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Empty category phenomena in LFG Nigel Vincent University of Manchester.

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Presentation on theme: "Empty category phenomena in LFG Nigel Vincent University of Manchester."— Presentation transcript:


2 Empty category phenomena in LFG Nigel Vincent University of Manchester

3 Caveat This presentation was prepared for use at the LFG Winter School held at the University of Canterbury, 4-8 July 2004. It was designed to follow on from the foregoing presentation by Kersti Börjars. Feel free to make use of it but please acknowledge the source.

4 Properties of LFG Non-derivational Parallel correspondence Monotonic

5 Therefore LFG eschews: movement the (consequent) use of empty categories the (consequent) use of uninterpretable features (in particular Case and EPP) Instead, new analytical tools consistent with LFG premisses need to be found

6 A typology of empty categories ConstructionEmpty categoryOvert category Finite clause arguments propronouns Non-finite clause, ‘equi’ subjects PRO– Raising/passiveNP/DP traceanaphors (herself) Unbounded dependencies wh-traceR expressions

7 The treatment of ‘pro-drop’ Italian: (Memo) canta canta

8 f-structure for canta ‘(s)he sings’

9 English non-pro-drop English: Bill singsvs*sings sings

10 Control and raising ‘Missing’ subject relatable to matrix verb ‘Missing’ subject is a semantic argument of both verbs = control (aka equi) e.g. Bill tried to dance ‘missing’ subject only a semantic argument of the infinitival verb = raising e.g. Bill seemed to dance

11 equi vs raising Equi traditionally handled via a construction specific empty category with no overt analogue, viz PRO Bill tried [PRO to dance] Raising handled via movement [[e]seemed [Bill to dance]

12 Obligatory (OC) vs non- obligatory (NOC) control OC antecedentsNOC antecedents obligatoryoptional localnon-local c-commandingnot c-commanding uniquesplit

13 Bill tried to dance to dance requires a verb to introduce it introducing verb is in the next clause up therefore introducing verb c-commands inf. no split antecedence, so: *Bill tried (*for him and Sally) to dance

14 f-control = OC ‘Let us first observe that Williams’ “obligatory control” corresponds to our functional control. That is, the central properties that Williams takes to be characteristic of obligatory control follow from our theory of functional control.’ (Bresnan 1982: 350)

15 Functional control Involves ‘structure sharing between SUBJ of matrix verb and SUBJ of embedded verb Structure sharing achieved by means of a new type of function, namely the ‘open function’ XCOMP

16 COMP vs XCOMP COMP Bill said that Sally appointed Sue COMP XCOMP Bill persuadedSallyto appoint Sue OBJXCOMP

17 Lex entries:say, try, persuade say ‘say ’ try ‘try ’ persuade ‘persuade <(SUBJ) (OBJ) (XCOMP)’

18 Lexical Rule of f-control For any lexical form: a)XCOMP SUBJ = OBJ if present otherwise b)XCOMP SUBJ = SUBJ

19 F-structure for try

20 try‘try ’ (XCOMP SUBJ) = (SUBJ) ‘exhaustive’: same info referred to in two places in f- structure, so split antecedence impossible ‘local’: verb can only subcategorise for a clause contained in its own immediate constituent ‘obligatory’: control pattern can only be introduced via lexical entry of controlling verb ‘c-command’ (or f-command): controlling verb one clause up and thus subject/object/indirect object necessarily c-commands controllee

21 persuade vs promise ‘persuade ’ (XCOMP SUBJ) = (OBJ) ‘promise ’ (XCOMP SUBJ) = (SUBJ)

22 Lexical form for seem seem‘seem (SUBJ) (XCOMP SUBJ) = (SUBJ) NB: (SUBJ) outside the angle brackets shows it is syntactically but not semantically selected

23 F-structure for seem

24 believe ‘believe (OBJ)’ XCOMP SUBJ = OBJ

25 a-control vs f-control Functional control (models oblig control) Anaphoric control (models non-oblig control) Structure sharingCo-reference Open functionsClosed functions Corresponds to PROCorresponds to pro

