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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Does the function of a clause belong to semantics or syntax?

In linguistics, is it correct that a clause is classified according to its function into declarative/statement, interrogative/question (yes-no, or content one), and imperative/request/command? Does ...
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Why is head movement subsumed to PF operation

It is assumed that head movement is a syntactic operation formulated by the main framework that treats head movement as a PF operation (as suggested by Chomsky 2001) and not in the narrow syntax. Also ...
Yili Xia's user avatar
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3 answers
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Grammar/syntax rules for structures larger than the sentence?

All grammar syntax rules (afaik) pertain to words in the same sentence. For example, a complete sentence must have a subject and a verb. But there must be rules for structures larger than the sentence....
StLouis9's user avatar
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1 answer
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Is there any way to describe how languages are typically spoken, like there is a way to describe grammar?

In English, when ordering food, you'd say "I would like x," not "Please let me purchase x," even though both are grammatically correct. You can say that "I would be liking x&...
dogdan99's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
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What does a prime mean in a node label in a X-bar structure tree?

In Anderson's Essentials of Linguistics, a X-bar structure tree contains nodes labeled with '. What does the prime mean? What do N', V', and T' mean? Thanks.
Tim's user avatar
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What is an unaccusative or an ergative adjective?

When I was reading papers, I found these expressions. So what is an unaccusative adjective and an ergative adjective? And what is their relationship with the distinction between raising and non-...
Rongrong's user avatar
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Book suggestions for a basic introduction to Syntactic Cartography?

I am interested in learning more about Syntactic Cartography and its basic concepts. Can anyone recommend a book or resource that provides a solid introduction to this topic? I have a background in ...
Drye's user avatar
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What are the current views on the existence of a "zero article" in English?

As is well known, under certain circumstances in English, there can be acceptable noun phrases (NPs) that lack a determiner. Some cases include: (i) "indefinite uncountable nominals" (There ...
linguisticturn's user avatar
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Do the subjects of verbs such as "watch," "listen for," and "read" stand for agents, experiencers, both, or something else?

one: It’s well-known that the subjects of different verbs in different contexts can take subjects that have different semantic roles. For example, in the sentence “Jill ate a hamburger,” “Jill” ...
James Grossmann's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
822 views

I-language vs E-language

Chomsky (2015:13) says that "It is intensional in the technical sense that the I-language is a function specified in intension, not extension." How should we understand this sentence within ...
Yili Xia's user avatar
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How and what theta criterion should i use and how should I use the Projection principle in these sentences? [closed]

John hopes to win. So far, I've understood that since to win is an infinitive clause, we cannot give any theta role, but I'm confused with the projection principle of it. Can I say that there are two ...
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"come a long way" [V+OBJ/COMP/ADJUNCT]?

Can someone tell me i) in terms of constituent tree structure, if a long way is a complement as opposed to an adjunct ii) in terms of thematic roles, whether a long way takes on the role of location ...
Jenny's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
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Can English syntax alone tell apart a person's background?

I was wondering if English syntax alone can tell apart a person's background? For example, if two strangers are exchanging texts - without looking at their spelling, word choices etc, just by the ...
teledipsy's user avatar
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how to recognize a modifier and a complement in an unclear NPs

You can take those examples which I find very hard and show me on them which is a complement and which a modifier? The idea that he proposed //The idea that it will rain I don't know, seems similar (...
Anu's user avatar
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1 answer
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Update: what is the structure of the copula sentence in phrase structure grammar

When it comes to the copula sentence, usually the noun phrase preceding the copula is subject. (1)The problem is the kids. (2)??The problem are the kids. (3)The kids are the problem. (4)*The kids ...
Yili Xia's user avatar
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1 answer
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To what extent can the prosody factors influence the literal meanings or not at all

My question is whether or not the prosody factors can change the literal meanings of the propositions. The pragmatics is not considered in this case. I would very much appreciate it if someone gives ...
Yili Xia's user avatar
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On the argument structure of 'bet'

I have some problems with defining the argument structure of bet in the following pair of sentences: a) John bet £300 on Manchester United. b) John bet Bill £300 that Manchester United would win the ...
Jenny's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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Should λ-terms all be easily translated back into natural language syntax?

