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Chapter 7

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Department
Linguistics
Course
LING 200
Professor
Maire Noonan
Semester
Fall

Description
LING 200 Introduction to the Study of Language Chapter 7 Syntactic phenomena of all language • Structural account was necessary; “rely on the notion that a contracted form and the following word have to be in a certain structural relationship to be grammatical. These syntactic phenomena refers to SYNTAX which are rules that never merely rely on a linear order (structure independent] (This also applies to other linguistic rules in general. A non-linear order is a fundamental property of the human language faculty = fundamental property of a human mind.) • Structure dependence is NOT a logical necessity. Morphophonemics: the study of phonological realization of the allomorphs of the morphemes of a language. • Phonological variations within morphemes: o a morpheme has more than one pronunciation, and its pronunciation depends (is predicted by) its environment, i.e. the stem it attaches to o E.g. English plural: /s/, /z/, or /ɪz/ • Turkish Vowel Harmony • Underspecification hypothesis Recap morphology A morpheme is the minimal sound-meaning pairing stored in the mind of a speaker. • The information that an affixal morpheme must include: o How it is pronounced o What it means o Whether it is a suffix or a prefix o What category of root it selects (noun, verb, adjective,…) E.g. -able as in washable Lexical entry of an affix -able, as in washable. ‘-able’ E.g. washable, readable, walkable, … But: *greenable, smallable, *coffeeable, … *ablewash, *ableread Sometimes, the pronunciation of a morpheme varies according to the phonetic environment. E.g. in English, the precise pronunciation of the plural suffix depends on the environment: If the variation is predictable by the phonology of the language, only one of the variants is listed. The others are derived through a phonological process. • This variation is called “morphophonemics’, because the phonological variation is a result of morphological concatenation, and because the variation can toggle between different phonemes (e.g. /s/ versus /z/). (Remember: purely phonological rules determine the choice among allophones of a phoneme.) At times, a morpheme may have an abstract, underspecified, mental representation. • Its precise pronunciation (i.e the complete specification of its phonetic features) is only supplied by the environment, once the morpheme has been concatenated to another morpheme. • We will see an example of the latter from Vowel is said to be underspecified if the Value of backness is unspecified. Vowel harmony: Vowel harmony is the process of filling in a gap by a neighboring vowel. It is usually not taught and is acquired through an individual’s environment and personal During observations, corner out the constant first and figure out what is happening [what doesn't change?) • Reduplication / process in linguistics are reduced based on certain law that is hinted by the constant aspect. PHONOLOGY and MORPHOLOGY of a language involves abstract representations and computations—[general rule within linguistics] So far … • From a purely acoustic physical point of view, speech is linear • But – we know that speech is not represented in a linear way in the mind. • Speakers construct abstract mental representations: Phonology: • Speech sounds are computed as speech segments and mentally constructed as phonemes • Phonemes are grouped into syllables; • Syllables are paired into feet • Words are constructed in the mind Morphology and Morphophonology: • Morphemes involve abstract representations (e.g. Turkish suffixes) and mental computation (e.g. Walpiri plural) Syntactic structure – how words are combined to form sentences … • is also not linear. • The mind constructs syntactic constituents - or syntactic phrases. • The operation responsible is MERGE: it combines two objects at a time. • These objects are either words or larger constituents, already constructed through Merge. • Phrases come in different flavours – nominal (NPs), verbal (VPs), etc. Basic Syntactic Categories Many equivalence classes in the construction of a sentence and concerning what is acceptable/unacceptable  nouns, determiners, verbs etc. • Therefore in a sentence, the same string of syntactic categories can be used (any word that fits the respective equivalence classes can be substituted) Grammaticality is preserved whenever the word we substitute belongs to the same category as the one we replace Even though the sentences may mean different things, at a certain level they are all the same • Can express sentences in syntactic categories Constituency tests 1. The SUBSTITUTION test: If a string of words can be replaced by a pro- form, it forms a syntactic constituent. 2. The MOVEMENT test: If a string of words can be moved it is a constituent. a) Topicalisation (move to front of clause) i.e. You should visit the Chihuly exhibition at the MBAM as soon as possible. The Chihuly exhibition at the MBAM, you should visit __ as soon as possible. b) Cleft construction: It is [ .... ] that ... i.e. It’s The Chihuly exhibition at the MBAM that you should visit as soon as possible Interim conclusion • Sentence structure is hierarchical. • This means it is not generated through a linear algorithm, nor are syntactic rules sensitive to linear arrangement. • It means that words are groped into units: syntactic constituents. • We can uncover syntactic constituents using constituency tests. How to draw syntactic trees The girl watched the dolphins with the binoculars. STEP ONE -- Apply constituency tests: a) She watched them with binoculars. ! [the girl] and [the dolphins ] are constituents, they are DPs. b) The girl watched the dolphins with the binoculars, …. and the boy did too  [watched the dolphins with binoculars] can be replaced by ‘did’, therefore it is a constituent, a VP c) The girl watched the dolphins with the binoculars, ... and the boy did with a camera.  [watched the dolphins] can be replaced by ‘did’, therefore is a constituent, a VP, in exclusion of the PP [with the binoculars] (we’ll see later that there’s a different reading of the sentence, with a different constituency structure) d) It’s with the binoculars that the girl watched the dolphins, [with the binoculars] can be clefted, therefore is a constituent, a PP. Now we have a bird’s eye view of what the constituent structure must look like, and we can begin drawing the tree. Remember: each constituent that you’ve identified must correspond to a node in your tree. After you’ve drawn the tree, double check this! STEP TWO -- Label the words: Hint: leave yourself space between the words. D N V D N P D N The girl watched the dolphins with the binoculars STEP THREE – MERGE: Two things to keep in mind: a) Every D projects a DP, every N an NP, every P a PP, every V a VP, … b) But: remember that a head (D, N, V, …) merges with an XP that it selects. So when you form the DP, the D, which selects an NP, merges with an NP in forming (projecting) a DP. On the other hand, sometimes two XPs are merged (e.g. when a PP modifies a VP, then a VP node and a PP node are merged). This last point makes the step-by-step instructions on how to draw your tree more complex. We need to do a back-and-forth dance between the tree drawing and the results of our constituency tests. Non-selecting heads: In this tree, the NOUNS do not select for anything, so as a first step you'd can project NPs from the Ns. NP NP NP | | | D N V D N P D N The girl watched the dolphins with the binoculars Modification check Before merging the NPs with the Ds that select them (to form DPs), we must check whether any of the NPs has a modifier. The only possible candidate is [NP dolphins]: does the string [with … that comes after it modify it (in which case it would be a constituent) ? Go back to your constituency tests! The answer is no: the test in a) established that the PP [with binoculars] is not part of the DP [the dolphins] (as the latter could be replaced by a pronoun, ‘them’). i) Now you can merge all the D with the NPs, and project the DPs. DP DP DP NP NP NP | | | D N V D N P D N The girl watched the dolphins with the binoculars ii) Then you merge the P with the DP [the binoculars] PP DP DP DP NP NP NP | | | D N V D N P D N The girl watched the dolphins with the binoculars iii) Go back to the results of your constituents tests in STEP 1: the string [watched the dolphins] is a VP. We merge the V with the DP it selects: VP PP DP DP DP NP NP NP | | | D N V D N P D N The girl watched the dolphins with the binoculars Modification check VP V’ PP DP DP DP NP NP NP | | | D N V D N P D N The girl watched the dolphins with the binoculars Predication S VP V’ PP DP DP DP NP NP NP | | | D N V D N
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