Syntax III November 19, 2012 Sentences • The basic phrase types include: • NP, VP, AP, PP • A basic sentence is an “inflectional phrase” (IP). • The head of the IP is the tense of the verb. • I = INFL = inflection = [+past] or [-past] • The specifier of the IP is the subject NP. • The complement of the I is a VP. • If that complement is an NP, then it is called the object of the verb. • (Note: verbs have lots of different complement options.) • Let’s practice with: “The coach dropped the ball.” IP Det Sentence Structure NP I’ N’ I VP N [+past] V’ the NP coach Note: the V in the VP must agree in tense with the I tense marker. V Det dropped the N’ N ball IP Det Sentence Structure NP I’ N’ I VP N [+past] V’ the NP coach Note: the V in the VP must agree in tense with the I tense marker. V Det dropped the N’ N ball IP Det Sentence Structure NP I’ N’ I VP N will V’ the NP coach • Note: Auxiliaries show up in the I slot. • (Verbs after auxiliaries don’t display tense) V Det drop the N’ N ball IP Det Sentence Terminology NP I’ N’ I VP N will V’ the NP coach V • The subject of a sentence (in drop English) is: • the NP specifier of the sentence IP. Det N’ the N ball IP Det Sentence Terminology NP I’ N’ I VP N will V’ the NP coach • The object of a sentence (in English) is: • an NP complement of the main VP. V Det drop the N’ N ball English Case Marking • The form of some English pronouns changes, depending on whether they are subjects or objects. • For Example: I know you. You know me. He knows them. They know him. We know her. She knows us. • But word order is still constrained: *Her know we. *Them knows he. Subject/Object Marking • In other languages, subjects and objects are specified by morphological inflections on nouns. • Example: Russian case marking ja tita-ju I “I read the book.” knig-u read-1st pers-sing. book-object alternate order : ja knig-u tita-ju alternate order: knig-u ja tita-ju • knig-a byla v komnat-e book-subject was in room-object “The book was in the room.” Building Trees from Scratch • Basic tips: 1. First identify the lexical category of each word. 2. Then build up phrase structure from right to left. • Note: words of type V, N, A or P will always project up to a phrase of the relevant type: • • VP, NP, AP, PP, etc. Other lexical categories (Determiners, Degree words, Qualifiers) function only as specifiers. Building Trees from Scratch • In working through the sentence from right to left… 1. If you encounter words like Determiners, Degree words, etc., • You should include them as specifiers of the current phrase. 2. If you encounter a word which can form the head of a phrase (V, N, A, P): • The current phrase is likely to be a complement of a larger phrase headed by that word. • (although it’s possible that the new phrase may be a specifier of the current one…) Phrase Structure Tests • When in doubt, you can attempt to apply the three phrase structure tests: 1. Substitution • Pronouns for noun phrases • “do so” for verb phrases • “there” for some prepositional phrases 2. Movement • Can you move the string of words, as a unit, to the front of the sentence? 3. Coordination • Try to link with a phrase of a known type.