Long Distance Dependencies (Filler-Gap Constructions) and Relative Clauses

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Long Distance Dependencies (Filler-Gap Constructions) and Relative Clauses. October 10, 2007 11-721: Grammars and Lexicons Lori Levin (Examples from Kroeger and Van Valin). Outline. What is a filler-gap construction? What is a long-distance dependency? What is a relative clause?

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### Long Distance Dependencies(Filler-Gap Constructions)and Relative Clauses

October 10, 2007

11-721: Grammars and Lexicons

Lori Levin

(Examples from Kroeger and Van Valin)

Outline
• What is a filler-gap construction?
• What is a long-distance dependency?
• What is a relative clause?
• Relative clauses in various languages
• Long distance dependencies in Malagasy
• Where can the gap be?
• What do you do if you need to put a gap where it is not allowed?
• Where can’t the gap be in English
Filler-Gap Constructions
• Ann, I think he likes ___.
• Gap is ungrammatical without filler:
• *I think he likes___.
• Filler without gap:
• Ann, I think he likes the girl in my class.
• Ann, I think he likes her.
• If you write a grammar for a filler-gap dependency, an interesting exercise is to make the parse fail when there is a gap without a filler or a filler without a gap.

S

NP

VP

V

S

NP

VP

NP

S

V

NP

VP

V

IP

I

VP

NP

V

Long Distance Dependencies

S-bar

Distance is measured by the number of nodes – the number of S, NP, CP, and IP nodes in particular – on the path from the parent of the filler, down the tree to the gap.

NP

Ann, I think he told me he tried to like ___

Long Distance Dependencies

S-bar

Distance is not measured by the number of words between the filler and the gap.

S

NP

VP

NP

the guy I met on the bus yesterday in Oakland

Ann

NP

V

likes

Filler Gap Constructions: English
• Topicalization
• Ann, I think he likes.
• It-Cleft
• It’s Ann that I think he likes.
• Wh-question
• Who do you think he likes?
• Embedded Wh-question
• I wonder who you think he likes?
• Relative Clause
• I saw the woman who I think he likes.
Filler Gap Constructions: English
• Tough-movement
• Ann is easy to talk to __ .
• Correlative construction
• The more I think I like Ann ___ the more she ignores me.
• The more people I talk to ___ the more I learn.
• Comparative clauses
• Ann has seen more movies than I think I have seen ___.
Historical Note
• Chomsky (1977) On Wh Movement
• Proposed a single rule, Move-wh, to account for all long-distance dependencies.
• Old approach:
• Write rules for each construction.
• New approach:
• Look for what the rules have in common.
What are relative clauses?

Sometimes people use the term “relative clause” to refer to the S-bar. Sometimes they use it (sloppily) to refer to the whole NP.

NP

Det N-bar

The N-bar S-bar

student RP S

that/who/which/Ø I saw ___

Let’s say that the filler is the relative pronoun, not the head noun.

S containing a gap

Relative pronoun, etc.

But there are relative clauses
• Without relative pronouns
• Without gaps
What makes it a relative clause?
• A noun that plays a role in two clauses
• I like the student who won the contest.
• I like the student.
• The student won the contest.
• One clause is part of a noun phrase in the other clause.
Which sentences contain relative clauses?
• I am annoyed by the fact that linguistics is fun.
• You met the the man who I saw.
• I wonder who you saw.
• The book that bothered me is on the shelf.
• I think that linguistics is fun.
• That linguistics is fun bothers me.
• I like [who you like].
“Relativized”
• The child who __ saw me smiled.
• Subject of “see” is relativized.
• The child who I saw __ smiled.
• Object of “saw” is relativized.
• The child who I talked to ___ smiled.
• The child to whom I talked ___ smiled.
• Oblique is reltativized.
• The child who I thought you liked __ smiled.
• What is relativized?
Order of relative clause and head noun
• English:
• The relative clause is after the head noun
• Turkish
• The relative clause is before the head noun.
Combination of strategies

Gap for subject, gap or pronoun for object, pronoun for everything else.

Wh-questions: English
• Gap in subject position:
• Who ___ likes Ann?
• Gap in object position:
• Who does Ann like __?
• Gap in oblique position:
• Who did you talk to __?
• To whom did you talk __?
• Gap in embedded clause (long distance):
• Who do you think that he saw __?
Constraints on Long-Distance Dependencies
• Where can the gap be?
• John Robert (Haj) Ross (1967) Ph.D. Thesis, MIT
Constraints on Long Distance Dependencies
• The gap cannot be inside a coordinate structure.
• I saw [the boy and the girl].
• *Who did you see the boy and ___.
• Except in “across the board” extraction:
• Who did you [ [talk to___] and [hear rumors about __] ]
Constraints on Long Distance Dependencies
• The gap cannot be inside a sentence that is inside a noun phrase:
• I like [the fact that he reads books every day].
• *What do you like the fact that he reads ___ every day?
Constraints on Long Distance Dependencies
• The gap cannot be inside the subject:
• [ Pictures of Sam ] were available.
• *Who were [ pictures of ___ ] available?
• [ Books about linguistics ] were on sale.
• *What were [ books about ___ ] on sale?
• But the gap can be inside the direct object:
• You saw [ pictures of Sam].
• Who did you see [ pictures of ___ ] ?