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Power points at Crash Course in CG—Review. A language is a structured inventory of conventional linguistic units. Review. Association: two concepts coocur together in the mind. Correspondence: two concepts are taken to be the same. Review.

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Power points at

crash course in cg review
Crash Course in CG—Review

A language isa structured inventoryof conventionallinguisticunits

  • Association: two concepts coocur together in the mind.
  • Correspondence: two concepts are taken to be the same.
  • A - -  B = Partial schematicity: A and B are similar but not identical.
  • A  B = Full schematicity: B is a (kind of) A.
  • We are wired to like it when we find schematicity, especially full schematicity.
  • Concepts typically occur in very complex categories, describable as networks of schematic and partially-schematic relationships.
  • These are ubiquitous in language
  • You have a classical category when the prototype (most prominent member) and highest schema coincide.
  • But most categories are not classical.
  • Semantic structures feature a profile which stands out as figure against a base (cognitive background).
  • The base is encyclopedic: it contains everything conventionally known about the profiled entity.
  • Profiles can be classified into categories somewhat similar to traditional parts of speech: Things, Processes, Atemporal Relations. (= Nominal entities, Verbal entities, adj/adv/adpositions).
syntactic structures valence
Syntactic Structures: Valence
  • Let’s talk about what happens when symbols are joined together.
  • We already pointed the way in discussing the example of FIRE TRUCK.
  • The only thing that shows up in all valences (= all types of joinings) is that there is at least one correspondence between a subpart of one symbol’s semantic pole and a subpart of the other’s.
valence correspondence
Valence: Correspondence
  • The profiled Thing of FIRE links to a peripheral (far-fetched) subpart of TRUCK.
  • The profiled Thing of TRUCK links to a peripheral part of FIRE.
valence correspondence1
Valence: Correspondence
  • The fire-fighting scenario, peripheral to both meanings, links between them.
  • As is typical, there is more than just correspondence.
valence correspondence2
Valence: Correspondence
  • It is somewhat atypical (though by no means really rare) that only peripheral elements are linked in this case, however.
valence correspondence3
Valence: Correspondence
  • More typically the profile of one element is put in correspondence with a very central part of the other.
  • In the most typical case, it is the profile of a Thing that is put into correspondence with one of the participants in a Relation.
valence correspondence4
Valence: Correspondence
  • For instance, consider the phrase (THE) LAMP ABOVE (THE) TABLE.
  • ABOVE we have already characterized.
valence correspondence5
Valence: Correspondence
  • (THE) LAMP is put in correspondence with the (internal) Subject of above.
  • This makes it its (external) subject.
valence correspondence6
Valence: Correspondence
  • (THE) TABLE is put in correspondence with the (internal) Object of above.
  • This makes it its (external) object.
valence correspondence7
Valence: Correspondence
  • Although such “predicate-argument” correspondences are typical, they are by no means the only type.
valence correspondence8
Valence: Correspondence
  • (Some syntactic theories have acted as if they were the only type.)
valence dependence
Valence: Dependence
  • The participants in the Relation ABOVE are only characterized schematically: one physical Thing is above another.
valence dependence1
Valence: Dependence
  • THE LAMP and THE TABLE elaborate those schemas.
  • This configuration is also typical.
valence dependence2
Valence: Dependence
  • In this case ABOVE is said to depend on THELAMP and THE TABLE.
valence dependence3
Valence: Dependence
  • It needs them; it is not complete without them.
  • We want to know what is ABOVE what.
valence dependence4
Valence: Dependence
  • The schematic structure in one meaning which is elaborated by the other meaning is called an “elaboration site”.
valence dependence5
Valence: Dependence
  • Elaboration sites (e-sites for short) are often cross-hatched in diagrams.
valence dependence6
Valence: Dependence
  • So, the (internal) subject and object of ABOVE function, in this construction, as e-sites.
valence dependence7
Valence: Dependence
  • Dependence is measured by two factors:
    • How prominent is the e-site?
    • How “schematically distant” from it is its elaboration?
valence dependence8
Valence: Dependence
  • Think of the e-site as a hole, and the elaboration a peg that fits into the hole, and fills it more or less completely.
valence dependence9
Valence: Dependence
  • Dependence is measured by two factors:
    • How big/important is the hole?
    • How completely does the peg fill it?
valence dependence10
Valence: Dependence
  • Sometimes there is no strong dependence.
  • (FIRE and TRUCK do not depend on each other in FIRETRUCK.)
  • Dependence often runs in both directions, with each member of a syntagmatic pair depending on the other.
  • But typically there is an imbalance, with one member more strongly dependent on the other than vice versa.
valence review
Valence: Review
  • So we have seen two factors in semantic valences:
  • Correspondence — there is always some correspondence between subpart(s) of one and of the other.
  • Dependence — Prototypically one depends on (needs) the other more than vice versa.
valence the composite structure
Valence: the Composite Structure
  • These relationships are “horizontal”, i.e. they hold between components of a complex structure.
  • The overall result of the complex structure we will call the composite structure.
  • The composite is typically “more than the sum of the parts”, and must be represented separately.
  • Relations from the components to the composite we may call “vertical” relationships.
valence vertical relationships
Valence: “Vertical” relationships
  • It will be obvious from the examples that there are vertical, as well as horizontal, correspondences.
  • (Dependence does not operate vertically.)
valence h eadship
Valence: Headship
  • The third element of valence is headship.
  • It is a vertical, not a horizontal, relationship, having to do with with the relationship of the components to the composite.
  • Essentially, the component that contributes the most (and the most important) specifications to the composite is the head of the construction.
  • This is a product of Profile determinance coupled with Semantic weight.
