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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36 views

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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Is a Gerund-Participial a "clause adjunct" or a "noun/adjective post-modifier"?

I'm not sure how the "doing my homework" phrase is to be analyzed in the following sentences: I felt good doing my homework. I had trouble doing my homework. I needed help doing my homework. ...
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42 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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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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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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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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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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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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175 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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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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471 views

Right node raising

I encountered a difficult question for syntax. The authors discuss a special case of coordination called “right node raising”. When both conjuncts have the same string (e.g. typically an object or a ...
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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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220 views

Difference between PRO and OP

What's the difference between PRO and OP? For example, on p. 142, the book "The Syntax of Chinese" presents the following tree (which is an analysis of indirect passives in Chinese): In this ...
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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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713 views

Meaning of "Prejacent"?

I have seen the word "prejacent" in many linguistics related papers. However, none of them explains what exactly a prejacent is. Could someone elaborate more on this?
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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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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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To what extent does this image accurately express the modularity of linguistic units?

This is a popular image floating around the internet, but like many things floating there, it seems like a gross simplification and just plain inaccurate. However, I’m more of an armchair linguist ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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316 views

When an existential verb is used existentially as the predicate to a subject, is it true in all languages that it cannot take another predicate?

When an existential is used existentially verb as the predicate to a subject, is it true in all languages that it cannot take another predicate? In other words, when the existential to-be verb means '...
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1answer
154 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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What is the difference in a constituent and a phrase?

From Wikipedia: In syntactic analysis, a constituent is a word or a group of words that functions as a single unit within a hierarchical structure. A phrase is a sequence of one or more ...
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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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168 views

What is the position of 'that' in the relative clause of this sentence?

Researchers report they have engineered an enzyme that can convert 90% of that same plastic back to its pristine starting materials. Does that originate in spec TP and move to spec CP like in this ...
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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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456 views

What exactly is Minimal Distance Principle and how is it applied here?

In my previous question, I referred to the analysis of indirect passives in Chinese from "The Syntax of Chinese". They mention "Minimal Distance Principle": In this structure, the verb dasi ‘kill’ ...
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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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718 views

Why is the passive voice more prevalent in English than in other Indo-European languages?

Although the active voice is predominant in the English language the ‘ideal’ proportion of recommended passive sentences is still regarded as between 5% and 10%(source1) ( source2). Which is ...
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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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35 views

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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109 views

What is the syntax of this clause "the one who spoke"

What is the syntax of the clause " . . . the one who spoke" in this sentence: "I am he, the one who spoke?" Is not the 3rd person pronoun the subject complement, and "the one ...
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148 views

Derivation of Passive according to Principles and Parameters (Jaeggli)

I've been trying to wrap my head around this for hours, but I am simply stuck. Could somebody please kindly explain this passage? I am struggling in particular with the part in bold. The text is from ...
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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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438 views

Can we build semantic mappings for CFG same as we do in CCG?

In CFG we "simply" have production rules. Whereas in Combinatory Categorial Grammar (CCG) on the other hand, we have both composition rules over categories, and a mapping from syntax to semantics (...
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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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