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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51 views

If our requirement says that the only thing that isn’t a phrase in an NP is the N itself, why a problem?

Andrew Carnie. Syntax A Generative Introduction (3 ed, 2012). p 209. Pls see red underline. I don't see what is problem?
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All non-head material must be phrasal. — Why's this principle nice idea from a mathematical point of view?

Andrew Carnie. Syntax A Generative Introduction (3 ed, 2012). p 208. Pls see red underline. I never took math after high school! I don't know calculus. What author mean by "nice idea from a ...
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If the that-trace effect is not learnable and thus must be biologically built in, how can speakers of French or Irish violate it?

Andrew Carnie. Syntax, A Generative Introduction (3 ed, 2012). p 25. Consider the fourth sentence in the paradigm in (28). This sentence is the same as (28c) but with a that: d) *Who do you ...
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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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98 views

What are the thematic structures of a clause?

While going through Rodny huddleston's An outline of English Grammar; I came across a concept named :Thematic structures of a clause. Its been more than a year when I first read it but have failed to ...
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Trying to add labels/descriptions and boxes to syntax tree in LaTeX [closed]

I'm trying to add descriptions to certain nodes in a Syntax tree. I'm using qtree, but I can't seem to find a way to do this. I'm also trying to box some, but not all of the nodes in the tree. Here's ...
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“Attempts to remove foreign adversaries through highly dubious legal or ethical means”

Is there a linguistic term for what is going on here? I read this phrase in a newspaper and it struck me as ungrammatical but at the same time I can see the logic. It seems from the comments that my ...
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Case in English phrase “friend of mine”

In English phrases like Jesse is a friend of mine/*of me the case of the word "mine" is not the oblique ("me") which usually occurs with prepositions ("That's a part of me that you don't see too ...
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Does the relative clause (which suggests…) here function as an adjunct of the whole clause in front of it?

The high notes returned to his compositions towards the end of his life, which suggests he was hearing the works that were taking shape in his imagination. I'm not sure how to write up the syntax ...
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How do we parse the sentence, “I have never seen a fish get cooked like that”?

I'm a bit stumped because I see so many things going on here. The first gloss is pretty straight forward: I have never seen a fish get cooked like that. S|V|OC(clause) But I'm really more interested ...
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176 views

Does Japanese have V-T movement?

I am doing a research assignment on Japanese Syntax and I cannot seem to find any information regarding whether or not the Japanese language has V-T movement. Can anyone help with this?
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How important is syntax to translation?

I'm interested in becoming a translator in the future. I heard someone said syntax is essential if you want to be a good translator. If that is the case, what theory is best suited for applying to ...
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Is “be set to” a subject-to-subject raising predicate?

Consider the sentence "Conservative Party (is) Set to Win (a) Majority". Is it right that "set" in this case is a subject-to-subject raising? I don't think "set" has an agent theta role. However, all ...
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249 views

Are all “Ergative Languages” split-ergative?

I've noticed that in a lot of examples of "ergative languages," there is some piece of the language that does not fit the pattern we call "ergativity." For example, Basque does not mark ergative case ...
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Does this sentence violate Principle A of Binding Theory?

In the sentence John(i) wanted to buy himself(i) a pair of shoes. With (i) to mark co-indexation. Is the anaphor "himself" bound in its binding domain? Or is the binder in a separate domain ...
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In X Bar Theory where can “ne” and “pas” be found?

I have read past papers on French negation and it says that it is accepted that the NegP in French is null, and "pas" is specifier to NegP. So what would "ne" be then? I haven't been able to find ...
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What is some good literature about the different parameters between languages?

I'm looking for some reading material on the technical differences regarding parameters and structures between languages. I'm trying to understand how languages like Turkish word on a syntactical ...
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35 views

What are the limitations of CCGs?

I've read that context free grammar (CFG) has a wide variety of natural language phenomena that it can't model, such as ellipsis I gave Tom a cake, and John an hamburger And that combinatory ...
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Syntactic models than span across multiple sentences

I hope this question is not too broad. I've been reading quite a lot about grammars, and it seem that all of the models I encountered focus on a single sentence level syntax. It seems pretty obvious ...
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1answer
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How do we distinguish a preposition from an adverb?

Huddleston and Pullum analyze the final word in each of these as a preposition, where traditional grammar would define them as adverbs. How can we tell which is the correct analysis? the sky above ...
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Is there merit to the claim that recursive embedding was invented recently and spread horizontally?

(“Recently”: during the Classical period in Europe) This isn’t a meta-post; I’m linking to a ling.se answer because it’s the only place I know of where this idea is expressed: Why did early Indo-...
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why is syntax interesting? [closed]

I hear a lot the argument that "language is just a way of communication, therefore it is not "really" interesting to waste the time on studying aspects such as syntax, rather the truly interesting ...
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Relationship between complexity of a sentence and the average distance between the tokens in which we relate

I am a PhD student in Statistics and I need more understandings in Linguistics for my PhD research. Say we are given two sentences of SAME LENGTH -- sentence A and B. Sentence A is simple (simple ...
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Does this English exercise test syntactic or semantic knowledge of a student?

