Questions tagged [syntax]

The study of the internal structure of expressions, especially between words and phrases, and the principles and processes that determine it. This includes words order, but also the grammatical relations that hold between words, as well as structural ambiguity, binding, reference, and similar issues. Common approaches are numerous phrase structure grammars (GPSG, HPSG, LFG, G&B, X-bar, Minimalism, ...) and, on the other hand, dependency grammars.

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26 views

Raised object vs. Subordinate subject (I didn't want 'Kim' mistreating my cat)

(1) I didn't want Kim mistreating my cat. (2) I didn't want Kim to mistreat my cat. Semantically, Kim is not the object of want but the subject of the respective subordinate clauses mistreating ...
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How do i draw a syntax tree for the derivation 'colin seems to Bill to prefer films'? [closed]

I need to write a minimalist account for the derivation 'Colin seems to Bill to prefer films' however I am unsure of how to begin due to the complexity of the sentence, I also need to use fact ...
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The Meaning <=> Text Theory (MTT)

I have recently read about "The Meaning <=> Text Theory" approach to syntax and would like to know more about it. Specifically, What are the main differences between this theory and the phrase ...
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I've got a problem with my syntax trees? [duplicate]

Three weeks ago I had my final exam of linguistics, I had to draw four syntax trees. My professor gave me a 0/20. I'd like to know if you could tell me where I was wrong because I'm not very good at ...
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Does anyone know the history of the infinitive?

I teach grammar, and I think it is no mystery to anyone that infinitives are strange. I think it might help me to know the history of this verb-cum-noun-adjectiv
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position of t[i] — * What[j] did Ann wonder who[i] would eat t[i] t[j]?

(infelicitous) Whatj did Ann wonder whoi would eat ti tj ? (source: Key Terms in Syntax and Syntactic Theory) The above sentence appears in a section discussing island constraint. I know this ...
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121 views

What is the difference in a constituent and a phrase?

From Wikipedia: In syntactic analysis, a constituent is a word or a group of words that functions as a single unit within a hierarchical structure. A phrase is a sequence of one or more ...
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32 views

What is the difference between evidential, epistemic, and evaluative fragments?

Following a discussion about introductory expressions like “It is not the case that…” [1], I was found out that these expressions fall into the category of evidential/epistemic/evaluative fragments ...
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What is the name of introductory expressions like “It is not the case that…”

I'm trying to find out what is the grammatical category that corresponds to such expressions that use to introduce clauses, such as: It is not the case that... It is very possible that... It is ...
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158 views

Modern theories of Russian syntax

Western linguistics seems to be dominated by the Chomskian transformational generative grammar and its offshoots. My attempts to familiarize myself with these theories however always leave me under ...
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Is the emergence of a new quotative a syntactic innovation?

I am not sure on what level the emergence of a new quotative is classified. Is it syntax? My question concerns a variety of English. There are several quotatives commonly used in English, such as „...
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54 views

Xp-pro-v word order in middle english

I am a bit confused with the xp-pro-v word order in middle English and was hoping, that someone could help me. Can someone explain, what exactly the term "xp-pro-v" means? I do understand, that it is ...
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Questions about complementizers (at least, I think they're complementizers…)

I would like to know – there is a grammatical term for the function of the dash in this sentence, is that right? English doesn’t have a word like that or whether that can replace the dash in that ...
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Two meanings of “Someone believes everyone to be invited”

Carnie claims in his syntax book that the sentence Someone believes everyone to be invited has two meanings. I can see only one (when the existential quantifier has scope over universal one: when ...
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If our requirement says that the only thing that isn’t a phrase in an NP is the N itself, why a problem?

Andrew Carnie. Syntax A Generative Introduction (3 ed, 2012). p 209. Pls see red underline. I don't see what is problem?
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All non-head material must be phrasal. — Why's this principle nice idea from a mathematical point of view?

Andrew Carnie. Syntax A Generative Introduction (3 ed, 2012). p 208. Pls see red underline. I never took math after high school! I don't know calculus. What author mean by "nice idea from a ...
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If the that-trace effect is not learnable and thus must be biologically built in, how can speakers of French or Irish violate it?

Andrew Carnie. Syntax, A Generative Introduction (3 ed, 2012). p 25. Consider the fourth sentence in the paradigm in (28). This sentence is the same as (28c) but with a that: d) *Who do you ...
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137 views

When an existential verb is used existentially as the predicate to a subject, is it true in all languages that it cannot take another predicate?

When an existential is used existentially verb as the predicate to a subject, is it true in all languages that it cannot take another predicate? In other words, when the existential to-be verb means '...
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51 views

What are the thematic structures of a clause?

While going through Rodny huddleston's An outline of English Grammar; I came across a concept named :Thematic structures of a clause. Its been more than a year when I first read it but have failed to ...
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63 views

Trying to add labels/descriptions and boxes to syntax tree in LaTeX [closed]

I'm trying to add descriptions to certain nodes in a Syntax tree. I'm using qtree, but I can't seem to find a way to do this. I'm also trying to box some, but not all of the nodes in the tree. Here's ...
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81 views

“Attempts to remove foreign adversaries through highly dubious legal or ethical means”

Is there a linguistic term for what is going on here? I read this phrase in a newspaper and it struck me as ungrammatical but at the same time I can see the logic. It seems from the comments that my ...
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133 views

Case in English phrase “friend of mine”

In English phrases like Jesse is a friend of mine/*of me the case of the word "mine" is not the oblique ("me") which usually occurs with prepositions ("That's a part of me that you don't see too ...
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Does the relative clause (which suggests…) here function as an adjunct of the whole clause in front of it?

The high notes returned to his compositions towards the end of his life, which suggests he was hearing the works that were taking shape in his imagination. I'm not sure how to write up the syntax ...
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How do we parse the sentence, “I have never seen a fish get cooked like that”?

