3

In Constituency Grammar (CG), I guess that you would consider "Me" the subject and "too" the predicate. Hence, no problem drawing a tree diagram out of "Me too" in CG.

On the other hand, Dependency Grammar (DG) assumes that there's at least a verb, with which it starts the parsing process. Then, how do you draw a DG tree diagram out of a verbless clause such as "Me too" when there's no verb to start the process with?

EDIT

I guess a more general question would be something like this:

Perhaps the most important difference between CG and DG is that CG first divides the sentence into the subject and the predicate, where the latter may or may not contain a verb. So not having a verb is not a problem in CG.

On the other hand, DG starts with a verb. So, if the sentence lacks the verb, where does DG starts its parsing process with?

  • I don't know what "CG" is. Are you asking a question about syntactic theory, or a method of diagramming language expressions? – Greg Lee Feb 4 '16 at 6:25
  • Here's a link ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrase_structure_grammar ). And I quote, "In linguistics, phrase structure grammars are all those grammars that are based on the constituency relation, as opposed to the dependency relation associated with dependency grammars; hence phrase structure grammars are also known as constituency grammars." – JK2 Feb 4 '16 at 6:48
  • Such common short phrases are at some point just interjections, like "Yes" or "yallah" or "ASAP", that should not be overanalysed. – Adam Bittlingmayer Feb 4 '16 at 11:10
  • @A. M. Bittlingmayer I agree that it's a common, short phrase. But I cannot agree that it's an interjection. And you can easily think of a verbless clause with three or more words, so I don't think it's fair to simply downplay its analysis or lack thereof. – JK2 Feb 4 '16 at 12:33
  • I think you should provide a few more examples, to make it clear which sorts of phrases you care about. – Adam Bittlingmayer Feb 4 '16 at 12:48
4

Honestly, because you are asking at such a high level--just "dependency grammar" or "constituency grammar", rather than a specific grammatical theory, this question is likely not really answerable. That being said, I think you have some assumptions in your question which have lead to your confusion.

It is usually assumed that this specific type of structure is a kind of ellipsis, where a portion of the sentence has been omitted. Different syntactic theories will take different approaches to answering the questions of what is omitted, and how we end up with what we see. Just saying "dependency grammar" or "constituency grammar" is not specific enough, as there are many dependency grammars, and many constituency grammars, many of which offer possible theories on what form this particular sentence takes, and thus how to draw a tree of it.

It is helpful here to work backwards. Consider the general context where a sentence like Me too occurs. It is an addition to an answer to a question:

  1. Do you want cake?
  2. I do.
  3. Me too.

Answers like (2) are themselves usually assumed to be elliptical structures as well, paraphrasing the question they are responding to. For instance, (2) could be interchanged with (4):

  1. I do want cake.

Similarly, (3) could be interchanged with (5):

  1. I do want cake too.

In fact, we could say that there are a number of possible ellipses that could occur, which we might diagram like so:

  1. I ((((do) want) cake) too).

With each set of brackets enclosing more and more of what can be ellipsed, all the way from the full, un-ellipsed sentence I do want cake too to the fully ellipsed sentence Me.

So I think part of the issue where you're running into problems is that the predicate here do want cake (or whatever it is in context) is simply not there. There is a long body of literature from a variety of approaches on how to deal with this, but it will entirely depend on which specific dependency or constituency grammatical theory you are operating in.

| improve this answer | |
  • DG as defined here ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dependency_grammar ) says in part: "The (finite) verb is taken to be the structural center of clause structure. All other syntactic units (words) are either directly or indirectly connected to the verb in terms of the directed links, which are called dependencies." So, I'm not sure what specific DG you're referring to. – JK2 Jan 27 '16 at 7:22
  • @JK2 The wiki article you quoted starts with "Dependency grammar (DG) is a class of modern syntactic theories ..." and then if you scroll down to Dependency Grammars, you should be able to see names of some DG theories, with links. – Alex B. Feb 5 '16 at 20:45

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