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Unformatted text preview: Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 115 Chapter 6: Syntax III — Subcategorization and Wh- Movement
1. Lexical insertion and subcategorization Our phrase structure rules generate, among many others, the following trees: A. NP | N S VP | V B. NP | N S VP V Art We have so far assumed that words are inserted whose part of speech matches up to the appropriate node in the tree. However, closer inspection shows that this procedure frequently overgenerates. Thus, for instance, a verb like sigh may appear in tree A but not tree B: Fred sighed. *Fred sighed his fate. A verb like destroy behave in the reverse fashion: it can appear in B but not in A: Bill destroyed his car. *Bill destroyed. Verbs like destroy, which must take an object, are called transitive verbs; verbs like ‘sigh’, which must not take an object, are called intransitive. Some verbs, such as eat, fit into both categories; they can be called “optionally transitive”. To avoid overgenerating in the way just shown, the theory needs a means of specifying the requirements of particular words for what tree structures they may appear in. The process of “inserting words into the tree” is called lexical insertion. The idea given here is that speakers possess a mental dictionary, generally referred to as the lexicon. Lexical insertion consists of extracting a word from the lexicon and inserting it into a syntactic tree. The entries in the lexicon contain the crucial information about what kinds of tree the words can be inserted into, in the form of a subcategorization frame. NP N Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 116 Thus, the lexical entry for destroy would be like this: destroy:
(more on this later) Pronunciation: /dstr/ Meaning: “violently cause no longer to exist” (we lack a better way to represent meaning) Syntactic category: Verb subcategorization frame: [ ___ NP ]. The subcategorization frame indicate the sisters that must be present in order for the word to be legally inserted into the tree. Destroy, being a verb, will be inserted as the head of a VP. The subcategorization frame says that for insertion of destroy to be legal, the VP must contain an NP, occurring immediately to the right of V within VP. The diagram below is meant to explicate this notation: VP V ___ Art | the NP N | city [ ___ NP ] Where a subcategorization frame does not include some particular phrase, then lexical insertion is impossible for where that phrase is present. Thus, for instance, the intransitive verb sigh would have the following subcategorization frame: Here is a lexical entry for sigh: sigh: pronunciation: /sa/ meaning: “exhale loudly to express sorrow” syntactic category: verb subcategorization: [ ___ ] The frame [ ___ ] indicates that ‘sigh’ may not have sisters in the VP. Optionally transitive verbs like sing (John sang, John sang the song.) have subcategorization frames that employ parentheses to show the optionality: Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 117 sing: pronunciation: /sŋ/ meaning: “use one’s voice to produce music” syntactic category: verb subcategorization: [ ___ (NP) ] Verbs of saying and belief often subcategorize for an S. For example, say has the ¯ subcategorization [ ___ (PP) S ] and tell has the subcategorization [ ___ NP (S)]. This can be ¯ ¯ justified by the following sentences: *Alice said. Alice said to Bill that she would be going. Alice said that she would be going. *Fred told. *Fred told that he would be going. Fred told us. Fred told us that he would be going.48 Nouns have subcategorization frames as well. For example, the subcategorization frame of gift is [ ___ (PP) (PP) ], as in a gift of $10 to the Red Cross. The subcategorization frame of picture is [ ___ (PP) ], as in picture of Alice. The subcategorization of dog is [ ___ ] (there are no noun phrases like *dog of teeth). When a rule of word formation derives a noun from a verb that subcategorizes for S, the resulting noun tends also to subcategorize for S: ¯ ¯ They believe that Sue left their belief that Sue left They assert that Sue left. their assertion that Sue left They claim the Sue left.49 their claim that Sue left. Such constructions require us to modify the phrase structure rule for NP to the following: NP Art (A)* N (PP)*(S) ¯ NP For discussion, see xxx below. For completeness, observe that tell also has the subcategorization [ ___ (NP)(NP) ]: Fred told us his sorrows, Alice told them her name.
