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 do we call a subject and a predicate? [closed]

When analyzing the constituent structure of a sentence what do we call the subject on one hand and the predicate on the other ?
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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-...
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80 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 ( ...
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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/...
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101 views

Syntax of Ik ben het beu

I am puzzled by the Dutch "Ik ben het beu" phrase. The main question: what is the syntactic structure of it? Is this indeed a direct object with a copula? Or is it an ellipsis of a larger, more ...
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122 views

What's the difference between a modifier and a complement?

Take this syntax tree as an example: Why is a prepositional phrase (PP) sometimes a post-modifier and sometimes a complement? What is the difference in general? I need to be able to spot them and ...
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What are the most accepted theories about negation under GB?

The most common approaches that I've seen are where there is a NegP after IP/TP, and where the negation is just an adjunct to VP.
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38 views

Data on causatives in Russian and Turkish needed!

I'm working on a comparative syntactic project on the notion 'causative', either morphologically marked or non-marked. References like Haspelmath (1987) provide some (brief) data on the notion of ...
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35 views

Binding Principles

For each of the following sentences I have been asked to: 1) State which binding principle applies to all relevant elements 2) Identify the antecedent (If none then state so) 3) State if the ...
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42 views

Indexing outside of NP

I am familiar with indexing and co-indexing NP's but I've come across indexing that looks like this: "Gregory(i) seems to enjoy (ti) Marvel Films." Does the (ti) indicate some kind of movement? ...
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40 views

Can “of”, “on”, etc. be regarded as complementizers just as “for” is?

In the following sentence, the word “for” is commonly postulated as a complementizer which introduces a non-finite clause. Is it okay for me to put these away? And there are some other sentences ...
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Is English opposite all other languages?

A German teacher (spoke fluent German and English) stated in high school to our class that “English is opposite every other language.” Is this accurate? What does that even mean?
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Does a null-subject language always have to satisfy EPP?

I am analyzing Latin word order. As in many other languages, most Latin sentences begin with the subject, but I've noticed quite a few that have many complements and adjuncts and then end with the ...
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60 views

What is the name of this syntactic construct: “May [Subject] [Verb]”?

Sentences like "Let such and such be done" or "May this happen". What is the name of this construct? More examples from Spanish: Que ellos entren ahora (Let them in now). Que se muerte les ...
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syntax tree about cleft sentences

I would like to know about the syntactic tree of cleft sentences. is the clefted elemnt moved from the original position? or Is it base-generated? I would like to knwo some referrences about this. ...
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67 views

Do reborrowings and neologisms statistically help the communicative function of the languages or do the cause more confusion?

Rephrasing do reborrowings and neologisms help or bedim the communications? I am making the distinction of instantaneous or contemporary communications(especialy for scientific use and social) and ...
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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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59 views

Does Swahili have relational nouns?

I've just come across the concept of relational nouns, and I'm curious if Swahili's position-indicating words count. In Swahili, there's a possessive particle -a that joins nouns together. For ...
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Principle C of Binding Theory and Cataphoric Reference, why these notions are against each other?

Principle C of Binding Theory stated that 'referential expression' can not be c-commanded, even across clause boundaries. While cataphoric reference refers to a reference which occurs before its ...
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43 views

Confusion over Adverbial Adjuncts (X' Bar Theory)

For my Syntax class this semester, we've been asked to look at a language more in depth and try to develop X-Bar compatible rules for it. In doing so, I've come across a reoccurring problem that may ...
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60 views

Can causative and anticausative co-occur in Turkish verbal morphology?

Turkish makes use of two valency markers: (i) the causative marker with 'tur' which increases valency in (1) below, and (ii) the anticausative marker 'il' which decreases valency as in (2) below. (1)...
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33 views

Where does supplementation fit in?

As far as I can see, the structure of supplementary constructions like Karen, being ill, was unable to go or John – her father – was unable to walk her down the aisle or maybe a washer-dryer ...
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1answer
117 views

Phrase structure tree of a Wh question

The sentence would be "Whose dirty underwear is this?". I assume that the base (is that called deep structure sentence?) would be "This is whose dirty underwear" but I'm not sure what ...
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58 views

Characterising adverbial constructions

I know adverbs are multifarious, but I’d like to find out just how farious they are. I’m trying to work out what properties they can have by looking at variations in the way different ones can be used....
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Get Prolog (other functional programming language) rules/facts from LKB or similar system

My goal is to take simple sentence such as Grass is green and convert it to Prolog rule/fact. It does not have to be Prolog, but any other functional programming language with which I can perform ...
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2answers
152 views

Is there a language which uses 'passive voice' more often than 'active' one?

