Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 101Chapter 5: Syntax II — Transformations 1.Syntax beyond phrase structure: the need for transformations As seen already, our overall goal is to beef up the grammar so that it becomes an ever better approximation to the grammar internalized by speakers of English. We have done this by amplifying the system of phrase structure rules, and also by adding rules of agreement and case marking to govern the distribution of inflectional features. This section introduces the next major type of grammatical rule, the transformation, and argues for why it is needed. English contains a construction called the Tag Question. Tag questions appear after the comma in the following examples: Frogs can eat flies, can’t they? The president has resigned, hasn’t she? Bill was watching the stew, wasn’t he? As the data show, a tag question contains three parts in order: A copy of the Aux of the main sentence (can…can, has… has, was … was). A contracted form of the word notA pronoun expressing the person and number of the subject of the main sentence. 1.1Digression: spell-out rules Before going on, we need a bit of clarification: we are assuming, as seems intuitively reasonable, that can’t is the normal realization of can not, hasn’t is the normal realization of has not, and (more interestingly) won’t is the normal realization of will not. For such contractions (as school grammar calls them), we need minor morphological “spell-out” rules, of which the following are a partial list: Some Spell-Out Rules of English will not won’t can not can’t am not aren’t43do not don’t shall not shan’t44etc.43As in I’m tall, aren’t I?, used only in vernacular speech. (Remember your white lab coat…) 44Archaic, at least for Americans.
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