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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....

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If there are cases of tense or plural as separate words like particles

I am looking for stranger particle-like things, like the Japanese wa particle, or determiners like the. So wondering if there are any cases of pluralizing or changing to past/future tense that is not ...
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System for intermixing IPA with Orthography

So in English the word hi sounds like /haɪ/, but can be spelled "hi", "high", etc. So if you wanted to define the word "high" in English you would have to write two things: high (the spelling/...
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Understanding the property of complementhood

In the following sentence: They can both speak French. How can French be the complement of the V-bar speak French? I have the following definition of the complement: A constituent X is the ...
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List Of Common English Syntax Ambiguities?

For an example of ambiguous syntax: John likes Adam more than Eve. Such a construction could mean that: Comparing Adam and Eve, John likes Adam more. Compared to Eve's liking of Adam, John likes ...
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How do we set comparative adverbs, from expressions like “more than x” on the syntax tree?

I'm trying to figure something out from Portuguese, but if you can answer me that based on English, it will help a lot. Thanks.
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Question based on Syntax [closed]

In syntax, when we speak of linguistic creativity, we are referring to two very specific facts about sentences in human language. State these two facts and provide an appropriate example in each case.
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“there” and “everything” in linguistics is a “pronoun” or “noun”?

Regarding to drawing a syntax tree, "there" and "everything" in linguistics is a "pronoun" or "noun"? For example, 1. There is an apple. 2. It is not everything.
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Do English passive verbs assign case? (Government and Binding Theory)

I'm trying to think things through regarding case and passive verbs, within the framework of Government and Binding Theory. As starting point, I'll use this statement/principle (based on what I've ...
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59 views

Determining the head of the sentence

I'm having difficulties in determining the heads of phrases/sentences. I know that the head determines the syntactic function of the whole phrase and I understood some simple examples but in the ...
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Why can 'that' be included in that-clauses, but must be omitted whenever constituents are questioned?

Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication (2017 7 ed). p. 196 Middle. Barring past tense, why does [that]complementizer hinder questioning of constituents, when [that]...
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140 views

Syntax relative clause

For example: "An apple that my mother bought yesterday" In the example, "An apple" is a noun phrase and "that my mother bought yesterday" is a complementiser phrase. Are the noun phrase––"An apple"––...
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How do you draw a syntax tree for a sentence with a dummy subject?

I encounter difficulties when drawing a syntax tree for a sentence of expletive contruction. Should I mark the dummy subject "there" as a noun? Thx
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Parsing a sentence with the noun as the Predicator

Can the sentence "That professor is a syntactician," in which the DP "a syntactician" is the predicator, be parsed like a normal sentence, using x-bar theory, the Predicate Shell and the DP Hypothesis?...
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Complete NL formalisms w/out syntax

What are the natural language formalisms that, roughly speaking, do away w/ syntax as a separate level of description? Cf. Steedman's "The Syntactic Process" (2000): "...syntactic structure is ...
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How can you test whether a word is being used as a conjunction?

It's been a couple years since I've taken a syntax class, and I've forgotten - what tests can you use to check whether a speaker uses a word as a conjunction? I seem to remember something about ...
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Transposition of words in questions

In English, the following is grammatically correct: Am I going to the cinema today? In contrast, the assertion that this is true is grammatically correct only with the first two words reversed. ...
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How agglutinative languages affect comprehension

I am just learning about agglutinative languages so I don't have much experience with them. I am looking at longest words for example words in a language like Finnish, but not sure yet if those would ...
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2answers
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Latest research on the meaning of prepositions

Trying to understand what a preposition is. Wikipedia gives some hints (adpositions are the general case of preposition/postposition/circumposition): ...Adpositions are classed as syntactic ...
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What is the Theta Role of “It” in “It seemed that …”

How do I identify the theta role of "It" in "It seemed that there was no escape."? I understand theta roles such as THEME, AGENT, LOCATION, GOAL, FORCE, EXPERIENCER etc. However, I cannot work out ...
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What is this sentence structure called?

I'm writing a paper about Donald Trump's speaking style and he frequently says sentences like the following: "They wanna be in the United States of America. That’s where they wanna be." "We’re gonna ...
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Connections between categories of type logical grammar and categories of combinatory categorial grammar?

There is nice book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Type-Logical-Grammar-Categorial-Logic/dp/0792332261/ that considers both Montague grammar (type logical grammar (TLG)) in chapters 1 and 2 and combinatory ...
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Specification of Dependency Grammar

My understanding is that, while natural languages aren't completely context-free, you can get a good approximation of a specification of English in Backus-Naur form, in that if you look at a given ...
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Does Gestalt theory tell us anything about syntax?

According to this article (dlibra.umcs.lublin.pl/Content/21626/czas17868_30_2_2012_4.pdf), cognitive grammar is an approach to grammar which takes into accounts broad perceptual principles, including ...
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What is the syntax of “second” in phrases like “the second most common problem”?

In English, words like "second", "third" etc. (also "next", I guess) can be used with a superlative to count down from the maximum. Some dictionaries call "second" an adverb in this context (e.g. MW, ...
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71 views

Syntactic and semantic ambiguity

Does syntactic (structural) ambiguity always come with semantic ambiguity, or is semantic ambiguity always due to syntactic ambiguity? Or are both statements correct?
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1answer
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How can you know that a word in a sentence is a verb?

