Published on January 13, 2008
Syntax I Checklist: Syntax I Checklist Grammar Formalisms Spring Term 2004 Background: Background Facts about English that are typically covered in a first course (or maybe second course) on syntactic theory. By people who were teaching generative linguistics in the 1970’s More effective if taught as a course on problem solving and argumentation: For each new piece of data, the students update the current set of grammar rules. Spend class time evaluating alternative solutions. Parts of Speech: Parts of Speech Categories of words: Open class: you can make up new words in these categories Noun, verb, adjective, adverb Closed class: you can’t make up new words in these categories Quantifier, determiner, preposition Parts of speech are defined by:: Parts of speech are defined by: 1. Distribution: Determiners can go here: He wrote ___ other works. He wrote the/all/these/no/few/many other works. *He wrote despair/be/have other works. *He wrote student other works. ?He wrote successful other works. Parts of speech are defined by:: Parts of speech are defined by: 2. Morphology Parts of speech are defined by:: Parts of speech are defined by: 3. Other criteria that are: Falsifiable Reproducible Parts of speech are not defined by squishy semantic notions: Parts of speech are not defined by squishy semantic notions Definition: noun denote entities Counter-example: assassination is a noun that denotes an event Reply: no, it denotes the idea of the event, which is an entity How do you tell the difference between an event and the idea of an event? Without precise definitions, this theory cannot be disproved. (In language technologies, imprecise definitions lead to poor intercoder reliability, which leads to poor training, etc.) Non-lexical categories: Non-lexical categories Noun Phrase (NP) Verb Phrase (VP) Prepositional Phrase (PP) Adjective Phrase (AP) Also defined by distribution, morphology, and other falsifiable, reproducible tests. Constituent Structure: Constituent Structure Slide10: Sam climbed up the ladder. Sam picked up the ladder. N V P Det N N V P Det N NP NP NP VP S V S Tree 1 Tree 2 Tree Terminology: Tree Terminology Mother Daughter Sister Dominate Immediately Dominate Node (branching or non-branching) Branch Terminal Node/Leaf Node Phrasal Nodes (non-terminal) Lexical Nodes (pre-terminal) Constituent: Constituent A constituent is a string of words such that there is one node that dominates those words and no other words. The coordination test for constituency: The coordination test for constituency Sam climbed [up the ladder] and [out the window]. *Sam picked [up a ladder] and [out some new boots]. Movement as a test for constituency: Movement as a test for constituency A constituent might appear in different positions in a sentence, but stay in one piece. There are different movement rules that affect different constituents (NP, PP, AP, VP). Transformational Grammar and Movement Rules: Transformational Grammar and Movement Rules S NP VP The kids V NP ate the chocolate Deep Structure S NP VP The chocolate V PP was eaten by the kids Surface Structure Meaning preserving tree-to-tree mapping Movement is a useful metaphor at this stage in the course: Movement is a useful metaphor at this stage in the course Sam climbed up a ladder. Up a ladder Sam climbed up a ladder. Sam likes chocolate. It is chocolate that Sam likes chocolate. Another movement rule(and an explanation of methodology): Another movement rule (and an explanation of methodology) Identify a meaning preserving movement rule and illustrate it with a non-controversial example: He ran into the room. It was into the room that he ran. Apply the movement rule to the controversial examples that you want to test. He climbed up a ladder. It was up a ladder that he climbed. passes the test He picked up a ladder. *It was up a ladder that he picked. fails the test Be sure that you are testing the right thing: Be sure that you are testing the right thing Are these sentences relevant in showing Tree 1 and Tree 2 have different structures? It was a ladder that Sam climbed up. It was a ladder that Sam picked up. Sam climbed up a ladder and a wall. Sam picked up a ladder and a rope. ?