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31 Dec 2010
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Syntax
-A way to combine words into sentences
Grammatical vs. ungrammatical
-An utterance is grammatical if native speakers judge it to be a possible sentence
of their language
Universal grammar
-Categories, operations, and principles shared by all languages
-Syntactic component of grammar = lexicon + computational system
Lexicon
-A speaker’s mental dictionary
Computation system
-Operations responsible for arranging words in particular ways
-Ex. move, merge
Categories and structures
-Syntactic categories are simply categories of words
Lexical categories
AKA content words
Examples
Noun (N)Jingwei, girl, she, laptop, bookshelf
Verb (V)Exercise, love, exhaust, sleep, read, write
Adjective (A)Vain, ridiculous, perpetual, pulchritudinous
Preposition (P)On, under, near, in, out, at, by, to
Adverb (Adv) Quickly, quietly, quintessentially, quizzically
Non-lexical categories
AKA function words
Examples
Determiner (Det)A, the, this, these, no
Degree word (Deg) So, too, very, more, quite
Auxiliary (Aux)
ModalWill, would, can, could, may, must, should
Non-modalBe, have, do
Conjunction (Con) And, or, but
Determining syntactic category – meaning
-Nouns denote entities; verbs actions, sensations, and states; adjectives properties
and attributes
-Problematic when meaning does not readily indicate category
Determining syntactic category – inflection
-Inflectional affixes
oNouns: plural –s and possessive –’s
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oVerbs: past –ed, progressive –ed, and third-person singulars
oAdjectives: comparative –er and superlative –est
-Problematic when affixes absent
Determining syntactic category – distribution
-Distribution refers to the elements a word co-occurs
Syntactic categoryDistributional property
Noun With a determiner
Verb With an auxiliary
AdjectiveWith a degree word
Phrase structure
-Words are grouped into phrases; phrases into sentences
-Schema format in English
-Schema format in Japanese
Head
-Obligatory
-Can be N, V, A, or P
Specifier
-Marks phrase boundary; in English, heading the phrase
Syntactic category Typical function
Determiner (Det)Specifier of nouns (N)
Adverb (Adv) Specifier of verbs (V)
Degree word (Deg) Specifier of adjectives (A) or prepositions (P)
Complement
-A phrase providing information about the head
The merge operation
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