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Week 3b. Constituents CAS LX 522 Syntax I. Constituents Sentences are made of component parts, or constituents. Sentences are made of component parts,

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Presentation on theme: "Week 3b. Constituents CAS LX 522 Syntax I. Constituents Sentences are made of component parts, or constituents. Sentences are made of component parts,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Week 3b. Constituents CAS LX 522 Syntax I

2 Constituents Sentences are made of component parts, or constituents. Sentences are made of component parts, or constituents. Of course, there are the words, as we’ve seen, but there is more structure than that. Of course, there are the words, as we’ve seen, but there is more structure than that. Some words fit together into larger groups, that function in certain respects as a unit. Some words fit together into larger groups, that function in certain respects as a unit. And those larger groups (constituents) can themselves be parts of yet larger groups (constituents). And those larger groups (constituents) can themselves be parts of yet larger groups (constituents).

3 Constituents The words that make up a sentence like… The words that make up a sentence like… The students did their syntax assignment. The students did their syntax assignment. …are grouped together into component parts, constituents, which function together as a unit. …are grouped together into component parts, constituents, which function together as a unit. Among them, [the students], the do-ers, and [their syntax assignment], the done. Among them, [the students], the do-ers, and [their syntax assignment], the done.

4 Constituents Functioning as a unit… Functioning as a unit… The students did their syntax assignment. The students did their syntax assignment. The students did the crossword puzzle. The students did the crossword puzzle. John did the crossword puzzle. John did the crossword puzzle. The crossword puzzle is what John did. The crossword puzzle is what John did. *Crossword puzzle is what John did the. *Crossword puzzle is what John did the. John likes the crossword puzzle. John likes the crossword puzzle. John likes the jigsaw puzzle. John likes the jigsaw puzzle. John likes the theater. John likes the theater.

5 Finding constituents How do we find constituents in a sentence? For many of them, we can guess, but a guess isn’t evidence. If sentences and phrases have structure, we should be able to test for this structure. How do we find constituents in a sentence? For many of them, we can guess, but a guess isn’t evidence. If sentences and phrases have structure, we should be able to test for this structure.

6 Replacement test A constituent is a group of words which function as a unit. If you can replace part of the sentence with another constituent (the smallest constituent being a single word), this tells us that the replaced section of the sentence is a constituent. A constituent is a group of words which function as a unit. If you can replace part of the sentence with another constituent (the smallest constituent being a single word), this tells us that the replaced section of the sentence is a constituent. This isn’t foolproof, but it usually works if you try to keep the meaning as close as possible. This isn’t foolproof, but it usually works if you try to keep the meaning as close as possible.

7 Replacement test The students left. The students left. They left. They left. The students is a constituent. The students is a constituent. The students ate the sandwiches. The students ate the sandwiches. They ate the sandwiches. They ate the sandwiches. The students ate them. The students ate them. The students dined. The students dined. [The students] [ate [the sandwiches]]. [The students] [ate [the sandwiches]].

8 Sentence fragment test Generally, only constituents can be used in the fragmentary response to a question. Generally, only constituents can be used in the fragmentary response to a question. Who ate the sandwiches? Who ate the sandwiches? The students.*Students ate the. The students.*Students ate the. What did the students do? What did the students do? Ate the sandwiches.*Ate the. Ate the sandwiches.*Ate the. What did the students eat? What did the students eat? The sandwiches. The sandwiches. [The students] [ate [the sandwiches]]. [The students] [ate [the sandwiches]].