*A ladder was climbed up by Sam. A ladder was picked up by Sam. A ladder he climbed up. A ladder he picked up. Non-Constituent Coordination(Syntax II): Non-Constituent Coordination (Syntax II) John found the letter and Bill signed the letter. John found the letter and Bill signed the letter. John found the letter NP V Det N NP VP S Right Node Raising: If you conjoin two strings of words that have identical final constituents, delete the first instance of the identical constituent. Non-Constituent Coordination: Non-Constituent Coordination I gave a book to Mary and gave a letter to Sue. I gave a book to Mary and gave a letter to Sue. I gave a book to Mary NP V NP PP VP S Left Peripheral Ellipsis: If you conjoin two strings of words that have identical initial constituents, delete the second instance of the identical constituent. Slide21: Test for constituency: These [smart students of linguistics] and [clever students of chemistry] Tests for constituency lead you to discover structures that you might not have thought of otherwise. X-bar theory: X-bar theory Chomsky (1970) “Remarks on Nominalizations” Jackendoff (1977) X-bar Syntax Looking at lots of phrase structure rules for different languages, make observations about what they have in common. Rome destroyed the city. Rome’s destruction of the city Slide23: This student of linguistics with long hair This smart student of linguistics So completely in the wrong So very fond of Mary So fond of Mary in some ways Specifier Adjunct Argument/complement Slide24: Test for constituency: These [smart students of linguistics] and [clever students of chemistry] Tests for constituency lead you to discover structures that you might not have thought of otherwise. Specifiers Slide25: Test for constituency: These [smart students of linguistics] and [clever students of chemistry] Tests for constituency lead you to discover structures that you might not have thought of otherwise. Heads Slide26: Test for constituency: These [smart students of linguistics] and [clever students of chemistry] Tests for constituency lead you to discover structures that you might not have thought of otherwise. Adjuncts Slide27: Test for constituency: These [smart students of linguistics] and [clever students of chemistry] Tests for constituency lead you to discover structures that you might not have thought of otherwise. Complements/Arguments Verbs and their arguments: Verbs and their arguments From Fillmore and Kay, lecture notes, Chapter 4: The children devoured the spaghetti. *The children devoured. *The children devoured the spaghetti the cheese. She handed the baby a toy. *She handed the baby. *She handed the toy. Problems exist. *Problems exist more problems. Valency: Valency (Linguists took this term from chemistry – how many electrons are missing from the outer shell.) Valency: Valency Verbs (and sometimes nouns and adjectives) describe events, states, and relations that have a certain number of participants. Devouring generally involves two participants. Handing generally involves three particpants. Existing generally involves one participant. The number of participants is called the verb’s valence or valency. Devour has a valency of two. Hand has a valency of three. Exist has a valency of one. The participants are referred to as arguments of the verb. (Like arguments of a function.) Subcategorization: Remember this word: Subcategorization: Remember this word Verbs are divided into subcategories that have different valencies. Here is how the terminology works: Exist, devour, and hand have different subcategorizations. Devour subcategorizes for a subject and a direct object. Devour is subcategorized for a subject and a direct object. Devour takes two arguments, a subject and a direct object (or an agent and a patient). Arguments are not always Noun Phrases: Arguments are not always Noun Phrases The italicized phrases are also arguments: He looked pale. The solution turned red. I want to go. He started singing a song. We drove to New York. Optional and Obligatory Arguments: Optional and Obligatory Arguments The children ate. The children ate cake. Patient/theme argument is optional *The children devoured. The children devoured the cake. Patient/theme argument is not optional The dog ran. The dog ran from the house. The dog ran to the creek. The dog ran from the house to the creek through the garden along the path. Complements:Remember this word: Complements: Remember this word Arguments are sometimes called complements of the verb. However, just to confuse you, the word complement also refers to complement clauses – embedded clauses that are arguments of a verb. Examples of complement clauses: The children think that the book is interesting. The children told the teacher that the book is interesting. The children want to read the book. The children expect the teacher to read the book. Motivation for the existence of Semantic Roles: Motivation for the existence of Semantic Roles John opened the door with a key. The key opened the door. The door opened. The door was opened by John with a key. Semantic roles explain what the meanings of these sentences have in common even though their grammatical relations and subcategorization frames are different. The key fills the instrument role, whether it is the subject of the sentence or a prepositional phrase. John fills the agent role, whether he is the subject or in a prepositional