enter image description here Hello,I used X-bar theory to analyze this sentence ( The big brown dog with fleas watched the birds beside the hunter) The subject of the sentence is NP of pre-modifier,head and post-modifier. I think the modifiers before the head should be branched from a single node, thus the analysis for NP will be ternary. Is it possible with X- bar theory to analyze tree diagram into ternary branching?.

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    There are ten million versions of X-bar theory. Whether or not all branching is binary is a feature that distinguishes theories. So you have to specify which theory you are referring to. – user6726 Mar 11 '16 at 16:13
  • As you said that X-bar theory works only with binary branching. So, is the analysis correct of the above sentence??? – shadan shamel Mar 11 '16 at 20:07
  • I said that only some versions of X-bar theory require binary branching. To determine if this is correct, you have to specificy the particular sub-theory you're working with. – user6726 Mar 11 '16 at 20:19
  • I used the analysis of non-lexical categories IP category, though I did not understand what you mean by sub-theory?? I read about X-bar theory, it has properties and schema – shadan shamel Mar 11 '16 at 22:18
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    X-bar syntax was invented by Chomsky in 1970. It is now used by most theories of syntax, except au courant Minimalism, i.e. it is used in every ST descendant up to Minimalism, in LFG, GPSG, and HPSG. Not every theory has an IP. Are you stipulating that the existence of IP is assumed, and we're supposed to guess what the remaining theoretical assumptions are? It would be simpler if you just named a work that identifies the properties of your theory. LGB? REST? Kayne Antisymmetry? – user6726 Mar 11 '16 at 22:43

Okay, so let's start with DP hypothesis. DP hypothesis simply suggests that NP is a dependency of a determiner in lexicon, which means [the dog] is DP, not an NP. You can test this on such structures having Adj and N at the same time. If you keep assuming the D is complement of N (and an AdjP will always be adjunct of NP), the structure below would be grammatically valid:

*yellow the car

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But it is not. So let's try this on DP hypothesis, saying that NP is complement of D terminal:

the yellow car

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Now it seems okay.

Coming to your tree, you must correct the I-spec and P-comp according to this hypothesis and you are good to go.

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However, I'm assuming you are taking a syntax class, which means this is the visible part of iceberg. You have still lack of knowledge of v, the roles on v and V (I mean the usual movement from v-spec to I-spec, but it depends on situation) etc. I mean I gave a tree, but it is not still valid for current generative grammar, I made it because it is based on your givings above, it is valid to your current state.

You can get an information on DP hypothesis here for now. However, I recommend Radford's syntax books as a reference, those are great.

The Valid Tree of Late Government and Binding Theory (Phases Not Included)

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  • Thanks for this explanation, I assume my tree is wrong?? for I-spec I read some references that are used IP instead of I'', like Ouhalla's Introducing Transformational Grammar. As for movement, my concern now is declarative sentences, movement is concerned with question. I read about DP and it is used mostly with TP hypothesis.Unfortunately, I 'm not taking any syntax class. – shadan shamel Mar 18 '16 at 6:43
  • I'' and IP does not really have a significant difference. Some uses double single quotation mark instead of P, that's all. Coming to TP, all I know is TP is used for a while before, then now it has become IP again. I don't really know the reason, however I think the agreement particles created some problems on theory (like question transformation in Turkish is blocked due to several varieties of agreement particles, maybe some other languages too), that was why TP is used for a while, then it has become IP again. | Your tree is not wrong, just not suitable for current theory. I'll edit soon. – Eray Erdin Mar 18 '16 at 18:31
  • Edited. The tree above makes sense of late Government and Binding theory, right before the minimalist program. Don't forget that phases not included. – Eray Erdin Mar 18 '16 at 18:45
  • Thanks a lot , you really provided me with good info. about drawing trees – shadan shamel Apr 30 '16 at 23:47

The question of whether some version of X-bar theory permits a ternary branching structure for the subject in your example is beside the point for the example, because the example doesn't have a ternary structure. X-bar theory doesn't have anything to do with it.

We can test for where the N' constituents are by constructing examples with parts of the subject taken as antecedents for the pro-form "one", since only an N' can be such an antecedent:

The big brown dog with fleas watched the birds beside the hunter, and the small blue one with worms ran away in terror. ["dog" is N']
The big brown dog with fleas watched the birds beside the hunter, and the small blue one ran away in terror. ["dog with fleas" is N']
The big brown dog with fleas watched the birds beside the hunter, and the small one ran away in terror. ["brown dog with fleas" is N']
The big brown dog with fleas watched the birds beside the hunter, and the same one ran away in terror. ["big brown dog with fleas" is N']

("brown dog" and "big brown dog" could also be N'.)

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