9 Trees, hierarchy, and constituency [The students] [ate [the sandwiches]] [The students] [ate [the sandwiches]] The students ate the sandwiches

10 Trees, hierarchy, and constituency [The students] [ate [the sandwiches]] [The students] [ate [the sandwiches]] The students ate the sandwiches constituent

11 Trees, hierarchy, and constituency [The students] [ate [the sandwiches]] [The students] [ate [the sandwiches]] The students ate the sandwiches constituent

12 Substitution One of the ways we know a verb is a verb (category) is by observing that it can substitute for other verbs. One of the ways we know a verb is a verb (category) is by observing that it can substitute for other verbs. Pat likes to sing. Pat likes to drive. Pat likes to sing. Pat likes to drive. Pat bought a book. *Pat bought (a) sing. Pat bought a book. *Pat bought (a) sing. Pat likes to eat sandwiches. Pat likes to eat sandwiches. *Pat bought eat sandwiches. *Pat bought eat sandwiches. So is eat sandwiches a verb? So is eat sandwiches a verb? Well, kind of, yes. Well, kind of, yes. It’s a constituent, a phrase, that has the properties a verb does. A verb phrase. It’s a constituent, a phrase, that has the properties a verb does. A verb phrase.

13 VP Why is eat sandwiches a verb phrase? Why is eat sandwiches a verb phrase? Well, presumably because eat is a verb. Well, presumably because eat is a verb. The rock fell (off the wall). The rock fell (off the wall). #The rock jumped (off the wall). #The rock jumped (off the wall). The combination of eat and sandwiches forms a constituent that inherits the properties of eat (and not of sandwiches). The combination of eat and sandwiches forms a constituent that inherits the properties of eat (and not of sandwiches). The verb projects to VP. The verb projects to VP. The verb heads the VP. The verb heads the VP.

14 The making of a phrase We’re trying to characterize our knowledge of syntactic structure. We’re trying to characterize our knowledge of syntactic structure. Our grammatical knowledge is a system (we can judge new sentences). Our grammatical knowledge is a system (we can judge new sentences). All things being equal, a theory in which the system is simpler (needed fewer assumptions) is to be preferred over a theory that entails more complex one. All things being equal, a theory in which the system is simpler (needed fewer assumptions) is to be preferred over a theory that entails more complex one.

15 The making of a phrase In that spirit, we know that a phrase differs from a word in that it contains words (or other phrases). In that spirit, we know that a phrase differs from a word in that it contains words (or other phrases). We’ve seen that when words are combined into a phrase, the phrase inherits the properties of one of the things we combined. (The phrase has a head). We’ve seen that when words are combined into a phrase, the phrase inherits the properties of one of the things we combined. (The phrase has a head). Suppose: a phrase can arise from merging two words together, with one taking priority. In a way, attaching one word to another. Suppose: a phrase can arise from merging two words together, with one taking priority. In a way, attaching one word to another.

16 The making of a phrase What will Pat do? What will Pat do? sing sing eat sandwiches eat sandwiches What does Pat like? What does Pat like? to eat sandwiches to eat sandwiches to sing to sing [to [eat sandwiches]] [to [eat sandwiches]] So, a phrase can also arise from combining to and a verb phrase, to make a bigger phrase. So, a phrase can also arise from combining to and a verb phrase, to make a bigger phrase.

17 Merge So, let’s go for the simplest theory of structure we can (and only move away from it if the simplest theory won’t work). So, let’s go for the simplest theory of structure we can (and only move away from it if the simplest theory won’t work). A phrase is a syntactic object formed by combining (merging) two syntactic objects, with the properties inherited from one of them (the head of the phrase). A phrase is a syntactic object formed by combining (merging) two syntactic objects, with the properties inherited from one of them (the head of the phrase). A word is a syntactic object. A word is a syntactic object.

18 Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch. Pat will eat lunch. Pat eatlunch will

19 Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch. Pat will eat lunch. Pat eatlunch I VN N will

20 Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch. Pat will eat lunch. Pat eatlunch I VN N will ?

