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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11 views

Please help me understand Hamblin's Alternative Semantics theory of questions

Here's what I kind of understand so far: Wh-words denote sets of individuals. Predicates denote sets of functions. Proper names are singleton sets. Using functional application, the sets are combined ...
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Flesch-Kincaid reading ease formula coefficients [duplicate]

About the Flesch-Kincaid reading ease formula: F = 206.835 − (84.6 ∗ S) − (1.015 ∗ P) I don't understand the meaning of the coefficient choices. Why those specific numbers? Are the studies behind the ...
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41 views

theta role, infinitival phrase

What is the motivation to assume an unpronounced Pro when there is infinitival phrase in the context of phrase structure grammar? Eg. I hope to hit the target.
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How do you draw a x-bar tree with negative inversion? [closed]

For example: 'Never was I so offended' There is already a T to C inversion with 'was', where do we put the word 'Never'? And how should we label it? AdvP or Neg?
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55 views

Textbook: “grammar behaves as if something is left behind after movement” — How so?

From An Introduction to Language and Linguistics by Fasold and Connor-Linton, on auxiliary movement: It may seem strange that movement is done in two steps, copying and deletion of the original, ...
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42 views

In syntax trees, why aren't single-word phrases reduced to that word?

Why do phrases like "the car in Texas" break down into (NP (Det the) (N car) (PP (P in) (NP (N Texas)))) Why is the prepositional phrase "in Texas" constituted of the ...
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25 views

When are prepositional phrases sibling to leaf nodes?

In syntax trees in English, can prepositional phrases, modifying either verbs or nouns, ever be sibling to the verb or noun itself for example and not a verb phrase/noun phrase? I've heard the correct ...
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41 views

Can adjuncts modify nouns?

The Wikipedia page on adjuncts gives the example Yesterday, Lorna saw the dog in the garden. Notice that this example is ambiguous between whether the adjunct in the garden modifies the verb saw (in ...
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can a binder bind two bindees where one is in secondary predicate and the other is in third predicate

(1)[Zhangsan] zhidao [ta] zuo de dui. Zhangsan know he do right (2)??[Zhangsan] zhidao [ta] zuo le zhejian shiqing. Zhangsan know he do ASP this thing Huang1988 proposed that the ...
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What is quantifier lowering?

I mostly understand quantifier raising, but what type of quantifier would lower? Would it also be for scope reasons?
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752 views

Why do object pronouns precede the predicate in French, while R-expressions follow it?

How to explain the situation in French where an object pronoun needs to precede the predicate, while an object R-expression stands to the right of the predicate? Here is an example: a. Il le regarde. (...
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What is a trace dependency?

Just came across the Nested Dependency Condition - if two wh-trace dependencies overlap, one must contain the other. What does this mean?
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In the following sentence, why "slowly ate" fit the replacement test but is not considered a proper constituent

She slowly ate a donut, Where I was told that slowly ate a donut was a constituency, and ate a donut was a constituent,BUT slowly ate was not, since they are not under the same node... Which all make ...
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116 views

Understanding why Antisymmetry gives us SVO and not SOV

I'm trying to understand the theory of antisymmetry as described here. I know the slogan that it treats every language as underlyingly SVO and derives other surface orders through movement. I don't ...
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29 views

How to find the ambiguity in a sentence?

Let's say there's a sentence like "The ball I threw to the dog in the park got lost." Is there an ambiguity present in this sentence? My opinion is that "in the park" causes an ...
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How can echo questions be explained in a feature-based analysis?

There are some analyses that argue that wh-fronting is driven by a strong interrogative feature on the wh-word. However in echo questions, the wh-word does not move and stays in position. "What ...
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42 views

How to diagram control sentence in Chinese?

For Chinese control sentence, "Zhangsan de fuqin ganxie Lisi bangzhu LE ta"' "Zhangsan 's father thank Lisi help PERFECT ASPECT he " Zhangsan's father thanks ...
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60 views

How should the Albanian "genitive" really be analysed?

The Albanian language is typically described as having a genitive case. In actuality, this "case" consists of an connective particle which agrees in number, gender AND CASE with the ...
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60 views

what is the headword in this sentence? [closed]

"Before the Saturday kidnappings, professional associations and businesses in Port-au-Prince had called for an indefinite strike." How many noun groups are in the bold clause? and what is ...
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How to define sentence complexity?

I am not a pure linguist but rather at the intersection of computational linguistics, NLP and computer science. Thus please be cautious with me and my ignorance. I am looking for definitions of ...
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187 views

Why we do not usually say "who did eat the apples" while "What did she eat" is perfect to use? [closed]

I noticed that in English, it is incorrect to say "Who did eat the apples?" but it is correct to say "who ate the apples?" It would be very helpful if you can give me some clues ...
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39 views

Turing-completeness of Minimalism and HPSG

I read several times that HPSG and Minimalism are Turing-complete. Could someone explain (or tell me some references) why this is the case? And does this constitute a major problem since natural ...
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124 views

When / why can adjective phrases come after nouns in English?

When and why can adjective phrases come after nouns in English, if at all? So, firstly: I am not talking about special usages like poetry or drama etc. where people may say things like "The night ...
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253 views

relationship between C-command and Binding

What is the relationship between C-command, binding and Co-reference? Does it mean that C-command is the precondition of binding? Can somebody help me get clearer about these three terms?
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80 views

How is collision entropy of German syntax higher than of English one?

