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Syntax exercises


Department
Linguistics
Course Code
LINA01H3
Professor
Imiria

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Syntax practice exercises
August 5th, 2011
1
Question 1
Draw the deep structure and the surface structure for the following sentence.
Which dog do you think loves bones?
D(eep) S(tructure)
[+Q] You think which dog loves bones.
CP
C’
C IP
[+Q]
NP I’
N’ I VP
[-Pst]
N V’
you V CP
think C’
C IP
[-Q]
NP I’
Det N’ I VP
[-Pst]
which N V’
NOTE:
dog
- this sentence contains a complement (embedded) sentence V NP
- this is the second CP
- the questioned subject (‘which dog’) is the DS subject
of the embedded sentence loves N’
N
bones

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Syntax practice exercises
August 5th, 2011
2
S(urface) S(tructure)
CP
NP C’
Det N’ C IP
[+Q]
the N NP I’
dog t1 I N’ I VP
[-Pst] [-Pst]
N V’
do do t2
you V CP
think NPt1 C’
C IP
[-Q]
NPt1 I’
I VP
[-Pst]
Do-insertion V’
V NP
loves N’
N
bones
Explanation
Syntactic operations:
- Wh-movement:
o The subject of the embedded sentence ends up in the Spec CP of the main
clause; (NOTE: it has to stop first in the Spec CP of the embedded clause,
because rules of movement say that elements don‟t do “long moves”, but
several “short” ones. This is the principle of minimality, but you won‟t be
tested on this in the final exam)
- I-to-C Inversion [to satisfy the +Q feature in the main C head]
o The I head is empty; „do insertion‟ is required
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Syntax practice exercises
August 5th, 2011
3
Question 2 (10 points)
Draw the deep structure and the surface structure for the following sentence.
A novel was written by this Canadian poet.
D(eep) S(tructure)
[-Q] Was written a novel by this Canadian poet.
CP
C’
C IP
[-Q]
I’
I VP
[+Pst]
V’
V VP
was V’ PP
V NP P’
written N’ P NP
Det N by Det N’
a novel the AP N
A’ N
A poet
Canadian
Note: there is no element in the SpecIP of a passive sentence; because there is no element in this
position, the logical theme (‘a novel’) can move there from the V complement position.
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