valence profile determinance
Valence: Profile Determinance
  • The Profile Determinant is the component whose profile is adopted in the composite structure.
  • It can be recognized because it is schematic for the composite structure.
  • In FIRETRUCK, TRUCK is clearly the profile determinant.
  • (A FIRETRUCK is a TRUCK, not a FIRE.)
valence headship
Valence: Headship
  • In THE LAMP ABOVE THE TABLE, THE LAMP is profile determinant.
  • The composite is a lamp (which is above the table), not a table, nor a specific kind of ABOVE relationship.
valence headship2
Valence: Headship
  • However, in THE LAMP IS ABOVE THE TABLE, IS ABOVE would be profile determinant.
  • The composite is not a lamp, nor a table, but a specific kind of IS ABOVE imperfective process.
valence headship4
Valence: Headship
  • Specifying the profile is the most central specification a component can contribute.
  • Usually, as in the two cases we have just seen, the profile determinant contributes a reasonable proportion of other specifications as well.
  • In such cases it is also semantic heavyweight, and thus clearly head.
valence headship5
Valence: Headship
  • Sometimes, however, a structure contributes nothing but the profile, and the other structure is relatively heavy.
  • E.g. in sensationally, -ly is profile determinant.
  • In collapsing, -ing is profile determinant.
  • In such cases, headship is less clear, and linguists argue about it.
valence headship6
Valence: Headship
  • It is not uncommon to have more than one profile determinant or head.
    • E.g. stir-fry
    • E.g. neighbor lady
  • It is also not terribly uncommon to have none.
    • E.g. scarecrow
  • But prototypically one element clearly outranks the other(s) as head.
valence headship7
Valence: Headship
  • Headship is independent of dependence
    • Either the relatively dependent element may be head,
    • Or the relatively autonomous element may be.
  • We already saw this in the cases of THE LAMP ABOVE THE TABLE (where an autonomous element is head) vs. THE LAMP IS ABOVE THE TABLE, where the dependent element is head.
valence headship8
Valence: Headship
  • Popōkatepētl can mean two different things.
  • In both meanings tepētl ‘mountain’ is (external) subject of the verb popōka ‘it smokes’.
  • In both, popōka depends on tepētl, not vice versa.
valence headship9
Valence: Headship
  • In one meaning, popōka is the profile determinant.
valence headship10
Valence: Headship
  • Popōka is a process, and so is popōka-tepētl; in fact a more specific versionof the sameprocess.
valence headship11
Valence: Headship
  • The schematicity relationship of course subsumes a number of correspondences.
valence headship12
Valence: Headship
  • Every specification of the schema must by definition cor-respond to something in the elaboration.
valence headship13
Valence: Headship
  • There is also correspondence from the non-head to part of the composite structure.
valence headship14
Valence: Headship
  • In the second meaning, it is tepētl that determines the profile of the composite structure.
valence headship15
Valence: Headship
  • Tepētl profiles a mountain, and the composite structure also profiles a quite specific mountain.
valence complements and modifiers
Valence: Complements and modifiers
  • Where one element is clearly head, and one is clearly dependent, we can insightfully characterize two other important traditional notions.
  • If the head is dependent on its companion, that companion is a complement, and you have a head-complement valence.
  • This makes sense: the head by definition needs the complement, and the complement satisfies or completes that need.
valence complements and modifiers1
Valence: Complements and modifiers
  • If the head is relatively autonomous, and its companion depends on it, that companion is a modifier, and you have a head-modifier valence.
  • The modifier adds extra (likely very interesting, but not required) information.
  • The first meaning we saw for popōkatepētl is a head-complement construction.
valence complements and modifiers2
Valence: Complements and modifiers
  • The head means something smokes, and you want to know what.
  • The complement supplies that infor-mation—it’s amountain.
valence complements and modifiers3
Valence: Complements and modifiers
  • The second meaning we saw for popōkatepētl is a head-modifier construction.
valence complements and modifiers4
Valence: Complements and modifiers
  • The head means a mountain.
  • You don’t im-mediately think to ask “What does it do?”
  • But the modifier tells youanyway.
four elements of valence
Four elements of valence
  • We have named three elements of valence:
    • Correspondence (horizontal and vertical)
    • Dependence (horizontal)
    • Headship (vertical)
  • A fourth element is constituency.
  • This comes into play when there are more than two constituents being joined.
  • It has to do with the order in which they are joined to each other (or separated in analysis).
valence constituency
  • Given A, B, and C, you can first join A with B, then add C, or B with C and then add A, or all three together, or perhaps other possibilities.
  • This is traditionally expressed by brackets: [A B] C vs. A [B C] vs. [A B C], and so forth.
  • In traditional theories of grammar this was very important.
  • It was also fixed.
valence constituency1
  • It was important that it be fixed, in at least some theories, because it was the basis for characterizing subjects vs. objects, etc.
  • A result of it being fixed was that when things were clearly not in the specified constituency, some sort of adjustment (“transformation”, “movement”) had to be posited to fix things up.
valence constituency2
  • CG claims it is the most variable and least essential aspect of valence.
  • (External) subjecthood and objecthood are defined on the basis of correspondence with the (internal) subject and object of a Relation; i.e. by what participant is most prominent and which is secondary (or tertiary, etc.)
  • As long as those correspondences, and headship relations, are maintained, the order of assembly (/analysis) doesn’t matter all that much.
valence constituency3
  • For instance, you can join ABOVE with THETABLE to make a composite “prepositional phrase” structure:ABOVE THE TABLE.
valence constituency4
  • THELAMP would then be joined to it, to make a composite noun-modifier structure.
  • This is the traditional analysis.
  • CG says it is perfectly possible, and there are even reasons to treat it as the default.
valence constituency5
  • But it is not the only possible one.
  • It also works to first join THE LAMP to ABOVE, then add in THE TABLE.
valence constituency6