49 48 The word formation rule here is conversion, which adds no suffix or prefix; see p. 44 above. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 118 1.1 Items not included in the subcategorization frame Some constituents evidently get to appear “for free” in the syntactic tree; they don’t have to be subcategorized. This is true for PP’s with general adverbial meaning of place, time, or manner can occur with virtually any verb: John sighed on Tuesday. John sighed in the garden. John sighed with great feeling. The general practice for subcategorization is this: if any element is always able to occur as a sister, then we don’t bother to mention it in the subcategorization frame. Basically, we are interested only in the restrictions that hold of individual words. This aspect of the grammar will not be formalized in this book.50 What is true of verbs is also true of nouns: PP’s of place, time, and manner are ignored in determining noun subcategorizations, so cases like dog in the garden the party on Tuesday a person in a good mood would not justify a frame like [ ___ PP ] for their nouns. Likewise, articles and possessors are not considered in the subcategorization frame, since they are possible for any noun (the dog, Alice’s dog). 2. Subcategorization and meaning It’s a somewhat vexed question to what extent subcategorization should be treated (as it is above) as a straightforward matter of syntax. An alternative view is that heads occur in particular syntactic locations simply because of what they mean. For example, the verb say is entitled to occur in the syntactic frame [ ___ PP S ] because an act of saying ¯ generally has someone who is being spoken to (in I said to Fred that I was leaving, this is Fred), and a thing which is said (I was leaving). Similarly, put occurs [ ___ NP PP ] because it involves a thing that is put, and location into which the thing is put. Sigh occurs [ ___ ] because nothing is affected when you sigh. Although there is probably a grain of truth to this “semantics, not subcategorization” view, there are also reasons to treat it with skepticism. First, there are cases of verbs that have very similar meanings, but different patterns of occurrence. Consider for instance say and tell.
In a more thorough grammar, we place the subcategorized PP under the VP node, and the unsubcategorized PP for place/time/manner under S. This permits us to say that subcategorization is (normally) reserved for sister nodes.
50 Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 119 I told Bill that I was leaving. *I told to Bill that I was leaving. *I said Bill that I was leaving. I said to Bill that I was leaving. It’s not clear how semantics alone could tell us which verb requires an NP object and which a PP. Likewise, the pattern below: I like jumping. I prefer jumping. I enjoy jumping. I like to jump. I prefer to jump. *I enjoy to jump. where only one of the three similar verbs can’t take an infinitive subordinate clause (see Chapter 1), suggests that meaning won’t suffice to tell us everything about subcategorization. The verbs give and donate are semantically similar, but have different syntactic behavior: She gave the library $1,000,000. *She donated the library $1,000,000. She gave $1,000,000 to the library. She donated $1,000,000 to the library. There is one more phenomenon that suggest that subcategorization has a slightly arbitrary character. Consider verbs like: He ate. She sang. We raked. These have what are sometimes called “implicit arguments”—it’s understood that “he” ate something; and that likewise she sang something (song unspecified), and we raked (leaves or grass unspecified). In other words, the syntax does not always have to provide overt expression for all the participants in an act. Yet in other cases, an implicit argument evidently is not allowed: *We took. *We own. 3. Solving subcategorization problems The best method seems to be the following: Sit and think of lots of words and sentences that include the word you’re considering. 51
I admit that this is harder for non-native speakers, a problem hard to avoid in linguistics teaching. If you don’t have native intuitions in English, I suggest doing one of two things when you solve subcategorization
51 Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 120 Look at the phrase structure rule that introduces the word (for example, if you’re dealing with a noun, look at the phrase structure rule NP (Art)(A) N (PP)* (S)). This will tell ¯ you the sisters that at least might be present. Remember that a subcategorized expression usually has a kind of intimate relation to the meaning of the word that subcategorizes it. The noun claim subcategorizes for an S ¯ because the S is used to designate the conceptual content of the claim. ¯ Try collecting as many individual frames for the word that you can, then use parentheses to collapse them into one or more simpler expressions. Study Exercise #16 Give subcategorizations for the following words, justifying them with example sentences. a. Verbs: elapse, award, tell, shout, die b. Nouns: turtle, bowl, announcement, reason Answer at end. problems on your assignments: either find a native speaker consultant and get their intuitions, or else add verbal discussion to your answer, with wording like “assuming that xxx is grammatical in English; I’m not sure.” It would be fair to grade your answer based the facts as you give them. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 121 Answer to Study Exercise #16 a. Verbs: elapse: [ __ ] Time elapsed *Time elapsed me *Time elapsed to the losing team. *Time elased that it was a great misfortune. award: [ ___ NP (PP)] *They awarded. They awarded a prize They awarded a prize to the winner. *They award to the winner. [ ___ (NP) NP ] They awarded the winner a prize. tell: [ ___ NP (S) ] ¯ They told Bill that they were leaving. They told Bill. *They told that they were leaving. [ ___ NP (PP) ] They told the truth to Bill. They told the truth. They told Bill. *They told to Bill. [ ___ NP (NP)] They told Bill the truth. They told Bill. They told the truth. shout: [ ___ (PP)(S)] ¯ They shouted. They shouted to Sally. They shouted that they were leaving. They shouted to Sally that they were leaving. [ ___ (NP)(PP)] They shouted the words. They shouted the words to Sally. die: [ ___ ] Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 122 and Jefferson died. *Jefferson died Washington. *Jefferson died to Washington. (Note: Jefferson died in 1826, Jefferson died in Virginia don’t count, since PP’s of place time can occur with any verb.) b. Nouns turtle: [ ___ ] turtle *turtle of shell *turtle that they were leaving bowl: [ ___ (PP) ] bowl bowl of soup announcement: [ ___ (PP) (S) ] ¯ the announcement the announcement to Bill the announcement that they were leaving the announcement to Bill that they were leaving reason: [ ___ (S) ] ¯ the reason the reason that we are going *the reason to Fred *the reason to Fred that we are going ———————————————————————————————————— 4. Wh-Movement 4.1 Backdrop This section returns to the topic of transformations. Thus far, we’ve seen two reasons to move beyond simple phrase structure grammars to transformational grammars: Phrase structure rules cannot copy material—only a copying transformation can generate the legal array of tag questions. Phrase structure rules cannot relate sentences to one another (for example, simple statements to yes-no questions). Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 123 We now move on to what many linguists would probably agree is the most important basis for transformations, sometimes called “long distance gap-filler dependencies”. The first example of such a case will be Wh- Movement. 4.2 Basics and terminology A wh-Word is one of a fixed inventory of words used for asking questions. They are so called because most of the wh-words in English begin with these letters. The wh- words of English can be various parts of speech: which whose who whom what how when why where Article Article Pronoun Pronoun either an Article or Pronoun Adverb Adverb Adverb Adverb A wh- question is a question that involves a wh-word. For example, the following are whquestions: Who did you see? What book did you read? Which chocolates did you like? In which hotel are you staying? How do you feel? You can see that the wh- word usually comes at or near the beginning of the sentence. It constitutes, or is part of, a phrase that (intuitively), the sentence is about; i.e. the focus of the questioning. A wh- phrase is an NP, PP, or AdvP (Adverb Phrase) that contains a wh- word and is placed at the beginning of a clause. In the wh- questions just mentioned, the wh- phrases are PP NP | Pro | who NP Art | what NP P | in NP Art N | | which hotel AdvP | Adv | how N Art N | | | book which chocolates This permits a more precise definition of wh- question; it is a question that begins with a wh- phrase. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 124 4.3 Wh- questions, subcategorization, and gaps Wh- questions are interesting in that they appear to violate otherwise-valid principles of subcategorization. Here is an example. The verb ‘put’ has the subcategorization [ ___ NP PP ]. Because of this a sentence like, Fred will put the chicken in the oven is grammatical; the subcategorization of put is satisfied. But *Fred will put in the oven is ungrammatical because of the missing NP, and *Fred will put the chicken is ungrammatical because of the missing PP.52 It is a bit surprising, then, that the following sentences should be grammatical: Into what oven will Fred put the chicken? What chicken will Fred put into the oven? These sentences, which are wh- questions, contain what are commonly called gaps. Instead of the NP or PP that the subcategorization calls for, one finds — nothing. The gaps are shown below, denoted with a ___: What chicken will Fred put ___ into the oven? Into what oven will Fred put the chicken ___ ? Most people who ponder the question will judge that these gaps are (intuitively speaking) “filled” by the wh- phrase. We understand what chicken to be the object of put in the first sentence, and in the second sentence we understand into what oven to be the PP indicating where Fred put the chicken. Let us define “gap”, for precision: A gap is a location in syntactic structure where the subcategorization