26 Keep + –ing i)Susan discussed visiting Fred (anaphoric) ii)Susan kept visiting Fred(functional)

27 Passive: Visiting Fred was discussed/*kept by Susan Cleft: It was visiting Fred that Susan discussed/*kept

28 ‘Tough’: Visiting Fred is unpleasant for Susan to discuss/*keep Gen subj: Susan discussed/*kept our visiting Fred

29 Mechanism of a-control Add the optional equation (  GF PRED) = ‘pro’ to the lexical entry of a non-finite verb

30 To visit Fred will annoy Susan

31 Obviation: English want vs Italian volere Bill wanted to visit Fred Bill wanted Susan to visit Fred MemovolevavisitareFederico Billwantedvisit.INFFred Memo voleva[che Susanna visitasse Federico] Bill wanted[that Susan visited Fred]

32 Wh-movement Involves link between a ‘filler’ and a ‘gap’ WhatdidBillput[e]in the box? fillergap

33 Unboundedness vs islands Potentially infinite distance between filler and gap Who did Bill want Sally to try to invite [e]? Yet certain close dependencies are not OK *What did Bill believe the report Sally said? (Complex NP Constraint)

34 Wh-constructions: the challenge for LFG Can we avoid recourse to empty categories? The construction seems to refer to categories/positions not functions: a) all categories except VP front b) categories move to a specific c- structure position

35 DFs vs GFs A functional account needs to identify a function for the wh-element: TOPIC:old information; relatives; topics FOCUS: new information; questions SUBJ: grammaticalized DF; default topic

36 Functional dependencies: outside-in Who did Bill visit? (  FOCUS) = (  OBJ) Who did Bill try to visit? (  FOCUS) = (  XCOMP OBJ) Who did Bill say that Susan visited? (  FOCUS) = (  COMP OBJ) Who did Bill say that Susan tried to visit? (  FOCUS) = (  COMP XCOMP OBJ) etc

37 Functional dependencies: inside-out Who did Bill visit? (  OBJ) = (  FOCUS) Who did Bill try to visit? (  OBJ) = ((XCOMP  FOCUS) Who did Bill say that Susan visited? (  OBJ) = ((COMP  FOCUS) Who did Bill say that Susan tried to visit? (  OBJ) = ((COMP XCOMP  FOCUS) etc

38 Functional uncertainty The infinite set of possible dependencies requires a means of selecting the right one for the sentence in question (  DF) = (  GF* GF)(Outside-in) (  GF) = ((GF*  DF)(Inside-out)

39 Outside-in functional uncertainty filler-gap relation expressed solely at f- structure with no empty c-structure Island constraints statable as conditions on the path from filler function to gap function (  DF) = (  {COMP, XCOMP}* (GF– COMP))

40 Off-path constraints (  DF) = (  {COMP, XCOMP}* (GF)) Only COMP and XCOMP can intervene between filler and gap So Complex NP Constraint follows since NPs cannot be COMPs or XCOMPs

41 Inside out functional uncertainty (IOFU) there is an empty node in c-structure the empty node is annotated with the equation: (  GF) = ((GF*  DF) provided there is a legitimate path from the gap to the required focus or topic function the equations can be solved and the structure is allowed

42 Why IOFU? f- /c-structure correspondences weak crossover effects wh- in situ and scope

43 Canonical structural realization SUBJ and OBJ must be realized as nominals (NP or DP)(Bresnan 2001) a) That he would be late, I never would have believed.(That he would be late = COMP) b) That he would be late was widely predicted. (That he would be late = ?) c) Under the bed, we said they would find him. (Under the bed = ADJ) d) Under the bed is where they found him. (Under the bed = ?)

44 CSR (cont.) If that he would be late in (b) is COMP, and if under the bed in (d) is PP, then CSR is violated. So, assume a null expletive subject [e]

45 Weak Crossover Who does his mother like [e]?(who ≠ his) f-precedence: a piece of f-structure f f-precedes a piece of f-structure g if the rightmost node associated with f precedes the rightmost node associated with g. A pronominal P cannot f-precede a constituent on which P is referentially dependent.

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