Sei sulla pagina 1di 23

Introductory course

The organisation of Grammar

The structure of UG
- modular; a sum of subsystems of principles (rules); many of the principles contain parameters wh. are fixed by experience. (empirical research). The parameters show that many rules are interdependent and hold crosslinguistically, they are language universals. e.g. of a parameter: the right-hand head/left-hand head rule, i.e. position of the Head of a grammatical constituent. In the NP these big books the right-handmost word is: N books (the Head). as a rule the H is the only obligatory el. in a constituent.; in a compound: farmhouse - the head is house - the pivotal element from a semantic point of view. In Japanese it is just the reverse.

Organization of the Grammar (1)

Nowadays Morphology is regarded as a synchronic discipline focusing on the study of word structure rather than on the evolution of words. LINGUISTICS LF (semantic level) - meaning of utterances D-Str. (syntactic level) - S-structure (syntactic expressions, forms) Morphological level - word structure (word formation rules: inflection, derivation; compounding) Phonology (phonemics) - sound system These levels are ordered in a hierarchy: D-Structure Lexicon {context-free rules: WFR; context-sensitive rules selectional restrictions; context-free rules: PSR or subcategorization rules} Move a (Transformational component)

The Organisation of the grammar (2)

S-Structure The PF component the LF component

D-structure is a mapping system of representation of the lexical properties of lexical items, i.e. the selectional properties of the verbs, for instance. DStructure is that component of G in which 1-to-1 correlations hold between the subcategorization frames (e.g. V [TAKE] [NP1 - NP2 (NP3)] and the categories which fulfill them [e.g. V], between referential expressions and thematic roles (e.g. his book; John opens the door). Move a maps the D-S representations to S-S representations (in acc. with the Projection Principle). S-Structure the level at which positions are linked. Morphology is the theory of the Lexicon. The Lexicon is one of the subcomponents of Grammar (together with Syntax, phonology, and semantics), or better said, one level of linguistic description, one way of looking at linguistic objects. The Lexicon is the level of linguistic analysis, whether phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic or even pragmatic.

The organisation of grammar

This brings us to the following question: the lexicon being a comprehensive list of dictionary formatted words, or lexical entries, what do we know when we know a word? What kind of information have we learned when we learn a word? It turns out that the information encoded in a word is fairly complex: each kind of information encompasses in fact each of the subfields of linguistics: phonology, morphology, syntactic category, pragmatics. For every word we learn, we learn how it fits into the overall structure of sentences in which it can be used. e.g. reads Mary reads the book. readable The book is readable

Syntax and semantics

Syntax the subfield of language that studies the internal structure of sentences and the interrelationships among the internal parts (according to the subcategorization rules, selectional restrictions). Semantics studies the nature of the meaning of individual words and the meaning of words grouped into phrases and sentences. Pragmatics words in use, in the actual context of discourse. (e.g. Hello no meaning unless used as in a greeting situation).

Morpho-syntax, a field shared by two subfields

The common unit of study in the two subfields is the WORD, as well as some general formal properties (as discussed in X-bar theory). Some of these properties contribute to establishing the distinction between syntactic (i.e. phrases, of the form XP) and lexical categories (N, V, A, etc.). A syntactic category is a bundle of syntactic distinctive features (such as transitivity, for instance, agreement, etc.) indexed by a type or a number of bars of the category, out of which the class features are the most important ([+/-N], +/-V]), that morphological categories are entities that are formally identical in character to syntactic categories, i.e. each morphological category is decomposable into a set of features and a type. The word level categories (X0) or the lexical categories are N, V, A, P.

The word
The word lies at the interface of morphology and syntax, it is like a bottleneck in the passage of information from the morphological to the syntactic level of language description. From the word, syntax goes upward, to form larger structures (phrases and sentences), whereas Morphology goes downward, into inner constituency of words. A gradient of syntactic and morphological categories would run as follows: - X - X word - X0 - X-1/-2 (stem/root) - XAffix Morphology deals with the interpretation of words in terms of form and meaning.

The notion of Lexical Category

The term of LC was introduced by Chomsky (1965, Syntactic Structures) to stand for what traditional grammarians called parts of speech. the term is built on analogy with the term lexical item and it indicates the Ns, Vs, Adj s, Adv s, Ps, etc. to which a lexical item belongs. The LC is linked to a theoretical frame (generative transformational grammar) based on the X-bar theory (R. Jackendoff, 1977) and to the phrase structure rules described by Emonds much earlier (1972). This theoretical framework is based on empirical data and with it we can identify the lexical categories, i.e. from the syntactic information (which is hierarchically organized) we gather functional information. The functional information leads us to inflection which gathers the syntactically-driven word-formation rules.