requirements would lead one to expect a phrase, but none occurs. Such gaps are widely observed in English and in many other (not all) languages. As elsewhere we are ignoring extended uses of verbs, which often change the subcategorization. John put the chicken is fine in a fantasy world in which Olympic medals are awarded in the chicken-put. 52 Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 125 There is an intimate connection between wh- phrases53 and gaps: to a rough approximation, gaps are allowed only when a wh- phrase is present; recall *Fred will put in the oven *Fred will put the chicken Moreover, most people who ponder the question will judge that gaps are somehow “filled” by the wh- phrase. In What chicken will Fred put ___ into the oven? we understand what chicken to be the object of put, and in Into which oven will Fred put the chicken ___ ? we understand into which oven to be the PP indicating where Fred put the chicken. The two questions that demand to be answered here, then, are Why should wh- questions, and only wh- questions, permit gaps? How do we account for the fact that the wh- phrase at the beginning of the sentence intuitively fills the gap? As you might be imagining already, the answer will involve a transformation. 5. Further background: echo questions Before we proceed to the analysis, let us ponder a further phenomenon of English syntax, the so-called echo question. These are questions that contain a Wh- phrase, but have no gap; the Wh- phrase occurs in the ordinary position for its type, and satisfies the subcategorization requirements of the relevant head. Echo questions are not all that common, because they can only be used to offer an astonished replies to a parallel statement: The Romans destroyed the television set. The Romans destroyed what? I saw Marilyn Monroe in Westwood last Saturday. You saw who? Fred will put the chicken in the Socratic Oven. Fred will put the chicken in what oven? Echo questions make an important point: it is possible to generate a wh-phrase in the ‘normal’ position for an NP or PP; wh- phrases do not always have to appear at the beginning of sentence.
53 And, as we’ll see later one, phrases that behave quite similarly to wh- phrases. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 126 A bit of terminology: the wh- phrases of echo questions are sometimes said to be in situ, which is Latin for “in its original position”. 54 6. A transformation for Wh- questions The grammatical problem at hand is that Wh- questions have subcategorization gaps that match up with the initial wh- phrases. This is a dependency that cannot be expressed with the phrase structure rules we have been using. These rules can only say what daughters a node may have, and thus they have no ability to regulate matchups between elements in the tree that are far apart. A transformation is needed. The intuitive idea behind our transformation analysis will be to let normal questions be derived from deep structures that look like echo questions. That is, we will have a transformation that will move the wh- phrase out of its in situ deep structure position (where it satisfies the subcategorization of the verb) to the beginning of the sentence. As a first approximation: Wh- Movement Move a wh- phrase to the beginning of the sentence, leaving a trace. The term “trace” will be defined shortly. Here is a derivation to illustrate the analysis. We begin with the phrase structure rules (on the left), then do lexical insertion (on the right):
NP | N S | Aux V VP NP Art N P Art PP NP N NP | N | Fred S | Aux | will VP V | put NP PP NP Art N | | the oven Art N P | | | what chicken in This creates the stage of deep structure, with what chicken in situ. The crucial point at this stage is that we have not violated the subcategorization of ‘put’, which in deep structure does have the required NP and PP sisters. In fact, with the theory we are working on, ultimately this will be seen to be true even in surface structure (more on this below). To derive surface structure, we apply two transformations: Subject/Aux Inversion (which, as mentioned earlier, is applicable to questions in general) and Wh- Movement. I show this below first by drawing arrows to show what moves where, then showing the surface structure that results. A caution: the destination of what chicken is provisional; we will change the analysis a bit below. 54 Situ is an inflected form ([Case:ablative, Number:singular]) of situs ‘place’. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 127 (1) Deep structure, showing Subject/Aux Inversion:
S | Aux | will NP | N | Fred VP V | put NP PP NP Art | the N | oven Art N P | | | what chicken in (2) Output of Subject/Aux Inversion, showing Wh- Movement:
S | NP | Fred Aux | will VP V | put NP PP NP Art | the N | oven Art N P | | | what chicken in (3) Surface structure:
