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A Bi-Polar Theory of Nominal and Clause Structure and Function August 2006 Jerry T. Ball Senior Research Psychologist Air Force Research Laboratory Mesa,

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Presentation on theme: "A Bi-Polar Theory of Nominal and Clause Structure and Function August 2006 Jerry T. Ball Senior Research Psychologist Air Force Research Laboratory Mesa,"— Presentation transcript:

1 A Bi-Polar Theory of Nominal and Clause Structure and Function August 2006 Jerry T. Ball Senior Research Psychologist Air Force Research Laboratory Mesa, AZ

2 2 Bi-Polar Theory vs. X-Bar Theory X 2 X1X1 X Specifier Complement(s) X-Bar TheoryBi-Polar Theory SpecifierHead Referring Expression (of relational type head) RelationComplements(0..3) Relational Expression GF i Modifier GF i referential pole relational pole XnXn Adjunct XnXn Comp subj GF i Modifier GF i

3 3 CoordGF i GFs(0..n) i GF (Grammatical Function) = Head, Spec, Mod, Comp, Referring Expression, Relational Expression X = N, V, Adj, Prep X 1 = N 1, V 1, Adj 1, Prep 1 X 2 (XP) = NP, VP, AdjP, PP Bi-Polar Theory vs. X-Bar Theory X-Bar TheoryBi-Polar Theory

4 4 X-Bar Theory XBar Theory was originally based on semantic intuition (Chomsky, 1970) – Specifier – Determiner in NP; Auxiliary Verb in VP Determiner and Auxiliary Verb perform a similar Grammatical Function – referential indicator – Head – POS of semantically most important element projects type of maximal projection adhering to a strong notion of endocentricity – Complement – subcategorized verb argument – Adjunct – semantically peripheral element The use of the functional labels specifier, head, and complement reflect this semantic intuition

5 5 Problems with Early X-Bar Theory Subject Complement did not fit pattern – Other complements are post head (in English) – Required special rule for sentences outside of theory S  NP VP – Special rule violated endocentricity, a key element of X Bar Theory

6 6 Introduction of Functional Heads Functional Heads made it possible to overcome these problems (Abney, 1987) – Subject becomes Specifier of the Functional Head Inflection (Infl) – no longer a Complement – Don’t need special rule to handle subjects S  NP VP – Endocentricity can be maintained at all levels – To maintain consistency, Determiner becomes Head of DP taking an NP Complement

7 7 Problems with Functional Heads Introduction of Functional Heads eliminates underlying semantic intuition Functional heads like Det, Infl, Comp, Neg violate any semantic understanding of what a head is (i.e. what the expression as a whole is about) McCawley: In recent versions of X-Bar Theory “…all sorts of things…get represented as heads of things they aren’t heads of” Abney introduces the notion of “semantic head” to compensate for the inadequacies of functional heads In treating “the dog” as a DP with an NP complement, “dog” isn’t even an NP and complements aren’t supposed to project features

8 8 Problems with Functional Heads Proliferation of Functional Heads leads to highly counterintuitive syntactic representations

9 9 CP DP VP NP D V PP P DP D NP the bookis on the table N IP = C’ I N’ I’ = C N’ N D’ P’ V’ D’ “The Book Is On The Table”

10 10 An Alternative Approach Start with basic semantic intuition underlying early X- Bar Theory Embrace Grammatical Functions Specifier, Head, Complement and Modifier (aka Adjunct) Restrict strong notion of endocentricity Acknowledge important contribution of both specifier and head to meaning of linguistic expressions – Specifier – locus of Referential Meaning – Head – locus of Relational Meaning – Linguistic expressions are Bi-Polar not Uni-Polar!

11 11 Bi-Polar Theory Very important to distinguish the Part of Speech (POS) and Expression Form from Grammatical Function – The head of a nominal need not be a noun, although it typically is – The head of a clause need not be a verb, although it often is – Modifiers need not be adjectives (or adverbs), although adjectives (and adverbs) typically function as modifiers – Part of Speech is semantically motivated and not based purely on syntactic location or grammatical function

12 12 Primary Parts of Speech used to Describe Relations and Objects Relations – Verb – Adjective – Preposition – Adverb Objects, Objectified Relations and Objectified Situations – Noun – Pronoun – Proper Noun The part of speech of a lexical item provides a base construal. Different languages may provide different base construals! (Talmy 2000)

13 13 Effect of Grammatical Function on Construal of Relations and Objects When a relational lexical item functions as the head of a nominal, the described relation is construed objectively – “the kick” the act of kicking is construed objectively the complements of kick are suppressed consider the possibility that “kick” is a verb functioning as the head of nominal When an objective lexical item functions as the head of a clause some relational aspect of the described object is made salient – “he is home” the location of “home” is made salient consider the possibility that “home” is a noun functioning as the head of a clause

14 14 Relational Pole Heads (POS) Noun – The book Proper Noun – The Donald Verb – He gave the ball a kick – The running of the bulls Adjective – The quick and the dead – The noblest of motives Adverb – The ayes have it – They said their good-byes Verb – He runs – He ran – He is running – He did not run Adjective – He is sad Preposition – He is out (of the office) Adverb – He is there Noun – He is president NominalClause

15 15 Relational Pole Heads (Expression Form) Verb + Particle – The buy out of the corporation Gerund – Our going to the movies was fun That Clause – That you like him is nice Conjoined Prepositions – The up and down of the elevator Prepositional Phrase – He is on the porch Nominal – He is a child NominalClause

