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 tita-ju
I
“I read the book.”
knig-u
read-1st pers-sing. book-object
alternate order : ja knig-u tita-ju
alternate order: knig-u ja tita-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.
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26-Syntax III - Bases Produced