phrase. The door fills the theme or patient role, whether it is a subject or direct object. Semantic Roles are different from Grammatical Relations: Semantic Roles are different from Grammatical Relations Subjects that are not agents: The clothes were washed by the woman. The clock broke. The rock shattered the window. The window shattered. The ship sank. The students received awards. Examples of Semantic Roles: Examples of Semantic Roles Agent: an agent acts volitionally or intentionally The students worked. Sue baked a cake. Examples of Semantic Roles: Examples of Semantic Roles Experiencer and Stimulus: An experiencer is an animate being that perceives something or experiences an emotion. The stimulus is the thing that the experiencer perceives or the thing that caused the emotional response. The students like linguistics. (emoter and stimulus) The students saw a linguist. (perceiver and stimulus) Linguistics frightens the students. (emoter and stimulus) The students thought about linguistics. (cognizer and stimulus) Examples of Semantic Roles: Examples of Semantic Roles Patient: A patient is affected by an action. Sam kicked the ball. Sue cut the cake. Beneficiary: A beneficiary benefits from an event Sue baked a cake for Sam. Sue baked Sam a cake. Malefactive: Someone is affected adversely by an event. My dog died on me. Instrument: The boy opened the door with a key. The key opened the door. Semantic Roles for Directed Motion: Ray Jackendoff: Semantic Roles for Directed Motion: Ray Jackendoff Theme: changes location, is located somewhere, or exists Source: the starting point of the motion. Goal: the ending point of the motion. Path: the path of the motion. Examples of Location and Directed Motion: Examples of Location and Directed Motion Many problems still exist. The clock sits on the shelf. The ball rolled from the door to the window along the wall. Same walked from his house to town along the river. Sue rolled across the room. The car turned into the driveway. Being in a state or changing state: Being in a state or changing state The car is red. The ice cream melted. The glass broke. Sam broke the glass. The paper turned from red to green. The fairy godmother turned the pumpkin into a coach. Having or Changing possession: Having or Changing possession The teacher gave books to the students. The teacher gave the students books. The students have books. Exchange of Information: Exchange of Information The teacher told a story to the students. The teacher told the students a story. Extent: Extent The road extends/runs along the river from the school to the mall. The string reaches the wall. The string reaches across the room to the wall. Problems with Semantic Roles: Problems with Semantic Roles The definitions are vague: If themes are things that moved, is his hand a theme in John moved his hand? Linguists keep making up new role names without proper motivation. Proper motivation would be a test. Linguists keep writing about the same small set of verbs that have clearly identified roles. Many roles are not clearly covered. (Fillmore and Kay, pages 4-22) He risked death. We resisted the enemy. She resembles her mother. Predicate-Specific Role Names: Predicate-Specific Role Names It is ok to use predicate-specific role names when you want to avoid the vagueness of semantic role names. E.g., devourer and devouree Adjuncts: Adjuncts Locations, times, adverbs, and other things that can go with almost any sentences are called adjuncts. The children ate the cake quickly at 2:00 in the kitchen. Predicates specify how many arguments they take and also specify the grammatical functions, semantic roles, and case markings of their arguments. Predicates do not specify the semantic roles, grammatical functions, or case markings of adjuncts. How to tell arguments from adjuncts: How to tell arguments from adjuncts There are some general guidelines that are not always conclusive. Adjuncts are always optional. (but some arguments are optional too) Repeatability: The children devoured the cake at 2:00 on Monday. (Two temporal adjuncts) The children devoured the cake in Pittsburgh in a restaurant. (Two locative adjuncts) *The children devoured the cake the dessert. (arguments are not repeatable) Embedded Clauses: Embedded Clauses Embedded Clause Matrix Clause Embedded Clauses:: Embedded Clauses: Main verbs are subcategorized for The complementizer (that, for, to, etc.) Non-finite for-to We hoped for there to be no trouble. A word at the beginning of a subordinate clause that identifies it as a complement The morphology of the embedded verb Finite: present or past tense Non-finite: infinitive, present participle, past participle Finite embedded clauses: Finite embedded clauses Finite embedded clause I believe (that) it is snowing. Say, think, scream Finite with dummy subject It seems that they have left. Finite embedded question I wondered/asked whether/if it was snowing. Finite plus object We told them that it was snowing. Finite plus PP We said to them that it was snowing. Non-finite embedded clauses: Non-finite embedded clauses Non-finite for-to We hoped for there to be no trouble. Non-finite: Raising to subject They seem (to us) to have left. Appear, continue Non-finite: Subject Equi They tried to leave. Intend, expect, plan, hope Non-finite: Raising to object We believe them to have left. consider Non-finite: Object Equi We persuaded them to leave. Convince, order, force, signaled Non-finite: promise We promised them to leave. Raising to subject: Raising to subject Raising to subject: Raising to subject Seem takes one semantic argument. Two syntactic subcategorization frames Dummy subject and tensed clause Subject and infinitive clause missing a subject Subject of embedded clause is coded as subject of matrix clause Occurs before the matrix verb in English Matrix verb agrees with it Raising to subject: Raising to subject Only the subject of the embedded clause can be removed from the lower clause and coded as the matrix clause subject. * They seem I to have seen ____. * The knife seems I to have cut the bread with. Raising-to-Object or Exceptional Case Marking: Raising-to-Object or Exceptional Case Marking Believe takes two semantic arguments. Two syntactic subcategorization frames: Subject and tensed embedded clause. Subject, object, and infinitive VP I believe that they have left. I believe them to have left. Slide58: I believe that they have left NP VP COMP S V S-bar NP VP S Matrix Clause Embedded Clause Raising to object Slide59: I believe them to have left COMP VP V NP VP-bar NP VP S S Raising-to-Object: We will use this one in this class. Exceptional Case Marking: we will not use this one. Evidence that them is direct object of the matrix clause: Evidence that them is direct object of the matrix clause It is in the accusative case. It can be the subject of the passive of the matrix verb. They are believed to have left. Tests for constituency: Left as an exercise for the students. Subjects only: Subjects only Only the subject of the lower (embedded) clause can be raised up to be the object of the matrix clause. Leslie believes that the police have arrested Chris. Leslie believes the police to have arrested Chris. *Leslie believes Chris the police to have arrested. Subject Equi: Subject Equi Pat is the agent of try and the agent of open. Pat is also the subject of both verbs. Equi NP Deletion: Equi NP Deletion *Pat tried Pat to open the window. Older theories of transformational grammar proposed this as the deep structure for Equi sentences. It is ungrammatical, but it means the right thing. Pat tried __ to open the window. Subjects only: Subjects only Pat tried ___ to open the window. controller controllee Only the subject of the lower (embedded) clause can be the controllee. * Pat tried Kim to see ___ Seem and Try: Seem and Try The cat seems to be out of the bag. There seems to be a problem. That seems to be my husband. The doctor seemed to examine Sam. Sam seemed to be examined by the doctor. The cat tried to be out of the bag. *There tried to be a problem. That tried to be my husband. The doctor tried to examine Sam. Sam tried to be examined by the doctor. Object Equi: Object Equi Object Equi: Object Equi Pat is the direct object of persuade and the subject of leave. The matrix object (controller) and embedded subject (controllee) are the same. Only the embedded subject can be the controllee. *Pat persuaded Sam the doctor to examine. Believe and Persuade: Believe and Persuade I believe the cat to be out of the bag. I believe there to be a problem. I believe that to be my husband. I believe Pat to have opened the window. I believe the window to have been opened by Pat. I persuaded the cat to be out of the bag. *I persuaded there to be a problem. I persuaded that to be my husband. I persuaded Pat to have opened the window. ? I persuaded the window to have been opened by Pat. Control of Adjunct Clauses: Control of Adjunct Clauses Having just arrived in town, Sam called his mother. Having just hurt herself, Sam called his mother. What can be the controller? Matrix subject? Matrix object? What can be the controllee? Embedded subject? Embedded object? Long Distance Dependencies: Long Distance Dependencies A long distance dependency has a filler and a gap. Ann, I think he likes ---. *I think he likes ---. Gap with no filler *Redheads, I think he likes Ann. Filler with no gap ?Ann, I think he likes her. Resumptive pronoun Long Distance Dependencies: Long Distance Dependencies The filler can be a long distance from the gap. Distance is measured in how many clauses the filler is from the gap, not how many words away it is. Ann, I think he told you he tried to like ---. Slide72: S NP S NP VP V S NP VP V NP S NP VP V VP V GAP Anne, I think he told you he tried to like Long Distance Dependencies: Long Distance Dependencies Topicalization: Ann, I think he likes ---. Wh-questions: Who do you think he likes ---. Relative Clauses: The woman who you think he saw --- is tall. Embedded Wh-questions I wonder who he thinks he saw ---. Clefts: It’s Anne that he thinks he likes ---. Tough Movement: These problems are tough to even try to solve ---. Correllatives: The more people I try to pretend I know ---, the more confused I get ---. Principles vs Rules: Principles vs Rules Chomsky (1977) “On Wh-Movement” All of these constructions have a filler and a gap and are obey the same constraints. Instead of writing a separate rule for each one, look for some principles that underly all long distance dependencies. Constraints on Long-Distance Dependencies: Constraints on Long-Distance Dependencies Where can the gap be? John Robert (Haj) Ross (1967) Ph.D. Thesis, MIT Constraints on Long Distance Dependencies: Constraints on Long Distance Dependencies The gap cannot be inside a coordinate structure. I saw [the boy and the girl]. *Who did you see the boy and ___. Except in “across the board” extraction: Who did you [ [talk to___] and [hear rumors about __] ] Constraints on Long Distance Dependencies: Constraints on Long Distance Dependencies The gap cannot be inside a sentence that is inside a noun phrase: I like [the fact that he reads books every day]. *What do you like the fact that he reads ___ every day? Constraints on Long Distance Dependencies: Constraints on Long Distance Dependencies The gap cannot be inside the subject: [ Pictures of Sam ] were available. *Who were [ pictures of ___ ] available? [ Books about linguistics ] were on sale. *What were [ books about ___ ] on sale? But the gap can be inside the direct object: You saw [ pictures of Sam]. Who did you see [ pictures of ___ ] ? You read [ books about linguistics]. ?What did you read books about? Constraints on Long Distance Dependencies: Constraints on Long Distance Dependencies The gap cannot be inside an embedded question: They wondered [ who talked to Sam]. *Who did they wonder [ who talked to __]? But the gap can be inside of a plain embedded clause: They thought [ (that) we talked to Sam ]. Who did they think [(that) we talked to ___ ] ? Constraints on Long Distance Dependencies: Constraints on Long Distance Dependencies The gap cannot be inside a relative clause or any another long distance dependency: I like [ the boy that Sam plays with ___.] *Who do you like [the boy that __ plays with __]. Except for this: Which violins are [ these sonatas easy to play ___ on ___]? Binding Theory: Binding Theory Reflexive pronouns: Must be in the same clause with the thing they refer to: Sam saw himself. *Sam thought that Sue saw himself. Ok in other languages. *Sam saw the girl who likes himself. The antecedent must c-command it…. C-command: A node A c-commands a node B if every maximal projection (XP) dominating A also dominates B. *Himself saw Sam. …usually ?Those pictures of himself in the newspaper really bothered Sam. Slide82: S NP VP Det N-bar V NP Adj N N-bar N The smart boy saw himself. S NP VP Det N-bar V NP N-bar PP N-bar N P NP N Det N-bar The girl with a boy saw himself herself N Non-reflexive pronouns: Non-reflexive pronouns Either Not in the same clause: Sam thought that Fred liked him. Ok for “him” to be “Sam”. The girl who liked him called Sam. Ok for “him” to be “Sam”. Sam liked him. Not ok for “him” to be “Sam”. Or not c-commanded by the antecedent. The pictures of him in the newspaper bothered Sam. Ok for “him” to be “Sam”. Imperatives: Imperatives Go to sleep! Dress yourself! Hypothesis 1: there is an abstract representation where the subject of this sentence is “you”. Hypothesis 2: there is an exception to the rule for reflexive pronoun binding: imperatives can contain the pronoun “yourself”. *Dress you! What do these mean? Bless you Damn you Curse you Passives: Passives English only for now. In Grammars and Lexicons, we formulated a universal passive rule. The thieves were arrested by the police. The cake was being eaten by the children. The cake will have been eaten by the children. There-insertion: There-insertion There is a problem. There is a desk in the room. There is a thief being arrested by the police. English Auxiliary Verbs: English Auxiliary Verbs Modal verbs: (will, would, can, could, shall, should, may, might, and a few others) Invariant: don’t have a third person singular form. Only occur where you can have present or past tense. Don’t occur in infinitives, gerunds, or participles: I will go. I would go. I said I would go. *I want to can go. Compare: I want to