Linguistics 001

Syntax 1

Linguistics 001

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• Syntax is that part of a person’s grammatical knowledge (i.e. grammar) that is concerned with phrase and sentence structure • In addition, the term syntax may refer to the branch of linguistics that studies this part of grammar. • In the simplest cases, one can think of syntax as studying the ways in which words combine to produce larger linguistic expressions. • Linguists model syntax as a system of rules and principles which generate the in nitely large class of sentences a speaker would accept as grammatical

Linguistics 001

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• Not all strings of words are acceptable sentences: Sally wants to buy cheese at the market.

a. *Sally wants cheese at the market to buy. ☞ words in wrong order b. *Sally cheese at the market.
☞ something is ‘missing’

c. *Sally Bill wants buys cheese meat milk. ☞ “too many things” d. *Sally want to buy cheese at the market. ☞ want instead of wants
• Sentences can be ungrammatical for different reasons.

Linguistics 001

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Ungrammaticality vs. other types of ill-formedness
1. Sentences can be structurally well-formed but lack a meaning compatible with the way the world works: ? Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

☞ Well-formed in structure — nonsense in meaning 2. Other sentences are structurally well-formed but too difficult to
process mentally and so are never used: Sally bought the cheese that the mouse ate.


Sally bought the cheese that the mouse that the cat caught ate. everyone pets caught ate.

⁇ Sally bought the cheese that the mouse that the cat that

sentences have a constituent structure: ☞ Every sentence is composed of subparts • Identical strings of words may have distinct semantic interpretations: Flying airplanes can be dangerous.Linguistics 001 page 5 Constituent structure • Like words. • Language users are unconsciously aware of constituent structure • Otherwise they would not be able to detect ambiguities in sentences which consist of identical sequences of words. 2: Airplanes which are ying can be dangerous. 1: It can be dangerous to y an airplane. .

Linguistics 001 page 6 Constituent structure and meaning • Differences in constituent structures may correspond with differences in the meaning of the expression. . [ green [eggs and ham] ] [ [green eggs] [and ham]] ‘eggs and ham that are both green’ ‘ham along with green eggs’ • Language users determine the meaning of an expression by combining the meanings of its subparts in some way. • Moreover. • Compositional semantics studies how this works. we are obviously capable of assigning meaning to sentences we have never encountered before.

. ☞ The grammar cannot be just a list of memorized sentences • The syntax must be system of generative rules ☞ The grammar generates an in nite set of well-formed expressions in a language.Linguistics 001 page 7 Syntax is generative • In principle sentences can be of unbounded length The cat that ate the mouse that ate the cheese that came from the farm that Sally bought from the man who owned the cat that ate the mouse that ate the cheese that … • A speaker cannot simply have memorized all sentences.

Linguistics 001 page 8 Weak and Strong Generation • A grammar with weak generation ☞ generates strings of words ☞ does not assign structure to these strings • A grammar with strong generation ☞ also assigns structural descriptions to expressions • Structural descriptions include at least: (1) constituent structure (2) category labels for the constituents ☞ categories include noun phrase. verb phrase etc. • Parsing Assigning a structural description to a linguistic expression .

• Head (also called X-zero or zero-level projection): Neutral term for the smallest size of unit relevant for syntax. sub-parts of words (stems and certain affixes) can be syntactic constituents.Linguistics 001 page 9 Basic syntactic units • Words are normally the smallest constituents of syntactic expressions • In some theories. Word-sized examples: bird a -ed Mary sing orange the when up well ’s Sub-word examples: .

• Phrases are the next size of constituent larger than a head.Linguistics 001 page 10 Phrases and heads of phrases • Head is the obligatory part of a phrase. ☞ Every phrase has a head as a subpart. phrase NP: noun phrase VP: verb phrase VP: verb phrase AP: adjective phrase AP: adjective phrase PP: prepositional phrase PP: prepositional phrase head submarine buy laugh huge proud in with noun verb verb adjective adjective preposition preposition yellow submarine buy green cheese always laugh incredibly huge proud of his son in Hoboken with the cat .

• The head of any given phrase is a kind of concept ☞ Other elements in the phrase make the reference of the head more speci c or modify it in some way: yellow submarine the cat’s tail buy cheese incredibly huge a submarine — that is yellow a tail — belonging to the cat buying — of cheese huge — incredibly so .Linguistics 001 page 11 Identifying the head • “Head”: the chief or obligatory part of a phrase • The head of a phrase is also unique ☞ One and only one head per phrase.

