I'm taking a course in generative grammar and I've reached a point where I don't know what's happening because I missed one class. Anyway, last time my tutor drew tree diagrams that I found a bit confusing. First of all they included labels such as vP and v' (so lowercase) which I'm not familiar with, and after each object there would be something like [nN] or [N] which I later found out denoted c-categorical features. The most confusing part of all was that verbs from the bottom of the tree would be put between < > and moved up the tree. The explanation was that they were deponents verbs. I would include a picture of this but I don't think that would help since English is not my first language.

Does anyone have any idea what this method of drawing syntax trees would be called and what it represents? I couldn't find anything similar on this site and I would just like to find some online resources that explain what this is all about. Thank you in advance!

  • I don't know. The way you describe it, it sounds like nonsense. – Greg Lee Jan 4 '19 at 20:37
  • 3
    Yeah. Syntax teachers sometimes tend to repeat what they learned in grad school, which is often fragmentary, and usually particular to one school or theory. Especially the complicated parts that they understand; these are what they want to get to, so they sometimes rush through the rationale for the cool stuff that's coming up. If there is a rationale; sometimes it's just Tradition, like vP and VP. – jlawler Jan 5 '19 at 0:38

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