Week3-2 - Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 101 Chapter 5:...

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Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 101 Chapter 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 not A pronoun expressing the person and number of the subject of the main sentence. 1.1 Digression: 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’t 43 do not don’t shall not shan’t 44 etc. 43 As in I’m tall, aren’t I ?, used only in vernacular speech. (Remember your white lab coat…) 44 Archaic, at least for Americans.
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Introductory Linguistics p. 102 1.2 Phrase structure rules inadequate for tags It is in the nature of phrase structure rules that they can’t copy : they specify the daughter nodes of a particular kind of mother node, as well as the order in which the daughters appear, but that it all. If we naively attempted to generate tag questions simply by extending our set of phrase structure rules, we would derive many ungrammatical instances with a mismatched Aux, because these rules lack the copying capacity. Here is the failed approach in detail: Failed Hypothesis for Tags (a) Change the phrase structure for S to: S NP (Aux) VP (Tag) (b) Add the phrase structure rule: Tag Aux not Pro This hypothesis derives Alice will kiss Bill, won’t she? as follows: S NP Aux VP Tag | | | Alice will V NP Aux not Pro | | | | kiss N will she | Bill (The tree shows the pre-spelled-out version of the sentence; the spell-out rule would convert will not to won’t .) This hypothesis fails because it doesn’t enforce copying. We can apply the very same rules and derive preposterous sentences: S NP Aux VP Tag | | | Alice will V NP Aux not Pro | | | | kiss N has she | Bill By Spell-Out: *Alice will kiss Bill, hasn’t she? and similarly:
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2011 for the course LING 20 taught by Professor Schutze during the Fall '08 term at UCLA.

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Week3-2 - Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 101 Chapter 5:...

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