Linguistics 001 page 12 Heads of function word phrases • The head of a phrase is modi ed by other elements in the phrase is less obvious with certain phrase types • In a prepositional phrase like with the cat the head is the preposition with • The reason is because with is the only part of the phrase that makes it a prepositional phrase. • Some people nd it helpful to see the logic behind this by asking: ☞ Is with the cat a type of cat. or a type of with ? • Other function words (or parts of words) can also be heads of phrases. .

. Clefting: It was X that Y construction shows that X is a constituent 4. Question formation: a constituent can be questioned. Pro-forms: certain phrases have pro-forms that can substitute for them. Coordination: constituents can be coordinated using conjunctions such as and. or 3. including pronouns and so.Linguistics 001 page 13 Tests for Constituent Structure • Tests for constituency are used to determine what parts of a sentence are constituents 1. Inversion structures: constituents of certain kinds can be moved to the beginning of a sentence or clause. 5. 2.

What does Sally want to do tomorrow? Buy cheese at the market.Linguistics 001 page 14 Question Test • A constituent can often be questioned by substituting a wh-word (question word) for it wh-words: what. when. When does Sally want to buy cheese at the market? Tomorrow. Where does Sally want to buy cheese tomorrow? At the market. What does Sally want to do tomorrow at the market? Buy cheese. why. • We can conclude that at least the following are constituents: [ [ Tomorrow] [ Sally ] wants to [ [ buy [ cheese ]] [ at the market ] ] ] . Who wants to buy cheese at the market tomorow? Sally. who. how. What does Sally want to buy at the market tomorrow? Cheese. where Tomorrow Sally wants to buy cheese at the market.

. * When/*Who wants to buy cheese at the market tomorrow? *Tomorrow Sally.) • On the other hand one cannot substitute a question word for a non-constituent * What/*Where does Sally want to buy market tomorrow? *Cheese at the.Linguistics 001 page 15 Question Test (cont. * What/*Where does Sally want to buy tomorrow? *Cheese at the market.

e Grinch [steals the presents] and [eats Roast Beast]. Cindy Lou might [eat ham] or [like green eggs]. Or Cindy Lou might [eat ham]. e Grinch [eats Roast Beast] and [steals the presents] . Sam does not like [ham] and [green eggs]. Cindy Lou might [like green eggs] or [eat ham]. Sam does not like [green eggs] and [ham]. Cindy Lou might [like green eggs]. Sam does not like [ham].Linguistics 001 page 16 Coordination • Constituents can be co-ordinated by and or or to form a constituent with the same distribution Sam does not like [green eggs].

. e Grinch is eating [Roast Beast] and [green eggs].Linguistics 001 page 17 Coordination (cont. e Grinch is [eating green eggs] and [eating Roast Beast] e Grinch [is eating green eggs] and [is eating Roast Beast]. * Cindy [Lou might like green eggs] and [Lou might eat ham]. * e Grinch is [Roast Beast] and [eating green eggs]. Cindy Lou might like green eggs.) • A non-constituent cannot be coordinated or re-ordered. e Grinch is eating [green eggs] and [Roast Beast]. * e [Grinch is eating green eggs] and [Grinch is eating Roast Beast]. Cindy Lou might eat ham. [e Grinch is eating green eggs ] and [the Grinch is eating Roast Beast].

It was [tomorrow] that [the grinch’s dog might eat green eggs] * It was [the Grinch’s] that [dog might eat green eggs tomorrow]. and Y is the remnant ☞ what is left behind when X is removed from the sentence being tested. It was [green eggs] that [the grinch’s dog might eat tomorrow]. It was [the Grinch’s dog] who [might eat green eggs tomorrow]. * It was [green eggs tomorrow] that the Grinch’s dog might eat.Linguistics 001 page 18 Clefting • A cleft is a sentence of the form It was X that/who Y where X is a constituent. e Grinch’s dog might eat green eggs tomorrow. .

Sam [ate green eggs and ham yesterday] and Cindy-Lou did so too.Linguistics 001 page 19 Substitution of Do so • Verb phrases can be replaced by do so • An appropriate form of do precedes so. but Cindy-Lou did so the day before yesterday. Sam [ate green eggs and ham] yesterday. Sam might begrudgingly [eat green eggs and ham] on anksgiving but Cindy-Lou will happily do so on Halloween. . Sam might [begrudginly eat green eggs and ham on anksgiving] and Cindy-Lou might do so too.

