Two questions:

  • Is the syntactic tree notation supposed to be

    1. Linear order preserving in general
    2. Linear order preserving for English
    3. Generally linear order preserving for English
    4. None of the above

By "linear order preserving" I mean for any sentence, producing a syntax tree where the order of leaves corresponds to one permitted in speech. I understand that this will depend on your syntactic theory, so I'm open to different proposals. In particular, I'm also interested in answers to the following question:

  • Which syntactic theories produce the most linear order preserving trees?
  • 1
    I've never seen or heard of a syntactic tree that doesn't preserve linear order (unless you count those 'deep structures' in Chomskyan theories). In fact one of the first things we learnt in class about syntax trees is that they express linear order through the order of the leaves... – WavesWashSands May 15 '18 at 23:39
  • @WavesWashSands Movement breaks this, though: consider inversion in English questions, or V2 word order in German. (Assuming you're referring to the underlying structure, not the surface structure.) – Draconis May 16 '18 at 2:23
  • @Draconis I did write 'unless you count those 'deep structures' in Chomskyan theories' in my original comment. – WavesWashSands May 16 '18 at 7:09
  • 1
    @WavesWashSands You might make this into an answer, describing (the difference between) the respective theories – jaam May 16 '18 at 9:59
  • Phrase structures are order-preserving. Dependency trees also preserve the surface order of words in all sane theories. – Atamiri May 16 '18 at 13:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.