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

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Languages with different open and closed word classes

The prototypical example of languages with unusual open and closed categories, which is mentioned almost every time that the topic comes up, is Japanese, where pronouns are an open category and verbs ...
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62 views

What is the scope of negation (again)?

I recently asked a question concerning the scope of negation. I received helpful feedback from a number of linguists who frequent this forum. My efforts to discern the scope of negation continue, and ...
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47 views

What are some alternative communities/forums that are home to engaged linguists?

I have made accounts on some forums that seem quite lackluster. Quora can be fun, but it's not really enough. Reddit fails in this regard. I would love to find a forum for discussion that I can look ...
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Case matching asymmetry in German dislocation

Left- and right-dislocation in German behave differently regarding the case the dislocated expression takes. Left-dislocation seems to be lenient, as it allows the nominative as well as the case the ...
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104 views

Is there a paradigmatic formalism for dependency grammars?

When looking on the web, wikipedia for example, at the concept of constituent, it is associated with the concept of phrase structure, and rather quickly with context-free languages (as the ...
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101 views

Can a language have both nominative/accusative and ergative/absolutive syntactic systems in its syntactic structure?

These examples are from Kui, a Trans New Guinean language spoken on Alor island, Indonesia. (1) nya yai umasingin u=ga=sam u=ga=bur=i. 1pl.Sub v. n. ...
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64 views

Introduction to linguistics from a practical application standpoint

I currently have a project that I need to do that involves quite a bit of computational linguistics. My background in linguistics is very high level - I wonder if there are any good introductory ...
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59 views

Egocentric constraint

What does it mean that a sentence is an egocentric constraint? I have this sentence: "They really released the bird from the cage" and I have to argue that this is an egocentric constraint. I would ...
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81 views

NP + “had better” + Infinitive V

It just occurred to me that this construction is very peculiar. Pronoun: I had better get going. NP: The cat had better be home. Expletive: There had better be food on the table. ...
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65 views

Theory behind the semantics of predicates

My goal is to build semantic representation of Russian sentences, i.e. to extract verb predicates and fill in the actant words. The tool I have is some kind of a shallow syntactic parser which works ...
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95 views

Nouns and Interrogative Complements

In English, there are many different verbs which can combine with clausal complements. These verbs can be further sub-categorised as to whether they embed a propositional that-clause, or an embedded ...
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In the Minimalist Program, can valued uninterpretable features still act as goals before they are deleted?

the title pretty much says it, if deletion happens with shipping to the interfaces SEM/PHON, can a valued, uninterpretable feature still be a goal for another probe of this feature? In a DP, maybe as ...
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What currency does the term “flip sense verb” have in linguistics?

In a recent comment on the question Ergative Verbs and some discussion about them, jlawler introduced a term I had not previously encountered: The rose smells good is completely different; this ...
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150 views

Ergative Verbs and some discussion about them

I know what ergative verb is - Consider the following sentences - I opened the door. The door was opened (by me). The door opened. The verb open is a transitive verb in sentence #1, ...
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76 views

Is the semantic component of a generative grammar especially difficult to incorporate in psycholinguistic proccessing models?

It is often said that it is difficult to match up the structure rules of a grammar with psychologically realistic models of competence. I was wondering if the semantic component was especially ...
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81 views

What is the structure of the sentence “For Bill to have been arrested so soon was disappointing.” according to the GB theory

Please consider the following: (0) For Bill to have been arrested so soon was disappointing. (1) ?It was disappointing for Bill to have been arrested so soon. If the sentence (1) is grammatical, it ...
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39 views

What are the composition rules of these sentences?

let the cat out of the bag, take off clothes, burn the candle at both ends For example: the C-Rule of "bring home the bacon" is: VC("the bacon",NP,AJ2)VA([home],A,AJ1); Here is also a good ...
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101 views

Are complement clauses with finite verbs noun phrases?

Are complement clauses that contain finite verbs be noun phrases? Consider English's "that" complementizer. A. Clauses introduced with "that" can be be replaced with pronouns. (1) I know ...
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Example of a 'grammatical' (vs thematic) dependency

This question may be a bit basic - I'm reading Rowlett's "The Syntax of French" (great text), without much background in syntax. He states, This approach to theta-role assignment also means that ...
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140 views

Does subject precede object in all natural languages?

From here : English and Chinese, for example, put the subject first, the verb in the middle, and the object at the end for an SVO word order. Irish and Biblical Hebrew are VSO languages that ...
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What's the term for N-PP expressions such as “lady-in-waiting”?

Does anyone know or can suggest a term for the following expressions: lady-in-waiting brother-in-law sergent-at-arms bride-to-be etc. Expressions like those above are special for (at ...
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104 views

Is there any phrase where common syntax fails?

Are there any phrases were a conventional grammar gives multiple syntactic analysis for the same phrase (without changing the meaning) or even fails to give a consistent structure? I thought about ...
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Are the phrases “both in water and land” and “for the loss and damage to” grammatical? [closed]

A. Consider the phrase that is boldfaced in sentence (1): (1) "It can live both in water and land." Is the phrase grammatical as it is, with no preposition before "land"? Or should the phrase ...
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106 views

Pro-Drop Typology in Indo-European Languages

A different question made me wonder what is the norm for Indo-European with regard to pro-drop? I know Italic languages generally do it, while Germanic languages generally don't. What about the rest ...
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56 views

Redundancy from grammar [closed]

Consider the following sentence: The pretty dog told the story the story. There is obviously some redundancy in the 'whom' of telling and the 'what' of telling. We can consider questions derived ...
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“He left the room angry” Is this a resultative adjunct?