Linguistics 001 page 20 VP inversion • A VP can be inverted with the subject in certain emphatic repetition constructions. Sam said that he would [eat green eggs and ham] and [eat green eggs and ham] he eventually would! ? Sam said that he would eat [green eggs and ham] and [ green eggs and ham] he eventually would eat! * Sam said that he [would eat green eggs and ham] and [would eat green eggs and ham] he! .

Linguistics 001 page 21 Syntactic categories • • The categories assigned to syntactic heads come in two varieties: content categories and functional categories The categories we will discuss in this class include: Content category Noun (N) Verb (V) Adjective (A) Adverb (Adv) Functional category Determiner (Det) Tense (T) Negation (Neg) Complementizer (C) Preposition (P) .

but [smile] he simply could not. ☞ Conclusion: [smile] is a constituent in the sentence examined Inversion test: Do so test: e Grinch tried very hard to smile. sometimes a phrase contains nothing but its head. Question Test: ☞ smile is both a V and VP What could the Grinch simply not do? Smile. e Grinch tried very hard to smile. ☞ Conclusion: [smile] is a VP in the sentence examined. but he simply could not do so.Linguistics 001 page 22 Phrases which have only the head • Because the head is the only obligatory part of the phrase it is the head of. • We can call a phrase of this type a bare-headed phrase e Grinch simply could not [smile]. .

called the complement: head’s phrase yr head AP AP NP NP NP complement phrase [ A [ PP ]] [ A [ PP ]] [ N [ PP ]] [ N [ PP ]] [ N [ PP ]] [AP proud [ of his son PP ]] [AP open [ to the public PP ]] [NP queen [of England PP ]] [NP danger [to himself and others PP]] [NP student [ of nuclear physics PP]] .Linguistics 001 page 23 Phrases with more than just a head • A head may form a phrase by joining with an adjacent phrase.

sisters. . and N and PP are sisters. PP and NP are constituents: ☞ each constituent is said to be a node in the syntactic tree • NP is the mother of N and PP. and NP dominates N and PP • N and PP are daughters of NP.Linguistics 001 page 24 Nodes. mothers and daughters • A phrase-structure tree (also called phrase-marker or syntactic tree) clearly depicts constituent structure: yr | queen NP [ queen N [of England PP PP ] NP ] N | [of England] • Here N.

which is then called an adjunct.Linguistics 001 page 25 Adjuncts vs. • A phrase can also be enlarged by joining as a sister to another constituent. Complements • The sister of a head is therefore its complement. which makes them look like like they are merely heads) . cz adjunct head phrase yr head complement phrase head phrase • An adjunct attaches to a constituent to create a larger constituent of the same type • Adjuncts are phrase-sized constituents (but possibly containing only a head.

Then: XP cz adjunct XP yr X complement • A complement joins with a head X to make an XP.Linguistics 001 page 26 Adjuncts and Complements • Supose we label the head as X. . • An adjunct joins with an XP to make a (larger) XP • In English: ☞ complement usually follows the head ☞ an adjunct can precede or follow the head. and a phrase headed by X as XP. depending on various other conditions.

.Linguistics 001 page 27 Example NP: [ N [ P NP PP] NP NP ] cz | student N PP cz P NP | of | N | physics • A PP can be the complement of a noun. together they can compose an NP.

Linguistics 001 page 28 Example: NP with adjunct cz | AP NP NP | N crazy | student • An AP may left-adjoin to an NP to give a larger NP .

Linguistics 001 page 29 Complement and Adjunct at once cz AP NP NP | A cz | N NP PP | crazy | [ of physics ] | student .

Linguistics 001 page 30 Complement and two Adjuncts cz AP NP NP cz NP PP | [ from Hoboken ] PP | A fs | N NP | crazy | [ of physics ] | student .

which are essential components of syntax: DP Headed by a Determiner (an article the or a. . C requires a TP complement. Headed by Complementizer (such as that) which introduces relative clauses. D requires an NP complement. as in the cat’s tail). NegP Headed by Negation (not). T requires a VP or a NegP complement. TP CP Headed by Tense. or the possessive affix ’s.Linguistics 001 Functional Category Phrases page 31 • The only functional category phrase discussed in your textbook is PP — Prepositional Phrase • Nevertheless many syntacticians have concluded that there are other functional category phrases. Neg takes a VP complement. Tense is an essential property of all sentences.

