8 votes
Accepted

To what extent was Chomsky influenced by Tesnière?

I do not think that Chomsky ever cited Tesnière in a meaningful way, because if he had, we would know about it. I state this as the main translator of Tesnière's work Elements of structural syntax ...
user avatar
  • 5,290
6 votes
Accepted

What is the relation between a specifier and a determiner?

Determiner is a grammatical category for words like "the" and "a." Some theories claim that possessive 's is also a determiner. Specifier is a grammatical relation in certain theories, such as X-bar ...
user avatar
  • 2,324
5 votes

How do contractions work in syntactic movement?

I'm not convinced the notion "clitic" is really needful to explain what is going on. Some syntactic rules depend on what the words are, and you can't always trust traditional English orthography to ...
user avatar
  • 12.3k
5 votes

How do contractions work in syntactic movement?

Summarizing the paper by Zwicky and Pullum commented by @sumelic above: They suggest that most contractions are clitics, but <-n't> is an inflection. Most English contractions, such as <-'s> &...
user avatar
  • 6,754
5 votes

Critics and arguments against the generative syntax theories?

The best argument I've encountered against generative syntax is that made in C.F. Hockett's State of the Art. Personally, I don't subscribe to it, but you may find it persuasive. Hockett compares ...
user avatar
  • 12.3k
5 votes
Accepted

Is Generative / X-bar Theory prescriptivist? (can the descriptivist linguist create X-bar syntax trees?)

X-bar theory is prescriptivist in a certain sense. It prescribes certain things about the structure of syntax trees: that all branching is binary, for example, and that every XP level dominates an X' ...
user avatar
  • 52k
4 votes

What is the relation between a specifier and a determiner?

The term specifier denotes a set position in a fixed schema, the X-bar schema. In contrast, the term determiner denotes a specific word category. The next illustration is from Wikipedia (X-bar theory):...
user avatar
  • 5,290
4 votes
Accepted

How to treat adverbial phrases in X-bar theory

Short answer '[I]n the many places where I was guilty of the reprehensible and shockingly common confusion of the notions of "adverb" and "adverbial"; these defects, for which I ...
user avatar
3 votes

Are English modal verbs tensed or non-tensed?

I start out with declaring my ignorance. I do not know what X’ theory is. I am a mere historical linguist. For me, the reason we do not say (in English) “*shoulds” is that in the Germanic languages “...
user avatar
  • 22.6k
3 votes

What is the x-bar tree of 'I am proud of my students'? (having trouble with proud)

(Disclaimer: I am not a specialist in Syntax) According to the X-bar Theory, Adjectives, as any other lexical category, undergo three different levels of projection. They can have Complements (which ...
user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

How is there 'no node that c-commands B that A also c-commands'?

As already in other questions you had, I would recommend you just having a look at the definition again: X c-commands Y if X's sister either a) is Y or b) contains Y. This means that nodes can only ...
user avatar
  • 6,120
3 votes
Accepted

Restrictions on Wh-movement

Successive cyclic wh-movement is motivated by theoretical principles of minimal computation, as well as empirical data. There's nothing inherently wrong with the 'one fell swoop' analysis, but cyclic ...
user avatar
  • 336
3 votes

X-bar theory without movement

You might want to have a look at LFG, they use X' Theory extended with an additional "lexocentric" category S to accommodate nonconfigurational phrase structures.
user avatar
  • 2,479
3 votes
Accepted

In X bar theory, is the first auxiliary the head of an interrogative clause and the remainder the complement?

The simple answer to the question is as follows: Yes, the complement of an auxiliary verb in a traditional X-bar-theoretic approach does view the entire string following the inverted auxiliary as the ...
user avatar
  • 5,290
2 votes
Accepted

How to determine when an additional X-bar or XP can be used

To answer your question, we'd need a theoretical understanding of "bar" and "bar level" (as opposed to a diagrammatic esthetic). One idea is to connect "bar" with the addition of complements, then ...
user avatar
  • 12.3k
2 votes

Relative clauses in X-Bar

I've given what i deem to be a reasonably standard phrase-structure tree for a that-relative clause, consistent with the principles of X-bar theory below (taking Jackendoff, 1977 as a concrete ...
user avatar
  • 1,667
2 votes
Accepted

How do noun-noun compounds fit into a noun phrase in syntax?

Noun-noun compounds are nouns: N -> N N. The structure of your example is [N [N [N [N chocolate] [N chip]] [N cookie]] [N dough]] or possibly [N [N [N chocolate] [N chip]] [N [N cookie] [N dough]]]...
user avatar
  • 12.3k
2 votes

Are English modal verbs tensed or non-tensed?

In current English, the common modals are paired up in a fashion similar to present/past pairs: "will/would, can/could, shall/should", and sometimes "could" has the sense of a past tense "can". Of ...
user avatar
  • 12.3k
2 votes

Is the X bar theory applicable to any natural language other than English?

The general X bar scheme is, although heavily motivated by English - or at least Indo-European languages - thought to be applicable to any natural language. How well that works depends highly on what ...
user avatar
  • 6,120
2 votes

Are English modal verbs tensed or non-tensed?

I wouldn't say that modals are I': rather, I'd say that they're I. In other words, a modal verb is syntactically an inflection, not a full verb. (It's easy to see that modals don't act like Vs: they ...
user avatar
  • 52k
2 votes

Does the relative clause (which suggests...) here function as an adjunct of the whole clause in front of it?

I think you're right, and iirc this is what McCawley argues in Syntactic Phenomena of English. The antecedent of "which" in the appositive relative clause is the S "The high notes ... his life". ...
user avatar
  • 12.3k
2 votes

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]. Yes, it is an adjunct, more ...
user avatar
  • 780
2 votes
Accepted

Tree diagrams in CGEL

I've always wondered about this tree too. In particular, I wondered why from Lloyds would be a complement. And so I asked Geoff Pullum, who replied that he thinks that salary doesn't take complements. ...
user avatar
2 votes

How to draw the NP "so little" in "He said so little" in a tree diagram?

There are a number of possibilities for the X-bar analysis of the phrase so little. A central choice one has to make concerns viewing little as an adjective or as a derived noun, that is, as a noun ...
user avatar
  • 5,290
2 votes

You are the first person [to notice the mistake]. (complement vs adjunct/modifier)

At the core of the question is a key observation about the nature of certain noun phrases. At times an adjective takes a complement that appears to the right of the noun, which is problematic because ...
user avatar
  • 5,290
2 votes

Why only 1 complement is possible?

The problem you point to is addressed later in Carnie's book, starting on page 412. The greater issue concerns the extent to which tertiary branching should or should not be assumed. This matter ...
user avatar
  • 5,290
2 votes

Is there a language whose syntactic structure accepts a specifier of a PP?

In his syntax textbook, Richard Larson (2010: 346-7) suggests that measure phrases in PPs, e.g. “three miles” in “three miles down the road”, occupy the specifier of PP. If that’s correct, English is ...
user avatar
1 vote

Can the first auxiliary verb be the specifier of a VP in the X-Bar theory?

You are right that the auxiliary is merely a TAM carrier, it's a function word without any meaning of its own. It's however completely logical to take it to be the structural head of the "verb phrase" ...
user avatar
  • 2,479
1 vote

How do we explain the fact that agreement comes from the object with 'there'?

The comments reflect the complexity of "there" subjects, and I'm fairly certain that jlawler can fill us in on previous work on the topic. I will just long-comment on data problems. First, 'there' can ...
user avatar
  • 67.7k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible