Phrase Structure Composition and Syntactic Dependencies (Current Studies in Linguistics)

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The shift toward generalization led to a more abstract version, widely known as X-bar syntax, a staple ingredient of generative syntax throughout the s and the s. The introduction of the Minimalist Program Chomsky , cited under Bare Phrase Structure and the Minimalist Program since in the s led to further abstraction, involving, among others, the virtual elimination of phrase structure rules.

While phrase structure grammars are mainly used in syntax, they also play a role in other areas of linguistics: they provide a structural backbone for the compositional interpretation of sentences in Semantics and for identifying prosodic units in Phonology. Their role in morphology is a bone of contention: in Transformational Grammar , the smallest units of analysis are morphemes, so that PS grammars extend below the word level. Non-transformational frameworks, by contrast, adopt a lexicalist stance and treat words as the syntactic atoms, leaving the expression of sublexical regularities to other devices, such as lexical rules.

The Formal Properties of phrase structure grammars have been studied extensively in mathematical linguistics. They play a key role in computational linguistics and Natural Language Processing. Their relevance for the investigation of human language processing is studied in Psycholinguistics. Phrase structure grammars provide a formal notation for the analysis of the internal structure of sentences. Their origins and their role in linguistics are traced in Graffi and Matthews They currently play a key role both in transformational and non-transformational generative grammar.

Borsley, Robert D. Syntactic theory: A unified approach. London: Routledge. Contains exercises. Carnie, Andrew. Modern syntax: A course book. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ.

Phrase Structure Research Papers -

DOI: Graffi, Giorgio. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. A broad historical survey, spanning both the 19th and the 20th centuries, up until and including the Minimalist Program Chomsky , cited under Bare Phrase Structure and the Minimalist Program since Immediate Constituent Analysis is introduced in the chapter on techniques of syntactic description.

Matthews, Peter. Traces the development and continuity of three leading ideas: the autonomy of syntax from meaning , the view of sentences as linear configurations of morphemes, and the view of grammar as a genetically inherited system of universal principles. Grammatical theory: From transformational grammar to constraint-based approaches. Berlin: Language Science.

1 Introduction

In brief, these arguments center on phenomena, such as the interaction of verb raising and adverb placement, that are not naturally localized within a single phrasal projection and for which Adjoining does not provide a simple solution. The alternative we are left with, then, is that elementary trees must grow: they will need to include not only the thematic domain of a lexical predicate, but also additional functional material. If we must extend elementary trees beyond their basic thematic domains, we need to determine the direction in which growth should proceed.

As our use of TAG leads us to expect that syntactic relations should be localized within an elementary tree, one way to proceed is by determining the sorts of relations that exist between lexical and functional heads and the degree to which upward or downward growth succeeds in localizing them within an elementary tree. One potentially relevant sort of association between lexical predicates and functional heads concerns the relationship between a lexical predicate and the functional head s that appear lower in the structure, as a result of the selectional requirements of the lexical predicates.

For example, the verb think selects a clausal complement headed by the functional head C, expect selects either a C- or T-headed clausal complement, and take requires a T-headed clausal complement. The elementary tree headed by the verb think might then be represented as in 4. Consider what happens, though, when we are faced with a verb like expect that selects for a TP complement headed by to.

In the generation of an example like 3b , it is not clear whether the embedded TP projection ought to be included within the elementary tree headed by the matrix verb expect as a result of being selected, or within the elementary tree headed by causing as a result of being part of its thematic domain. If we instead pursue the alternative view of thematic domains as including only the projection of the lexical predicate, we are led to posit downwardly extended elementary trees like the one in 5.

First, there is the issue of how unselected clauses—for example, matrix clauses—could acquire CP and TP functional projections. The second, and more serious, problem concerns the placement of the subject. Suppose we want to use the elementary tree in 5 in a derivation, combining it with the elementary tree headed by what will become an embedded verb. Substitution of the embedded clause would leave the subject too low, while adjoining of the matrix clause just below the subject which would be rendered possible if, say, V 0 were assimilated to VP as in Kayne would leave the embedded subject above the higher verb.

In analyses of a wide range of languages, we see example after example of verb phrases being embedded within projections of tense, mood, negation, complementizers, and the like. Similarly, we see projections of nouns embedded within projections of determiners and prepositions.

Phrase Structure Composition and Syntactic Dependencies: Volume 38

However, one almost never comes across suggestions that a language exhibits structures in which a noun is embedded within the projection of a tense or complementizer head, or in which a verb is embedded within the projection of a determiner. In essence, the extended projection of a lexical head includes the projections of all those functional heads that embed it up through but not including the next lexical head.

That is, while extended projections of nouns may include the projections of D and P and extended projections of verbs may include the projections of T and C, none of these functional heads is obligatory and indeed an extended projection might include only the projection of the lexical head itself. To derive a structure involving CP complementation, like that in 7 , we need only substitute the elementary tree given in 9a into the CP complement node of the announced-headed elementary tree in 9b.

