16

Yes, this is possible, and the phenomenon is called syntactic ambiguity. A classical example sentence is He saw the man with the telescope. which has two different readings and syntactic analyses.


14

Seeing this question reminded me of a section in Peter Matthews book 'Syntax' (1981) (it's meant to be a textbook, but it's more like a monograph really). In Chapter 4, p84-93, there's an explicit comparison and evaluation of dependency grammars vs. constituency grammars. Matthews shows that for any d-grammar, there is a ps-grammar which will generate the ...


10

As a proponent of construction grammar, I am perhaps the wrong person to answer this. But I can see at least two non-computational advantages of a constituency parsing: It lets you directly encode generalizations about the individual components that make up a clause or sentence. Your constituency tree does not take advantage of it (perhaps being influenced ...


7

Your 'rules' mix traditional and contemporary grammars. It's true in both traditional and contemporary grammars that a preposition phrase [PP] consists of a preposition and an object; but in contemporary grammars PPs 'establish relations' between constituents, not as in traditional grammar 'words'. Your third rule acknowledges this in defining the object of ...


6

Recursion in phrase structure grammar is where an expression of some type contains an expression of that same type. Under this definition, chains of relative clauses count as an instance of recursion. We can see this more clearly by drawing a (simplified) Phrase Structure Tree of your example (note i'm abstracting away from irrelevant details, e.g. the ...


6

(my slightly incoherent ramblings on recursion, Merge, and embedding) Recursion as self-embedding In some generative theories of syntax, recursion is usually understood as self-embedding, in the sense of putting an object inside another of the same type (Fitch 2010, Kinsella 2010, Tallerman 2012). However, Tallerman 2012 argues that HFC 2002 used ...


6

I hope I correctly understand the question as being a general one, rather than particularly about automated parsing. Here's what I was taught in Syntax and believed ever since (but maybe I missed some advances of the dependencies framework). In general: Constituency, but not dependency, shows units on which syntax operates. I.e., constituency reflects the ...


6

There are two main ways that such languages deal with this problem. I'll be focusing specifically on SOV languages, since they're more common and I know more of them. The first solution is what Latin uses: mark noun case explicitly. In other words, in the sentence dominus bonus servum ferit, the adjective attaches to the subject, and in dominus bonum servum ...


6

That's what is called "infinitival to" and it's not consider a preposition.


5

My answer is partially motivated by Dominik Lukes's answer and some of the things I read in the comments that follow it. Chunking is a kind of constituency parsing. The theoretical motivation for chunking comes from constituency parsing, à la NP, VP, etc. Though chunking is considered to be only "shallow" parsing, i.e. not the proper kind, it is still ...


5

Things are rendered a bit murky by the fact that the notion of 'category' began to get a bit fuzzy with the introduction of features into trees with Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (1965) and especially Remarks on Nominalization (1971), where NP, VP etc were treated as [+N, +'double bar'], [+V, +'double bar'], etc, and people were also treating case, etc as ...


5

I want him to run. "To" is not a preposition here but a subordinator that serves as a marker of to- infinitival clauses. "Want" is a catenative verb and this is a catenative construction where the subordinate infinitival clause "to run" is catenative complement of "want". "Him" is the direct object of "want" and the understood (semantic) subject of "run". ...


5

At the risk of redundancy, I'll offer the canonical example: Time flies like an arrow. Readings: Time passes rapidly in human experience. Those 'time flies' sure do like arrows. (Hey you:) Go (as fast as an arrow) and time some flies. (Fruit flies like a banana).


4

x shouted "...", x said "..." etc. are called quotatives. Another term is verbum dicendi. There is a fairly extensive body of literature on quotatives in varieties of English. The quotative that has recently attracted a lot of interest is be like, as in And then I was like "no way, that can't be true". Another recent-ish one is go And then he went "...


4

I think there will be an increasing amount of debate about this in the next few years. The above answers from Tim Osborne and P. Elliot give a lot of general discussion about how to compare these two forms of grammar, but no comparison with respect to specific constructions. I provide a lot of this in my article in the proceedings from the second Depling ...


4

I don't think that constituency is necessary, although I acknowledge the notion of "constituent" (I just don't think it's the central notion on which language structure is built). Of course, I have to admit that many linguists seem to view the constituent as an indispensable tool. My impression is that rather than questioning the necessity of constituency,...


4

In order to have a definitive list of the syntax rules for English, you first need to know in a definitive way what English is. One problem is probably that you do not agree with your next door neighbor on the English-ness of all sentences you may want to check. I am not even considering vocabulary which varies greatly from person to person. If you take a ...


3

The question in the title seems rather different from the two questions in the body of the text, and these two in turn are not synonymous either (the original purpose of a tool may be quite different from what a tool is mainly use for). At any rate, my answer to the question in the title is that they are legitimate theories (because an illegitimate theory ...


3

The phrase structure rules you are learning stem from the 1960s. Those rules are still taught by some in introductory linguistics courses, and they seem to still be accepted by many in computational linguistics. Theoretical syntax, however, progressed beyond those rules decades ago. The confusion with the examples you are considering stems from the status ...


3

You're asking about both constituency and dependency. Constituency: Is "peek into" a phrasal verb or verb+preposition? So do we have [[peeking into][the alley]] or [peeking[into[the alley]]]? You did the right test to deduce "peek into" is not a phrasal verb. Also, no dictionary states "peek into" is a phrasal verb. This leave us with only the second ...


3

For most dependency grammarians, the terms phrase structure grammar and constituency grammar are synonymous. For those constituency grammarians who do not pay attention to dependency grammar, the two terms phrase structure grammar and constituency grammar are not synonymous, however. The term phrase structure grammar denotes a non-transformational approach ...


3

in, when and on are the syntactic heads of the respective examples. The second and the fourth example are PPs, so we can expect a preposition to appear as the head. The third example is a subordinated clause. This clause is not an adverb, but it rather an adjunct that is semantically interpreted as an adverbial. Identifying the bracketed parts of the ...


3

If you are looking for parse trees according to your grammar, the first tree seems correct, up to the missing N symbols, and a missing NOM above fleas. However your second diagram should look as follow, drawing only the relevant part that changes (i.e. under NOM_1): NOM 1 __/ \___ / \ NOM PP / | \...


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 ...


3

An example of change in sentence length over time is discussed here. The number of words per sentence in English in the past 400 years has decreased, which is the opposite of what you predicted. Other studies have shown temporal volatility in sentence length in Latin. The article "On a Distribution Representing Sentence-length in written Prose" (J. R. ...


3

I'm assuming that the "we" in your question means "English speakers". (ETA: it actually seems to mean "speakers of modern European languages", but the difference doesn't substantially affect my arguments.) If so, the claim you're presenting is partly true, but also partly false, and the part that is true is probably not particularly meaningful or important. ...


3

There are also very common examples of nesting in other languages, especially ones with a SOV word order, such as latin. In latin, because of the fact that the subject and object come before the noun, a sentence can be made up of "SO, SOV, V", where the nested verb is often just a participle. In English, this would be written in this word order as, "Bill the ...


3

I think you answered your own question! "but" is used to […] indicate that the first clause is contrastive to the second in a way In your first example, "I am not a teacher" contrasts with "I am a student". In context, I'd imagine something like this: Alice, in a school: Excuse me, are you a teacher? I have some questions about the organization here. ...


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