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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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2
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3answers
480 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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0answers
25 views

Representation of internal structure [on hold]

How can we represent the internal structure of No man no cry? I first don't see it as a sentence, noun or noun phrase.
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2answers
58 views

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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0answers
28 views

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 ...
3
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3answers
74 views

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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0answers
22 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 ...
2
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0answers
25 views

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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0answers
32 views

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: "...
5
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0answers
81 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
76 views

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 ...
1
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1answer
77 views

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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1answer
85 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
5
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0answers
89 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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3answers
62 views

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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2answers
72 views

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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0answers
24 views

Effect of culture on language [closed]

What are some examples of cultures where the language spoken in that culture strongly reflects aspects of that culture
0
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1answer
76 views

Context-Free grammars and Language

As someone trained in neither, how could you explain the analogies between context free grammars / languages and certain programming languages in computer science? Have I misunderstood whether there ...
0
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0answers
30 views

Usage of the implicit object-subordinate clause in Italian (i.e. Usage of the implicit objective subordinate clause in English - part II)

In a sense, the following question is a sequel of this one: Usage of the implicit objective subordinate clause in English. In that question I asked some information about the usage of the implicite ...
2
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1answer
43 views

What's the equivalent of the reciprocal pronoun 'each other' in Taqbaylit Berber (spoekn in Northern Algeria)? [closed]

Berber languages spoken in Northern Africa show some degree of variation in relation to the reciprocal, but not the reflexive pronoun. For example, in northern Moroccan Berber (Tarifit), they say ...
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3answers
2k views

Why do adjectives come before nouns in English?

Why does the attributive adjective come before a noun in English? In most languages, the adjective comes always after a noun. For example, white car is written as the equivalent of car white in Latin ...
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0answers
62 views

the relation between the transitivity and intransitivity of a verb

I had a problem with understanding the following question: Try to determine for each case how the 'intransitive' use relates to the transitive use and whether it reflects (i) an idiosyncratic ...
2
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2answers
122 views

Is there a strict difference between syntax and semantics? [duplicate]

On many places I may read that syntax is about structure, and semantics is about meaning, and this makes sense. But, lets think of the canonical example Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. said ...
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2answers
138 views

why can't we have two main verbs in a sentence in syntax

Would you please exlain to me why can't we have two main verbs in a sentence in syntax? Thank you so much
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0answers
19 views

Thematic structures of a clause

As a student of linguistics, I'd want to know that what a concept of thematic structures of a clause actually is.
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1answer
69 views

How definitive are “patterns” in grammar across languages?

So when you learn a new language from English like Spanish in school, they make it seem like "hey there's these clear patterns and rules once learned you'll master spanish". So you learn the verb ...
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3answers
105 views

What is the 'best' language, and by what metrics, why those metrics…? [closed]

This is sort of the old question that you'd see whispered about a lot in Western academia, and shouted out by linguists of the past, who had their own circumstances, own canons, own less-connected (?) ...
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5answers
2k views

Is the order of words purely based on convention?

So after looking at a a few glosses across languages it looks like words can be in any order. Is it just based off convention then for each language or what? I ask because of what it means to ...
3
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0answers
90 views

Usage of the implicit objective subordinate clause in English

I'm not a fluent english speaker. While speaking this language, we usually prefer the implicit objective subordinate clauses (with subject in the accusative case, if it exists) to the corresponding ...
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0answers
32 views

Are there any V2 languages that allow/prohibit movement of the non-finite part of the VP to the first position?

I'm curious about what the space of attested V2 languages looks like, particularly what happens to the part of the VP besides the finite verb. I'm especially curious whether moving the non-finite ...
0
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1answer
80 views

How does the Thai language express the instrumental?

In English and many European languages the instrumental is expressed with a preposition: I eat noodles with chopsticks. (But "with" is not dedicated to this function and has other uses such as the ...
1
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2answers
86 views

In which languages could a phrase like “We went to lunch with Bob” signify an event in which exactly two people took place?

I'm sorry for the perhaps weirdly worded question, but here's my attempt to explain better what I mean: In English, if I say "We went to lunch with Bob" means that the people involved are me, Bob, ...
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2answers
55 views

Should I conjoin two AdjP or two Adj inside one AdjP?

In an NP like "stronger but smaller storm", when drawing a tree, how do I know if I should conjoin two AdjP or two Adj inside one AdjP? I'm working in the framework of Carnie's book (3rd edition). ...
2
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0answers
47 views

“Kim wants John to stop” — does a VP in this example contain another VP?

