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FALL-WINTER, 2010

CONCEPTS OF MODERN GRAMMAR


Lecture

TRANSFORMATIONS The Structure of the Transformational Level

1. The concept of transformation


Transformations express relations between certain classes of sentences in a language. (1) The Passive a. Possibly, the horse has thrown Dick off. b. Possibly, Dick has been thrown off by the horse.

(2)

Subject Auxiliary Inversion a. Pete is swimming. b. Is Pete swimming ?

1. The concept of transformation


Strictly speaking, transformations express relations holding between phrase markers. Transformations are structural operations performed on PMs. Formally, a transformation is an ordered pair {Structural Description (SD), Structural Change (SC)}. {SD, SC} The SD defines the domain of the rule, i.e., the class of strings (PMs) to which the rule can apply, indicating a particular constituent configuration. The SC shows how the input string (PM) is modified.

(3)

Passive X NP1 X NP2

Aux Aux+be-en

V V

NP2 Y

Y => by NP1

1. The concept of transformation


PM (4) can be properly analyzed with respect to Passive. S AvP S NP1 VP Aux MvP V NP Possibly Dick have-en throw Dick AvP S NP N Dick S

PrtP off

Aux

VP

Possibly

V NP have-en be-en throw []

MVP

Prt off

PP

P by

NP
the horse

2. The transformational level


Hypothesis: Transformations are meaning preserving. 2.1Primitives of the level: PMs 2.2 Operations a. deletion b. insertion c1 substitution c. movement c2 adjunction

2. The transformational level


2.21. Deletion These are operations which erase a constituent specified in the SD of a transformation.

(5)

a.
b.

[S[Dick]NP [VP[V drank]NP [tea]]]S [S[NP Martha] [VP[V drank] [NP coffee]] Dick drank tea and Martha - coffee.

and

Deletions obey the condition of recoverability; (constituents which are deleted must be recoverable, they must be retrievable from the surface structure of the sentence).

2. The transformational level


As a consequence of recoverability, the grammar imposes on deletions the constraints stated in (6) and (9). (6) Terms are deletable under identity. Sameness or identity may be viewed as sameness of meaning or sameness of reference. (7) a. I like [NP [Det this] [N painting]], but [NP [Det that] [N painting]]. b. I like [NP [Det this] [N painting]], but [NP [Det that] - ]. a. It would please George [for him to run president]. b. It would please George [ -- to run president]. not not

(8)

for
for

2. The transformational level


The second constraint on admissible deletions is (9). (9) Terms are deletable because they are indefinite, and do not carry semantically specified information.

(10)

a. b.
a. b.

George was reading something. George was reading.


The window was broken by someone. The window was broken.

(11)

2. The transformational level


2.2.2. Insertion An element is inserted in a tree structure in a position which has been, or has become, empty.

(12)

a. A book was lying on the floor. b. There was a book lying on the floor.
a. [That she should be wasting his money on trifles] worries him sick. b. It worries him sick [that she should be wasting his money on trifles].

(13)

2. The transformational level


Only grammatical formatives can be inserted. To show that the introductory anticipatory it in (13b), which was transformationally inserted, is indeed a formal word, devoid of meaning, notice the following contrast, between the legitimate question (14b) and the illegitimate question (15b). (14) a. It still worries him sick. a'. That she should be wasting his money still worries him sick. b. What worries him sick ? a. It worries him sick that she should be wasting his money. b. *What worries him sick that she should be wasting his money?

(15)

2. The transformational level


2.2.3. Movement operations These reorder constituents. Depending on the landing site of the moved constituent, one distinguishes between substitutions and adjunctions. In the case of substitution, the mover ends up in an empty, base-generated, position. (16) a. Coffee grinds well. b. This material doesn't wash. c. These books sell like hot cakes.

2. The transformational level


The examples in (17) - (18) show the difference between an intransitive use of a transitive verb, resulting from object deletion, and the intransitivity of a passival construction. In the first case, the verb has two arguments in the underlying structure. In the second case, only one argument, the Direct Object, is present in the DS. (17) a. b. c. a. b. c. John drove his car to London. John drove - to London. What did John drive to London ? This car drives well. *What does this car drive ? The car was driven well up to London

(18)

2. The transformational level


(19) S

NP []
Aux T s (20) S NP Det the N car Aux T s V drive

VP
MV NP Det the N car AvP Av well

VP MV V drive NP [t] AvP Av well

2. The transformational level


Adjunction If a node B is (Chomsky) - adjoined to A, then a copy of node A is built over A, which then immediately dominates both A and B, as schematically shown in (24). The intuition to express is that, after adjunction, A + B together form a constituent of the same kind as A. (24)

C A B

=>

X
B

A
A

2. The transformational level


An example is Left Dislocation, a stylistic rule which chops an NP constituent away and topicalizes it, leaving behind a pronominal copy of it (see sentences (25), represented in (26)). (25) a. We simply love Shakespeare ever better. b. Shakespeare, we simply love him ever better. (26) a. S NP Aux T s MV V love NP Shakespeare VP AvP ever better

We

2. The transformational level


b.

