Phrase structure rules (1)S NP VP (2)NP (Detv) (AdjP)* N (3)AdjP (AdvP) Adj (4)VP V (NP) (NP) (PP)* (5)PP P (NP/PP)
Complex Sentence S NP VP V CP COMP (SUB) S I know that the tall librarian put the book on that shelf Upper S = sentence Lower S = clause
Complex Sentence S S Conj S The tall librarian put the book on AND the short one removed it the shelf Upper S corresponds to a sentence Lower S corresponds to a clause
The status of VP in English S NP + VP (as in (1)) VP V (NP) (NP) (PP)* (as in (4)) Tests for phrasehood of VP: Substitution Clefting Movement
(8)a. The tall librarian put the book on the shelf, and so did John. The tall librarian put the book on the shelf, and John did so too. b.*It was put that book on the shelf that the tall librarian _____. c. (I told the tall librarian to put that book on the shelf, and) *put that book on the shelf the tall librarian ___.
(9)a. (I told the tall librarian to put that book on the shelf, and) put that book on the shelf the tall librarian did ___. b.... the tall librarian did put that book on the shelf.
(10)a. (She denies that) she puts all the linguistics books in the bin, but put them in the bin she does. b. *puts them in the bin she ___. c. She does put all the linguistics books in the bin. d. * She does puts all the linguistics books in the bin.
(11)a. The bowler took a great catch. b. *Took a great catch the bowler ___. c. (...and) take a great catch the bowler did ___. d. The bowler did take a great catch. e. *The bowler did took a great catch. so
puts/takes does put/take put / took did put/take so
puts presentPUT put pastPUT takes presentTAKE took pastTAKE
Revised S S NP AUX VP TENSE The tall librarian does/did put that book on….. ---------- puts/put that book on.. The bowler does/did take a great catch ----------- takes/took a great catch
Revised S S NP AUX VP TENSE The tall librarian does/did so (16a) ---------- *so (16b) The bowler does/did so ----------- *so
What about the cleft test? (20)a.?It was take a great catch that he did ____. b.*It was took a great catch that he ____.
Functions in the Clause S NP AUX VP Subject Tense Predicate Mary PAST cleaned her teeth. John PRESENT eats his dinner. The baby does drink milk PRESENT
Subjects Typically filled by NP –The babyate the lasagne Can also be filled by PP –Under the bedseems the safest. Or by a clause –That John leftsurprised me
Predicates Typically filled by VP –The baby does drink milk. Can also be filled by AdjP –The baby is extremely happy. Or by an NP –John is a good doctor. Or by a PP –John was in the house.
Traditional definitions of Subject the performer of the action The boy bit the dog. The boy felt sick. The boy is an Australian. The boy was bitten by the dog. How do these sentences challenge the traditional definition that the subject is the performer of the action? AGENT
what the sentence is about I bought this hat at the Ekka. No-one runs faster than Superman. It rained last night. How do these sentences challenge the traditional definition that the subject is what the sentence is about? TOPIC
Defining Subject by grammatical properties Test 1 - Word order –Subjects typically precede the predicate Test 2 - Agreement –In some circumstances the AUX/verb will change form, depending on the nature of the subject. We say the verb agrees with the subject
Examples of subject-verb agreement The boy was biting the dog. The boy was biting the dogs. The boys were biting the dog. The boys were biting the dogs. The tensed verb form changes when the preceding NP (the subject) becomes plural. It is unaffected by the change in number of the following NP (the object).
More properties of Subjects Test 3 - Pronoun form –In English, pronouns have distinct (case) forms for certain functions, such as subject. –The case form used for subjects is called Nominative case.
Examples of Case forms of English Pronouns Nominative (or subject) pronouns forms include: I, he, she, we. –I kissed you, he kissed you, she kissed you, we kissed you These forms are in contrast with Accusative (or object) forms such as: me, him, her, us. –You kissed me, you kissed him, you kissed her, you kissed us
Another subject property Test 4 - Auxiliary raising –When an interrogative sentence is formed from a declarative sentence, the auxiliary verb which has the tense-marking function precedes the subject phrase. –The boy is biting the dog. (declarative) –Is the boy biting the dog? (interrogative)
Summary Simple sentence = single S or clause Complex sentence > 1 S or clause Functions of main constituents of S: Subject: NP/PP/clause Tense: Auxiliary verb (Lexical verb) Predicate: VP/AdjP/NP/PP
Summary (con't) VP = V (minus tense-marking) +..... –VP with untensed verb passes all three tests for phrasehood: Substitution (by so ) Cleft Movement –VP with tensed verb fails all three tests
Further reading: Fromkin, V. Rodman, R. et al. 2005. An Introduction to Language Ch. 4