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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119 views

How does the Thai language express the instrumental?

In English and many European languages the instrumental is expressed with a preposition: I eat noodles with chopsticks. (But "with" is not dedicated to this function and has other uses such as the ...
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170 views

In which languages could a phrase like “We went to lunch with Bob” signify an event in which exactly two people took part?

I'm sorry for the perhaps weirdly worded question, but here's my attempt to explain better what I mean: In English, if I say "We went to lunch with Bob" means that the people involved are me, Bob, ...
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263 views

Should I conjoin two AdjP or two Adj inside one AdjP?

In an NP like "stronger but smaller storm", when drawing a tree, how do I know if I should conjoin two AdjP or two Adj inside one AdjP? I'm working in the framework of Carnie's book (3rd edition). ...
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“Kim wants John to stop” — does a VP in this example contain another VP?

I'm trying to draw the syntax tree for the TP "Kim wants John to stop" (in the setting of Carnie's first three chapters). I guess it contains the NP "Kim" and the VP "wants John to stop". The VP ...
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1answer
667 views

Confusion about the CP and TP rule in Carnie

In the NP "the book that lies on the table", there is a CP ("that lies on the table"). Carnie has the following rule for CP:s: CP-> (C) TP and the following rule for TP: TP -> {NP/CP} (T) VP So ...
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60 views

Syntax tree for “the Middle East”

Does the NP "the Middle East" contain only the determiner "the" and the proper name (noun) Middle East? Or does it contain the AdjP which is the adjective "Middle"? Or is "the Middle East" a noun (a ...
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SV Constituent Structure (Syntax)

so here's the set-up: In a sentence like "Bill went to the store," several accepted constituency tests can produce "Bill went" as a constituent. These tests include the question test (What happened? ...
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What is the relationship between 'Government and Binding Theory', 'Principles and Parameters', and 'Minimalism?

As I understand it, P&P and Minimalism are "programs", which are like different ways of thinking about syntax. G&B is the generative grammar that is based on P&P. (I think that's all ...
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A question about Carnie's subcategories and features

From Carnie's "Syntax: A Generative Introduction": This notation is not explicitly explained. What does it mean? (I'll write my conjecture below) Recall that T is defined as follows: So I guess the ...
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794 views

Is “imperatives have invisible subjects” a universal?

In English, it's widely held that imperative verbs have "invisible" subjects, on the syntactic level. For example, we see look at yourself in the mirror, rather than *look at you in the mirror, which ...
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Why isn't “I've” a proper response?

Suppose someone asked me the question, "Have you completed the project?". A standard response would be "I have". Why does the equivalent "I've" sound so strange and never used as a replacement? I am ...
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276 views

Is Wikipedia's argument for Universal Grammar completely fallacious?

Wikipedia's article about Chomsky makes the following argument for Universal Grammar: For example, although children are exposed to only a very small and finite subset of the allowable syntactic ...
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Do any languages mention the top limit of a range first?

In many languages we usually say "between min and max" (e.g., grades "between 1 and 10"). Are there any languages where the reverse construction ("between max and min", e.g. grades "between 10 and 1")...
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542 views

Is the concept of grammatical function related to inflexion?

Studying the book Understanding Morphology by Martin Haspelmath, I arrived at this fragment: The importance of the latter part of the definition is seen in paradigms like insula. Although there are ...
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148 views

Parse Tree Formatter Tools?

I am looking for tools that can format parse trees. I want to be able to collapse and expand them. I understand that collapsing them is rather simple with regex or even simple search and replace, ...
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Swedish conjugation, spoken vs written [closed]

In the Swedish language, I am presently trying to discern the proper translation of "No, they're not" as it is spoken and written in English. I determine: Nej, det är de inte and Nej, det är ...
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189 views

existential force and universal force

I was reading the paper below, and because of my lack of knowledge on the linguistic terms, I have been stuck half way through. If you would be kind enough to enlighten me, I would be very much ...
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1answer
57 views

Does UG supply default values for parameters (in P&P syntax)?

Principles And Parameters syntax posited that along with some principles, there were parametric settings for certain properties, which are either "on" or "off" in a language. Examples are the "head-...
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130 views

( New formulation) Are parts of speech syntactic categories? ( A question on generative grammer)

I only have a rudimentary ( or even less than rudimentary) knowledge of generative grammar. But what strikes me is that the sentence formation rules are coinded using parts of speech. For example ( ...
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2answers
83 views

Can one avoid using the notion of meaning when defining syntax and pragmatics?

In an elementary course on philosophy of language ( at the highschool level) , I try to explain to students the distinction betweeen semantics, syntax and pragmatics. Referring myself to Carnap/...
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3answers
226 views

Syntax of Ik ben het beu

I am puzzled by the Dutch "Ik ben het beu" phrase. The main question: what is the syntactic structure of it? Is this indeed a direct object with a copula? Or is it an ellipsis of a larger, more ...
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What's the difference between a modifier and a complement?

Take this syntax tree as an example: Why is a prepositional phrase (PP) sometimes a post-modifier and sometimes a complement? What is the difference in general? I need to be able to spot them and ...
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Data on causatives in Russian and Turkish needed!

I'm working on a comparative syntactic project on the notion 'causative', either morphologically marked or non-marked. References like Haspelmath (1987) provide some (brief) data on the notion of ...
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1answer
201 views

Binding Principles

For each of the following sentences I have been asked to: 1) State which binding principle applies to all relevant elements 2) Identify the antecedent (If none then state so) 3) State if the ...
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1answer
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Indexing outside of NP

I am familiar with indexing and co-indexing NP's but I've come across indexing that looks like this: "Gregory(i) seems to enjoy (ti) Marvel Films." Does the (ti) indicate some kind of movement? ...
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382 views

Can “of”, “on”, etc. be regarded as complementizers just as “for” is?