S NP Art N | | what chicken Aux | will NP | Fred VP V | put NP | t PP P | in NP Art | the N | oven As stated in the Wh- Movement rule, the movement of what chicken is assumed to leave a trace. A trace is essentially an empty copy of what got moved; it has the same category, but contains no phonetic material. To show that a trace is empty, we use the letter t, as the daughter of the trace’s category. For now, the trace is just an arbitrary choice, but we will see later on that it plays an important role when we do the semantics of wh- questions and similar constructions. For now, we can observe that the trace NP means that the subcategorization requirements of put are satisfied (albeit by an empty, abstract entity) at surface structure as well as deep structure. To review the general purpose of this transformational analysis: it offers an account of subcategorization gaps that does better justice to the facts than a phrase structure Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 128 grammar could. In this theory, gaps only arise from movement,55 so the fronted whphrase will always match the gap. This ability to capture a long-distance dependency (“X here only if Y there”) is a common justification for a transformational analysis. Study Exercise #17 Explain how our grammar predicts that *‘What city have the Romans destroyed Carthage?’ is ungrammatical. Study Exercise #18 Explain how our grammar predicts that *‘Who will the princess sigh?’ is ungrammatical. Study Exercise #19 Derive the question ‘Who will leave?’. A caution: there are many other sources of gaps, such as the dropped subject pronouns of Spanish, Persian, and many other languages. But these tend to have a special distribution, so the general point still holds. 55 Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 129 Answer to Study Exercise #17 This sentence is a wh- question. Accordingly to our analysis, the wh- phrase in such a question must have originated in deep structure in some position inside the sentence. But there cannot be any such position. The subject position is already filled by ‘the Romans’, and the verb ‘destroy’ subcategorizes for only one sister NP position, which is already occupied by the NP ‘Carthage’. Since our grammar cannot generate an appropriate deep structure, it is unable to generate the surface structure. It therefore predicts that the sentence should be ungrammatical. Answer to Study Exercise #18 This sentence has essentially the same problem as in Study Exercise #2: there is no place that the NP ‘who’ could have come from: the subject position is already taken up by ‘the princess’, and ‘sigh’ doesn’t subcategorize for any sister NP’s. Thus there is no possible deep structure, so our grammar cannot generate the surface structure. It therefore predicts ungrammaticality. Answer to Study Exercise #19 (1) Deep structure, showing Subject/Aux Inversion:
S ¯ Comp NP | Pro | who S | Aux | will VP | V | leave (2) Result of Subject/Aux Inversion, showing Wh-movement
S ¯ Comp Aux | will S | NP | Pro | who VP | V | leave Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 130 (3) Surface structure
S ¯ Comp | NP | Pro | who S Aux | will NP | t VP | V | leave This is sometimes call a “string-vacuous” derivation; the surface structure word order hasn’t changed (trace being silent), but the structure is different. 7. The “landing site” of Wh- Movement Wh- Movement doesn’t always move words to the beginning of the sentence. In socalled embedded Wh- questions, movement is to the beginning of a subordinate clause. A wh-question is a subordinate clause that is itself a wh- question, as in the following examples. I wonder what city the Romans destroyed. We asked for whom the bell tolls. They are found when the main clause has a verb like wonder and ask, which takes a question as its sister node. I’ll assume that these verbs have a special categorization, not formalized here, that they take an S which is not a declarative (the usual case), but a wh¯ question. An intriguing aspect of embedded questions is that they don’t occur with the complementizer that: *I wonder what city that the Romans destroyed. *We asked for whom that the bell tolls. *I wonder that what city the Romans destroyed. *We asked that for whom the bell tolls. The interaction of such movement with complementizers (such as that) requires us to refined the analysis somewhat. An influential idea in syntactic theory that the order of words in sentences can be explicated in terms of slots, which the words compete to fill. We’ve already said that the Complementizer that occupies the position Comp, a daughter of S. The idea to be developed here is that in an embedded Wh- question, the moved Wh¯ phrase actually occupies the Comp slot. When Comp is thus occupied, there is no room for that, which is semantically empty in any event. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 131 Under this view, we can arrange lexical insertion simply to leave Comp empty for embedded clauses introduced by verbs like wonder and imagine. Then, Wh- Movement acts to fill the empty slot by moving the Wh- phrase into it, as follows: Deep structure: S VP S ¯ S VP NP | Pro V Comp | | I wonder NP Art | the NP N | city N V Art | | | Romans destroyed what Wh- Movement and surface structure: S VP S ¯ S VP NP | Pro V Comp | | | I wonder NP Art | what N | city NP Art | the N | Romans V NP | | destroyed t In this view, the empty Comp node provides a “landing site” for the moved Wh- phrase. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 132 If this theory is going to work, we also need to cover the wh- questions that are not embedded, that is, the ones we started out with. There is a fairly reasonable tack that can be taken here, namely that these also have Comp, which provides the landing site for the sentence-initial wh-phrase. Specifically, the assumptions we need to make are as follows: Wh- questions are not instances of S, but of S. ¯ They require (by means not stated here) that the initial Comp be empty in Deep Structure.56 Under this analysis, the derivation of “What chicken will Fred put in the oven?” comes out slightly differently: Deep structure: S ¯ S Comp VP PP NP | N | Fred NP Aux | will V | put Art N | | what chicken P | in Art | the NP N | oven There are alternatives to this, for instance letting the moved Wh- phrase displace a that, and adding a transformation that deletes that from the topmost complementizer of the sentence. 56 Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 133 Wh- movement (and Subject-Aux inversion), yielding surface structure: S ¯ S Comp | NP Art N | | Aux what chicken | will NP | N | Fred VP PP NP V | put NP | t P | in Art | the N | oven With this in mind, we can express the Wh- Movement transformation more explicitly. To keep the notation from becoming rather messy, I will define a preliminary notation: Let wh- denote an NP, PP, or AdvP (Adverb Phrase) containing a wh- word. This said, Wh- Movement can be stated as follows. Wh- Movement W [ [ X ]Comp X wh- Y ]S Z ¯ 1 2 345 6 W [[ wh- ]Comp X t Y ]S Z ¯ 1 4 345 6 where t is an empty element of the same category as wh-. That is to say: when a sentence contains an S, and the S begins with a Comp and contains ¯ ¯ a wh- phrase, the wh- phrase is moved to occupy the Comp position, leaving behind a trace of the same category. 7.1 Slots in syntax This sort of analysis, in which an empty position is available for anything that moves (or, as we’ll see, is copied), has been extended by linguists to a consistent, across-theboard practice, essentially “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Thus, in more refined theories, there is a slot into which the Aux moves in questions, and many others. You will encounter this approach further if/when you study more syntax.57 57 The next course in the Linguistics Dept. undergraduate sequence is Linguistics 120B, offered Winter 2009. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 134 8. Typology of Wh-Movement Many languages other than English form Wh- questions by moving the wh- phrase to the beginning of the sentence. Here are three examples: French: Tu as vu Paris you have seen Paris Quelle ville aswhat city have Chamorro (South Pacific): Hafahan si-Maria i-sanhilo gi tenda bought Maria the-blouse at the-store ‘Maria bought the blouse at the store’ Hafa hafahan si-Maria t gi tenda what bought Maria (trace) at store ‘What did Maria buy at the store?’ Vata (Ivory Coast, West Africa) Tones: 1 = highest, 4 = lowest 41 3 Kofi le Kofi ate 21 saka rice (normal statement) tu vu t ? you seen (trace)? (normal statement) (wh- question) (wh- question) (normal statement) 3 41 3 2 yi Kofi le t la what Kofi eat (trace) question-particle ‘What did Kofi eat?’ (wh- question) Many other languages work in the same way; for example Modern Hebrew, Russian, and Spanish. However, a large number of languages do not have Wh-Movement. These languages form Wh- questions simply by leaving the Wh- phrase in situ. An example of a non-WhMovement language is Persian: Ali an ketab-ra Ali that book ‘Ali read that book’ xand read Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 135 Ali te ketab-i xand?58 Ali what book read ‘What book did Ali read?’ *te what ketab-i book Ali xand? Ali read Japanese is similar: John-wa naze kubi-ni natta no? John-Topic why was fired question particle ‘Why was John fired?’ Bill-wa [ John-ga naze kubi-ni natta tte ] Bill-TOP John-nom why was fired Comp ‘Why did Bill say that John was fired?’59 itta said no? question particle It’s striking that the languages seem to pattern together; for instance, unbounded movement to the right is apparently exceedingly rare in language. Moreover, there are logical possibilities for Wh- movement that seem to be unattested: *Move a wh- phrase to the exact middle of a sentence. *Move a wh- phrase so that it follows the second word of a sentence. *Move all the words that precede the wh- phrase so that they follow the whphrase, and move all the words that follow the wh- phrase so that they precede the wh- phrase. No such rules have been found in any language. We will discuss such cross-linguistic patterns in greater detail later on. 9. Why Wh- Movement? It’s something of a puzzle why languages have Wh- Movement at all—why not adopt the sensible Persian/Japanese/Chinese strategy, and just leave your Wh- words where they inherently belong? Surely it would be clearer for the listener to interpret the wh- word in its proper syntactic location.60 If you’re thinking about case marking here, the answer to your question is that the Accusative suffix -ra only attaches to definite Noun Phrases, the kind that would be translated with the in English.
