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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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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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Assistance identifying/translating spoken words [on hold]

I am requesting assistance identifying and translating an unknown spoken language. I have tried every voice translation app I could find. As well I am unsure how it is to be correctly spelled, though ...
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X-Bar Theory Help [on hold]

I am currently taking Intro to Syntax Theory this quarter and I think my brain is going explode. If anyone could help me map these sentences with the X-Bar Theory I would greatly appreciate it! We ...
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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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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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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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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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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
86 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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56 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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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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119 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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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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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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140 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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86 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
106 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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74 views

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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1answer
69 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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1answer
106 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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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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58 views

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
69 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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50 views

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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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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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
58 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
140 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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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 ...
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1answer
104 views

Which is the most accepted case theory from a generative syntax perspective?

I've read about different theories but now I'm kind of confused between the different theories and the differences between structural case, non-structural, lexical/morphological case, inherent case, ...
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2answers
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Is “indirect object” syntactically definable or useful, in English or generally?

In traditional English grammar, we're taught that phrases like those boldfaced below are "indirect objects": I gave the book to Ted. I gave Ted the book. But this appears to be based on semantics (...
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42 views

multiple raising verb in a sentence

how would the deep structure looks like for a sentence that has multiple raising verb like 'Tom happens to be believed to have wanted to like linguistics' ?
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1answer
61 views

criteria to distinguish resultative from stative participles?

I was recently reading an article by David Embick (2004) in which he makes a ternary distinction among passive participles: 1. stative 2. resultative 3. eventive, contra. Wasow (1977) who ...
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Generative vs Constructionist POV on Imperative's null subject

How might a constructionist approach to Imperative sentences respond to a Generative frammework in regards to an implied subject (;subject-less' sentences. (Based on the focus point from the ...
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1answer
113 views

Drawing case specified trees for english gerunds

I'm reading Adger's Core Syntax book and am having a tough time with Exercise 1 of the functional categories chapter. The exercise is about gerunds. Gerunds are specified by the form of suffixing -...
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60 views

What is the proper terminology for “I touch” in this sentence?

I am trying to diagram this sentence for a personal project: Everything I touch with tenderness pricks like a bramble. From what I understand, Everything is the subject, and pricks is the ...
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1answer
71 views

What's the difference between V2 word order and OVS word order?

Is there any difference between the two? They seem the same to me, c.f.: Fußball spielten die Kinder vor der Schule im Park. Football played the kids before school in the park. (...
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114 views

Triggering emotions with language

Emotional responses to certain words is often argued to be a result of nurture(acquired through development), while emotional responses to Tone is largely attributable to nature(born with). Shouldn't ...
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2answers
124 views

Why is the preposition treated as the head of a prepositional phrase?

What are the theoretical reasons for treating the preposition as the head of a prepositional phrase? (Noun as head of NP sounds fine intuitively, but the same does not apply to prepositions in ...
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Misunderstanding quantifier floats

I'm reading Core Syntax by Adger and there is an exercise to analyze the following data. *The dragons were slain all. *The Greeks arrived all. Now I know the phenomena of floating quantifiers comes ...
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“Peter sang a song to Julie”, Is “to Julie” is an adjunct or complement?

Peter sang a song to Julie. It seems that the verb "sang" selects the preposition, but to Julie is optional. And if we apply it to an X' Schema, how shall we do it? To Julie is the dependent of sang ...