The same overall composite structure is produced by eitherconsti-tuency.

valence constituency7

It is also produced by the tripartite “all-at-once” constituency we saw first.

valence constituency8

The meanings are not identical, but they are close enough for differences to pass un-noticedfor mostpurposes.

valence constituency9
  • This proves true in many other cases.
  • Using different constituencies seems to be one of the common ways we differ from one another or from one occasion to another, in our speech.
  • Sometimes slight timing or intonational differences will signal a change of constituency—CG allows the analysis to be responsive to such subtle clues.
  • Another HUGE topic I cannot pass by without mentioning:
  • Languages provide many ways to link semantic structures to the “Ground”, i.e. the Speaker and Hearer and the knowledge they share.
  • Thing entities when grounded are called “Nominals” (=“NP” in older traditions.)
  • Grounded processual entities are called “Verbals” (= “VP” or “S”.)
  • Nominal grounding elements include definite and indefinite articles, demonstratives, possessives, certain kinds of quantifiers, etc.
  • Pronouns and proper names are (by definition) already grounded.
  • Verbals often require that their participants (usually nominal) be grounded, i.e. they require Nominal participants.
  • Apart from participant grounding, verbal grounding focuses on the time specification of the profiled Process.
  • Verbal grounding forms include (especially) tense and modal specifications.
a family of constructions
A family of constructions
  • Just to give a picture of how complex structures fit into a network of categories, I would like to take an example in Nawatl.
  • The word mowan is a combination of mo- ‘you’ + -wan ‘with’. It is a doubly dependent structure, with each member depending strongly on the other.
  • The composite structure means, essentially, ‘with you’.
a family of constructions1
A family of constructions
  • (I will be ignoring the polysemy of -wan, though it does have other meanings.)
  • Here is a diagram of mowan
  • (I’m using the following representation for the Speech Situation: Speaker communicating with Hearer.)
a family of constructions2
A family of constructions
  • Mowan can be more compactly represented as in the second diagram.