58 A very strange custom of linguists writing in English about Japanese syntax is to use English first names; I’ll just blithely continue the practice here… Indeed, experimental work by psycholinguists has documented the increased cognitive load and memory burden that listeners experience when they have heard a wh- phrase and are “looking for” the corresponding gap.
60 59 Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 136 A clue, I think, can be found in pairs of sentences that have the same gap, but where the Wh- phrase appears in a different location: [ What song ] can Sue imagine that Bill sang t ? Sue can imagine [ what song ] Bill sang t ? Such pairs are often said to illustrate a difference of scope: the location of the wh-phrase indicates the domain in which the wh- phrase is acting as a logical operator. Thus, in the first sentence above, the wh- phase what song is used to ask something about the content of Sue’s imaginings—its scope is the entire sentence. The second sentence reports a thought of Sue’s. Within this thought, what song is being used to ask something about Bill’s singing (that is, Sue is mentally answering the question, “What song did Bill sing?”). Therefore, the scope of what song in the second sentence is just the subordinate clause. It can be seen, then, that the linear position of the wh- phrase is suited to expressing a distinction of scope. What emerges, if this speculation is correct, is that there’s no perfect design available. Languages without wh- movement make it clear where the inherent location of the whphrase is, but are less clear in indicating scope; languages with wh- movement mark scope clearly, but impose a burden on their listeners in the form of gap detection. 10. The unbounded nature of Wh- Movement An important aspect of Wh- Movement is that it can move a wh- phrase over very long stretches of syntactic structure. Consider the following deep structures and corresponding surface structures: You have seen who. [ Who ] have you seen t ? Joan thinks that you have seen who. [ Who ] does Joan think that you have seen t ? Bill would imagine that Joan thinks that you have seen who. [ Who ] would Bill imagine that Joan thinks that you have seen t ? Sally believes that Bill would imagine that Joan thinks that you have seen who. Who does Sally believe that Bill would imagine that Joan thinks that you have seen? Study Exercise #20 Provide a syntactic derivation (that is, deep structure, arrows showing what moves where, surface structure) for the sentence ‘What city will Fred say that Judy thinks that you live in?’. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 137 Answer to Study Exercise #20 Deep structure, showing Subject-Aux Inversion and Wh-movement:
S ¯ Comp S | Aux | will NP | N | Fred VP V | say S ¯ Comp S | that NP VP | N V S ¯ | | Judy thinks Comp S | that NP VP | Pro V PP | | you live P NP | in Art N | | what city Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 138 Surface structure:
S ¯ Comp NP Art | what N | city Aux | will S NP | N | Fred VP V | say S ¯ Comp S | that NP VP | N V S ¯ | | Judy thinks Comp S | that NP VP | Pro V PP | | you live P NP | | in t Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 139 11. Another transformation: Topicalization English has a number of transformations similar to Wh- Movement. Perhaps the simplest is the so-called Topicalization rule, used to account for sentences like these: Linguistics, I can teach. Those guys we would never give our credit cards to. In that oven you should never put a chicken. The name of the rule is from that fact that the fronted NP serves as the “topic” of its sentence; what it is about. These sentences have a distinctly rhetorical character, and often sound best if you imagine that the topic is being contrasted with some other topic: Postmodernism, I’m clueless about, but linguistics, I can teach. The “landing site” for fronted topics is not Comp, since you can get both that and the fronted topic in sequence: I’d say that linguistics, I can teach. Thus I will state the rule as simply moving a phrase to the left edge of S, as follows: Topicalization
