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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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1answer
130 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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965 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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187 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
876 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
134 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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1answer
194 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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Past Participial Relatives are the sourse of Participial Adjectives, why?

I came across this statement in a work (Ph.D. Dissertation, p.158) by Asier Alcázar Estela in which he assumes that the Past Participial Relatives are the source of the Participial Adjectives. And he ...
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79 views

What is this method of drawing syntax trees?

I'm taking a course in generative grammar and I've reached a point where I don't know what's happening because I missed one class. Anyway, last time my tutor drew tree diagrams that I found a bit ...
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Is a quote a kind of parenthetical? How do we deal with direct quotes in syntax?

I'm working with discourse data that has a lot of dirct quotes in it. There are a lot of examples look like the following (this is a translation of a part of the discourse): Then they said, ‘‘What ...
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1answer
122 views

Conjunctions between complex clauses - which items do they coordinate?

In a sentence like: He had joined up for no other reason than to escape, [blank] hated army life. I would use the conjunction and. In the equivalent Thai sentence, though, it seems that native ...
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158 views

Use of the definite article in European vs. Brazilian Portuguese

When I started learning Portuguese years ago, all the books I used at the time told me that when using possessive adjectives you also have to put the corresponding definite article in front of the ...
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642 views

Is “coordination ambiguity” a subset of “attachment ambiguity”?

As I understand: “attachment ambiguity” is when a constituent could be legally attached to more than one parts of a sentence. “coordination ambiguity” is when a modifier could be attached to an ...
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499 views

Phrase structure trees for different languages

I am trying to get to the bottom of the difference between (1) and (2) below, and how the intended meanings would be reflected in a phrase structure tree: (1) If you think that $100 is too little you ...
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Markers that affect intensity of the imperative mood

I'm working on a project that explores how imperative mood varies in 'intensity'. For example, one can 'soften' the tone of a directive by including the speaker in the command: "Let's go to school"...
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1answer
84 views

Minimalism - a question about a property of merge operation

Does anyone know what would it mean that the merge operation is asymmetrical? Would this mean that the order of merged objects is important?
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1answer
228 views

Why is *"Where did you move from Paris to?" ungrammatical?

If I'm not mistaken *"Where did you move from Paris to?", while "Where did you move to from Paris?" as well as both "You moved from Paris to London" and "You moved to London from Paris"(at least with ...
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1answer
299 views

Which is the most accepted case theory from a generative syntax perspective?

I've read about different theories but now I'm kind of confused between the different theories and the differences between structural case, non-structural, lexical/morphological case, inherent case, ...
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2answers
231 views

Is "indirect object" syntactically definable or useful, in English or generally?

In traditional English grammar, we're taught that phrases like those boldfaced below are "indirect objects": I gave the book to Ted. I gave Ted the book. But this appears to be based on semantics (...
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1answer
50 views

multiple raising verb in a sentence

how would the deep structure looks like for a sentence that has multiple raising verb like 'Tom happens to be believed to have wanted to like linguistics' ?
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1answer
107 views

criteria to distinguish resultative from stative participles?

I was recently reading an article by David Embick (2004) in which he makes a ternary distinction among passive participles: 1. stative 2. resultative 3. eventive, contra. Wasow (1977) who ...
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56 views

Generative vs Constructionist POV on Imperative's null subject

How might a constructionist approach to Imperative sentences respond to a Generative frammework in regards to an implied subject (;subject-less' sentences. (Based on the focus point from the ...
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1answer
555 views

Drawing case specified trees for english gerunds

I'm reading Adger's Core Syntax book and am having a tough time with Exercise 1 of the functional categories chapter. The exercise is about gerunds. Gerunds are specified by the form of suffixing -...
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2answers
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What is the proper terminology for "I touch" in this sentence?

I am trying to diagram this sentence for a personal project: Everything I touch with tenderness pricks like a bramble. From what I understand, Everything is the subject, and pricks is the ...
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1answer
471 views

What's the difference between V2 word order and OVS word order?

Is there any difference between the two? They seem the same to me, c.f.: Fußball spielten die Kinder vor der Schule im Park. Football played the kids before school in the park. (...
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169 views

Triggering emotions with language

Emotional responses to certain words is often argued to be a result of nurture(acquired through development), while emotional responses to Tone is largely attributable to nature(born with). Shouldn't ...
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2answers
538 views

Why is the preposition treated as the head of a prepositional phrase?

What are the theoretical reasons for treating the preposition as the head of a prepositional phrase? (Noun as head of NP sounds fine intuitively, but the same does not apply to prepositions in ...
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50 views

Misunderstanding quantifier floats

I'm reading Core Syntax by Adger and there is an exercise to analyze the following data. *The dragons were slain all. *The Greeks arrived all. Now I know the phenomena of floating quantifiers comes ...
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82 views

"Peter sang a song to Julie", Is "to Julie" is an adjunct or complement?