be able to go. *Canning go would make me happy. Compare: Being able to go would make me happy. The next verb must be an infinitive: I will have gone. I will be going. *I will going/gone/went/goes. English Auxiliary Verbs: English Auxiliary Verbs “Have” Must be followed by a past participle: I have gone. *I have going/went/goes/go. Progressive “be” Must be followed by a present participle: I am going. *I am goes/went/go. Passive “be” Must be followed by a passive verb: The cookies were devoured. *The cookies were devouring/devours/devour. Order of English Auxiliary Verbs: Order of English Auxiliary Verbs All optional, but when they are present, they are in a fixed order. modal have be-prog be-pass They will have been being arrested. They will have been arrested. They will be arrested. We will be arresting the criminals. We will have arrested the criminals. They were being arrested. They have been arrested. Etc. Each clause is separate. E.g., “have” in the main clause can precede a modal in an embedded clause. I have said that I would go. Yes-No Questions: Yes-No Questions Put the first auxiliary verb before the subject. Will he have been swimming? Has he been swimming? Was he swimming? Were they arrested? *Will have he been swimming? If there is no auxiliary verb, use “do” in the right tense. *Swam/swims he? Did/does he swim? Main clause or quoted clause only. Use “whether” or “if” for a yes-no question in an embedded clause. *I thought that does he swim? I wondered, “Does he swim?” I wondered whether he swims. Negatives: Negatives Put “not” after the first auxiliary verb. If there is no auxiliary verb, use “do”. We will not have been arresting criminals. We have not been eating cake. We are not going. *We go not. *We do not go. “Not” in other places: Ok, but doesn’t sound neutral. We will have not been arresting criminals. We will have been not arresting criminals. Tag Questions: Tag Questions Pronominal form of the subject. First auxiliary verb or “do”. “n’t” Change the polarity of the verb (positive or negative). Sam left, didn’t he? Sam will go, won’t he? Sam is going, isn’t he? Sam hasn’t left, has he? *Sam hasn’t left, hasn’t he? *Sam left, leftn’t he? *Sam left, didn’t Sam? Tag questions with the same polarity have a different meaning: He’s going, is he? Combinations of things: Combinations of things Several of the phenomena discussed in this lecture can co-occur in one sentence. I’ll be really happy if by the end of the semester you can derive all of the sentences on the next few slides in each of the four formalisms. Combinations: Combinations It seems that a bear ate the sandwich. The bear seems to have eaten the sandwich. It seems that the sandwich was eaten by the bear. The sandwich seems to have been eaten by the bear. It seems that there was a sandwich eaten by the bear. There seems to have been a sandwich eaten by the bear. Combinations: Combinations I believe that the bear at a sandwich. I believe that a sandwich was eaten by the bear. I believe that there was a sandwich eaten by the bear. I believe the bear to have eaten the sandwich. I believe the sandwich to have been eaten by the bear. I believe there to be a sandwich eaten by the bear. The bear is believed to have eaten a sandwich. The sandwich is believed to have been eaten by the bear. There is believed to be a sandwich eaten by the bear. Combinations: Combinations What is believed to have been eaten by the bear? What do you believe that the bear ate? The bear ate a sandwich. I saw the bear. I saw the bear that ate a sandwich. I saw the sandwich that was eaten by the bear. The bear that ate a sandwich was caught. The sandwich that was eaten by the bear was expensive. The sandwich that was eaten by the bear was purchased at Giant Eagle. Combinations: Combinations The bear seemed to be persuaded to try to eat a sandwich. What did the bear seem to be persuaded to try to eat? I saw the sandwich that the bear was persuaded to try to eat. Sam seemed to appear to have been persuaded to try to be examined by the doctor who was chosen to receive an award. Warning: Warning These are “toy” sentences. Real ones are harder in some ways: More modifiers/adjuncts More ambiguity Weird stuff: a 3-to-2 decision our June 14 meeting Room number 100 Why not go? Him be a doctor? Real ones are easier in some ways: E.g, Long distance dependencies are hardly ever long distance in real text. What is not included: What is not included Dates and times Proper names and titles Money and numbers Extensive pre-determiners of NPs Every other one of the first hundred smart students was given a prize. Terry Winograd, Language as a Cognitive Process. Compound nouns Grammatical relations Things from other languages: Free word order; complex causative constructions; wh-in situ; noun incorporation; pro-drop; etc.