Elementary Trees 45 b. The ease with which extended projections can be combined to produce complex sentences suggests that they constitute a promising candidate as the basis for elementary trees. Consequently, before turning to the implications of taking extended projections to characterize elementary trees in section 2. Grimshaw argues that there are in fact many such phenomena. Instead, extended projections, as derived from preexisting phrase markers, are simply stipulated to localize certain processes.

Under this view, a head can require that its complement have particular values for any of the features it can bear, in the most extreme case down to the choice of a particular lexical item. There are in addition many cases where semantic selection does not appear to be as local as between a head and its complement. Consider for instance English verbs such as require that take a subjunctive complement.

Mod-01 Lec-31 Syntax: Phrase Structure (Compliment and Adjuncts)

Rather, the distinctive features of the two moods apparently reside in a lower head, say, T. To preserve strict locality of selection, one might posit an ambiguity in the complementizer that, so that a subjunctive version of that selects a subjunctive T and an indicative that selects an indicative one. Even leaving aside the lack of appeal of such a solution, there are other cases of nonlocal selection that do not seem amenable to this sort of treatment. Verbs like merge, combine, and gather require semantically plural arguments, arguably a property of N.

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One line of reply might say that this plurality is in fact a syntactic feature on the determiner. However, this plurality need not be syntactically expressed at all. From a perspective in which the features of a nominal extended projection are shared throughout, this is as expected. An example of a similar phenomenon involves the English verb serve. The ice served to chill the beer. Though these examples suggest that serve demands a transitive verb, closer inspection reveals that not all transitives can occur as complements.

Pollard and Sag show that transitivity is not even a necessary condition, as there are intransitive predicates that can be the verbal head of a complement to serve. In other words, the embedded verb must assign an instrumental y-role to its subject. Lester decided to speak French. Lester decided to be available to his students. The subordinate clauses in 16 are headed by individual-level predicates ones that express properties of individuals that persist over time such as 48 Chapter 2 knowing French and being tall; see Carlson In contrast, the subordinated predicates in 17 are stage-level predicates ones that express properties of an individual at a certain point in time.

I suggest that the contrast between the cases in 16 and 17 is due precisely to the fact that the verb decide selects for a clause containing a stage-level predicate. Hence, decide must be able to directly select for a stage-level predicate. Each of these cases points to the conclusion that selection need not be so local as between a head and its complement.

This extended view of selection makes clear predictions about which elements a head may not select. It is easy enough to imagine what such cases might look like. What is striking is that such cases do not appear to exist. If extended projections are taken to be domains inside of which features percolate freely, we would expect that features borne on one head might also surface on another head within the same extended projection.

Grimshaw discusses a number of cases that are relevant here.

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Elementary Trees 49 In the verbal domain, Grimshaw observes that the morphological realization of agreement with the syntactic subject can appear on any of the heads within a verbal extended projection. Grimshaw cites data from West Flemish Haegeman as a case in which the complementizer itself shows number agreement with the subject DP. Extended agreement is also found within nominal extended projections. In this case, functional heads within the extended projection of a noun agree in features with which the noun is lexically associated. Thus, in a wide variety of languages, determiners share the gender and number features associated with the head noun.

I was wondering which stone they found a note under. I was wondering under which stone they found a note.

Works (50)

In the b cases, however, satisfaction of this condition is not so straightforward since the DP projection bearing morphological wh-features is embedded within the projection of a preposition that does not carry such features. If we assume that this wh-feature is able to percolate all the way through an elementary tree or extended projection, then under the assumption that P forms part of a single extended projection with the DP, this result is explained. This prediction appears to be borne out, as evidenced by the following contrasts: 22 a. I wonder which rock star they wrote a book about.

I wonder about which rock star they wrote a book. However, in the c example, a DP that takes this PP as its complement is the element that moves. This DP cannot form an extended projection with the lower PP and therefore cannot constitute a single elementary tree. As 23 shows, the inversion of an auxiliary verb is triggered when a negative DP is fronted. Not one single paper has he written all year.

This inversion is also triggered even when the fronted constituent is a PP within which the negative DP is embedded. About none of her friends has she told a lie willingly. In contrast, if the fronted constituent does not form a single extended projection with the negative DP, we expect that inversion should not be possible. The following examples suggest that this is the case: Elementary Trees 51 25 a. Movement of heads has widely been assumed to obey the Head Movement Constraint Travis ; Baker , which allows a head to move only as far as the next higher head.

Yet, if this constraint is the only thing that restricts head movement, we ought, for example, to expect complementizers or determiners to move to the verbs 52 Chapter 2 that embed them. Yet, such movements are largely unattested. Since each lexical head must be in its own extended projection, movement of one such head into the position of the other would cross an extended projection boundary. Two cases that have been argued to involve such a derivation are noun incorporation and causativization West Greenlandic example in 29 from Sadock , and Chichewa examples in 30 from Trithart Mtsikana ana-chit-its-a kuti mtsuko u-gw-e.