NP V [ X PP Y ]S Z 1 23 4 5 NP V [ PP X t Y ]S Z 1 3 234 5 Topicalization, like Wh- movement, appears to be unbounded, though the examples that show this tend to be a bit less natural: John, I don’t think a lot of people would like. Fred, I’d imagine that you’d think that a lot of people wouldn’t like. As unbounded transformations, Wh- Movement and Topicalization (as well as others to come) have some crucial similar behaviors, which we’ll examine next week in discussing “islands”. 12. Syntactic derivations In a “derivation”, one applies the rules in order. In the theory we are working with, sentences are derived by first creating a deep structure with the phrase structure rules and lexical insertion, then by applying the transformations in order. Here is a formalized version of Subject Aux Inversion. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 140 Subject-Aux Inversion X [ NP 1 2 Aux 3 VP ]S 4 X [ Aux 1 3 NP 2 VP ]S 4 In words, it says, essentially: “Switch the order of Aux and NP, under S.” Wh-Movement is stated as follows: Wh- Movement W [ [ X ]Comp X wh- Y ]S Z ¯ 1 2 345 6 W [[ wh- ]Comp X t Y ]S Z ¯ 1 4 345 6 where wh- is a phrase containing a wh- word t is an empty element of the same category as wh-. W, X, Y, and Z are variables, standing for any word sequence. This, too, is a bit more intuitive expressed in words: “Move a wh- phrase into Comp, leaving a trace.” In many English questions, both Subject-Aux Inversion and Wh- Movement both apply. Here is the sentence Who can Susan see. Deep structure, with box around the Aux that is going to move by Subject-Aux Inversion: S ¯ S VP NP | Comp N Aux | | Susan can NP | Pro | who V | see Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 141 Result of moving the Aux: S ¯ S VP NP | Comp Aux N | | can Susan NP | Pro | who V | see Now showing how Wh- Movement is going to work: S ¯ S VP NP | Comp Aux N | | can Susan NP | Pro | who V | see Surface structure: S ¯ S VP NP | Comp Aux N | | | NP can Susan | Pro NP | t V | see Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 142 | Who Study Exercise #21 Provide a syntactic derivation (that is, deep structure, arrows showing what moves where, surface structure) for the following sentences a. What city will Fred say that Judy thinks that you live in? b. Which book will Sue ask that we study? c. Sue will ask which book we should study. Assume the transformations of Subject/Aux Inversion and Wh- Movement. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 143 Answer to Study Exercise #21 What city will Fred say that Judy thinks that you live in? Deep structure. The wh- phrase is in situ, so that the preposition has an object. The arrow shows the movement attributed to Subject/Aux Inversion: S ¯ Comp S VP S ¯ S VP S ¯ S VP PP NP | N | Fred NP | Comp N V Comp | | | | that Judy thinks that NP | Pro | you NP V | live P | in Art | what N | city Aux | will V | say Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 144 a. Output of Subject/Aux Inversion, with arrow showing action of Wh- Movement: S ¯ Comp S VP S ¯ S VP S ¯ S VP PP NP | N | Fred NP | Comp N V Comp | | | | that Judy thinks that NP | Pro | you NP V | live P | in Art | what N | city Aux | will V | say Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 145 Surface structure, with trace of what city: S ¯ Comp NP Art what N city S VP S ¯ S VP S ¯ S VP PP NP | N | Fred NP | Comp N V Comp | | | | that Judy thinks that NP | Pro | you Aux | will V | say V | live P | in NP | t Which book will Sue ask that we study? Deep structure, with which book in situ. Note presence of empty Comp, the “landing site” for wh-phrases. Arrow shows application of Subj/Aux Inversion: Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 146 S ¯ Comp S VP S ¯ S VP NP | N | Sue NP NP | V Comp Pro V Art N | | | | | | ask that we study which book Aux | will Output of Subject/Aux Inversion. Arrow shows application of Wh-Movement, moving the wh- phrase into Comp. S ¯ Comp S VP S ¯ S VP NP | N | Sue NP NP | V Comp Pro V Art N | | | | | | ask that we study which book Aux | will Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 147 Surface structure, with wh- phrase in Comp and a trace left behind: S ¯ Comp | NP Art N | | which book S VP S ¯ S VP NP | N | Sue NP | V Comp Pro V | | | | ask that we study NP | t Aux | will Sue will ask which book we should study Deep structure, with which book in situ. Now the empty Comp is an embedded Comp. The full sentence, being a statement, is an S, not an S. ¯ Subject/Aux Inversion does not apply in embedded questions. Arrow shows application of Wh-Movement: S VP S ¯ S VP NP | N | Sue NP NP | V Comp Pro Aux V Art N | | | | | | ask we should study which book Aux | will Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 148 Surface structure: S VP S ¯ S VP NP | N | Sue NP | V Comp Pro Aux V | | | | | ask NP we should study Art N | | which book NP | t Aux | will ...
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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.
- Fall '08