I'm a bit stumped because I see so many things going on here. The first gloss is pretty straight forward: I have never seen a fish get cooked like that. S|V|OC(clause) But I'm really more ...
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113 views

Does Japanese have V-T movement?

I am doing a research assignment on Japanese Syntax and I cannot seem to find any information regarding whether or not the Japanese language has V-T movement. Can anyone help with this?
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132 views

How important is syntax to translation?

I'm interested in becoming a translator in the future. I heard someone said syntax is essential if you want to be a good translator. If that is the case, what theory is best suited for applying to ...
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58 views

Is “be set to” a subject-to-subject raising predicate?

Consider the sentence "Conservative Party (is) Set to Win (a) Majority". Is it right that "set" in this case is a subject-to-subject raising? I don't think "set" has an agent theta role. However, all ...
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165 views

Are all “Ergative Languages” split-ergative?

I've noticed that in a lot of examples of "ergative languages," there is some piece of the language that does not fit the pattern we call "ergativity." For example, Basque does not mark ergative case ...
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Does this sentence violate Principle A of Binding Theory?

In the sentence John(i) wanted to buy himself(i) a pair of shoes. With (i) to mark co-indexation. Is the anaphor "himself" bound in its binding domain? Or is the binder in a separate domain ...
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In X Bar Theory where can “ne” and “pas” be found?

I have read past papers on French negation and it says that it is accepted that the NegP in French is null, and "pas" is specifier to NegP. So what would "ne" be then? I haven't been able to find ...
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What is some good literature about the different parameters between languages?

I'm looking for some reading material on the technical differences regarding parameters and structures between languages. I'm trying to understand how languages like Turkish word on a syntactical ...
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What are the limitations of CCGs?

I've read that context free grammar (CFG) has a wide variety of natural language phenomena that it can't model, such as ellipsis I gave Tom a cake, and John an hamburger And that combinatory ...
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Syntactic models than span across multiple sentences

I hope this question is not too broad. I've been reading quite a lot about grammars, and it seem that all of the models I encountered focus on a single sentence level syntax. It seems pretty obvious ...
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51 views

How do we distinguish a preposition from an adverb?

Huddleston and Pullum analyze the final word in each of these as a preposition, where traditional grammar would define them as adverbs. How can we tell which is the correct analysis? the sky above ...
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149 views

Is there merit to the claim that recursive embedding was invented recently and spread horizontally?

(“Recently”: during the Classical period in Europe) This isn’t a meta-post; I’m linking to a ling.se answer because it’s the only place I know of where this idea is expressed: Why did early Indo-...
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why is syntax interesting? [closed]

I hear a lot the argument that "language is just a way of communication, therefore it is not "really" interesting to waste the time on studying aspects such as syntax, rather the truly interesting ...
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503 views

Relationship between complexity of a sentence and the average distance between the tokens in which we relate

I am a PhD student in Statistics and I need more understandings in Linguistics for my PhD research. Say we are given two sentences of SAME LENGTH -- sentence A and B. Sentence A is simple (simple ...
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Does this English exercise test syntactic or semantic knowledge of a student?

I am confused in how to distinguish a syntactically oriented language exercise from semantically oriented language exercise. For example, suppose a teacher gave the English exercise below to his ...
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Relationship between semantical understanding of a text and the level of language used in the text

I am a Machine Learning researcher who is doing research in the Natural Language Processing (NLP). I need better understanding about human language for my new research, so I decided to write this ...
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What is a good introduction to formal language theory for linguistics?

I know formal languages are widely used in linguistics, especially for computational linguistics. However, I do not understand where this connection started - Wikipedia says that formal language ...
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110 views

Is there a term for syntactically and semantically linked modifying phrases?

What I'm talking about is when a string of prepositional phrases take the object of the previous one as their antecedent, and where the entire string is linked back to the original antecedent, a noun ...
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What are wish and if-clause called as a group?

I'm not sure about the grammatical category of wish and if-clause. I have found some names like hypothetical sentences, conditional, subjunctive mood. But I don't think they are the academic name for ...
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Subcategorisation Frame with DPs

I want to construct a subcatagorisation frame for some words, for example that take a DP complement. Take the preposition "between" as example. I arrive at this point: Form: "...
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V to T movement in German

Consider the the embedded clause "du Schach gespielt hast" in this sentence Ich glaube dass du Schach gespielt hast. I think that you chess played have ‘I think that you have ...
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Is the use of the present participle verb form as adjectives or subjects or objects an example of conversion (a.k.a. zero-derivation)?

This is a pretty straight forward question. But here are some examples: Baking is my hobby. (used as a subject thing, or as some would call it, a gerund or verbal noun) I will be a contestant ...
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I can't draw trees with X-bar theory [closed]

I'm taking Introduction to Syntax as an elective course in my department, English language teaching. On Tuesday, our instructor addressed X-bar theory and drawing trees with it. I couldn't understand ...
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109 views

What are the semantic functions of a complementizer phrase (CP)

What does semantic functions mean? and what are they for a CP? Thank you
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111 views

Positive & Negative Polarity Items, and Interrogatives

There are certain items in some languages that tend to occur largely in negative clauses. In English, one such item might be the word ever: *I have ever been to Paris. I haven't ever been to Paris. ...
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How can we call a word that matches a few criteria in the question?

What fits the criteria: ah, okay, good, better, best, green, child, children, student, to study, slow What does not fit the criteria: greener, greenest, students, studying, studied, slow down Why: ...
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Chains of nouns in English

English is becoming so indifferent to the proper roles of parts of speech that I have been finding longer and longer chains of nouns in written materials. I am under the impression that chaining ...

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