He entered the room drunk. He left the room angry. I have heard that both drunk and angry are the examples of what is called resultative adjuncts. Is this correct? What does the term mean?
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Which dependency parsers take auxiliaries to to be heads over content verbs and prepositions to be heads over their complements?

The Universal Stanford Dependencies (USD) parsing scheme subordinates auxiliary verbs to content verbs and prepositions to their complements: ...
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NPs as adverbials; how to parse them?

NPs can function as adverbials as in the following sentences: I ran a mile. I am 5 feet tall. One way to confirm this is by substituting the NPs with adverbs, e.g. "I ran fast" and "I am very ...
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49 views

What's the technical term for illocative parenthesis?

I want to know whether there is a technical term, preferably an accepted one, for the following type of parenthesis (bold): (1) You are, I believe, not healthy. The (bold) parenthesis always ...
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201 views

Why is constituency needed, since dependency gets the job done more easily and economically?

I do dependency grammar (DG), and my personal view is that dependency gets the job done more efficiently than constituency by far. The average constituency parse (= phrase structure parse) contains ...
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66 views

Predication in X-Bar theory

Where do predicatives (predicative adjectives and nominals) over the subject or over the object fit into an X-bar-tree? For instance: Pedro pintó a María sentada. Peter painted Mary seated. ...
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69 views

The complement of postmodifying prepositional phrases compounded by “and”

How does one parse "the need for and development of education"? "Education" naturally acts as the complement of both the prepositions "for" and "of", and the prepositions surely postmodify the nouns ...
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Examples of tags?

I'm planning to do a study on tag-switching, but from the literature I read, tag-switching is commonly only found in sentences with 'you know', 'I mean', 'right?', and 'isn't it?'. Are there other ...
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Is it [Dr. [No]] or [[Dr.] No], or something else?

The question focuses on how we should structure expressions with a form of address, such as Mr., Frau, etc., or a title, such as Dr., Prof., etc., and a proper name, such as Smith, Yamada, etc. In ...
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61 views

What's the name of a lexeme's “surface form”?

Phonemes are realized through phones, morphemes are realized with morphs. What is the corresponding word for a lexeme? A casual google search isn't telling me much.
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79 views

Plausibility of getting a linguistics education when coming from another field entirely?

I have a couple questions: I have a B.S. in Environmental science & policy and a couple publications in the environmental chemistry field. Yet I've come to be really interested in Linguistics and ...
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Questions about transitive alternation

The following data show that the prefix re- can be attached only to transitive verbs. List A List B reblacken *rego resoften *recry reharden *resleep The verbs of List A whose ...
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Can adjuncts be arguments?

I hear that only complements and specifiers can contain the argument for a verb. But there are certain structures with ditransitive verbs I believe you can represent as an adjunct. Here's an example: ...
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122 views

Why doesn't X-bar theory overgenerate?

X-bar PS rules are as follows: XP' -> <spec.> X' X' -> <adjunct> X' <adjunct> X' -> X <comp.> What's stopping us from generating phrases like the following? [SPEC ...
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Formal Language theory (context free grammars, pushdown automata)

Does anyone know any good introductions to Formal Language theory and Formal Grammar, that covers the mathematical basis of Syntax and things like context free grammars and pushdown automata? In ...
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What empirical evidence can be produced that all syntactic structure is binary branching?

A tenet of the Minimalist Program is that all syntactic structure is binary branching. Merge always merges two constituents to a greater constituent until the greatest constituent, the sentence, is ...
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70 views

Is there an established distinction between semantic and syntactic predicates?

My question is probing to learn whether semanticists (and syntacticians) draw a distinction between what I am calling here semantic and syntactic predicates. The question concerns the status of the NP ...
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256 views

What's the difference between open/closed class words and functional/lexical categories?

These two classifications seem to point to the same types of words.
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134 views

Reference for help in identifying the abnormal syntax or use of language in psychotic individuals

I have a job in which I must try to differentiate between persons who are actually psychotic and those who are faking psychosis, and it is often quite difficult. I would like to identify ...
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Node level with Stanford dependency parser

I am trying to find a way to select the node(word) level using Stanford dependency parser. But, i haven't found any method that help to get the node level. I will be very grateful for your help
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106 views

What thematic roles are played by the subject of an intransitive verb?

I am not familiar with the concept of thematic roles, just what is on wikipedia. Here is what I have come up with. agent: The man runs patient: The man was tripped. experiencer: The man falls. My ...
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61 views

Do any natural languages have phrase-coordinators that surround their coordinands?

For those who came in late, there are such things as discontinuous morphemes, i.e. single morphemes that are interrupted by other morphemes. Note this example from this SIL link: ...
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Is this a form of ellipsis: If (you are) hungry, you should say so?

I am currently working on the following phenomenon: (1) a. If (you are) hungry, you should say so. b. He touches his nose when (he is) exaggerating. c. Where (it is) cheap, watermelon sells well. ...
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Identify heads, specifiers, complements and adjuncts in this sentence

Hi could someone help me to identify the different elements cited above in the sentence below: so completely out [of control of the situation] No need to analyse the words inside the bracketed ...
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109 views

Does translation software use syntactic trees?

I'm a multilingual, and since syntax structures vary between various languages, it seems intuitive to me that translation software use syntactic rules to translate between languages. But when I see ...