I am confused in how to distinguish a syntactically oriented language exercise from semantically oriented language exercise. For example, suppose a teacher gave the English exercise below to his ...
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Relationship between semantical understanding of a text and the level of language used in the text

I am a Machine Learning researcher who is doing research in the Natural Language Processing (NLP). I need better understanding about human language for my new research, so I decided to write this ...
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158 views

What is a good introduction to formal language theory for linguistics?

I know formal languages are widely used in linguistics, especially for computational linguistics. However, I do not understand where this connection started - Wikipedia says that formal language ...
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Is there a term for syntactically and semantically linked modifying phrases?

What I'm talking about is when a string of prepositional phrases take the object of the previous one as their antecedent, and where the entire string is linked back to the original antecedent, a noun ...
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What are wish and if-clause called as a group?

I'm not sure about the grammatical category of wish and if-clause. I have found some names like hypothetical sentences, conditional, subjunctive mood. But I don't think they are the academic name for ...
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Subcategorisation Frame with DPs

I want to construct a subcatagorisation frame for some words, for example that take a DP complement. Take the preposition "between" as example. I arrive at this point: Form: "...
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330 views

V to T movement in German

Consider the the embedded clause "du Schach gespielt hast" in this sentence Ich glaube dass du Schach gespielt hast. I think that you chess played have ‘I think that you have ...
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3answers
266 views

In English, is the use of the -ing participle verb form as adjectives or subjects or objects an example of conversion (a.k.a. zero-derivation)?

This is a pretty straight forward question. But here are some examples: Baking is my hobby. (used as a subject thing, or as some would call it, a gerund or verbal noun) I will be a contestant in the ...
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I can't draw trees with X-bar theory [closed]

I'm taking Introduction to Syntax as an elective course in my department, English language teaching. On Tuesday, our instructor addressed X-bar theory and drawing trees with it. I couldn't understand ...
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154 views

What are the semantic functions of a complementizer phrase (CP)

What does semantic functions mean? and what are they for a CP? Thank you
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178 views

Positive & Negative Polarity Items, and Interrogatives

There are certain items in some languages that tend to occur largely in negative clauses. In English, one such item might be the word ever: *I have ever been to Paris. I haven't ever been to Paris. ...
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3answers
134 views

How can we call a word that matches a few criteria in the question?

What fits the criteria: ah, okay, good, better, best, green, child, children, student, to study, slow What does not fit the criteria: greener, greenest, students, studying, studied, slow down Why: ...
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627 views

Chains of nouns in English

English is becoming so indifferent to the proper roles of parts of speech that I have been finding longer and longer chains of nouns in written materials. I am under the impression that chaining ...
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Effect of culture on language [closed]

What are some examples of cultures where the language spoken in that culture strongly reflects aspects of that culture
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146 views

Context-Free grammars and Language

As someone trained in neither, how could you explain the analogies between context free grammars / languages and certain programming languages in computer science? Have I misunderstood whether there ...
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166 views

Usage of the implicit object-subordinate clause in Italian (i.e. Usage of the implicit objective subordinate clause in English - part II)

In a sense, the following question is a sequel of this one: Usage of the implicit objective subordinate clause in English. In that question I asked some information about the usage of the implicit ...
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1answer
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What's the equivalent of the reciprocal pronoun 'each other' in Taqbaylit Berber (spoekn in Northern Algeria)? [closed]

Berber languages spoken in Northern Africa show some degree of variation in relation to the reciprocal, but not the reflexive pronoun. For example, in northern Moroccan Berber (Tarifit), they say ...
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Why do adjectives come before nouns in English?

Why does the attributive adjective come before a noun in English? In most languages, the adjective comes always after a noun. For example, white car is written as the equivalent of car white in Latin ...
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the relation between the transitivity and intransitivity of a verb

I had a problem with understanding the following question: Try to determine for each case how the 'intransitive' use relates to the transitive use and whether it reflects (i) an idiosyncratic ...
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2answers
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Is there a strict difference between syntax and semantics? [duplicate]

On many places I may read that syntax is about structure, and semantics is about meaning, and this makes sense. But, lets think of the canonical example Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. said ...
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186 views

why can't we have two main verbs in a sentence in syntax

Would you please exlain to me why can't we have two main verbs in a sentence in syntax? Thank you so much
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Thematic structures of a clause

As a student of linguistics, I'd want to know that what a concept of thematic structures of a clause actually is.
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1answer
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How definitive are “patterns” in grammar across languages?

So when you learn a new language from English like Spanish in school, they make it seem like "hey there's these clear patterns and rules once learned you'll master spanish". So you learn the verb ...
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What is the 'best' language, and by what metrics, why those metrics…? [closed]

This is sort of the old question that you'd see whispered about a lot in Western academia, and shouted out by linguists of the past, who had their own circumstances, own canons, own less-connected (?) ...
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5answers
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Is the order of words purely based on convention?

So after looking at a a few glosses across languages it looks like words can be in any order. Is it just based off convention then for each language or what? I ask because of what it means to ...
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225 views

Usage of the implicit objective subordinate clause in English

I'm not a fluent english speaker. While speaking this language, we usually prefer the implicit objective subordinate clauses (with subject in the accusative case, if it exists) to the corresponding ...
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Are there any V2 languages that allow/prohibit movement of the non-finite part of the VP to the first position?

I'm curious about what the space of attested V2 languages looks like, particularly what happens to the part of the VP besides the finite verb. I'm especially curious whether moving the non-finite ...

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