Constituent Structure


This book explores the empirical and theoretical aspects of constituent structure in natural language syntax. It surveys a wide variety of functionalist and formalist theoretical approaches, from dependency grammars and Relational Grammar to Lexical Functional Grammar, Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar, and Minimalism. It describes the traditional tests for constituency and the formal means for representing them in phrase structure grammars, extended phrase structure grammars, X-bar theory, and set-theoretic ...

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This book explores the empirical and theoretical aspects of constituent structure in natural language syntax. It surveys a wide variety of functionalist and formalist theoretical approaches, from dependency grammars and Relational Grammar to Lexical Functional Grammar, Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar, and Minimalism. It describes the traditional tests for constituency and the formal means for representing them in phrase structure grammars, extended phrase structure grammars, X-bar theory, and set-theoretic Bare Phrase Structure. In doing so it provides a clear, thorough, and rigorous axiomatic description of the structural properties of constituent trees.

Andrew Carnie considers the central controversies on constituent structure: Is it, for example, a primitive notion or should it be derived from relational or semantic form? Do sentences have a single constituency or multiple constituencies? Does constituency operate on single or multiple dimensions? And what exactly is the categorial content of constituent structure representations? He identifies points of commonality as well as important theoretical differences among the various approaches to constituency, and critically examines the strengths and limitations of competing frameworks.

This is an ideal introduction for graduate students and advanced undergraduates. It is also a valuable reference for theoretical linguists of all persuasions in departments of linguistics, cognitive science, computational science, and related fields.

About the Author:
Andrew Carnie is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book is an excellent survey of phrase structure in generative grammar. Carnie traces the arguments and the data that have been used in the history of Chomskyan grammars in particular, but also GPSG and HPSG are discussed to a large extent. The presentation is clear and easy to follow, and interesting at that. Meticulously Carnie works his way through the arguments that lie behind the changes in phrase structure theory that have taken place in the past, but he also discusses the very latest improvements such as 'bare phrase structure' and 'label free' syntax. All in all, I think this book is very well written and interesting and it definitely deserves a place on every syntactician's bookshelf." --Linguist List

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199583461
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/2010
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Carnie is Associate Professor of Lingusitics at the University of Arizona. His 1995 dissertation proposed that the traditional distinction between phrases and words is derived and falls out from the interfaces of the syntax with the morphological and semantic components. His publications include the successful textbook Syntax: A Generative Introduction and, as co-editor, The Syntax of VSO Languages, Formal Approaches to Function, and Verb First, as well as articles in theoretical syntax in such journals as Syntax, Journal of Celtic Linguistics, Studia Linguistica, Journal of Linguistics, and Canadian Journal of Linguistics. He is currently working on Irish Nouns: A Guide for Students, Teachers and Researchers and Sentence Structure: A course book.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     x
General Preface     xi
Abbreviations     xii
Symbols Used     xvi
Introduction     3
What this book is about     3
Organizational notes     4
Apples, oranges, and pears     5
Who I assume you are     7
Constituent Structure     8
Constituent structure as simple concatenation     8
Regular grammars     12
Constituent structure and constituency tests     17
Compositionality, modification, and ambiguity     21
Some concluding thoughts     24
Basic Properties of Trees: Dominance and Precedence     25
Introduction     25
Tree structures     26
Dominance     29
Simple dominance     29
Axiomization of dominance     30
Immediate dominance     35
Exhaustive dominance and "constituent"     36
Precedence     37
Intuitive characterizations of precedence     37
Immediate precedence     41
Axioms of precedence     41
Concluding remarks     44
Second Order Relations: C-command andGovernment     46
Introduction     46
Command, kommand, c-command, and m-command     46
Command and kommand (cyclic command)     47
C-command (constituent command)     49
Deriving and explaining c-command     55
M-command     58
Barker and Pullum (1990): A unified approach to command relations     60
Government     63
Concluding remarks     65
Phrase Structure Grammars and X-bar Theory
Capturing Constituent Structure: Phrase Structure Grammars     69
Before the Chomskyan revolution: Conflating semantic and structural relations     69
Phrase structure grammars     71
Phrase markers and reduced phrase markers     78
Regular grammars; context-free and context sensitive grammars     80
Regular grammars     81
Context-free and context-sensitive phrase structure grammars     83
The recursive nature of phrase structure grammars     84
The ontology of PSRs and trees     86
The information contained in PSRs     90
Extended Phrase Structure Grammars     93
Introduction     93
Some minor abbreviatory conventions in PSGs     94
Transformations      96
Structure-changing transformations     96
Generalized transformations     97
Features and feature structures     98
The use of features in Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar     100
Metarules     103
Linear Precedence vs. Immediate Dominance Rules     105
Meaning postulates (GPSG), f-structures and metavariables (LFG)     106
Meaning postulates in GPSG     106
Functional equations, f-structures, and metavariables in LFG     107
Summary     110
The lexicon     110
Conclusion     111
X-bar Theory     112
Introduction     112
Simple PSGs vs. X-bar theoretic PSGs     112
Headedness     112
Structural refinement     114
Binarity     120
Distinctions among modifier types     121
Cross-linguistic variation     128
Summary     129
A short history of X-bar theory     129
The origins: Harris (1951) and Chomsky (1970)     129
Early controversies: Emonds (1976), Jackendoff (1977), Stuurman (1984)     130
A major conceptual shift: metagrammar vs. grammar: Stowell (1981)     131
Summary      132
Towards Set-Theoretic Constituency Representations     135
Introduction     135
Projections and derived X-bar theory     136
Antisymmetry     144
The LCA and linear ordering     145
Deriving some X-bar theoretic properties from the LCA     149
Adjunction     150
Bare Phrase Structure     154
The basics of BPS     155
Adjunction in BPS     158
Bottom-to-top and top-to-bottom derivations     160
Bottom-to-top derivations     161
Top-to-bottom derivations     161
Derived X-bar theory     163
Label-free and projection-free structures     167
Dependency and Constituency     168
Introduction     168
Systems based primarily on grammatical relations     171
A semi-arboreal system: Lexical-Functional Grammar     171
Relational Grammar     172
Dependency grammars     175
Categorial grammars     178
Classic Categorial Grammar and Combinatorial Categorial Grammar     179
Tree-Adjoining Grammar (TAG)     183
Features in HPSG     185
Functionalist Grammar and Role and Reference Grammar      186
Construction Grammar and Cognitive Grammar     187
Multidominated, Multidimensional, and Multiplanar Structures     189
Introduction     189
Line crossing and multidomination: axiomatic restrictions on form     195
The non-tangling-exclusivity controversy     195
C-command and the non-tangling condition     200
Multidomination and multidimensional trees     204
Multiplanar structures     207
Parallel plane hypotheses: Classic Transformational Grammar, LFG, Simpler Syntax     208
The Parallel Plane hypotheses: L- and S-Syntax and pheno- and tectogrammatical structures     209
Wheel-and-spoke multiplanar approaches     212
Conclusions     217
Phrasal Categories and Cartography     219
Introduction     219
The tripartite structure of the clause     221
The VP     222
Classic constituency tests     223
VSO languages as evidence against VPs     226
The VP-internal subject Hypothesis (VPISH)     234
Stacked VPs, Split VPs, vP     237
The clausal layer     242
The informational layer     250
S' and CP     251
Expanded CP      253
Negation and adverbials     256
Negation     256
Adverbs     258
NPs and DPs     259
Concluding remarks     260
References     261
Index     287
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