Syntax V November 23, 2009 Weekday Update • Syntax homework will be posted after class today • …due on Friday. • On Wednesday, we will work on a few more practice syntax exercises. • Afterwards, we’ll wrap up the term with an analysis of meaning: • Pragmatics + Semantics Let’s Recap • So far, we’ve talked about how syntactic rules operate on different lexical categories: • N, V, A, Adv • P, Con, Det, Pro, Deg, Aux, C • A general set of rules (called “Merge”) puts these lexical categories together to form a variety of different phrases: • NP, VP, AP, PP, CP, IP • Elements within these phrases include: • Heads, complements, specifiers, modifiers Modifiers? IP I’ NP the police I VP [+past] V’ V shot In this tree, the police are using the rifles to shoot the terrorists. PP P’ NP Det N’ P NP the N with rifles terrorists The PP is a modifier of the VP here, not a complement. = it’s not required by the verb. More Modifiers • From the last Quick Write: IP NP I’ She I In this interpretation, “really badly” modifies “wants”. VP [-past] V’ AdvP Adv’ V CP Deg wants IP really Adv (I’m glossing over some of the structure here) I VP badly to V NP play tennis More Modifiers IP NP I’ She I In this interpretation, “really badly” modifies “play”. VP [-past] V’ V CP wants IP (I’m glossing over some of the structure here) I VP to V NP AdvP play tennis really badly Language Universals • All languages have phrases with heads and complements. • All languages have nouns and verbs. • All languages can exhibit recursion. • Linguists hypothesize: • All of this information is part of Universal Grammar (UG) • Children do not need to learn these aspects of grammar from their environment. • But: languages can differ syntactically within these universal limits. Language Choices • One syntactic feature which differs between languages: head-first vs. head-final • English is a head-first language • = the head of the phrase precedes any complements. • For example: V’ V (NP) (PP) N’ N (PP) A’ A (PP) P’ P (NP) In general: X’ X (Complement) Language Choices • Other languages are head-final • Ex: Japanese • The head of the phrase in Japanese always follows its complements: In general: X’ (YP) X Example: P’ NP P niwa-de “garden in” N = “in the garden” P • By the way: in languages like these, “prepositions” are called “post-positions” Syntactic Typology • Sentences in head-final languages usually follow the pattern: subject - object - verb (SOV) • Japanese examples: Taro-ga inu-o mitsuketa Taro-subject marker dog-object marker found “Taro found a dog.” Inu-ga niwa-de dog-subject marker garden-in asonde iru playing is “The dog is playing in the garden.” Syntactic Typology • There are six possible orders for subject, verb, and object in a sentence. • All six orders have been attested in at least one of the world’s languages. • 44% of the world’s languages are SOV languages. Japanese, Korean, Turkish • 35% of the world’s languages are SVO languages. English, French, Chinese • 19% of the world’s languages are VSO languages. Irish, Arabic, Welsh Syntactic Typologies • 2% of the world’s languages are VOS languages. Aramaic, Hawaiian, Tagalog, Maori • OSV languages are very rare Xavante, Jamamadi (spoken in Brazil) • OVS languages are the rarest of all Guarijio (northwest Mexico), Hixkaryana (also Brazil) • Another OVS language: Klingon • Some languages have free word order Dyirbal (spoken in Australia) (by about five people) Yodish • What sort of language does Yoda speak? • Some examples are (relatively) straightforward: • My home this is. • To Obi-Wan you listen. • In these sentences, the complement of the verb moves to the front of the sentence. • (= OSV) • The others are slightly different: • Help you I can. • Take you to him I will. • In these two, Yoda moves the whole VP to the front. Wait…things move? • Movement rules can explain syntactic patterns in language that phrase structure rules alone cannot account for. • For instance: some sentences are systematically related to other sentences. Declarative Interrogative The boy is sleeping. Is the boy sleeping? The boy has slept. Has the boy slept? The boy can sleep. Can the boy sleep? The boy will sleep. Will the boy sleep? The boy did sleep. Did the boy sleep? • What’s the pattern? What’s the Pattern? • Declarative sentences like “The boy is sleeping” can be generated with the usual syntactic rules. IP I’ NP Det N’ I VP the N is V’ boy V sleeping • We get the interrogative sentence “Is the boy sleeping?” by inverting the order of the subject and the auxiliary. Inversion CP C’ C IP I’ NP Det N’ I