S
NP S

NP
Aux T
Shakespeare

VP
MV V love NP him ever better AvP

we

2. The transformational level


2.3. Rules of the T-level: transformations Transformations operate on the phrase markers produced by the base component, yielding a series of derived phrase markers, the last of which is the surface structure. Properties of transformations a) Transformations operate on constituents. b) Transformations are meaning preserving. c) Transformations are construction specific and often language specific

2. The transformational level


d) Conditions on transformations A full specification of the rule indicated, in addition to the pair {SD, SC}, whether the transformation was obligatory or optional (as was the contraction of not in (27c) below). (27) a. John did not go there. (obligatory DO insertion b. *John not go there. c. John didn't go there. (optional contraction)

In addition, various conditions could be added to characterize the terms of a SD, so as to better delineate the domain of application of the rule.

2. The transformational level


A heavily conditioned rule: There Insertion

(28)

(29)

(30)

a. A boy was in the classroom. b. There was a boy in the classroom. c. The boy was in the classroom. d. *There was the boy in the classroom. a. A boy sold flowers outside. b. *There sold a boy flowers outside. c. A boy was selling flowers outside. d. There was a boy selling flowers outside. a. The boy threw a ball outside the window. b. *There threw a boy a ball outside the window. c. A ball was thrown outside by the boy. d. There was a ball thrown outside the window by the boy.

2. The transformational level


(31) a. Several boys came into the room. b. There came several boys into the room. a. There hadn't been any girl selling flowers there. b. Had there been any girl selling flowers there ? There was no book lying on the desk, was there? There came/entered/appeared a messenger There arrived a letter.

(32)

(33)

(34)

2. The transformational level


(34) There-Insertion X SD 1 SC 1 a. (tentative) NP X 2 3 there 3 S

(35)

V 4 4+2
VP V be

X 5 5

Det A
b. NP There

NP

N boy

Aux T s

MV
P in

PP

NP the room

S Aux s

VP V be

MV NP a boy PP in the room

2. The transformational level


(36) There - Insertion (optional) X NP X V X SD 1 2 3 4 5 SC 1 there 3 4+2 5 Conditions: 2 = [ - Definite ] 4 be, come, go, appear, a.o.

3. The Domain of transformations. Bounded and unbounded movement rules.


The following basic typology emerged with respect to the domain of application of transformations. Bounded Movement Rules a. Monocyclic transformations: transformations that operate within one clause (S - domain). (Passive, Dative Movement, Reflexivization as already seen above. b. Bicyclic transformations: these are rules that operate across exactly one S - boundary. An example is Raising, which moves the infinitive subject into the first sentence up. (57) It happens [that John has a real talent for music]. John happenes [--- to have a real talent for music].

3. The Domain of transformations. Bounded and unbounded movement rules. Unbounded transformations: these are rules that operate across arbitrarily many Sboundaries, such as Wh-Movement (Question Formation, Relativization). (58) Questions a. The police arrested Smith. Whoi did the police arrest ti? b. Bob said that the police arrested Smith. Whoi did Bob say [that the police arrested ti]?

3. The Domain of transformations. Bounded and unbounded movement rules.


Unbounded transformations: these are rules that operate across arbitrarily many S-boundaries, such as Wh-Movement (Question Formation, Relativization). (58) a. b. c. Questions The police arrested Smith. Whoi did the police arrest ti? Bob said that the police arrested Smith. Whoi did Bob say [that the police arrested ti]? [You claimed [that Bob said [that the police arrested Smith]]]. Whoi did you claim [that Bob said [that the police arrested ti]]]? [It is true [that you claimed [that Bob said [that the police arrested Smith]]]]. [Whoi is it true [that you claimed [that Bob said [that the police arrested ti]]]?

d.

3. The Domain of transformations. Bounded and unbounded movement rules.


(59) a. b. c. Relative clauses The police arrested Smith. [The man [whoi the police arrested ti] is Smith. Bob said that the police arrested Smith. [The man [whoi Bob said [that the police arrested ti]] is Smith]. [You claimed [that Bob said [that the police arrested Smith]]]. The man [whoi you claimed [that Bob said [that the police arrested ti]]] is Smith. It is not true [that you claimed [that Bob said [that the police arrested Smith]]]. The man [whoi it is not true [that you claimed [that Bob said [that the police arrested ti]]]] is Smith.

d. e.

4. The structure preserving constraint


Problem What are movement?

the

legitimate

landing

sites

of

An important idea was to maximize the role of phrasestructure configurations: (60) Emonds Structure Preserving Constraint (1976) Constituents can be moved only in positions which could have been generated by the phrase structure rules. This way of looking at transformations implies that not all positions generated by the PSRs need be filled by lexical insertion; some positions will be filled at a later stage by the operation of movement rules(substitution).