I am wondering what it takes to parse a sentence with incomplete knowledge. That is, take a sentence like this: If I use timeout I have to call again my function at the end of the execution of the ...
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How to differentiate between adjuncts and complements? Specifically when the sentence has two prepositional phrases [duplicate]

When a sentence has 2 prepositional phrases, how I can determine whether the second prepositional phrase is a complement of the first prepositional phrase or it's an adjunct to the whole sentence? ...
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1answer
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How common is it for languages to be head-first as often as they are head-final?

English, I've heard, is rather odd for not leaning one way or another towards a head-final order, or a head first. Verbs gravitate towards the beginning of sentences and it uses prepositions, which ...
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2answers
213 views

Does syntactic stress exist?

From what I know, stress can only be assigned at the level of the word (as in English) or the level of the sentence (as in French). Can any natural language assign it syntactically, e.g., "the first ...
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2answers
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“In his desk(,) he kept a black book.” Is “in his desk” a preposed complement here?

The answers and comments beneath my question about the sentence “He kept a black book in his desk” seemed to agree that “in his desk” acts as a complement and not as an adjunct in that sentence. But ...
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Difference between tense & Grammatical aspect?

I know this question has been posed before, and I know also that there were different versions of putting it depending on models and different kinds of reasoning. What I want to understand, is the ...
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Are there languages which have ways to distinguish between an adjunct noun and an adjective?

(Take some example). Do other languages (than English) have means distinguish between their adjunct nouns and adjectives or is it a very complex/grammatical structure that cannot possibly be ...
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Prepositional Phrases

Can you please tell me what's the difference between an inflectional phrase and a tense phrase? In a related venue, in a PP is the NP sister to the P' or daughter to it? Thanks
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1answer
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Is there any theoretical explanation of putting infinitive clause at the beginning?

There is a sentence which my Canadian professor today talked about. 1-) I see no reason to do these stupid things. The Canadian English professor at the university said that we could put the part "...
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1answer
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Syntax- X-bar theory- verbal Domain [closed]

Please can someone explain to me what a 'parallel pattern in the verbal domain of French' mean.
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What are the structural similarities that exist common to all languages?

What (if any) are the structural similarities that all languages share that allows them to be taken in and learned by virtually all humans starting at a very young age?
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1answer
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“He kept a black book in his desk.” Is “in his desk” an adjunct or a complement?

The verb "keep" can be used with a direct object and a prepositional phrase, as in the following sentence: He kept a black book in his desk. What is the grammatical role of the PP "in his desk"? ...
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What are the best books to study generative syntax?

I'm looking for a good book to study generative syntax from an introductory level to intermediate or advanced.
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1answer
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Are non-restrictive relative clauses adjuncts or modifiers?

In Leo Messi, who lives next door, is the greatest football/soccer player in the world. is "who lives next door" an adjunct or a modifier? My thinking goes like this. If I isolate the non-...
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Languages with nominalized verbs that specify the thematic relation of its possessor

In English, nominalized verbs have only one form regardless of the thematic relation of its possessor: The robot's destruction (of the city) terrified authorities. The robot's destruction (by the ...
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Are English modal verbs tensed or non-tensed?

My assumption: English modal verbs are non-tensed (i.e. we don't say shoulds or shoulded). Yet, in X' bar theory, modal verbs appear under the inflection node I', precisely where we find the ...
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Which other languages have discontinuous dependencies and how are cross or long ones managed in them?

Discontinuous dependencies are a part of English syntatic rules and also are something which linguists are still trying to deal with. My question: which other languages have this problem and how does ...
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1answer
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difference between c-command and dominance

In this definition Node A c-commands node B if: a) A =/= B b) A does not dominate B and B does not dominate A c) every X that dominates A also dominates B I understand the bigger picture, but my ...
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Linear order preserving syntactic trees

Two questions: Is the syntactic tree notation supposed to be Linear order preserving in general Linear order preserving for English Generally linear order preserving for English None of the above ...
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1answer
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Imperative + pronoun

English and German have vestiges of an imperative followed by a subject pronoun: → Be Thou My Vision (archaic) → Don't you talk back to me! (colloquial) → Bitte rufen Sie ihn. (polite 2nd ...
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English verbs requiring PP

Are there a set of English verbs that require a prepositional phrase? For example: "The set consists of A and B." = GOOD "The set consists" = BAD Is there a name for this type of verb? They seem to ...
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Are there any languages that have words for open and closing quotation marks in speech?

It seems to me that most languages have some way of bounding quotations in written form. European languages have their apostrophe quotes and angle-brackets, while eastern Asian languages have those ...
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1answer
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Search tool question

The World Wide Web provides access to an extremely rich collection of written texts and transcriptions of dialogue from both current and historical sources. But I often have trouble searching for ...
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Please explain the following contrast in grammaticality in syntax [closed]

*Mary to be accepted at Boston College would be great. For Mary to be accepted at Boston College would be great
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236 views

Is the lowercase first letter of a proper noun common in the Swazi language?

Swaziland has been renamed to Kingdom of eSwatini, it is Swazi meaning "place of the Swazi". But I'm pretty interested in the lowercase "e" starting the proper noun of eSwatini. I know in the west we ...