21 Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch. Pat will eat lunch. Pat eatlunch I VN N will V

22 Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch. Pat will eat lunch. Pat eatlunch I VNP N will VP

23 Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch. Pat will eat lunch. Pat eatlunch I VNP NIP will VP

24 Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch. Pat will eat lunch. What do we do now? From where does ? inherit its features? What do we do now? From where does ? inherit its features? This is a whole sentence. This is a whole sentence. Is it more “nouny” or more “tensey”? Is it more “nouny” or more “tensey”? Pat eatlunch I VNP IPIP ? will VP

25 Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch. Pat will eat lunch. Pat eatlunch I VNP I IP will VP

26 X, X, XP Let X stand for a category. Let X stand for a category. I, or V, or N, … doesn’t matter. I, or V, or N, … doesn’t matter. When we just have the word, the item from the lexicon, we write it as X. When we just have the word, the item from the lexicon, we write it as X. If we combine two words (with Merge), the combination inherits the properties of one of them (the head). We say that the properties of the lexical item project to the phrase. If we combine two words (with Merge), the combination inherits the properties of one of them (the head). We say that the properties of the lexical item project to the phrase. eatlunch VN

27 X, X, XP When X combines with another syntactic object and does not determine the category of the combined object, we write XP. The maximal projection. It projects no further. When X combines with another syntactic object and does not determine the category of the combined object, we write XP. The maximal projection. It projects no further. Where X is not a combined object (e.g., a word), we write X. We call this the head. The minimal projection. Where X is not a combined object (e.g., a word), we write X. We call this the head. The minimal projection. Did I write the right thing over lunch? Did I write the right thing over lunch? eatlunch VNP VP

28 X, X, XP The XP is what is usually called the phrase, e.g., verb phrase (VP), the maximal projection of the verb. The XP is what is usually called the phrase, e.g., verb phrase (VP), the maximal projection of the verb. An XP that combines with a head is called the complement. Below, lunch is the complement of eat. An XP that combines with a head is called the complement. Below, lunch is the complement of eat. eatlunch VNP VP

29 Radford and the X(P) To forestall confusion: lunch is both a minimal projection and a maximal projection. It functions as a phrase, an XP, but it has nothing in it but a head, an X. To forestall confusion: lunch is both a minimal projection and a maximal projection. It functions as a phrase, an XP, but it has nothing in it but a head, an X. Since you need to write something, Radford generally opts to write X for these X/XPs. Since you need to write something, Radford generally opts to write X for these X/XPs. eatlunch VNP VP

30 Radford and the X(P) In this class, and on my overheads, I will usually write X/XP as XP. You should do the same, but you should be aware that Radford does it differently. In this class, and on my overheads, I will usually write X/XP as XP. You should do the same, but you should be aware that Radford does it differently. In general, this will depend on whether the properties we are focusing on are those of phrases (XPs) or heads (Xs). In these ambiguous cases, it will almost invariably turn out that they act like phrases with respect to what we are focusing on. In general, this will depend on whether the properties we are focusing on are those of phrases (XPs) or heads (Xs). In these ambiguous cases, it will almost invariably turn out that they act like phrases with respect to what we are focusing on. eatlunch VNP VP

31 Radford and the X(P) Another similar comment pertains to the status of IP below. It is an IP. It is not an I. It’s true that it will be an I after we combine Pat with the IP, but it isn’t yet. Cf. Radford p Another similar comment pertains to the status of IP below. It is an IP. It is not an I. It’s true that it will be an I after we combine Pat with the IP, but it isn’t yet. Cf. Radford p Pat eatlunch I VNP NIP will VP

32 X, X, XP In English, the head and the complement always seem to come in that order: head-complement. In English, the head and the complement always seem to come in that order: head-complement. at lunch(P NP = PP) at lunch(P NP = PP) eat lunch(V NP = VP) eat lunch(V NP = VP) will eat lunch(I VP = IP) will eat lunch(I VP = IP) But here, languages differ. English is a head-first (or head-initial) language. But here, languages differ. English is a head-first (or head-initial) language. atlunch PNP PP

