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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What would count as a counterexample to the Final-Over-Final Constraint?

I'm interested in what the constraints are on head-directionality and, in particular, which combinations of features are disfavored, unstable, or thought to be impossible. I came across the final-over-...
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Why do even completely illiterate persons, who speak their national language poorly, speak their local dialect with perfection?

Disclaimers: I have no linguistic knowledge whatsoever, I'm just fascinated by these subjects. Also, I will use the word "dialect" due to my lack of a better word, although I see that the ...
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How can you distinguish between “topic,” “focalized,” or just vanilla subjects?

How do you differentiate phrases which are topics, focalized, or just plain subjects? What tests can you use? I am looking at the data below-- the capitalized Hawaiian phrases have been claimed to be ...
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How to draw the tree diagram for this sentence? [closed]

Here is the sentence "That toy, I think they gave to the dog". Should "gave to the dog" be considered as VP and "to the dog" as PP?
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50 views

Substantivized Adjectives and the NP vs. DP Debate

At least since the 80s linguists have debated whether simple phrases like the cake are NPs with determiners in the specifier position or DPs with NP complements. Substantivized adjectives seem to me ...
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Cartographic diagnostics for being in SPEC-FocP?

What are some good Cartographic diagnostics for whether a constituent has moved to SPEC-FocP in the left periphery, versus somewhere else (like SPEC-TP or another position in the left periphery)? In ...
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Are there single-word and generally accepted terms for the referents of the arguments in comparative clauses?

AFAIK, in any statement comparing two entities, there are typically at least three terms: NPa stands for the thing compared VG stands for nature of comparison NPb stands for the thing that the ...
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110 views

Is there any case in English where a noun phrase is not the subject of a sentence, or a complement of a verb, or the object of a preposition?

It's a simple question but limited to how noun phrases function in English sentences. Time phrases like last week, are an example of noun phrases functioning adverbially but they are still verb ...
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86 views

How can one best formalize dependency structures in terms of rules?

I am looking for guidance in forming mathematically-inspired rules for dependency syntax. I know about the rewrite rules for dependency structures produced by Hays (1964), but I am wondering whether ...
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What is shallow semantic processing?

What exactly is "shallow semantic processing", and how is it related to syntactic analysis? Is it correct to say that syntactic processing of a text is the preliminary step for shallow semantic ...
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How do movement-based theories account for extraposition?

I'm looking at this example of Extraposition from Wikipedia: Then under Theoretical Accounts (of discontinuity in general) it is written that "[m]odern theories of transformational grammar ... assume ...
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Are individual words really constituents?

The constituent unit is defined in Wikipedia as a word or a group of words that functions as a single unit within a hierarchical structure. When phrase structure trees are produced, each node in the ...
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Is syntactic understanding of a text actually the most elementary form of semantical understanding of the text?

I am not a Linguist, but I am curious about the question below: Is there a linguistic theory that points out that syntactic understanding of a text constitutes the lowest level of semantical ...
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removing modifiers but still keep the meaning of sentence

I have been running through some examples of DG and from those, I have realized that we can safely remove modifiers from a sentence and still preserve the meaning of the sentence. For Example, ...
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Languages with interesting uses of catenative verbs, e.g. “Watch Joe perform”?

Short version: For verbs which subordinate verbs such as "Watch Joe perform," can we think of languages which put them together different than the folllowing? Watch Joe to perform [single nonfinite ...
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non-deictic or deictic sentece

I have a problem as I can not understand why: Mary wishes that she could visit France - is treated as a non-deictic anaphoric sentence, whereas 2.Lola is coming later. We are having dinner She was ...
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Can first order logic represent a past occurring adverbial dependent clause with a present main clause to form the perfect tense?

Can first order logic represent a past occurring adverbial dependent clause with a present main clause to form the perfect tense? Is this the way to represent an adverbial dependent clause with first ...
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1answer
25 views

Can the conceptual metaphor be approached syntactically?

I am really interested in studying how syntax is connected to cognition. I would like to see if the conceptual nature of metaphor can also be approached syntactically. But I don't know where to start. ...
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Are there any studies on marked adjective order in the NP in head initial languages like Spanish or Albanian?

For example, Spanish unmarked NP order is Noun-Adjective ("libro rojo", "casa grande"). However, there are many situations where the order is reversed ("un rojo atardecer", "es un buen libro", "tienes ...
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47 views

Difference between intonation and tonality?

I have used them interchangeably, but I think that might be wrong. So, is this understanding of the distinction correct? Tonality is pitch affecting semantics (like the Chinese langauge), and ...
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What are the differences between Radford's various introductory texts to Generative Syntax?

In looking for a good introductory textbook on Generative Syntax, I came across this StackExchange comment, which mentions, among others, Radford's "Transformational Grammar, A First Course". I ...
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Allowed surface locations of [+wh] phrases apparently depend on semantics—if so, how and why?

Consider Harvey's machine can resemble a human completely or not at all. 1a) ... The extent to which it resembles a human is determined by its software. 1b) ... To which extent it resembles a human ...
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“It” referring to [+wh] phrases and the syntax of “as to”

Consider 1a) It's up to you whether you actually leave. 2a) It's up to you which path you take. 3a) *? It's up to you for whom the bell tolls. 4a) * It's up to you the path you ...
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48 views

What is the semantic term for the things that the single arguments of reflexive and reciprocal verbs stand for?

In my native English, the first argument in "Mary feeds her pigs" stands for an agent, and the second stands for a patient. But what about the arguments in reflexive and reciprocal clauses in single-...
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68 views

A-positions where no structural Case is available?