I'm trying to draw the syntax tree for the TP "Kim wants John to stop" (in the setting of Carnie's first three chapters). I guess it contains the NP "Kim" and the VP "wants John to stop". The VP ...
1
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1answer
61 views

Confusion about the CP and TP rule in Carnie

In the NP "the book that lies on the table", there is a CP ("that lies on the table"). Carnie has the following rule for CP:s: CP-> (C) TP and the following rule for TP: TP -> {NP/CP} (T) VP So ...
1
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1answer
38 views

Syntax tree for “the Middle East”

Does the NP "the Middle East" contain only the determiner "the" and the proper name (noun) Middle East? Or does it contain the AdjP which is the adjective "Middle"? Or is "the Middle East" a noun (a ...
1
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2answers
30 views

SV Constituent Structure (Syntax)

so here's the set-up: In a sentence like "Bill went to the store," several accepted constituency tests can produce "Bill went" as a constituent. These tests include the question test (What happened? ...
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0answers
34 views

What is the relationship between 'Government and Binding Theory', 'Principles and Parameters', and 'Minimalism?

As I understand it, P&P and Minimalism are "programs", which are like different ways of thinking about syntax. G&B is the generative grammar that is based on P&P. (I think that's all ...
2
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0answers
34 views

A question about Carnie's subcategories and features

From Carnie's "Syntax: A Generative Introduction": This notation is not explicitly explained. What does it mean? (I'll write my conjecture below) Recall that T is defined as follows: So I guess the ...
3
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4answers
627 views

Is “imperatives have invisible subjects” a universal?

In English, it's widely held that imperative verbs have "invisible" subjects, on the syntactic level. For example, we see look at yourself in the mirror, rather than *look at you in the mirror, which ...
34
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4answers
6k views

Why isn't “I've” a proper response?

Suppose someone asked me the question, "Have you completed the project?". A standard response would be "I have". Why does the equivalent "I've" sound so strange and never used as a replacement? I am ...
4
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1answer
190 views

Is Wikipedia's argument for Universal Grammar completely fallacious?

Wikipedia's article about Chomsky makes the following argument for Universal Grammar: For example, although children are exposed to only a very small and finite subset of the allowable syntactic ...
17
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4answers
4k views

Do any languages mention the top limit of a range first?

In many languages we usually say "between min and max" (e.g., grades "between 1 and 10"). Are there any languages where the reverse construction ("between max and min", e.g. grades "between 10 and 1")...
4
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3answers
493 views

Is the concept of grammatical function related to inflexion?

Studying the book Understanding Morphology by Martin Haspelmath, arrived at this fragment. The importance of the latter part of the definition is seen in paradigms like insula. Although there are ...
2
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1answer
76 views

Parse Tree Formatter Tools?

I am looking for tools that can format parse trees. I want to be able to collapse and expand them. I understand that collapsing them is rather simple with regex or even simple search and replace, ...
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1answer
99 views

Swedish conjugation, spoken vs written [closed]

In the Swedish language, I am presently trying to discern the proper translation of "No, they're not" as it is spoken and written in English. I determine: Nej, det är de inte and Nej, det är ...
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0answers
34 views

Semantics of a focus particle and Epistemic/Alethic Modality

I've been working on a paper which focuses on interaction of focus particle and epistemic/alethic modality in Turkish. Focus particle "de/da" in Turkish is a clitic and comes right after the word, ...
0
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1answer
63 views

existential force and universal force

I was reading the paper below, and because of my lack of knowledge on the linguistic terms, I have been stuck half way through. If you would be kind enough to enlighten me, I would be very much ...
3
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0answers
27 views

Does UG supply default values for parameters (in P&P syntax)?

Principles And Parameters syntax posited that along with some principles, there were parametric settings for certain properties, which are either "on" or "off" in a language. Examples are the "head-...
0
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2answers
98 views

( New formulation) Are parts of speech syntactic categories? ( A question on generative grammer)

I only have a rudimentary ( or even less than rudimentary) knowledge of generative grammar. But what strikes me is that the sentence formation rules are coinded using parts of speech. For example ( ...
1
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2answers
65 views

Can one avoid using the notion of meaning when defining syntax and pragmatics?

In an elementary course on philosophy of language ( at the highschool level) , I try to explain to students the distinction betweeen semantics, syntax and pragmatics. Referring myself to Carnap/...