Linguistics 001 page 32 Examples of DPs cz DP DP cz cz D NP D NP t yr t | the N PP ’s N | fs cz ── queen of England A N | | yellow submarine DP .

Linguistics 001 page 33 Examples of VPs VP cz VP AdvP yr t V DP quickly | fs ── play the piano cz VP cz VP yr V | play PP fs ── in Memphis PP fs ── on Friday VP DP fs ── the piano .

which has no meaning in and of itself but is only a prop for expressing Tense. cz T t did NegP cz Neg VP t yr not V DP | fs ── buy a submarine . When there is no verb for Tense to aach to. Tense is a bound morpheme. it has to be supported by the stem do.Linguistics 001 page 34 Examples of NegP and TP NegP cz Neg VP t yr not V DP | fs ── buy a submarine TP In English.

• Consequently the TP is the smallest sized constituent which TP cz DP fs ── the queen quali es as a complete sentence.Linguistics 001 page 35 Sentence Subjects • In English. the subject of a sentence or clause normally appears left-adjoined to TP. • A subject is normally an obligatory element in any sentence. cz T t did NegP cz Neg t not VP yr V DP | fs ── buy the submarine TP .

Linguistics 001 page 36 Complementizers • Complementizers appear most clearly when introducing a subordinate clause [TP e queen complain-ed [CP that [TP the submarine [TP was yellow ]]]] TP cz DP fs ── the queen Note that where Neg does not cz intervene between the V and T T VP that they are able to combine k cz and no do-support is required. TP -ed k complain V cz C CP k that ──────── the submarine was yellow cz TP .

where V is a transitive verb [bought [Helen’s old car] ] V may take PP complement [run [into Cindy-Lou]] [be [in seventh heaven]] TP ! T VP VP ! V VP VP ! V DP VP ! V PP .Linguistics 001 page 37 Phrase Structure Rules Some rules introducing complements: CP ! C TP C takes TP complement [that [Mary plays poker]] T takes VP complement [did [not like green eggs and ham]] V. if an auxiliary verb. takes VP complement [should [confess to stealing the presents]] V takes DP complement.

look. taste. seem. smell.Linguistics 001 Phrase Structure Rules VP ! V AP page 38 V may take AP complement. feel [smell [disgusting in the extreme ]] [ feel [super-slimy ]] [ look [absolutely radiant ]] A may take a PP complement [embarrassed [at the mere thought ]] [confused [beyond all hope]] D takes NP complement [the [pomegranate]] [a [ strange phone-call ]] N may take a PP complement [teacher [of Arabic ]] [queen [ of Norway ]] AP ! A PP DP ! D NP NP ! N PP . where V is a ‘linking’ verb such as be.

when V is not an auxiliary [not [eat rice pudding for breakfast]] AdvP may le"-adjoin to VP [foolishly [tell Helen’s mother about the incident ] [barely [swallow those awful green eggs ]] PP may right-adjoin to VP [[buy cheese] at the market ] TP ! DP TP VP ! Neg VP VP ! AdvP VP VP ! VP PP .Linguistics 001 page 39 Phrase Structure Rules Some rules for introducing adjuncts: TP ! AdvP TP AdvP may adjoin to TP [evidently [the Grinch hates everyone in Whoville]] [[the Grinch hates everyone in Whoville] evidently] DP le"-adjoins to TP as ‘subject’ of the sentence [Edgar [dreams of becoming an architect]] Neg may le"-adjoin to VP.

where D is ’s [the queen of England [’s hat from Paris]] AP may adjoin to NP [ferocious [dogs]] AdvP may adjoin to AP [dangerously ferocious [dogs]] PP may right-adjoin to NP [werewolf [ from Poughkeepsie ]] NP ! AP NP AP ! AdvP AP NP ! NP PP Some rules for introducing bare phrases (X means ‘any category’ here) XP ! X bare-headed NPs most nouns do not require a complement bare-headed VP: intransitive verbs with no PP complement bare-headed DP: pronouns bare-headed AdvP: most adverbs do not require a complement bare-headed AP: most adjectives do not require a complement .Linguistics 001 page 40 Phrase Structure Rules DP ! DP DP A ‘possessor’ DP can adjoin to DP.

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