I am a little puzzled. Is there any such thing as an A-position where no structural Case is available? The arguments are either a nominative or an accusative (structural Cases) aren't they? [...] ...
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What do features ±F and ±N mean?

Could anybody please help me understand what the [±F] and [±N] features mean? What do they stand for, I have no idea .... (The article elucidates in terms of GB theory) Given these observations, ...
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Two questions about Icelandic (syntax)

The following sentence is from Icelandic language: Mér vir›ast tNP [hestarnir vera seinir] meDAT seemPL the-horsesNOM be slow ‘It seems to me that the horses are slow.' ...
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86 views

Diagnostics for probes in phase theory (advanced syntax)

This issue has confused me for years, and I still at this level unable to find an accurate account or even an empirical logic with which I can grasp it. The conceptual logic of this matter, however, ...
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443 views

A question about C-command

Does "John" c-command "himself" in this sentence? "Mary talked to John about himself."
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A question about Binding Theory

In Binding Theory, Principle B says a pronoun must be free in its binding domain. But I wonder if there are any other constraints? For example, "He says her is great". In this way, "her" is free in ...
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Is there a term for how English replaces the preposition “of” by putting the word that comes after “of” before the word that comes before “of”?

EG, Apple Juice --> (The) Juice of Apple(s) Gold Castle --> (The) Castle of Gold Liver Disease --> Disease of (the) Liver Et Al.
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What is the position of the subject in a Greek sentence, whose word order is VSO?

The following is a Greek sentence Σε ποιόν φίλο νομίζεις ότι μιλάει ο άντρας; To which friend think.2SG that speak.3SG the man Its counterpart in ...
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How to solve this syntax question [closed]

Hello guys could anyone help me in solving these questions in syntax the sentence ; John's discussion of the riots in the meeting suddenly put all physics students right into huge turmoil. ps; I ...
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1answer
52 views

Is the following sentence a CP? Does it contain another CP?

Lies, do you think that she tells you? Is this sentence grammatical? Is the whole sentence a CP, in which lies is the CP Specifier and do is the head C? If yes, is that the C head of a second CP in ...
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89 views

How is the ungrammaticality of the following sentence explained?

Maria asked I read which book This sentence is ungrammatical. Is this because an IP I read cannot be a complement or sister to a V asked Is there a CP in this ungrammatical sentence?
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Is there an adposition type that occurs before both the modified noun and the object?

From what I've read, there are four attested types of adpositions. Prepositions and postpositions are the most common, but circumpositions (discontinuous morphemes that occur around their objects) ...
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72 views

What is the position of 'that' in the relative clause of this sentence?

Researchers report they have engineered an enzyme that can convert 90% of that same plastic back to its pristine starting materials. Does that originate in spec TP and move to spec CP like in this ...
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1answer
50 views

What exactly is Minimal Distance Principle and how is it applied here?

In my previous question, I referred to the analysis of indirect passives in Chinese from "The Syntax of Chinese". They mention "Minimal Distance Principle": In this structure, the verb dasi ‘kill’ ...
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1answer
45 views

Difference between PRO and OP

What's the difference between PRO and OP? For example, on p. 142, the book "The Syntax of Chinese" presents the following tree (which is an analysis of indirect passives in Chinese): In this ...
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Left Branch Condition and PROs

I know that Ross’ (1967) Left Branch Condition prohibits movement out of a possessive phrase. Does it also prohibit the movement of silent things from the possessive phrase? If I have a DP like (...
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46 views

What linguistic category would informal contractions fall under?

I'm sure this question has an extremely simple answer, but I'm comparing the dialects from two movies, one being a typical Hollywood movie, and one being a documentary. I am listing any linguistic ...
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What is the specifier in an IP where the complement of the verb is fronted?

In the sentence (IP) The book, I think that I gave you in which the object (complement of the verb of the CP "that I gave you") is fronted, is this fronted object the specifier of the whole IP? ...
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Is there a language where presence/absence of V-O agreement would reflect presence/absence of accusative case?

I am trying to find a language which would show the following pattern with respect to agreement/morphological Case: presence of verb-object morphological agreement yields accusative morphology ...
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187 views

Is ‘for’ a complementizer or a preposition in ‘prefer for John to stay’

As the title says, in ‘prefer for John to stay’, is ‘for’ a complementizer and the following is a CP, or a preposition?
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is PP ‘out’ an adjunct or a complement of V ‘get’ in ‘get out’

As the title shows, in a VP ‘get out’, is PP ‘out’ an adjunct of VP ‘get’, or a complement of V ‘get’?
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How can we explain “head feature” of a phrase? [closed]

For example, how can we explain the head feature of an adjective phrase?
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My teacher wants me to disambiguate the sentence by separate tree diagrams [closed]

the sentence: The scared monster saw a very lovely dog with one eye. here is what I finished so far : to change as 1.The scared monster with only one eye saw a very lovely dog. and other one is that ...
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76 views

Is type theory compatible with n-ary branching?

The question by curiousdannii and the extensive answer by lemontree here address the basic workings, advantages, and disadvantages of type theory. I have a related question in this area. As I ...
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2answers
67 views

Derivation of Passive according to Principles and Parameters (Jaeggli)

I've been trying to wrap my head around this for hours, but I am simply stuck. Could somebody please kindly explain this passage? I am struggling in particular with the part in bold. The text is from ...
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How can we understand Anaphoric Agreement Principle?

In Binding Theory, Anaphoric Agreement Principle says "Coindexed NPs should agree". It excludes the situation like "I(i) like himself(i)". But what confuses me is if two NPs are coindexed, they ...

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