Syntax 3
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Syntax 3. Ling400. Long-distance relations. WH “movement” A wh -expression (what, who, etc.) is often found in the “wrong place” and is related to another position within the same sentence. Our theory explains this fact in terms of a “movement transformation.”. WH movement. S. NP Mary.

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Syntax 3

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Syntax 3

Syntax 3

Ling400


Long distance relations

Long-distance relations

  • WH “movement”

    • A wh-expression (what, who, etc.) is often found in the “wrong place” and is related to another position within the same sentence.

    • Our theory explains this fact in terms of a “movement transformation.”


Wh movement

WH movement

S

NP

Mary

VP

Aux

has

NP

what

Vt

eaten


Wh movement1

WH movement

S

What

Aux

has

NP

Mary

Aux

[has]

VP

NP

[what]

Vt

eaten


Subj aux inversion

Subj.-Aux. inversion

John can eat fish.

John can eat what?

*John can eat fish what ?

*John will disappear what?

John will disappear.

  • auxiliary verbs are generated between the subject NP and the main verb.

  • subj and aux then switch positions in wh-questions.


Wh movement subj aux inversion

Wh-movement+Subj-Aux inversion

S

WH

What

Aux

has

VP

NP

Mary

Aux

[has]

NP

[what]

V

eaten


Subj aux inversion in yes no questions

Subj-Aux inversion in yes-no questions

John can come to the party.

Can John come to the party?

Bill will get married next month.

Will Bill get married next month?

John studies mathematics.

*Studies John mathematics?

Does John study mathematics? [Don’t worry about this one.]


Embedded questions

Embedded questions

  • What happens in embedded questions?

    John knows what Bill can eat.

    *John knows whatcan Bill eat.

    *John knows Bill can eat what.

  • Wh-movement occurs

  • Subj.-Aux. Inversion does not occur.


Wh questions in other languages

WH questions in other languages

  • Not all languages move wh-words in wh-questions.

  • Examples: Chinese, Japanese, and many others.


Wh questions in chinese

WH questions in Chinese

  • Ni shenme shihou qu yinyue hui?

  • you what timego to music meeting

  • ‘When will you go to the concert?’

  • Ni cong nali lai?

  • you from wherecome

  • ‘Where do you come from?’


Wh questions in chinese1

WH questions in Chinese

  • Tamen zuotian wanshang chi shenme le?

  • they yesterday night eat what asp-mk

  • ‘What did they eat last night?

  • Women zenme zuo jiaozi?

  • wehow make dumpling

  • ‘How do we make dumplings?’


Wh questions in chinese2

WH questions in Chinese

  • Ta wei shenme ku le?

  • she for what cry asp-mk

  • ‘Why did she cry?’

  • Ni shi shei?

  • you are who

  • ‘Who are you?’


The organization of grammar

The Organization of Grammar

  • Lexicon (finite)

  • Phrase structure rules (finite)

  • Transformations (finite — very, very small in number)

  • This system is capable of generating an infinite number of sentences.


Word order typology

Word Order Typology

English:They ate an apple

(SVO)

Russian:Oni yabloko syeli

(SOV)they apple ate

Turkish:Onlar elma yediler

(SOV)they apple ate


Word order typology1

Word Order Typology

SOV -Russian, Turkish, Basque, Burmese,

Japanese, Hindi, Korean, Quechua,

Guugu Ymidhirr, Aleut, German (?)

SVO -English, Spanish, Italian, French,

Latin, Chinese

VSO -Irish, Welsh, Berber, Hebrew,

Maori, Maasai

VOS -Malagasy

OVS -Amazon Basin

OSV -???


Case marking typology

Case Marking Typology

SOV -Russian, Turkish, Basque, Burmese,

Japanese, Hindi, Korean, Quechua,

Guugu Ymidhirr, Aleut, German (?)

SVO -English, Spanish, Italian, French,

Latin, Chinese

VSO -Irish, Welsh, Berber, Hebrew,

Maori, Maasai

VOS -Malagasy

OVS -Amazon Basin

OSV -???


Typology re case marking

Typology re Case-Marking

  • Nominative-accusative languages (e.g. English, Japanese)

    The subject of a transitive verb and the subject of an intransitive verb receive the same case marker (nominative).

  • Ergative-absolutive languages (e.g. Basque)

    The object of a transitive verb and the subject of an intransitive verb receive the same case (absolutive).


Typology re case marking1

Typology re Case-Marking

  • She hit him. He arrived.

    [nom] [acc] [nom]

  • Basque

    Aita ethorri du.

    father came ‘My father came.’

    [absolutive]

    Ni-k aita maite du.

    I father love

    [ergative] [absolutive] ‘I love my father’


Wh questions advanced

WH questions [advanced]

  • WH words ask questions in simple sentences, but can also ask questions in complex sentences — implying “long distance relations/dependencies”.

  • What did Bill say that Mary saw ___?

  • Where did Bill say that Tom took Mary __?

  • Who did Bill say that Tom claimed that Helen spoke to ___?


Wh and syntactic mysteries

WH and syntactic mysteries

  • The boy that I spoke to at noon said he bought a book yesterday at the bookstore.

  • When did the boy say he bought the book?

  • --At noon

  • --Yesterday

  • The question word when can be extracted from the main or embedded sentence


Wh and syntactic mysteries1

WH and syntactic mysteries

  • When did the boy say where he bought the book?

  • --At noon

  • --*Yesterday

  • The question word when can only be associated with the main clause (= sentence), not the embedded sentence


Wh and syntactic mysteries2

WH and syntactic mysteries

  • What is the difference between the two questions?

    • When did the boy say ___ he bought the book ___?

    • When did the boy say ___ where he bought the book ___?

  • The second sentence has a WH word at the left edge of the embedded S


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