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Questions tagged [generative-grammar]

A theory usually associated with Noam Chomsky that accounts for a language's grammar by a system of rules that are able to generate all the possible grammatical expressions in that language. In its original sense, "generative" does not necessarily mean "production-focussed", although it has often been understood as such. Generativists study mostly syntax, but also other aspects of linguistic structure such as morphology, phonology and semantics.

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About A-Position and A-bar Position

Nowadays I study generative syntax again and sometimes I use the lecture notes which I have downloaded from MIT ocw. In one of those notes it says ""A-bar" positions are the complement of A-positions. ...
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Can a TG generate sentences which a CFG cannot generate?

TG is transformational grammar. CFG is context free grammar. A TG includes a CFG, and if you remove the transformations from a TG, what is left is a CFG, at least in my understanding of classical TG ...
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What is the difference between trace and PRO?

Is it like the trace is the result of movement and has to be in the chain with the head, while PRO is just a null duplication taken the position but with no phonetic realization?
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Problem Set Solutions to 'Semantics in Generative Grammar' (Heim & Kratzer)?

I'm working through Heim and Kratzer's 1998 textbook 'semantics in generative grammar' (Blackwell), which I understand is fairly standard for university level courses on semantics, but I can't find ...
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Question on move operation

I'm learning about minimalism at the moment. I'm not sure if I understand the move operation. I think I understand that in English the move operation takes place when you want to formulate a question....
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What would be the obstacles to creating a language composed of all the words of all the human languages existing today? [closed]

So this is an question I haven't tried to answer/solve too much before posting, mainly because it's more of a game and exercise in creativity and wanted to have many opinions. So clearly this task of ...
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DP acting as AdvP?

Is it possible for a DP like "three times" to act as an AdvP ("He read the book three times.")? How would such a constituency tree look like? How does the DP modify the verb? Conversely, would the ...
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What is this method of drawing syntax trees?

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 ...
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106 views

Phonology: Exemplars vs. Abstract Phoneme Theory

I have come across an essay title asking us to critique the evidence of language being processed as either “abstract phonemes” or “surface exemplars”. (Specifically in phonology) Is this a rewording ...
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Minimalism - a question about a property of merge operation

Does anyone know what would it mean that the merge operation is asymmetrical? Would this mean that the order of merged objects is important?
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140 views

Why is *“Where did you move from Paris to?” ungrammatical?

If I'm not mistaken *"Where did you move from Paris to?", while "Where did you move to from Paris?" as well as both "You moved from Paris to London" and "You moved to London from Paris"(at least with ...
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Which is the most accepted case theory from a generative syntax perspective?

I've read about different theories but now I'm kind of confused between the different theories and the differences between structural case, non-structural, lexical/morphological case, inherent case, ...
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How do generativists account for apparent diachronic processes that cause errors in linguistic performance to become cemented as competence?

Many diachronic processes of language change appear to derive from synchronic errors in linguistic performance. How do generativists account for this if performance and competence are separate? If ...
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Does a generative grammar of the English language exist?

Is there some database on the internet that contains generative grammar of the English language / or any natural language? I know there are many artificial languages like EBNF those can be formalized ...
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Specification of Dependency Grammar

My understanding is that, while natural languages aren't completely context-free, you can get a good approximation of a specification of English in Backus-Naur form, in that if you look at a given ...
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Is either of these meanings of the word “sentence” more conventional?

The Wikipedia article on Generative Grammar states: Generative grammar is a linguistic theory that regards grammar as a system of rules that generates exactly those combinations of words that ...
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Design Features of Human Language and their role in Chomskyan Linguistics [closed]

Why haven't I come across any references to the DF in literature on GG? Given that the main goal of the approach lies in detecting the properties Language exhibit, what role do such long known traits ...
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X-bar tree of the sentence “Why would she not have actually been giving him back the present yesterday?”

I'm having trouble with a particular x bar tree. We're mostly using Liliane Haegeman & Jacqueline Guéron's "English Grammar – A Generative Perspective" as our bible, with some adjustments, e.g. DP'...
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Why didn’t generative grammarians value linguistic data from native languages?

As I read through my generative-oriented textbooks I see scant reference to Amerindian languages. Sure, there is some reference to African and Asian languages (especially with tonal stuff), but very ...
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Are there any empirical arguments for eliminating 'Deep Structure' in Minimalist Syntax?

For reasons of Economy & Parsimony, The Minimalist Program discards Deep Structure (DS) because it’s not a linguistic level. The main reasons for eliminating DS were based on ‘conceptual grounds’ (...
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Constituent borders

Let us imagine there to exist, for instance, a DP. We always observe the only head D on the left or the right of the phrase (depending upon the direction of branching). But every constituent naturally ...
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133 views

What is the difference between successive-cyclic wh-movement and long-distance wh-movement?

I am concerned with movement spanning the barrier between two clauses, such as: What did John say [CP that Mary will buy __]? or What did John say [CP will Mary buy __]? //with the same meaning as ...
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Making Sense of Nonsense: [Corner/Quine] Quotes!

Currently working on a problem set where we are using quine quotes (corner quotes) and normal quotes to distinguish use and mention. In class I felt that examples were much simpler, both of these ...
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Is generative grammar a theory or an approach?

