've learnt, structural case is assigned in certain structural configurations. For example, nominative case is assigned by tensed I/T to nominals in SpecIP/TP. Therefore, the case filter ...
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34 views

Parallel dependency grammars

Is there something like ParGram but dependency-based? Note that I'm not looking for a corpus but for a formal grammar (set of rules) with a parser and a corpus of test sentences.
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81 views

How is the dative case for help being used here?

Swiss-German has dative and accusative case-marking for its objects. In the sentence "I gave him the book," "him" must be marked as dative and "the book" must be marked as accusative. It's clear that ...
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91 views

Where did generative semantics go wrong? Why was their conception of language faulty?

Where did generative semantics go wrong? Why was their conception of language faulty? What were the main weaknesses of generative semantics adherents' claim that "a grammar starts with a description ...
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61 views

Distinguishing between types of ellipsis where different parts of a sentence remain

How can I distinguish between elipsis type 1, 2 and 3, below? Type 1 and type 2 "nice day" and "sleeping dog" are both NPs. Type 3 "very sexy" in an AdjP. [Have a] nice day! [I see] a sleeping ...
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Researching extraposition in a syntactic treebank

I'm writing a paper on extraposition in English (and other right-branching discontinuities). I have found a lot of interesting theory on this but the instructions say that if possible concrete corpus ...
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103 views

Is lambda calculus only applicable if syntax trees are binary branching?

Lambda expressions are evaluated "hierarchically"--we resolve functions in the daughter node before we resolve functions in the mother node. In a given constituency, a sister node may define a ...
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49 views

Syntax trees and comparatives? Maybe adjuncts?

Okay I'm trying to make a tree and I keep getting stuck and I'm not quite sure where. The structure I'm stuck on is something like "think of the boy as my son" or "think of the president as America's ...
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83 views

How is case assigned in elliptical answers?

I am interested in cross-linguistic variation in case assignment to single-NP elliptical answers – for example “What did they see?”; “A goat”. By “case” I mean a distinct form of a word selected to ...
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48 views

Interrogatives and Copulas in Malay

In Malay, the wh-phrase in interrogatives remains in-situ, but may move to the left periphery of the clause. Declarative Malay: Awak makan ayam Gloss: You eat chicken Eng: You eat chicken ...
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122 views

Is word order a method of implementing case in English language

I often read that English retains 'vestigal' case markers, particularly for the genitive, although some argue that 's is a clitic. Pronouns remain the largest source of marked words indicating the ...
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68 views

Where can I find formal grammars?

Where can I find formal grammars? By 'formal grammar' I mean 'a mathematically precise set of rules that generate all (or at least a significant portion of) the grammatical sentences of a language.' ...
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88 views

Infinitive verbs in syntax tree

I am just a little curious about the construction of syntactic trees when they involve infinitives in English. Basically, I want to know what role does the the "to" play? I don't think it is like a ...
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104 views

How do I deal with an infinitive verb in a syntax tree?

The sentence in question is "Chomsky innocently asked Baker to comment on the changes to the theory during the lecture." I'm unsure of how to handle the "to" in "to comment." I asked my TA and she ...
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46 views

Sentences using the X bar theory [closed]

I am studying linguistics and currently have Syntax and am trying to understand the X bar theory. Could someone please draw a tree of the sentence down below for me so I could get a better ...
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33 views

Alternative subject positions in Spanish questions, economy and markedness

The following six Spanish sentences are different versions of the question/different questions corresponding to the unmarked declarative sentence Alguien más podría haber estado usando su ordenador (= ...
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At what point in the syntactic hierarchy inside a clause do phrases acquire ‘propositional’ status?

In standard propositional logic, both p and –p are ‘propositions’. In natural language, however, what phrases smaller than TP are ‘propositional’ is much less obvious. For example, take the simplest ...
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Are Spanish “que” clauses following “parece” complements or postponed subjects?

The Spanish equivalent of It seems that they hate each other is Parece que se odian. In both languages seem/parecer are one-place predicates (well, both can optionally accept a second argument with ...
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73 views

Is the use of abbreviation and ellipsis as codified as the basic syntax of a language?

I had a style discussion on another SE site. Part of the discussion boiled down to whether the following sentence is appropriate: It was a bird. It had a black head and wings with a golden ...
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1answer
78 views

Is the agent in an ergative language a subject or an object?

Imagine a language with PVA/APV dominant word order and SV in intransitive clauses. We see that it's tightly PV and SV whereas both VA and AV are possible. We also know that P and S are both ...
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1answer
46 views

Isn´t there a contradiction between 'feature-checking' and 'no tampering'?

I have always perceived an inherent contradiction between Chomsky's 'no tampering' idea and ANY version of Merge (or any Merge-like operation) driven - under the principle of Economy - by the need for ...
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106 views

What is this trait of answer ellipsis?

I am researching answer fragments. I have come upon some interesting data: What have you been telling John to try to get? a. -- A new bicycle. b. -- *Get a new bicycle. c. -- *To get a new ...
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1answer
77 views

Looking for a good mid-level reference on modern syntax

I've studied syntax out of Kroeger's Analyzing Grammar, so I'm familiar with the basic ideas of generative syntax, like trees, constituent structure, and syntactic categories. I later read a paper ...
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47 views

Lexicosemantic and lexicosyntactic?

I am reading a paper that distinguishes between lexicosemantic patterns and lexicosyntactic patterns (page 4, paragraph 2). I am unfamiliar with these terms and am having trouble understanding what ...
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3answers
113 views

Which languages allow right-branching nominal pre-modifiers?

In English, as in German, Spanish, French, or Italian, non-lexicalized noun pre-modifiers cannot be 'right-branching' (i.e., they cannot carry either complements or modifiers of their own placed ...
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64 views

influence of the structure of a sentence on its semantics

A friend told me : "The syntax is different from semantics. Semantics are concerned with the meanings of single words, not the structure of the sentence" Is that true ? If not, how can the ...
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75 views

Is there some article/book containing history/comparison of different systems of syntax diagramming used in modern linguistics?

There is a dissertation from 1973 by Richard Coulter Brittain "Critical History of Systems of Sentence Diagramming in English" which outlines development of syntax diagramming until the work of ...
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1k views

Drawing tree diagrams of ambiguous sentences generated by a CFG

Suppose I have the following CFG rules: S -> NP VP NP -> (D) NOM VP -> V (NP) (NP) NOM -> N NOM -> NOM PP VP -> VP PP PP -> P NP X -> X+ CONJ X How should I draw the tree ...
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84 views

Non-projective S in lexical-functional grammar

I'm a student doing some basic research into LFG and I've read some of Falk 2001 Lexical Functional-Grammar: an Introduction to Parallel Constraint-Based Syntax and there's an exercise in the chapter ...
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Resource that gives examples of many different sentences described in tree diagrams

I've devoured the book "Beginning Syntax" by Linda Thomas, but there are areas it doesn't go into in enough depth (presumably to keep it simple). For example, modal auxiliary "ought to" - it doesn't ...
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63 views

Is a sentence, composed of mainclause and subclause, represented by one or two syntax-trees?

I read, that one sentence can have different syntax-trees what is considered a phrase is dependent on the grammar used there are a lot of grammars, basically divided into two groups: ...
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58 views

Who introduced the concept of phrases in grammar?

My impression is that this term is used in prescriptive works teaching grammars as well as in scientific context dealing with syntax. How can one trace the emergence of this concept back in ...