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Language and Cognition Colombo, June 2011 Day 2 Introduction to Linguistic Theory, Part 4.

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Presentation on theme: "Language and Cognition Colombo, June 2011 Day 2 Introduction to Linguistic Theory, Part 4."— Presentation transcript:

1 Language and Cognition Colombo, June 2011 Day 2 Introduction to Linguistic Theory, Part 4

2 Plan Syntactic movement Theta theory (syntax meets semantics)

3 Transformational grammar Chomsky (1957, 1965) – Two stages phrase structures for a sentence Build Deep Structure – Build from phrase structure rules – One constituent at a time Convert to Surface Structure – Built from transformations that operate on the deep structure » Adding, deleting, moving – Operate on entire strings of constituents S --> NP VP VP --> V (NP) NP --> (A) (ADJ) N

4 Transformational grammar 1 deep structure, 2 surface structures: – Active/passive sentences: The man bit the dog. The dog was bitten by the man. 2 deep structures, 1 surface structure: Sherlock saw the man with binoculars Passive transformation rule: NP 1 + V + NP 2 ---> NP 2 + be + V + -en + by + NP 1

5 Syntactic movement The sailor is kissing the girl Who is the sailor kissing? The sailor is kissing who Who is the sailor t is kissing t the girl/who ?

6 Psycholinguistic evidence for trace in the garage S NPVP NPVPPP Deep structureSurface structure The car was put(trace) NPVP NPVPPP S in the garage the carwas put Movement transformation probe Some “activation” of car evidence for reactivation of moved constituent at the trace position

7 Cross modal priming experiments


9 I to C movement Bruce can play the didgeridoo. Can Bruce play the didgeridoo? He might annoy the neighbours. Might he annoy the neighbours? He has lost his mind. Has he lost his mind? The earplugs are helping. Are the earplugs helping? In each of the derived questions above, the auxiliary verb {can, might, has, are}has moved from its original position to the front of the sentence This kind of movement, previously referred to as ‘Subject-Auxiliary Inversion’, is now described as I to C movement

10 I to C movement Notice that S = IP C is a functional head that has a projection higher than the level of the sentence The moved element is shown with an arrow attached, linking it to its original position The trace of movement is marked with a t

11 Under the old system…

12 What about empty Infl? Insertion of a dummy auxiliary – a placeholder

13 Multiple movements

14 Let’s do one together…. Using either PS rules or the X-bar style trees, draw diagrams for the following sentences, showing the movement: – The boy ate the apple – Did the boy eat the apple? – What did the boy eat?

15 Introduction to theta theory Sentence = predicate (an expression denoting an event or a state) and a set of arguments (the participants in the event) The arguments of a verb = the subject and object Complements of verbs = objects: they are positioned inside the first projection of the V, so they are called internal arguments Subjects are positioned outside the verb’s first projection, so they are called external arguments But arguments can be understood in different ways – they play different roles in the events denoted by the predicate  a typology of thematic roles

16 Thematic roles Theme or Patient:entity undergoing the effect of some action Mary fell over Agent or Causer:the instigator of some action John kissed Mary Experiencer:entity experiencing some psychological state Bill felt sad Recipient or Possessor:entity receiving or possessing something Mary got John a gift Goal:entity towards which something moves John went home

17 Mapping It’s not enough to “know” (implicitly) what the structure of a sentence is We also have to know how to interpret the structure So we need knowledge of thematic roles Thematic roles are assigned in structural relations – e.g. the Verb assigns a thematic role (usually Theme) to its complement Items in other positions get other thematic roles – Agent is usually in specifier position near the verb (sister to a higher projection) Some lexical items assign specific thematic roles – e.g. prepositions like by

18 Mapping This all becomes very important when we look at grammatical knowledge in aphasia Theta-roles: assignment of interpretive roles to syntactic objects subject verb object Grammatical roles John kissed Mary Theta roles Non-canonical word order  reliance on grammatical structure object verb subject John was kissed by Mary To be continued….. AgentPatient Agent?? Patient??

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