We have encountered this question when we try to read Heim and Kratzer's book. This following picture is taken from Heim & Kratzer (1998: 40). Our answers are simply based on the subscripts: (a) ...
Yili Xia's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
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Exception to word order in quotative situations

I'm very uneducated in syntax, so I apologize if this question is something really basic that everyone already knows. English is a subject-verb-object language, and it is known to follow that pattern ...
Graham H.'s user avatar
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How to show the difference between the opaque reading and the transparent reading via syntax?

Is there any way using any version of Generative Grammar (EST, REST, GB, MP) to show the difference between "the transparent reading" and "the opaque reading" of the same line ...
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How can I understand "remnant movement" in English heavy-NP shift construction

Kayne 2003 mentions that there exists remnant movement in English. As background, note: I predicted that John would marry Susan, and marry Susan/her/*Ann he will. The argument(s) in the preposed VP ...
Yili Xia's user avatar
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-3 votes
1 answer
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MA Theses on the Minimalist Program [closed]

Could someone provide me with a master's thesis on the minimalist program? I couldn't find them on the net. I am working on my master's thesis, and I need a model for it. Thank you in advance.
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Are argument clauses and verbal expressions individual constants or individual variables (or perhaps individual predicate-argument constants)?

I am studying first order predicate logic in the context of formal semantics for natural language. Propositions are understood in terms of predicates and their arguments. A given predicate takes 0 to ...
Buffoon's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
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What is dependency grammar and what are the possible relationships?

I have just started studying dependency grammar and I am really struggling with the relationship types and trees. I have only ever drawn classic syntactic trees so I keep getting confused. Could you ...
Anonymous's user avatar
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113 views

Unusual categorization of slang terms in parts of speech ("cap")

I am not educated in syntax (or any formal linguistics really), so my hypotheses and observations in this question may not be super high-level. I am a young American English speaker from the Midwest. ...
Graham H.'s user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
145 views

Grammatical function of a word

(Asked by a layman. Also, if it is asked already, please kindly mentiion as such so that I delete the question.) To my exceedingly limited understanding, there are three ways to determine the ...
blackened's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
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What is the name for the phenomenon where an English verb that takes a clausal complement either does or does not mark the infinitive with "to"?

Let them go home. *Let them to go home. *Allow them go home. Allow them to go home. Make them go home. *Make them to go home. *Force them go home. Force them to go home. What is the reason that &...
Sam Engel's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
79 views

Is it possible to have a repeated node appear under the same node? (Syntax Tree) [illustration provided]

Please help me understand these syntax trees (French and English). For context we are learning about the representation of movement in syntax trees. From my understanding, we'd have to use an X' under ...
miaoup's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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Paralinguistic features

If pragmatics deal with how the extralinguistic environment affects the interpratation of an utterance, which branch of linguistics deals with how the paralinguistic environment affects the ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
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Can a nominalized clause contain a topic and a focus?

one: I’ve heard about foci in sentences—the new information typically shown in the predicate. For instance, in the sentence “Reece turned out to be the mysterious super-hero,” ... “Reece” is the ...
James Grossmann's user avatar
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0 answers
66 views

Why are reflexives prohibited in partitive constructions?

In a partitive construction, reflexives do not usually occur: Julie and Bob are talking about the two of them/*themselves. The following example is from COCA: The men, all of them, stared into ...
Buffoon's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Why are these adjectives being presented as adverbs in syntax tree (Carnie, 3rd Edition)?

I am in a Syntax class where we use the textbook Syntax: A Generative Introduction, 3rd Edition by Andrew Carnie. There is a tree presented in the chapter on x-bar theory that indicates that the words ...
Acidrainx's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
165 views

Syntax tree software

Does anybody know a good software for creating syntax tree diagrams like this ?
Kenny FürEver's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
60 views

syntactic analysis under Split INFL Hypothesis

I'm a beginner in linguistics, and so here is my problem under the early theory of Split INFL Hypothesis (Pollock, 1989; Belletti, 1990; Haegeman, 1994). Here are the sentences. a.They must have been ...
T.-J. Wu's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
44 views

What is the semantic difference between a relational noun that is used predicatively and one that is not used predicatively?