VP the N is V’ boy V sleeping Inversion CP • Note: the auxiliary verb moves from one head slot to another. C’ C IP I’ NP Det N’ I VP the N is V’ boy V sleeping • Rule: move the I head to the C node. • This “inversion” rule creates a yes/no question. Inversion Results CP C’ C The movement leaves a “trace” (t) behind in the I I’ slot. IP is NP Det N’ I VP the N t V’ boy • The C slot has to be marked with a [+Q] (for “question”) to make this movement happen. V [+Q] • …like the I slot being marked for tense. sleeping Transformations • The syntactic rules that we’ve seen so far are phrase structure rules: • NP Det N’ • P’ P NP • A rule that generates one kind of sentence from another sentence is called a transformational rule. • “Transformations” give us the questions for “free”… • so long as our phrase structure rules generate the corresponding declarative sentences. A More Complex Case • Does our transformational rule work for this sentence? The chicken crossed the road. • Maybe. • To create this question: “Did the chicken cross the road?” • …it is first necessary to add the auxiliary verb “do”. • = “Do” insertion • The chicken crossed the road. • The chicken did cross the road. • Did the chicken cross the road? • In English, it is not possible to invert non-auxiliary verbs. Split-Levels • Syntactic phrase structure rules (“Merge”) create the Deep Structure of a sentence. • Transformation rules (“Move”) change the Deep Structure into the Surface Structure that we see in interrogative sentences. • Phonology analogy: • Underlying representation = Deep Structure • Surface representation = Surface Structure • In both cases, this is called a derivation. • and multiple rules can apply before the final product appears on the surface. A More Complex Case • Does our transformational rule work for this sentence? • Bob said that the chicken crossed the road. • Maybe. • There are actually two options: • Did Bob say that the chicken crossed the road? • *Did Bob said that the chicken cross the road? • Yes/No questions can only be formed from the main (highest level) sentence. • They cannot be formed from an embedded sentence. • The Complementizer (“that”) fills the C slot and prevents an embedded auxiliary from moving up. Wh Questions • Here’s another relationship between sentences: Declarative Interrogative Bart kicked the ball. What did Bart kick? Lisa put the leash on the table. Where did Lisa put the leash? Marge sent a card to Selma. Who did Marge send a card to? • These questions are known as “Wh-Questions” • why, who, where, when, what, how Wh Question Rules • The formation of these questions is considerably more complex. Step 1: Wh-substitution Substitute impersonal NPs with “what” Substitute personal NPs with “who” Substitute location PPs with “where” etc. • Examples: Bart kicked the ball. Bart kicked what? Lisa put the leash on the table. Lisa put the leash where? Wh Movement Rules • Step 2: Move (or insert) the auxiliary verb to the beginning of the sentence. Bart kicked what? Did Bart kick what? Lisa put the leash where? Did Lisa put the leash where? • Step 3: Move the Wh word to the beginning of the sentence. Did Bart kick what? What did Bart kick? Did Lisa put the leash where? Where did Lisa put the leash? Wh-Movement CP C’ Spec C IP I’ NP Bart I VP did V’ V NP kick what Wh-Movement CP C’ Spec C did IP I’ NP Bart I VP t V’ V NP kick what Wh-Movement The Wh- particle moves from a non-head position to another non-head position. CP C’ NP What C did IP I’ NP Bart (so it doesn’t cross paths with move #1) I VP t V’ V kick NP t Questions around the World • In other languages, questions can be formed by moving any verb (not just an auxiliary) to the front of the sentence. • Dutch: Femke leest veel boeken. “Femke reads many books.” • Q: Leest Femke veel boeken? reads Femke many books “Does Femke read many books?” Wh non-movement • Some languages form Wh questions without moving anything. • Japanese: Taro-ga nani-o mitsuketa-no? Taro-subject what found-question marker “What did Taro find?” • Swahili: Ulipatia nani kitabu you gave who a book “Who did you give a book?” Principles and Parameters • Language has universal features = principles • Nouns, verbs, etc. • Phrases with heads and complements. • Individual languages have options = parameters • Head-first or head-last? • Wh-movement or no Wh-movement? • Kids acquiring language get the universal principles for free; • it’s part of Universal Grammar (UG) • …but they have to figure out the “parameters” from what they hear in the world around them, as they grow up.