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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wh-word and adjunction (Russian as an example)

I am reading The Syntax of Russian by John Frederick Bailyn. He takes the wh-word который to be of category AP/NP. Also he assumes that adjuncts operates at the level of XP, not X-bar. Given that, if ...
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What is an applied argument?

What does an applied argument mean? I have an assignment and cannot seem to understand this. Can we say that a sentence doesn’t have an applied argument when it doesn’t have a direct object?
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Where can I find a relatively comprehensive X-bar analysis of English noun and adjective phrases?

Could anyone guide me to where I might find a relatively comprehensive, or well representative, X-bar analysis of English noun phrases and adjective phrases? I'm looking for common things, for ...
2 votes
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Drawing phrase markers "What/Who is a phonologist?"

In the book "Analysing Sentences" by Noel Burton-Roberts, there's an exercise on drawing phrase markers for the 2 sentences "What is a phonologist?" and "Who is a phonologist?&...
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How is this question ambiguous?

How is this question ambiguous? Who knows when the train will arrive? The sentence is ambiguous and I have to argue the reason of its ambiguity focusing on the interpretation of the wh-adverb. And ...
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Premodifiers of adjectival and prepositional phrases: specifiers vs adjuncts (transformational grammar)

The question is concerning premodifiers of adjectival and prepositional phrases, whether they are specifiers or adjuncts and, therefore, what the criteria are for considering them as such. Take for ...
3 votes
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The analysis of 'for NP to VP' in HPSG

This is from a paper titled "What for?" by Bas Aarts: (35) [NP It [S′ [COMP for] [S Mary see his relatives]]] [M may] [VP distress John] Bresnan’s account was very influential in proposing ...
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1 answer
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Are "Inverse copular constructions" accurately described by Wikipedia?

An answer to an ELL question linked to a Wikipedia article "Inverse copular constructions". The article presents an analysis that was new to me of sentences such as "The plumber is Fred&...
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subject predicate complements and object predicate complements

Is there an easy way of determining which part of a sentence subject predicate complement (PCs) and which is a object predicate complement (PCo)? my understanding is very surface level with ...
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Any morphemes that affect valency and aspect?

I'll give an example of what I mean by this. In Tongan, there is a verbal suffix -'i that can either introduce a new argument or seemingly alter the aspect of the verb. In (1) below, ‘the girl’ is an ...
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Introductory texts / papers for learning bare phrase structure?

My introductory syntax class is currently covering bare phrase structure. Unfortunately, we're using An Introduction to Syntactic Analysis and Theory which (while covering morphology, constituency, X'-...
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Can a complementizer (C) take two complements (COMPS)?

The 1997 paper "English Relative Clause Constructions" by Ivan A. Sag has these diagrams: (53) shows a diagram of to go to the UK, and (54) of for them to go to the UK. In (54), ...
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Preposition stranding and Wh-islands

I am doing research on a few apparent cases of preposition stranding in Brazilian Portuguese (a non-P-stranding language) and, by comparing them to languages that have bona fide P-stranding, I am ...
2 votes
1 answer
397 views

Where to attach 'of too much cholesterol' while drawing the syntax tree (x-bar theory)

I would really appreciate if somebody could help me and provide a short explanation. The sentence is as follows: The latest research on dieting always warns people about the dangers of too much ...
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Is this phrase a CP or another DP?

If I were to have a DP, such as "the car which I had washed in the garage", the "which I had washed in the garage" sounds a lot like a CP. However, I have never seen CP's embedded ...
2 votes
1 answer
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Do CP adjuncts of N require/have a subject?

"The cat that ate my homework for fun will upset my teacher." Hello! I created this sentence to help me understand the concept of EPP. Assume this is how the major components should be ...
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Dependent-marking on adpositions?

Is there a language such that an adposition is dependent-marked so that one can infer that it depends on head X but not Y? As a possible example, an affix is attached to an adposition to show that it ...
1 vote
2 answers
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What ways can languages parse sub-clauses from the rest of a clause?

I only know of two strategies. Most European languages, like English, rely mainly intonation to keep the arguments in a sub-clause, particularly center-embedded clauses, from being accidentally to be ...
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How does the syntax work for a phrase like "already much too cocky?"

I'm working on a syntax tree for the sentence "The belief that syntactic theory reveals the inner structure of sentences emboldened the already much too cocky professor," and I'm stuck on &...
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Is this preposition stranding or not?

I am a linguistics student and am currently doing research on supposed cases of preposition stranding in Brazilian Portuguese. So far I've come up with a few assumptions, but my data has been mostly ...
2 votes
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Wh-movement of D/NP in Russian

I have recently come across the following expression: (они) попрали даже то, что ими диктуется о смысле жизни. (they) trampled even what they dictated about the meaning of life. It made me wonder: ...
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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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What is the semantic type and the lexical entry for 'to be right'?

Does somebody know what the lexical entry for '(be) right' is? And the semantic type of 'right' when its in the syntax tree. Is it an attitude predicate? For example in the sentence 'Beth is right ...
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Formal syntax and semantics for Turkish

as a student of linguistics and admirer of Turkish, I wondered whether there are good introductory books for formal syntax and (Montague) semantics for Turkish. Thanks in advance!
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Under the DP hypothesis, does anything ever go in the Spec of NP?

