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University of Toronto St. George
Manami Hirayama

Lecture notes for Class of February 1, 2010 LIN100Y (Diane Massam) Note: these notes focus on material that is not in the textbook. BE SURE TO READ CHAPTERS 5 and 6. Semantics: the study of meaning. A central question is where do we place Semantics in our generative grammar? (which so far, looks like the following): LEXICON Merge D-structure Move S-structure It is clear that we need some meaning in the Lexicon. This consists of the meaning of lexical items, which is very hard to represent (see discussion in the textbook about the meaning of colour terms like blue, and other aspects of lexical meaning such as antonymy etc.). We will focus today on one aspect of lexical meaning, and explore how it is realized in syntax, namely the thematic argument structure of words, focusing mainly on verbs. FIRST: Lets look at how meaning can be reflected in structure, in terms of modification. The textbook places modifiers as daughters of XP and sisters of X (p. 177-8) [Remember how when we talked about complements (p. 158-9 textbook) I mentioned that the book doesnt really distinguish complements from modifiers. I said we really have to do this in a complete grammar For example, on p. 158, Table 5.5 the text talks about with a crowbar as a complement (sister of V), but on p. 210 it talks about with binoculars as a modifier (sister of V). Be aware that the two are different, but dont worry too much about being able to tell for a given PP, whether it is an argument or a mofifier. Generally complements elaborate on and express part of the meaning of a head, whereas modifiers add extra meaning.] Modifiers are part of the phrase they modify, thus structure reflects meaning. Some sentences or phrases are structurally ambiguous, because there are two structures that correspond to one string. E.g. Nicole saw people with binoculars the PP can be modifying the NP or the VP. See trees and discussion for this and coordination on p. 209- 210.
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