33 X, X, XP In Japanese, the head follows the complement. Japanese is head-final. In Japanese, the head follows the complement. Japanese is head-final. ringo-o tabeta(NP V = VP) apple ate ringo-o tabeta(NP V = VP) apple ate toshokan de(NP P = PP) library at toshokan de(NP P = PP) library at This seems to be a parameter that distinguishes languages (the head parameter) This seems to be a parameter that distinguishes languages (the head parameter) toshokande NPP PP

34 X, X, XP When a syntactic object is a projection of X, but is neither the maximal projection nor the minimal projection, we write X (“X- bar”), an intermediate projection. When a syntactic object is a projection of X, but is neither the maximal projection nor the minimal projection, we write X (“X- bar”), an intermediate projection. Pat eat lunch I NP I IP will VP

35 X, X, XP The XP that combines with a category that projects to its maximal projection is the specifier—if it isn’t the complement. The XP that combines with a category that projects to its maximal projection is the specifier—if it isn’t the complement. Below, the NP Pat, which combines with I to form the last projection of I. Below, the NP Pat, which combines with I to form the last projection of I. Pat eat lunch I NP I IP will VP

36 X, X, XP Whether the specifier comes before X or after is independent of whether the head comes before the complement. Whether the specifier comes before X or after is independent of whether the head comes before the complement. Specifiers are overwhelmingly initial, although a few languages may be best analyzed as having final specifiers (sometimes). Specifiers are overwhelmingly initial, although a few languages may be best analyzed as having final specifiers (sometimes). E.g., Japanese, which is head-final, nevertheless has initial specifiers. E.g., Japanese, which is head-final, nevertheless has initial specifiers. Ringo-ga ringo-o tabe- I NP I IP ta VP

37 X-theory In the ’70s and ’80s, these ideas went by the name “X-theory”. In the ’70s and ’80s, these ideas went by the name “X-theory”. Every XP has exactly one: Every XP has exactly one: head (a lexical item) head (a lexical item) complement (another XP) complement (another XP) specifier (another XP) specifier (another XP) for any X (N, V, A, P, I, etc.) for any X (N, V, A, P, I, etc.) specifier complement X YP X XP head ZP intermediate projection maximal projection minimal projection

38 NP? Traditionally, a phrase like the students is called a noun phrase and written as NP. Traditionally, a phrase like the students is called a noun phrase and written as NP. What does this imply about the structure? What does this imply about the structure? What category is students? What category is students? What category is the? What category is the? Which one is the head? Which one is the head? Where is the other one? Where is the other one?

39 NP? Traditionally, a phrase like the students is called a noun phrase and written as NP. Traditionally, a phrase like the students is called a noun phrase and written as NP. What does this imply about the structure? What does this imply about the structure? What category is students? What category is students? What category is the? What category is the? Which one is the head? Which one is the head? Where is the other one? Where is the other one? Is this Japanese? Is this Japanese? students DP NP the N ?

40 NP? There are a couple of problems with this. There are a couple of problems with this. There’s the headedness problem There’s the headedness problem The syntactic object that combines with the head is the complement, not the specifier. The syntactic object that combines with the head is the complement, not the specifier. (Note: There is a way out of this, we’ll see it later) (Note: There is a way out of this, we’ll see it later) Supposing that the is a whole DP is suspicious, because it can never be modified by anything. Modifiability is a signature property of phrases. Supposing that the is a whole DP is suspicious, because it can never be modified by anything. Modifiability is a signature property of phrases. students DP NP the N ?

41 DP! If the students is not an NP, it must be a DP. If the students is not an NP, it must be a DP. It’s head-initial, like English should be. It’s head-initial, like English should be. The NP can of course be modified (happy students). The NP can of course be modified (happy students). There are several reasons to think that the students is a DP and not an NP, even better than these two. We will return to these next week. There are several reasons to think that the students is a DP and not an NP, even better than these two. We will return to these next week. students D DP the NP !

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