I attach Carnie's illustration of "several people who she kissed" below: My question is on the NP to N' branch (red boxed). I was taught that restrictive relatives clauses are adjuncts to ...
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spec ip and spec vp

I'm new to linguistics. I'm reading an article saying that "Subjects of stage-level predicates can be mapped into either [Spec,IP] or [Spec,VP]. Subjects of individual level predicates must stay ...
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Allowable flexibility in word order in *ordinary verse* vs in *ordinary prose*

Forgive my amateurish way of asking this, I have no background in linguistics, but I have noticed a phenomenon enough times to want to raise the question. Have there been studies of how flexible can ...
5 votes
4 answers
486 views

Corpus Linguistics: Is it possible to add a tag for "sentence ending"?

I'm new to Corpus Linguistics and I'm writing a paper about the English and Portuguese "because noun", a type of construction such as "I'm going home because GTA5". However, when I try to search this ...
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Do indirect objects induce CED effects?

I'd like to ask those of you who speak English as a first language whether indirect objects induce CED effects (cf. Huang). Consider: Of which boy did John send [a letter] [to every friend _]? Of ...
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Different ways languages use adjectives as arguments?

I'm not sure how to word this. I'm not talking about languages where adjectives can act as nouns on their own. I'm talking about when 'states' are used as arguments. An example in this is the phrase; ...
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Corpus studies on the frequency of subject questions in English

Are there any corpus studies which show the relative frequency of different types of interrogative main clauses in English, in particular the relative frequency of subject questions (which do not ...
1 vote
1 answer
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What are the general word order trends of VO languages

I’ve heard that some scholars collapse SVO, VSO, and VOS into one general category of VO. From what I understand, these VO languages allegedly exhibit strong and weak common word order trends. If this ...
3 votes
1 answer
156 views

Why do dominant VSO languages all have SVO as an alternative word order?

According to Greenberg’s 6th universal, "All languages with dominant VSO order have SVO as an alternative or as the only alternative basic order." Why are dominant VSO languages predisposed ...
4 votes
1 answer
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Chomsky on licensing parasitic gaps in English

Chomsky (1995: 69) says (115) that "(115b) is ruled out for independent reasons of control theory." What reasons? (115) a. the book that you filed [without PRO reading e] b. *the book that ...
3 votes
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Is the head function also called nucleus, or is nucleus a subtype of head?

In this visual representation of syntactic functions from Wikipedia, nucleus is given as a subtype of head. But the Head article appears to treat the two terms as synonyms. The first sentence reads: ...
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Relative possessive pronouns

"Whose" is the only possessive relative pronoun in English. The antecedent of "whose" can be both people and things. ( - Purdue OWL) "Whose" is not complete as a ...
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Are there languages where grammatical parallelism does not matter?

English has a strong preference for parallelism (Wikipedia link), even though sentences lacking parallelism are still considered grammatically correct: Good: She likes cooking, jogging, and reading. ...
1 vote
1 answer
132 views

How many beats is a syllable?

I’ve read some sources that say a syllable is “one beat” but I don’t understand that. Wouldn’t it depend on the tempo of the pulse. I.e, if a tempo is 60bpm can’t you fit different numbers of ...
7 votes
2 answers
380 views

Why is binarity emphasized so much in linguistics?

I'm an aspiring linguistics student, not a professional, so my thinking may be misguided or elementary. In my personal research about linguistics, I have discovered many important theories and ...
2 votes
1 answer
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The Inflectional Phrase and Welsh

Wikipedia explains how the Inflectional Phrase has a VP as its complement and an NP (the subject of the phrase) as its specifier. It is long ago that I studied this, but a quick look at Sprachliches ...
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On colorless green ideas

I’m pretty new here. My main focus is logic, so I spend most of my time on the math and philosophy forums. Chomsky proposed that while “colorless green ideas sleep furiously” is a well-formed sentence ...
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1-, 2-, and 3-place predicates

Would the following verb be a one- or two-place predicate verb? "The boy and his friend left" I'm inclined to think that it's a one-place predicate as normally 'leave' is just that, and that ...
4 votes
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Is there a language whose syntactic structure accepts a specifier of a PP?

We know a preposition (in X-bar theory) is the head of a prepositional phrase and it has a complement that is the sister of this very preposition. However I've never seen a language with a constituent ...
4 votes
1 answer
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Why is P the head of PP?

I was wondering what arguments there were to know that P is the head of a phrase [P + N]. As far as adjunct phrases are concerned, we can clearly see that as Ps select Ns (*during the rock; *in the ...
2 votes
1 answer
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How can we distinguish complements from specifiers?

I know this is a problem in the history of Linguistics. The most famous example I can think of is the Determiner Phrase vs. Noun Phrase debates. I'm trying to figure out, if you have evidence that ...
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2 answers
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What's the gender of "nice" in "Mary is a nice person"?

I just read this rule in Greek Essential Grammar: This passage says that, in the Greek sentence for "Mary is a nice person", the adjective nice is masculine because it must agree with the ...
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Semantics and Coordination

Is coordination only governed by syntax? What about sentences like "I am afraid of and independent of him"? Is there nothing odd about it? The coordinated element is a PP, so it conforms to ...
2 votes
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253 views

About phrasal verbs, separable verb and verbs with adverbs

I was wondering about the concepts listed in the title. In one side we have the separable verbs in German, like mitkommen: Ich komme mit. On the other hand we have phrasal verbs such as think over ...
2 votes
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259 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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Is this syntactic tree correct so far? [closed]

*Not homework I have been doing practice problems, but I am really struggling with syntax trees. I think I have the first part of the tree, but I'm not sure about the rest. Here is the practice ...

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