16 16 Referential Pole Specifiers Determiner – The book Quantifier – Some book – No book Wh-word – What book Possessive Pronoun – My book Auxiliary – He is running Infinitive marker – I like to sleep Complementizer – That he ran is good Relativizer – The book which you read Complex Auxiliary – He could not have been running Nominal Clause

17 17 Reference Point + Specifier Possessive Nominal – Joe’s book Cliticized Auxiliary – He’s running Nominal Clause SpecHead Referring Expression (of relational type head) Ref-Pt Ref-Pt = Reference Point (Taylor, 2000) Halliday’s Mood + Residue

18 18 Functional vs. Distributional Approach The bull is running – Running is a present participle functioning as the head of a clause The running of the bull – Running is a present participle functioning as the head of a nominal The running bull – Running is a present participle functioning as a modifier of the head of a nominal The bull is running – Running is a verb The running of the bull – Running is a noun The running bull – Running is an adjective Functional ApproachDistributional Approach Do humans really have 3 distinct entries for “running” in the mental lexicon?

19 19 Grammar and Morphology The bull is running – Running is a present participle functioning as the head of a clause The running of the bull – Running is a present participle functioning as the head of a nominal The running bull – Running is a present participle functioning as a modifier of the head of a nominal Quickly – Quick is an adjective functioning as the root or stem of an adverb Quickness – Quick is an adjective functioning as the root or stem of a noun Quicken – Quick is an adjective functioning as the root or stem of a verb Grammatical FunctionMorphological Function Grammar and Morphology are aligned!

20 20 Specifiers, Not Heads, Determine Referring Expression Type The dance The drink The splash The cat The dog The father The farm To dance To drink To splash To cat (about) To dog (someone) To father To farm In each contrasting expression, the head (e.g. “dance”, “drink”) has the same word form. As such, the head cannot be the determinant of the referential type of the expression. Rather, it is the specifier—either the determiner “the” or the infinitive marker “to”— that determines the type of the referring expression.

21 21 Conjunctions of GFs, not POS or Expression Forms She is laughing (present participle), happy (adj), a friendly person (nominal), and always in a good mood (PP) – GF = predication (head + post-head complements) The rock is on and scratching the table – GF = clause head The rock is on and was scratching the table – GF = predicator (specifier + head) The rock is on the table and scratching it – GF = predication (head + post-head complements) The rock is on the table and was scratching it – GF = predicate (specifier, head and post-head complements)

22 22 Related Research Dixon: “Give a verb, have a verb, take a verb” constructions Pullum: “English nominal gerunds as noun phrases with verb phrase heads” Malouf: verbal gerunds “show a mix of nominal and verbal properties” Borsley & Kornfilt: in mixed extended projections “a verb is associated with one or more nominal functional categories” Any strong notion of endocentricity must be relaxed

23 23 Summary Bi-polar theory improves on Uni-polar theories like X- Bar Theory Specifier, head, modifier and complement are defined on the basis of grammatical function Head of nominal does not have to be a noun Head of clause does not have to be a verb (or auxiliary verb) Specifier determines referential function, not head Strong notion of endocentricity is rejected Parts of speech of words depend on base construal in a given language and are not confounded with grammatical function or syntactic distribution

24 24 Bi-Polar Theory SpecHead Referring Expression (of relational type head) RelationComps(0..3) Relational Expression GF i Mod GF i referential pole relational pole Comp subj CoordGF i GFs i (0..n) SpecHead Referring Expression (of relational type head) Ref-Pt modifiercoordinator GF i Mod GF i endocentric only relations take complements! integration of referential and relational poles is underspecified! Object Rel Expr

25 25 Clause Subject Predicator Head Spec Object Head Spec Head thebook is on the table Clause Subject Predicate Head Spec Object Spec/Head Spec Head thebook is on the table Head “The Book Is On The Table” Subj—Predicator—ObjSubj—Predicate Underspecified!

26 26 Clause Subject Head Spec Object Spec/Head Spec Head the book’s on the table Head “The Book’s On The Table” Ref-Pt—Spec—Head Ref-Pt

27 27 Empirical Study What evidence is there for these alternatives? Subjects given linguistic expressions and asked to circle meaningful groups Preliminary Results…

28 28 The book was on the table (n = 19) the book was on the table the tablethe book on the table book was was on the table book table was onbook was on book on table book was on the table on table

29 29 The book was on the table (n = 19) book was on table the book the table on thebook on the table the book was the book was on

30 30 The book was on the table (n = 19) Subjects are very consistent at identifying the clause (13) and quite consistent at identifying the subject (10) and object (10) Subjects do not consistently identify any other groups! – The PP “on the table” was only identified by 5 subjects! – The group “book was” was identified by 5 subjects – The predicate “was on the table” was only identified by 4 subjects – The predicator “was on” was only identified by 2 subjects

31 31 Main Meaningful Groups thebookwasonthetable

32 32 Questions?

33 33 Parts of Speech Noun – a lexical item that describes a type of object, objectified relation, or objectified situation Verb – a lexical item that describes a type of relation – especially an action or event Adjective – a lexical item that describes a type of relation – especially a state, property or quality Adverb – a lexical item that describes a type of relation – especially a property, quality or manner – that can modify a relational lexical item, a relation referring expression or a situation referring expression Preposition – a lexical item that describes a type of relation – especially a locative or temporal relation


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