Peter sang a song to Julie. It seems that the verb "sang" selects the preposition, but to Julie is optional. And if we apply it to an X' Schema, how shall we do it? To Julie is the dependent of sang ...
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2answers
87 views

If there are cases of tense or plural as separate words like particles

I am looking for stranger particle-like things, like the Japanese wa particle, or determiners like the. So wondering if there are any cases of pluralizing or changing to past/future tense that is not ...
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2answers
229 views

System for intermixing IPA with Orthography

So in English the word hi sounds like /haɪ/, but can be spelled "hi", "high", etc. So if you wanted to define the word "high" in English you would have to write two things: high (the spelling/...
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57 views

Understanding the property of complementhood

In the following sentence: They can both speak French. How can French be the complement of the V-bar speak French? I have the following definition of the complement: A constituent X is the ...
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3answers
483 views

List Of Common English Syntax Ambiguities?

For an example of ambiguous syntax: John likes Adam more than Eve. Such a construction could mean that: Comparing Adam and Eve, John likes Adam more. Compared to Eve's liking of Adam, John likes ...
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2answers
138 views

"there" and "everything" in linguistics is a "pronoun" or "noun"?

Regarding to drawing a syntax tree, "there" and "everything" in linguistics is a "pronoun" or "noun"? For example, 1. There is an apple. 2. It is not everything.
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238 views

Do English passive verbs assign case? (Government and Binding Theory)

I'm trying to think things through regarding case and passive verbs, within the framework of Government and Binding Theory. As starting point, I'll use this statement/principle (based on what I've ...
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1answer
4k views

Determining the head of the sentence

I'm having difficulties in determining the heads of phrases/sentences. I know that the head determines the syntactic function of the whole phrase and I understood some simple examples but in the ...
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2answers
1k views

Syntax relative clause

For example: "An apple that my mother bought yesterday" In the example, "An apple" is a noun phrase and "that my mother bought yesterday" is a complementiser phrase. Are the noun phrase––"An apple"––...
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1answer
1k views

How do you draw a syntax tree for a sentence with a dummy subject?

I encounter difficulties when drawing a syntax tree for a sentence of expletive contruction. Should I mark the dummy subject "there" as a noun? Thx
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71 views

Parsing a sentence with the noun as the Predicator

Can the sentence "That professor is a syntactician," in which the DP "a syntactician" is the predicator, be parsed like a normal sentence, using x-bar theory, the Predicate Shell and the DP Hypothesis?...
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42 views

Complete NL formalisms w/out syntax

What are the natural language formalisms that, roughly speaking, do away w/ syntax as a separate level of description? Cf. Steedman's "The Syntactic Process" (2000): "...syntactic structure is ...
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106 views

How can you test whether a word is being used as a conjunction?

It's been a couple years since I've taken a syntax class, and I've forgotten - what tests can you use to check whether a speaker uses a word as a conjunction? I seem to remember something about ...
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1answer
61 views

Transposition of words in questions

In English, the following is grammatically correct: Am I going to the cinema today? In contrast, the assertion that this is true is grammatically correct only with the first two words reversed. ...
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2answers
394 views

How agglutinative languages affect comprehension

I am just learning about agglutinative languages so I don't have much experience with them. I am looking at longest words for example words in a language like Finnish, but not sure yet if those would ...
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2answers
159 views

Latest research on the meaning of prepositions

Trying to understand what a preposition is. Wikipedia gives some hints (adpositions are the general case of preposition/postposition/circumposition): ...Adpositions are classed as syntactic ...
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1answer
220 views

What is the Theta Role of "It" in "It seemed that ..."

How do I identify the theta role of "It" in "It seemed that there was no escape."? I understand theta roles such as THEME, AGENT, LOCATION, GOAL, FORCE, EXPERIENCER etc. However, I cannot work out ...
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2answers
95 views

What is this sentence structure called?

I'm writing a paper about Donald Trump's speaking style and he frequently says sentences like the following: "They wanna be in the United States of America. That’s where they wanna be." "We’re gonna ...
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1answer
61 views

Connections between categories of type logical grammar and categories of combinatory categorial grammar?

There is nice book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Type-Logical-Grammar-Categorial-Logic/dp/0792332261/ that considers both Montague grammar (type logical grammar (TLG)) in chapters 1 and 2 and combinatory ...
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50 views

Specification of Dependency Grammar

My understanding is that, while natural languages aren't completely context-free, you can get a good approximation of a specification of English in Backus-Naur form, in that if you look at a given ...
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1answer
172 views

Does Gestalt theory tell us anything about syntax?

According to this article (dlibra.umcs.lublin.pl/Content/21626/czas17868_30_2_2012_4.pdf), cognitive grammar is an approach to grammar which takes into accounts broad perceptual principles, including ...

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