As I explained in the draft of my latest paper about linguistics, I have measured the collision entropies of English, German and Croatian syntax. The entropy of consonants in a long English text was ...
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discontinuity in dependency grammar

According to Wikipedia, only about 15–25% of actual sentences contain a discontinuity, and the percentage of discontinuous dependencies is even much less, approximately 1–2%. What confuses me is that ...
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129 views

A question about dummy pronoun [closed]

According to Wikipedia, A dummy pronoun is a pronoun that fulfills a syntactical requirement without providing a contextually explicit meaning of its referent. It is often a dummy pronoun in English ...
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1answer
112 views

What determines the valency of predicates?

According to this example, arrive takes only one subject valent. Can somebody specializes in syntax help me apprehend this notion of valence? Specifically, what factors are used to determine the ...
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When are complementisers implied, but not present, and when are they actually not present?

I have recently been learning about complementisers and relative clauses etc. and how they relate to x-bar theory. It is a feature of English that some complementisers are optional, especially in ...
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147 views

How to treat adverbial phrases in X-bar theory

My question is about how to represent so-called adverbial phrases like "last night" or "all day". My confusion arises because there seems to be a consensus that these phrases are ...
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Which syntactic dependency parsers perform best on search query phrases?

Lots of NLP libraries contain syntactic dependencies parsers (e.g. spaCy, NLTK, Stanford NLP, Spark NLP...). As I understand it (please correct me if I'm wrong), these are mostly designed to parse ...
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62 views

Is there a Chinese translation of Tesniere's Elements of Syntactic Structure?

Is there a Chinese version of Elements of Syntactic Structure written by Tesniere? Has anyone ever translated it into Chinese?
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170 views

Dependency Syntax tree problems

This is a Dependency syntax tree from an official website. As can be seen from this pic, "off" is deemed as a complete subtree. But when we use constituency tests to verify it, it does not ...
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80 views

What is subphrasal constituent? How to define it?

Could somebody specializes in SYNTAX help me explain the term subphrasal constituent? What is subphrasal constituent? How to define it?
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To what extent do the number and respective functions of performative constructions vary across languages?

For those who came in late, a performative predicate is one that denotes an act made possible by the use of the verb or predicate itself. For example: When a clergyperson or justice of the peace ...
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75 views

Distinction between coordinating and subordinating conjunctions

I am struggling with finding any remotely formal criteria for distinguishing these two types of clauses. There are typologies which already define certain groups of conjunctions, but there are tons of ...
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The grammatical analysis - "most of them civilians"

I came across this sentence today: They were most of them civilians. Now how will we analyse"most of them" here? Is it just a modifier in Noun Phrase - "most of them civilians"? ...
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62 views

Does a sentence with an adjunct entail the same sentence without the adjunct?

Entailment is a situation in which the truth of a given sentence necessitates the truth of some related sentence. If the sentence Susan is taller than Jane is true, then we know for sure that the ...
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When can FOR be used as a preposition and a complementiser?

This question is based on several suppositions: For as a preposition is able to be transformed into a wh- question with the wh- phrase preposed with for, as below with senators John acting as the ...
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1answer
104 views

How to learn syntax

In elementary school I was told of the eight "parts of speech" (and in English they should really have said ten rather than eight, including articles and particles). I understood six of them....
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82 views

What is extraction?

Chapter 1 of Parasitic Gaps, edited by Culicover and Postal, begins with this example: Which articles did John file t without reading pg? The italicized t is reported to be a "true gap" ...
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Are there generative theories of grammar with privative features outside of phonology?

By "generative grammar", I take the widest interpretation and do not mean "Chomsky's theory of syntax today", thus HPSG and LFG would be instances of GG(broad). Phonology has a ...
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Difference between primary and secundary predicates(/argument small clauses) and their (overt) 'heads', and transition/ambiguity between the two

What is the exact difference between primary and secundary predicates? From what I understood, primary predicates are verbal and have a predicate head (usually a copula - he was a mine worker). ...
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Why is "addressing" discontinuity/nonprojectivity important?

I was reading about dependency grammars on Wikipedia, and then, following up on the term "(non-)projectivity", was lead to the page about discontinuity. Now, the concept is quite easy to ...
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71 views

What is the meaning of "interface-interpretable features"?

In multiple sources, I encountered the term interface-interpretable features. From the contexts, I can deduct that the meaning might be somewhere in the sense of "visible [as in, morphologically/...
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Meaning of superscript numbering in phrase structure trees

In some recent studies, I stumbled upon some seemingly conventional notation that I do not understand. In syntax structure trees, I often encounter superscript notations in various forms: $T^0$, $...
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Was there a tendency of Indo-European languages to avoid syntactical ambiguity by introducing more complex morphology?

In (Peškovskij, 1914, p. 246) I stumbled upon the following (Russian) assertion: Opisannoe vytesnenie predikativnogo imenitel'nogo tvoritel'nym možno rassmatrivat' kak častnyj slučaj obščego ...
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Does every semantic ambiguity produce an equivalent syntactic ambiguity?

I was reading this question Syntactic and semantic ambiguity, and there is a comment from @jlawler on how the sentence "He's mad" have different syntactic affordances: Original comment: &...
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676 views

What are parasitic gaps?

In 2001 M.I.T. Press published a volume titled Parasitic Gaps, edited by Peter W. Cullicover and Paul M. Postal. Its preface begins as follows: Parasitic gaps (P-gaps) represented by the underlined ...
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I have my hair cut - "my hair" a Direct Object?

I am confused about the following sentence: I have my hair cut. Now here I am not sure whether "my hair" is the Direct Object (DO) of the verb "have", or if it is just the ...

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