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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

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 time go to music meeting
  • ‘When will you go to the concert?’
  • Ni cong nali lai?
  • you from where come
  • ‘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?
  • we how 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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