2Constituents 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.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).
3Constituents The words that make up a sentence like… The students did their syntax assignment.…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.
4Constituents Functioning as a unit… The students did their syntax assignment.The students did the crossword puzzle.John did the crossword puzzle.The crossword puzzle is what John did.*Crossword puzzle is what John did the.John likes the crossword puzzle.John likes the jigsaw puzzle.John likes the theater.
5Finding constituentsHow 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.
6Replacement testA 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.
7Replacement test The students is a constituent. The students left.They left.The students is a constituent.The students ate the sandwiches.They ate the sandwiches.The students ate them.The students dined.[The students] [ate [the sandwiches]].
8Sentence fragment test Generally, only constituents can be used in the fragmentary response to a question.Who ate the sandwiches?The students. *Students ate the.What did the students do?Ate the sandwiches. *Ate the.What did the students eat?The sandwiches.[The students] [ate [the sandwiches]].
12SubstitutionOne 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 bought a book. *Pat bought (a) sing.Pat likes to eat sandwiches.*Pat bought eat sandwiches.So is eat sandwiches a verb?Well, kind of, yes.It’s a constituent, a phrase, that has the properties a verb does. A verb phrase.
13VP Why is eat sandwiches a verb phrase? Well, presumably because eat is a verb.The rock fell (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 verb projects to VP.The verb heads the VP.
14The making of a phraseWe’re trying to characterize our knowledge of syntactic structure.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.
15The making of a phraseIn 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).Suppose: a phrase can arise from merging two words together, with one taking priority. In a way, attaching one word to another.
16The making of a phrase What will Pat do? What does Pat like? singeat sandwichesWhat does Pat like?to eat sandwichesto sing[to [eat sandwiches]]So, a phrase can also arise from combining to and a verb phrase, to make a bigger phrase.
17MergeSo, 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 word is a syntactic object.
18Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch.Patwilleatlunch
19Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch.NPatIwillVNeatlunch
20Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch.NPatI?willVNeatlunch
21Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch.NPatIVwillVNeatlunch
22Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch.NPatIVPwillVNPeatlunch
23Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch.NIPPatIVPwillVNPeatlunch
24Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch.What do we do now? From where does ? inherit its features?This is a whole sentence.Is it more “nouny” or more “tensey”??NPIPPatIVPwillVNPeatlunch
25Trees and constituency Pat will eat lunch.IPNPIPatIVPwillVNPeatlunch
26X, X, XP Let X stand for a category. I, or V, or N, … doesn’t matter.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.VNeatlunch
27X, X, XPWhen 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.Did I write the right thing over lunch?VPVNPeatlunch
28X, X, XPThe 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.VPVNPeatlunch
29Radford 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.Since you need to write something, Radford generally opts to write X for these X/XPs.VPVNPeatlunch
30Radford 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 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.VPVNPeatlunch
31Radford 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. 120.NIPPatIVPwillVNPeatlunch
32X, X, XPIn English, the head and the complement always seem to come in that order: head-complement.at lunch (P NP = PP)eat lunch (V NP = VP)will eat lunch (I VP = IP)But here, languages differ. English is a head-first (or head-initial) language.PPPNPatlunch
33X, X, XPIn Japanese, the head follows the complement. Japanese is head-final.ringo-o tabeta (NP V = VP) apple atetoshokan de (NP P = PP) library atThis seems to be a parameter that distinguishes languages (the head parameter)PPNPPtoshokande
34X, X, XPWhen 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.IPNPIPatIVPeat lunchwill
35X, X, XPThe 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.IPNPIPatIVPeat lunchwill
36X, X, XPWhether 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).E.g., Japanese, which is head-final, nevertheless has initial specifiers.IPNPIRingo-gaVPIringo-o tabe-ta
37intermediate projection X-theoryIn the ’70s and ’80s, these ideas went by the name “X-theory”.Every XP has exactly one:head (a lexical item)complement (another XP)specifier (another XP)for any X (N, V, A, P, I, etc.)maximal projectionintermediate projectionXPYPXspecifierXZPminimal projectionheadcomplement
38NP?Traditionally, a phrase like the students is called a noun phrase and written as NP.What does this imply about the structure?What category is students?What category is the?Which one is the head?Where is the other one?
39NP?Traditionally, a phrase like the students is called a noun phrase and written as NP.What does this imply about the structure?What category is students?What category is the?Which one is the head?Where is the other one?Is this Japanese??NPDPNthestudents
40NP? ? There are a couple of problems with this. There’s the headedness problemThe 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)Supposing that the is a whole DP is suspicious, because it can never be modified by anything. Modifiability is a signature property of phrases.?NPDPNthestudents
41DP! ! If the students is not an NP, it must be a DP. It’s head-initial, like English should be.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.!DPDNPthestudents