8

I think that even the most ardent supporter of minimalism should recognize that this is an important and deep question: indeed, even though Patrick Elliott is right to recall that the hypothesis of strict binary branching could be made on the basis of parsimony only, it is clearly the case that many syntactic structures appear to be ternary (or more) and so ...


4

In TSPE, McCawley often uses RNR as a test for constituency. The raised node must be a constituent. is tall passes this test: "Harriet knows that Kim, but doubts that Marcia, is tall." So if "is tall" is a constituent, what would it be other than a VP? I don't know what the problem is with using as a diagnostic, coordination with another VP. Theta ...


3

A constituent is easly identified by a series of possible tests. Among them, the replacement of a phrase for a pronoun, thus working as a single unit, for instance: The good man drinks the water It could be: He drinks it It means that both "the man" and "the water" are constituents. We can also keep the "the" an change the nouns following it, meaning ...


3

The way one analyses a sentence and divides it into parts depends on the system of analysis one uses. The sentence that follows, for example, can be divided in several ways: The old man hit the young girl with a thin cane. [The old man] [hit the young girl with a thin cane.] [The old man] [[hit] [the young girl with a thin cane.]] [The old man] [[hit] [...


3

Some remarks are necessary before answering such a question. CFGs have been an important step in the history of formal grammars, but it is not exactly the example we want to follow in DG and in natural language modelling in general. CFGs are string rewriting systems, that is, grammars that generate sets of strings of words. But to speak English is not to be ...


3

The formalizations of dependency theory exist. In fact I have a colleague who specializes in mathematical formalizations of principles of syntax, and he is more a DG guy (dependency grammar) than a PSG guy (phrase structure grammar). But he and I disagree about the value of the formalizations that he employs. I do not understand his formalizations and see ...


2

In addition to Olivier's answer, there is further evidence for binary branching structure. For example, there's about as theory-neutral evidence as you can get for binary branching in the NP domain. Consider (1). (1) a. That big brown fury dog b. That big brown fury one c. That big brown one d. That big one e. That one If the NP ...


2

I agree that the argument based on [B] is bogus. I have my doubts that Beauty as well as love is redemptive really has a subordinate construction. Suppose we elaborate the example, Beauty of form as well as love of form is redemptive and see what happens when we try to extract form. What do we seek the beauty of as well as the love of? Not too bad, huh? ...


2

Here is an example to illustrate what I said about how to tell whether a tree structure is correct: find the PSG, evaluate other sentences generated by this PSG. Shorter version of your example: "I became what I am today." PSG that generates the top part of the tree you gave: (the format for a rule is [mother list-of-daughters]) [S NP VP] [NP N] [N I] [...


2

A constituent is one or more words that functions as a group within a syntactic structure. For example "house" is a constituent of the NP "The house", because it is a part of that higher NP. "The house" is also a constituent of "sell the house!". In these examples, "house" is an immediate constituent of the NP, and "the house" is an immediate constituent of "...


1

I only wanted to write a comment but I’d like to include a tree so here’s a more detailed answer. First of all, constituents are defined by context-free rules, not by tests. The tests can be used to devise the rules but they’re defeasible implications. Even if they were material implications, if one is true, the converse needn’t be. But this is elementary. ...


1

Ok, I have finally found an answer after quite a search! Many thanks to Washington State University's webpage, https://public.wsu.edu/~gordonl/S04/256/Constituents.htm, for giving me this lovely and very specific answer! "A sequence of words cannot be a constituent if its parts are part of other constituents which are not subunits of the same constituent." ...


1

"Bill went" is not a constituent in "Bill went to the store". Your tests purporting to show that it is are incorrect. The example "Bill went to the store, and to the docks, and to the playground" does not result as an ellipsis of "Bill went", but rather by Conjunction Reduction which forms the coordination of three prepositional phrases: "to the store", "to ...


1

In Syntactic Structures, Chomsky remarked that natural language needs a grammar more powerful than regular grammar (type 3), such as context free phrase structure (type 2), in order to keep track of the pairing of such phrase introducers as "if" and the corresponding "then" clauses which go with them. I don't recall C's exact example, but consider the ...


1

Your first test is correct: The adverb "always" is - together with the negation "not" which modifies (negates) it - a constituent serving to modify the verb phrase (the being a result is modified w.r.t. time, namely that it is "not always" being one). Since the head of the constituent is the adverb "always", most syntacticians would call this constituent an ...


1

binding, pronominal binding, and other c-command sensitive operations (e.g. NPI licensing, or association with focus particles like "only") provide evidence that most structures that are commonly assumed to be 3+ branching are not. here are some of these tests applied to ditransitive verbs: BINDING I will show Mary herself * I will show herself Mary I will ...


1

The first step, I suppose, is to re-state what fact about "answer to a question" refers to constituency (and likewise the other tests). Look at any other two-word sequence, like hermana me, traido un, mapa de and so on, and see if that fact holds. For some of these word pairs, that relationship does not hold. Questions about "syntactic function" would have ...


1

The answer to your question is decidedly NO -- there is not always a unique way to partition a sentence into its constituents -- and this is so however one defines "constituent." This is so because some sentences are inherently ambiguous: they have more than one syntactic reading, and so can be represented by different sets of constituents. The example ...


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