In the following sentence, the word “for” is commonly postulated as a complementizer which introduces a non-finite clause. Is it okay for me to put these away? And there are some other sentences ...
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140 views

Is English opposite all other languages?

A German teacher (spoke fluent German and English) stated in high school to our class that “English is opposite every other language.” Is this accurate? What does that even mean?
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161 views

Does a null-subject language always have to satisfy EPP?

I am analyzing Latin word order. As in many other languages, most Latin sentences begin with the subject, but I've noticed quite a few that have many complements and adjuncts and then end with the ...
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1answer
75 views

What is the name of this syntactic construct: “May [Subject] [Verb]”?

Sentences like "Let such and such be done" or "May this happen". What is the name of this construct? More examples from Spanish: Que ellos entren ahora (Let them in now). Que se muerte les ...
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103 views

syntax tree about cleft sentences

I would like to know about the syntactic tree of cleft sentences. is the clefted elemnt moved from the original position? or Is it base-generated? I would like to knwo some referrences about this. ...
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1answer
82 views

Do reborrowings and neologisms statistically help the communicative function of the languages or do the cause more confusion?

Rephrasing do reborrowings and neologisms help or bedim the communications? I am making the distinction of instantaneous or contemporary communications(especialy for scientific use and social) and ...
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2answers
166 views

Does Swahili have relational nouns?

I've just come across the concept of relational nouns, and I'm curious if Swahili's position-indicating words count. In Swahili, there's a possessive particle -a that joins nouns together. For ...
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78 views

Confusion over Adverbial Adjuncts (X' Bar Theory)

For my Syntax class this semester, we've been asked to look at a language more in depth and try to develop X-Bar compatible rules for it. In doing so, I've come across a reoccurring problem that may ...
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1answer
197 views

Can causative and anticausative co-occur in Turkish verbal morphology?

Turkish makes use of two valency markers: (i) the causative marker with 'tur' which increases valency in (1) below, and (ii) the anticausative marker 'il' which decreases valency as in (2) below. (1)...
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1answer
187 views

Where does supplementation fit in?

As far as I can see, the structure of supplementary constructions like Karen, being ill, was unable to go or John – her father – was unable to walk her down the aisle or maybe a washer-dryer ...
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1answer
1k views

Phrase structure tree of a Wh question

The sentence would be "Whose dirty underwear is this?". I assume that the base (is that called deep structure sentence?) would be "This is whose dirty underwear" but I'm not sure what ...
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1answer
168 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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1answer
119 views

Get Prolog (other functional programming language) rules/facts from LKB or similar system

My goal is to take simple sentence such as Grass is green and convert it to Prolog rule/fact. It does not have to be Prolog, but any other functional programming language with which I can perform ...
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2answers
702 views

Is there a language which uses 'passive voice' more often than 'active' one?

Most languages I know of make use of 'active' more than 'passive'. It appears that the passive is derived from the 'canonical' active. Are there any languages that use more passive than active? Or ...
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2answers
186 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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53 views

Feature values [+/- interpretable], how these values are set?

In Minimalist Program (Chomsky, 1995) and in Derivation by Phase (DbP) (Chomsky, 2000, 2005, 2008), call it Phase Theory, features enter narrow syntax with predefined values, these values are binary (-...
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436 views

What is the difference between trace and PRO?

Is it like the trace is the result of movement and has to be in the chain with the head, while PRO is just a null duplication taken the position but with no phonetic realization?
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119 views

Parallel coordination failures

Consider this sentence: You can manipulate lightning, mist, and wind; traffic with air creatures; and are resistant to electricity damage. This looks at first glance like a perfectly normal ...
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926 views

Problem Set Solutions to 'Semantics in Generative Grammar' (Heim & Kratzer)?

I'm working through Heim and Kratzer's 1998 textbook 'semantics in generative grammar' (Blackwell), which I understand is fairly standard for university level courses on semantics, but I can't find ...
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1answer
180 views

Question on move operation

I'm learning about minimalism at the moment. I'm not sure if I understand the move operation. I think I understand that in English the move operation takes place when you want to formulate a question....
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1answer
845 views

Theta Criterion Violation

Is the Theta Criterion violated in the following sentence: [I saw [the tall kid]] provided that: saw theta marks [the tall kid]--see is the main predicate (V). tall theta marks [kid] -- tall is ...
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88 views

Concept / function duplication

I'm looking for a name for the phenomenon whereby some languages like to put chains of words together that mean the same thing, while others don't - just some terminology that would help me search for ...
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1answer
133 views

“To whom” in pied-piped infinitive relative clauses

In English wh raised from, or in situ in, a direct object or prepositional object, you can almost always use "who" at least as well as "whom",1 and in some cases you can only use "who": Who/whom did ...
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72 views

Why is participial clause tenseless?

Participles, among the non-finite verbal inventory, most often appear to be taken by linguists as being tenseless or having the feature [-tense]. This is due to their interaction only with the Aspect ...
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189 views

Can we parse the hell out of this construction?

John only had the Ferrari for three months, but while he had it, he drove the hell out of it. I'm pretty sure I aced the hell out of that test. That last stuff you got us, we smoked the hell out of it....

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