Most languages I know of make use of 'active' more than 'passive'. It appears that the passive is derived from the 'canonical' active. Are there any languages that use more passive than active? Or ...
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152 views

When is a conjunction not a conjunction?

I am trying to get to the bottom of Thai constructions which I can only gloss along the lines of: (1) Because of the fact that her friends helped her escape prevented the soldiers from catching her; ...
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Feature values [+/- interpretable], how these values are set?

In Minimalist Program (Chomsky, 1995) and in Derivation by Phase (DbP) (Chomsky, 2000, 2005, 2008), call it Phase Theory, features enter narrow syntax with predefined values, these values are binary (-...
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123 views

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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51 views

Parallel coordination failures

Consider this sentence: You can manipulate lightning, mist, and wind; traffic with air creatures; and are resistant to electricity damage. This looks at first glance like a perfectly normal ...
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178 views

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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87 views

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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1answer
155 views

Theta Criterion Violation

Is the Theta Criterion violated in the following sentence: [I saw [the tall kid]] provided that: saw theta marks [the tall kid]--see is the main predicate (V). tall theta marks [kid] -- tall is ...
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Concept / function duplication

I'm looking for a name for the phenomenon whereby some languages like to put chains of words together that mean the same thing, while others don't - just some terminology that would help me search for ...
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71 views

“To whom” in pied-piped infinitive relative clauses

In English wh raised from, or in situ in, a direct object or prepositional object, you can almost always use "who" at least as well as "whom",1 and in some cases you can only use "who": Who/whom did ...
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Why is participial clause tenseless?

Participles, among the non-finite verbal inventory, most often appear to be taken by linguists as being tenseless or having the feature [-tense]. This is due to their interaction only with the Aspect ...
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109 views

Can we parse the hell out of this construction?

John only had the Ferrari for three months, but while he had it, he drove the hell out of it. I'm pretty sure I aced the hell out of that test. That last stuff you got us, we smoked the hell out of it....
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Past Participial Relatives are the sourse of Participial Adjectives, why?

I came across this statement in a work (Ph.D. Dissertation, p.158) by Asier Alcázar Estela in which he assumes that the Past Participial Relatives are the source of the Participial Adjectives. And he ...
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40 views

Which is the most accepted Dative Shift theory?

Which is the most accepted Dative Shift(Double Object Construction) theory?
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55 views

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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Is a quote a kind of parenthetical? How do we deal with direct quotes in syntax?

I'm working with discourse data that has a lot of dirct quotes in it. There are a lot of examples look like the following (this is a translation of a part of the discourse): Then they said, ‘‘What ...
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1answer
79 views

Conjunctions between complex clauses - which items do they coordinate?

In a sentence like: He had joined up for no other reason than to escape, [blank] hated army life. I would use the conjunction and. In the equivalent Thai sentence, though, it seems that native ...
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Use of the definite article in European vs. Brazilian Portuguese

When I started learning Portuguese years ago, all the books I used at the time told me that when using possessive adjectives you also have to put the corresponding definite article in front of the ...
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Is “coordination ambiguity” a subset of “attachment ambiguity”?

As I understand: “attachment ambiguity” is when a constituent could be legally attached to more than one parts of a sentence. “coordination ambiguity” is when a modifier could be attached to an ...
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Phrase structure trees for serial verb constructions

I have not found an example of a phrase structure tree for a serial verb construction like let’s go [and] see a movie The serialized verbs go and see would have to be sister nodes, I think, but I am ...
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87 views

Phrase structure trees for different languages

I am trying to get to the bottom of the difference between (1) and (2) below, and how the intended meanings would be reflected in a phrase structure tree: (1) If you think that $100 is too little you ...
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44 views

Markers that affect intensity of the imperative mood

I'm working on a project that explores how imperative mood varies in 'intensity'. For example, one can 'soften' the tone of a directive by including the speaker in the command: "Let's go to school"...
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1answer
64 views

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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1answer
143 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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44 views

What is configurational case assignment?

How does it differ with inherent case? I found this definition from Maria Polinsky and Omer Preminger paper; Noun phrases are assigned case by virtue of their structural position relative to certain ...