a family of constructions3
A family of constructions
  • Mopan means “on you” (ignoring a lot of polysemy here).



a family of constructions4
A family of constructions
  • Comparing the two naturally gives rise to a schema (mo-P) subsuming them.
  • This schema also sanctions quite a few other well- established structures (motech, monāwak, etc.)
a family of constructions5
A family of constructions
  • It may also sanction a very few non-established structures: e.g. ?mo-tzallan ‘between you’, i.e. ‘between your feet/legs’.
a family of constructions6
A family of constructions
  • Returning to mowan ‘with you’, there are a bunch of related structures like towan ‘with us’, nowan ‘with me’, amowan ‘with you pl.’, and īwan ‘with him/her/it’.
a family of constructions7
A family of constructions
  • These structures are naturally compared with each other.
  • Doing so gives rise to a schema, PnObj-wan.
a family of constructions8
A family of constructions
  • In similar ways, no-P, to-P, ī-P and other similar “half-lexical” schemas are extracted from specific forms that are also learned.
a family of constructions9
A family of constructions
  • They are naturally compared among themselves and give rise to a PnObj-P schema. This is clearly a morphological or syntactic rule.
a family of constructions10
A family of constructions
  • Similarly, the PnObj-pan, PnObj-ihtik and PnObj-nāwak schemas are compared to each other.
  • The schema that gets extracted turns out to be the same as the PnObj-P schema that is extracted from no-P, mo-P et al.
  • None of this means that the specific fully lexical combinations are forgotten or expunged from the language.
a family of constructions11
A family of constructions
  • There is ample reason to claim that they must be retained.
  • In particular, the form īwan is very exceptional in a number of ways.
  • It is among the most common words in the language, occurring hundreds of times more often than any of the other forms (which are by no means all equally common with each other.)
a family of constructions12
A family of constructions
  • It also shows an impressive array of polysemous meanings, beyond those of other Pn-wan constructions.
  • These include a number which are not clearly subcases, but rather partial elaborations, of the Pn-wan schema.
  • Its most common meaning is ‘and’.
  • Many cases are ambiguous between an ‘and’ and a ‘with him/her/it’ meaning.
a family of constructions13
A family of constructions
  • The PnObj-P family of constructions is part of a larger Obj-P family.
  • Some P’s take noun-stem objects besides or instead of Pn objects.
    • –wan does not,
    • -pan does,
    • -ko must
a family of constructions14
A family of constructions
  • It does not work to simply have a rule Obj + P, a list of pronouns and noun stems, and a machine to mindlessly apply the potential objects to the prepositions.
  • You will get a lot of really strange forms that way.
    • Just as one example, a rarely combined noun stem would show up as often as the extremely common prefix ī- ‘3rd person singular object’.
    • You would get noun stems on postpositions that don’t like or even forbid them, and pronouns where they shouldn’t go.
a family of constructions15
A family of constructions
  • The PnObj prefixes are actually polysemous / homonymous with possessor prefixes.
  • So whole families of Possr-N structures tie in.
  • Some postpositions are rather noun-like, and vice-versa.
  • By the time you are finished even a reasonably complete description of the Pn-P family of constructions, you have described a very significant chunk of Nawatl grammar.
a family of constructions16
A family of constructions
  • Two final points:
  • 1. The proliferation and exuberant interconnection of kinds of constructions really turns some people off. This seems more an esthetic than a defensible theoretical reaction, though some invoke simplicity as a theoretical argument, or supposed unlearnability.
a family of constructions17
A family of constructions
  • Responses:
    • Even if it’s ugly, it’s true. There are arguments for its necessity.
    • Remembering the immanence of schemas, the cloud metaphor (we are looking at droplets in the cloud, and of course it’s complicated!), etc., helps me see it as less onerous to learn, more beautiful, and so forth.
a family of constructions18
A family of constructions
  • 2. Half-lexical structures are hugely important.
    • Traditionally linguists eschewed them in favor of a combination of lexical items + fully schematic rules.
    • Though in essence they admitted some as “case-frames”, etc.
    • If you needed to chose, I’d rather know the half-lexical structures of a language than lexical items and/or syntactic rules without them.
    • Fortunately, of course, it is not either/or: we have “all of the above”.