4. The structure preserving constraint


The Passive as a structure preserving rule The Passive is a sequence of two NP movements, each of which is structure preserving.

First, if there is a lexical subject it moves into a basegenerated PP, headed by the preposition by (the Agentive by-phrase). This step is usually referred to as Subject NP Post-Posing (see (97c)). (96) a. The window opened by chance. b. The window was opened by John.

4. The structure preserving constraint


The second, obviously structure preserving, NP movement is the movement of the object into the empty subject position. This movement, called Object Preposing, is illustrated in (97d). (97) a.The car was driven to London by John. b. S NP Aux John T be-en V NP drive the car PP P to London by NP [] VP MV PP

4. The structure preserving constraint


c. NP []

S
Aux T

VP be-en V drive

MV NP PP the car to London

PP P by

NP John

d.

NP The cari

S Aux was

VP

MV V NP driven ti

PP to London

PP P by

NP John

5.The organization of a generative grammar


5.1 The Aspects Grammar Base Component (103) Syntax

Semantic Component DS

Transformational Component SS

Therefore, a natural solution was to let the interpretative semantic rules directly operate on the underlying structure which was more relevant in this respect. The standard organization of many transformational grammars (e.g., the standard 'Aspects' model of generative transformational grammar, Relational Grammar, a. o.) is as given in (103). In this model, syntax is the generative source of the grammar, producing the DS and ultimately the SS. The Semantic and the Phonological components are interpretative. The Semantic Component operates on the DS and assigns a reading to the sentence. The Phonological Component assigns sentences their phonological representation.

5.The organization of a generative grammar


5.2 Transformations are not (always) meaning preserving The early seventies witnessed an important progress in semantic studies, due to the cooperation between linguists of the generative semantics persuasion and logicians. Linguists become more and more aware of the fact that an adequate semantic representation of a sentence was going to be a representation of that sentence in the formalism of predicate logic.

5.The organization of a generative grammar


In predicate logic, the domain of the various logical operators, determined by their linear order is all important. Consider the contrast between (104a,b) below, involving a difference in the relative scope of the existential operator ('$xF' = there is one x such that Fx) and the universal operator ('"xF' = For all x /for every x, Fx). (104) a. "x $y father (y, x) For all xs, there is some y such that y is the father of x. Everybody has a father. b. $y "x father (y, x) There is some y such that for all xs, y is the father of x. Somebody is everybody's father.

5.The organization of a generative grammar


The two formulas express very different thoughts. The study of natural languages from this prespective revealed the importance of linear relations in the interpretation of sentences, precisely because linear, precedence, relations determine the interpretation of semantic operators, i.e. of words like quantifiers, negation, modal adverbs, interrogative pronouns and many more. But transformations reorder constituents and may therefore modify the interpretation of these operators by modifying their relative scope.

5.The organization of a generative grammar


Passive is not always meaning preserving (105) The boy threw the stone. The stone was thrown by the boy. (106) a. Many arrows didn't hit the target (...but many did). b. The target wasn't hit by many arrows (...*though many arrows did hit the target). (107) a. Everybody in this room speaks two languages. b. Two languages are spoken by everybody in this room. (108) a. The tribe willingly sacrified Harry. b. Harry was willingly sacrified by the tribe.

5.The organization of a generative grammar


Result a complex picture Some aspects of the meaning of a sentence (syntactic functions, constituency, a.o.) are determined at the level of the DS. Other semantic properties of the sentence (e.g., the scope of the operators) are determined only after reordering rules have operated, i.e., they are determined at the level of the SS.

5.The organization of a generative grammar


One is led to conclude that: (a) Semantic interpretation rules should operate after movement rules, i.e., they should operate on S-Structure representations. (b) At the same time, one should find formal means of conserving up to the level of S-Structure those aspects of the underlying structure which are semantically relevant, e.g., the information regarding constituency and underlying syntactic functions. It is to this aim that traces are left behind indicating the initial position of constituents, a position which may be semantically relevant. More technically, a trace is a syntactic category (such as NP) that has been voided of phonological content and internal structure, retaining only an index that is identical to the index of the material that was moved out of the trace position.

5.The organization of a generative grammar


Consider again the D-Structure and S- Structure of The car drives well. (109) a. D Structure

S
NP [.] Aux T s VP MV V NP drive the cari AvP well

5.The organization of a generative grammar


b. S-Structure S NP The cari VP Aux T s V drive MV NP ti AvP well

Notice that the S-Structure is semantically more relevant since more aspects of the meaning of the sentence can be derived from it than from the D-Structure.

5.The organization of a generative grammar


Organization of a GB Grammar (110) D - Structure Move a [Affect a] S - Structure Phonological Component Logical Form (Semantic component)

The S-Structure has become the input of both the semantic component, called "Logical Form" and the Phonological Component. We will not be dealing with the Phonological component in the pages of this course. Some consideration will be given, however, to Logical Form and to the mapping of SStructure on Logical Form.