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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13
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1answer
504 views

Are there languages in which plural classifiers co-occur with numerals?

I'm aware that a number of classifer languages have what might be called "plural classifiers" which -- unlike "normal" classifier -- force a plural, count interpretation, instead of being ambiguous ...
8
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1answer
200 views

Is there any language that expresses the category D but doesn't have inverse scope?

By "expresses the category D" I mean, preferably, that there is solid evidence/argumentation for a given morpheme to be analyzed as overtly heading a Determiner projection. I would limit such ...
29
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5answers
19k views

What meaningful distinction is there between morphology and syntax?

While I am not interested in hearing the common distinction made in introductory text-books, I am interested in hearing what meaningful distinction there can be between morphology and syntax. Is there ...
5
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2answers
344 views

What's the "state of the art" for methodology in syntactic/semantic experiments

I'm looking for good recent books or articles on experimental methodology in syntax or semantics. Ideally they'd be geared towards working formal linguists who don't know much about psycholinguistics ...
10
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4answers
2k views

Can prepositional phrases with "of" ever be adjuncts to nouns, or only complements in English? If they can't be adjuncts, why?

This question came up while doing syntax homework. It seems to me that prepositional phrases with "of" can only ever be complements to nouns, not adjuncts. The basis for my conclusion was that, while ...
7
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1answer
257 views

In languages with quotative markers, is extraction allowed out of quotative-marked clauses?

That is, is there a language that allows the following type of movement WH1 ... (ATTITUDE-VERB) QUOT ... t1 DP-TOP1 ... (ATTITUDE-VERB) QUOT ... t1
6
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2answers
537 views

Why does complementiser drop not occur in negative English sentences?

English that can often be dropped from a sentence. (1) I think (that) she can come. (2) I don't think (that) she can come. In some negative constructions, complementiser dropping sounds marked....
8
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1answer
2k views

Semantic head vs Syntactic head parsing

I've run into "semantic head parsing" and "syntactic head parsing" and while I think I have a feel for the difference, I was wondering if anyone could give a more concrete definition or reference to ...
7
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3answers
521 views

Are there some analyses or linguists with the view that Chinese does not have lexical word class?

I'm not a linguist but a language enthusiast and I read lots of stuff about all languages mostly on the internet in blogs but also in accessible books and sometimes attempt to read some things not ...
4
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1answer
124 views

Case reassignment without change in number of cases

Most languages with cases seem to be either gaining or losing them diachronically (The Indo-European languages are an example of the latter, and the Uralic languages of the former). Manchu and Xibe (a ...
15
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3answers
5k views

What are the criteria that distinguish clitics/particles from affixes?

This question inspired me to finally ask a question that has been bothering me for years: how does one distinguish clitics and/or particles from affixes, especially when those clitics are ...
11
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6answers
6k views

Languages with stricter and less strict word order?

I'm sure most people here know, but for completeness, let's define what syntax is: The arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language. [NOAD] N.B. It can also refer to ...
18
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4answers
2k views

Are there any languages that mark nouns as mass?

Nouns like water, mud, furniture in English are odd with plural morphology (adding -s, as in furnitures), with numerals (three furniture(s)), and seem to have their own quantifier (much water but not ...
11
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3answers
21k views

Why are affix hopping and head movement considered as distinct operations?

Affix hopping is a morphological operation by which an unattached affix in the T position is lowered onto a verb. This attachment is done by the "Phonetic Form component" (the posited component in the ...
34
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4answers
2k views

Why are certain there-sentences infelicitous in English?

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language states that the first three of the following four excerpts are semantically or pragmatically anomalous (to give that term some context, it cites We ...
12
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3answers
2k views

What is an example of a syntactic structure that can't be represented by a BNF grammar?

The tools for working with BNF grammars are a little more discoverable (ANTLR, Gold, etc) and usable than for other types of grammars. What sort of sentences can't be represented with ordinary BNF ...
8
votes
1answer
684 views

Relationship between SOV word order and osV prefixes

I've been reading about the Native American language isolate Washo, and looking at the Universals Archive. If an ergative language is SOV, the object and subject affixes will be prefixes and the main ...
8
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2answers
1k views

What is the origin of the "hierarchy of projections", the language system or (some) conceptual system?

All languages display some form of the hierarchy of projections, to the extent we understand what this is: in a given clause, roughly, complementizers are higher than inflectional heads are higher ...
10
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1answer
2k views

Difference between Minimalism and old P&P

What are the differences between the old Principles and Parameters approach and the developing Minimalist Program? As I understand it, though the MP is just a framework for developing theories in, in ...
5
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2answers
888 views

Verb-attraction parameter in Portuguese

Prof. John McWorther, in his course on Linguistics, said, in a lecture about principles and parameters: "if a language is pro-drop, the verb attraction parameter is always set on. If a language ...
6
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1answer
1k views

What is the difference between transitive and intransitive finite complementizers?

I know that an intransitive verb accepts only one argument, i.e., the subject. So, such verbs do not need a complement. But how could one understand the concept of an intransitive complementizer, in ...
30
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11answers
4k views

Articles before the name of a person

In the question “La” or “le” before a person's name? on the French SE site, the asker refers to the phenomenon that in some rural/dialect settings the first name of a person is preceded by the ...

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