I am trying to understand the first sentence of Wikipedia's page on generative grammar: Generative grammar is a linguistic theory that regards grammar as a system of rules that generates exactly ...
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1answer
701 views

Auxiliaries in generative grammar

In a course of introduction to Generative Grammar, my teacher told that auxiliary (Aux in the tree diagram) is the element that comes before the subject (NP) in an interrogative sentence. But I ...
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Induction of semantics for grammars of natural languages (as opposed to syntax)

I am learning about combinatory categorial grammars and the formal semantics of natural language, course by Partee http://people.umass.edu/partee/MGU_2005/MGU05_formal_semantics.htm (especially ...
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195 views

Unaccusative verbs, EPP and Case Filter

I'm studying Government and Binding Theory and have a question about unaccusative verbs. As I understood, Unaccusative verbs (1) cannot assign Accusative Case and (2) lack external argument, i.e. ...
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if vs. whether (complementizer)

I'm studying syntax with 'Introduction to government and binding theory' by Haegeman by myself and I encountered something I don't understand. According to PRO theorem, PRO must be ungoverned. And ...
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semantics of bizarre usages in view of a second-language-speaker

Generative tradition, as far as I (an amateur) understand, revolves around the 'poverty of the stimulus' argument. So I can understand why I clearly get the meaning 'she shelved her books' or at ...
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300 views

How to diagram a sentence containing a sentence adverb? [closed]

There is a traditional representation of a sentence's parts and it's relation called Kellogs-Reeds diagramming method,which is not used in linguistics. There are also linguistic representations like ...
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What grammar generate this sequence

I need some little help in connection with linguistics. My first question is: Is there any fast way to figure out grammar if I have sequence of symbols, or do I have to guess? My second question ...
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1answer
521 views

Introduction in generative grammar

My name is Antonio, and I'm an undergraduate student at one of the many colleges that are focusing on language. I'm mainly studying the English language, and this is my first year of studying concepts ...
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French Auxiliary Selection. Theoretical explanations?

I've heard that Generative Approaches trying to explain Auxiliary Selection are mostly focused in Italian, because its a language which intransitive verbs respond pretty well to unaccusativity ...
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What is a “level” of grammar?

Conceptually, I understand the difference between underlying (?phonological), surface (?phonetic) and lexical (?) "levels", but what are these levels? I think they are just a heuristic, a sort of ...
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Principles and Parameters: projectionist?

The question/problem I have is related to the way recent generative approaches focus on the Lexicon and Syntax. I would like to know if Principles and Parameters can be considered a projectionist ...
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Types of adjuncts - What can be adjoined to what and why?

In generative grammar, more specifically in GB and Minimalism, what are the possible types of adjuncts we can have and to which other categories can they be adjoined. E.g.: the man [next to him] many ...
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Course in advanced syntax (generative grammar)

I wonder if there are any good online courses in advanced syntax (within GG framework). By advanced I mean beyond introductory level like Carnie's Syntax or Radford's Minimalist Syntax books. There is ...
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The Inflectional Phrase and Welsh

Wikipedia explains how the Inflectional Phrase has a VP as its complement and an NP (the subject of the phrase) as its specifier. It is long ago that I studied this, but a quick look at Sprachliches ...
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What does “generative” mean? Can a linguistic theory be non-generative?

If we ignore the political distinction "theories of those who generally agree with Chomsky" vs "theories of those who generally disagree with him" (which is better described by "Chomskian" vs "non-...
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Approaching the topic of transformational grammar

What methods & resources are available to support one's process of time-efficiently acquiring a deep understanding of transformational grammar? My technical background is that of a computational ...
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quantifiers adjoining a verb phrase?

I am working through Heim and Kratzer textbook 'Semantics in generative grammar' and there is a question in it that keeps puzzling me (pp.220); they give an example of a sentence which is supposed ...
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NER model training question

I have a question on NER? Suppose I have set of documents and do manual tagging for all the names in that document. Now based on those tagged words I train my model (using CRF), i.e. add the tagged ...
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What is the difference between Travis' head movement constraint and Rizzi's relativized minimality?

What is the difference between the head movement constraint of Travis (1984), and the relativized minimality of Rizzi (1990)?
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How to Handle Conjunctions in Generative Syntax Tree without Abandoning Nontangling Condition

A few days ago, we had a conference on multidomination and I firstly saw an andP there. The solution was to simply abandon the conditions of well-formed phrase markers below: Single Mother Condition (...
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How is 'that-trace effect' a Logic puzzle for speakers of languages without it?

Source: p 25, Syntax, A Generative Introduction (3 ed, 2012) by Andrew Carnie The phenomenon in (28) is sometimes called the that-trace effect. There is no disputing the fact that this ...
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Did Chomsky adress Multiword Expressions?

I am not aware of a discussion/definition of multi word expressions by Chomsky? As there exist plethora of "synonyms" (to keep it easy lets state they are synonyms) including compounds, frozen ...
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Help with an ambiguous English syntax tree (studying for a final)

Sorry if this is the wrong stackexchange site for this question. I'm studying for a final for my english linguistics class and going through example sentences that we should be able to draw syntax ...
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How to represent labialised velars and labials in Element Theory

The contrast between velars and labials in Element Theory is represented either as, respectively, | | vs |U|, or |U| vs |U_| (headed |U|). What if a language contrast plain velars and labials with ...
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How can merge produce grammatical strings if mathematical sets do not have an order?

Merge takes two elements and combines them into a set. Say it takes a DP "Luke" and a V "run". We can then define a VP by going merge(DP,V) = {DP,V} "Luke run". But since sets are un-ordered, {DP,V} = ...
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Why is merge useful?

I don't quite understand why having an operation that takes two elements and combines them into a set is particularly useful in describing language. Perhaps it helps in describing how it could be that ...