Inflectional variation
Within a linguistic context a word undergoes changes of form, as it is characterized by the presence of inflectional markers or functional categories, such as: case, number, gender, person, tense, aspect, mood, comparison etc. There is a correlation between a certain part of speech (LC) and its characteristic inflectional markers (categories). That is why these inflectional markers are also called relational categories. For instance, Nouns within a sentence undergo case or number alternations, but never do they undergo Tense or Aspect modifications. Comparison stands only for adjectives and adverbs. This is why inflectional variation was seen to be of a restrictive nature, to be delimiting the lexical categories. The term category designates the characteristic inflectional variation of a certain part of speech. Nouns are characterized (cf. Aristotle) by the functional categories of: case, number, gender, determination; Verbs : tense, aspect, mood, agreement. Pronouns: person, gender, number; Adjs. and advs. - Comparison.

Inherent vs. Contextual/Configurational Categories

Inflectional Derivational morphology typically contributes to the creation of new words pertaining to a different class (change of lexical category) and it also adds further elements of meaning: the affixes er/-or turn verbs into nouns that have the meaning of Agents or instruments (e.g.: donate/donor, kill/killer). The LCs are open classes, content words. Inflectional morphs - paradigmatic sets ; they are closure elements: eg. compartment+ al+ ized z - infl. element which closes down the word. but * compartmentalizedation

Paradigmatic sets
Paradigms induce closure upon words, i.e. they prohibit the further possibility of having a derivational element attached to it; inflected forms alternate they are organized in paradigms, hence they are in complementary distribution; nouns, for instance, occur in parallel sets of two: hat/hats; books/books, etc. Since they are organized in paradigms, inflectional markers are organised in closed sets. The elemetns of a paradigmatic set may show the phenomenon of suppletion i.e. one of the forms is not phonologically related to other forms: go/went, so, the form of went is said to be the suppletive form of go. A paradigm can be defective, it can lack a form (modal verbs, or defective nouns: trousers/*trouser). Inflections are formal markers (semantically they are empty, abstract) that help us delimit the lexical category of the word to which they attach; that is to say, each lexical category (major part of speech) is characterised by specific inflectional markers; inflectional markers are dependent on a certain LC expressing the morpho-syntactic features of the respective lexical category. Although they have no descriptive content, they pass on the descriptive content of the category they depend on.

The major lexical categories: N, V, A, P

Study of the major lexical categories in terms of lexical semantics - relation between functional elements (morphology), syntax (morpho-syntactic) properties or features (accusative case, past tense etc.) and the distribution of these features so as to render a certain meaning: e.g. how would will be interpreted either as a modal or a way to express futurity in English, or how would a past tense functor have the meaning of present or future time a.s.o. Domain to study for this semester: the interface bet. inflectional morphology and lexical semantics and how certain language-specific restrictions operate at the level of lexical categories.

Inflectional variation as a delimiting factor of LCs

Functional vs Lexical category LC s are distinguished in terms of their syntactic properties (distributional criterion, according to R. Jackendoff, 1977): subject, object, complement and determination are the syntactic distinctive features which delimit a number of 10 (major and minor) LC s.

features (inflectional or functional categories) Definition= a property of words that syntax is sensitive to (relate sound and meaning)
Interpretable features= have an effect on semantic interpretation e.g. plurality, person, gender (but not in all langs); Uninterpretable features= only regulate the syntactic position of words (Nom, Acc cases)

Phrases/syntactic categories
Phrases are larger constituents, projected round a head according to a general format; X-bar theory expresses generalizations about the phrase structure of all human languages. It restricts the combinatorial possibilities of words into larger linguistic units. Phrases are endocentric, they project round a head.

Constituency tests
(a). Substitution: [The bottle of water] might have cracked open; [It] might have cracked open. Ss are organised into Cs and C are further organised into smaller units, up to lexical items. (b) Movement leaving a trace behind: My students cant stand GG/GG my students can stand The children ran up the hill//Up the hill the children ran (Locative inversion); Cleft and pseudo-clefting: It is GG that they dont like - ; What they do not like is GG. (examples of movement and focalization) (c) Coordination: Students who like GG and inflectional morphology are rare (Conjoining of the same type of categories, Cs.

XP _ (specifier) X YP (complement)

What is in an IP ? A bundle of functional categories associated with the VP: Tense, Agr, Asp., and Mood. The split IP Hypothesis: I _ T/Agr. IP CP (What is in a CP?)

Summing up: the structure of simple sentences