A relational noun such as father can take two arguments, e.g. (1) a. Bill is Jane’s father. (2) a. Jane’s father is friendly. It is, I believe, natural to view the relational noun father in (1) as a ...
Buffoon's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
656 views

What does 'overt NP' mean?

I just started studying syntax, and I am a little lost in terminology. Would someone please explain to me what does overt NP stand for?
future linguist's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
252 views

How do syntacticians explain object pronouns in the subject position ("Me and him" or "Lui et moi")?

Me and a lot of other native English speakers sometimes use object pronouns as the subject of sentences if there's an "and" in the subject. This has been mentioned on Stack Exchange before ...
Jetpack's user avatar
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0 answers
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We call the shots as we see them

I was invited to ask here. I sometimes hear the sentence "we call the shots as we see them." I want to ask whether the as-clause modifies "shots" (just like "as we know it&...
saki's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
108 views

Judgment about obligatory de se reading

(1) John himself said he hates himself. (2) John said he hates himself. In sentence (1), does he obligatorily refer to John? Or it can refer to other people as well like in sentence (2). In more ...
Yili Xia's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
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Any examples of Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo in other languages?

I would like to know if there exist any examples of homonyms and homophones being used to create complicated linguistic constructs through lexical ambiguity.
jorge's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
158 views

What is the nature of punctuation marks, are they paralinguistc features; where are they studied?

I am not sure I understand the distinction between paralinguistic and extralinguistic. Let's eat, grandma. Here, grandma is the adressee of the message, the actor (invited). Grandma is the one to eat. ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
130 views

tree diagrams, X-Bar theory

can TP dominate CP, for example: BILL WANTS ROBERT TO BOLDLY EAT THE CHILI-PEPPER. That's a CP embedded in a CP or a TP? in other words, is the maximal projection 'CP' or TP.
Sarah's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
70 views

Conditional followed by imperative

In English, we have often sentences like so: If you are interested, send me a message WHEN you are ready to do it, start with the laundry To my understanding these are a conditional followed by an ...
tryst with freedom's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
66 views

Can clauses with transitive verbs that stand for experiences be passivized across the attested languages that have passive voice?

In English, verbs that stand for experiences (e.g. see, hear, sense, notice, realize) can occur in passive forms and clauses as we see in these examples: "Tommy sees the baby sloth." --&...
James Grossmann's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
62 views

How do languages without passive voice foreground constituents that don't stand for agents?

one: Passive voice can be used to foreground noun phrases that don't stand for agents by putting those noun phrases in subject position. e.g., in English, "The man bit the dog." --> &...
James Grossmann's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
70 views

What are the structure and meaning of this sentence a lie is a lie is a lie is a lie?

There is a special sentence in English, e.g. a lie is a lie is a lie, or a dollar is a dollar is a dollar. This kind of structure does not have a verb center. that a dollar is a dollar is a dollar ...
Shudong's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Meaning of the X-bar item in X-bar theory?

In X-Bar theory, what meaning do the X' nodes themselves represent? I (believe I) understand the meaning of the XP items: they are the constituent syntactic category phrases. The constituents of a ...
minseong's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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Does PRO satisfy binding condition A?

My assignment requires me to analyze two sentences (* denoting ungrammaticality): *David realized that they have been spreading lies about himself David has tended to spread lies about himself The ...
Rosa's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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Across languages, what are the most common syntactic constructions that are used to form alternative questions?

For those who came in late, an alternative question is one that asks the listener to identify a subset of two or more alternatives named in the question. For example: “Would you like the shrimp ...
James Grossmann's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
122 views

What is the most commonly accepted synonym or synonymous phrase in linguistics for "wh-question"?

The term "wh-question" seems transparent enough for English speakers, but reeks of English language chauvinism. I have heard such questions referred to as "information questions,"...
James Grossmann's user avatar

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