# Constituency. The basic units of sentence structure

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1 Constituency The basic units of sentence structure

2 Meaning of a sentence is more than the sum of its words.

3 Meaning of a sentence is more than the sum of its words. a. The puppy hit the rock

4 Meaning of a sentence is more than the sum of its words. a. The puppy hit the rock b. The rock hit the puppy.

5 Meaning of a sentence is more than the sum of its words. a. The puppy hit the rock b. The rock hit the puppy. c. The + puppy + hit + the +rock the + rock + hit + the + puppy. (cf = 3 + 2)

6 Meaning of a sentence is more than the sum of its words. a. The puppy hit the rock b. The rock hit the puppy. c. The + puppy + hit + the +rock the + rock + hit + the + puppy. (cf = 3 + 2) This fact is captured by the notion that sentences have internal structure

7 Another argument for structure: Yes/No questions

8 Another argument for structure: Yes/No questions Yes/no questions can be answered by yes or no or maybe

9 Another argument for structure: Yes/No questions Yes/no questions can be answered by yes or no or maybe Bear with me, I m going to run this using the scientific method, and I have a particular set of hypotheses to run through!

10 Another argument for structure: Yes/No questions

11 Another argument for structure: Yes/No questions Remember: The S.M. requires that we always go with the simplest hypothesis consistent with the data we have. (Occam s razor)

12 Another argument for structure: Yes/No questions Remember: The S.M. requires that we always go with the simplest hypothesis consistent with the data we have. (Occam s razor) Let s start with the assumption that there is no structure, and sentences are just a linear string of words. Now consider the following pair of sentences.

13 Structure

14 Structure Consider the following sentences: a. Dave can t eat chocolate covered almonds. b. Can t Dave eat chocolate covered almonds?

15 Structure Consider the following sentences: a. Dave can t eat chocolate covered almonds. b. Can t Dave eat chocolate covered almonds? Hypothesis # 1 To form a yes/no question move the 2nd word to the front of the sentence.

16 Structure

17 Structure Hypothesis # 1 To form a yes/no question move the 2nd word to the front of the sentence

18 Structure Hypothesis # 1 To form a yes/no question move the 2nd word to the front of the sentence Problem: a. The TA can t eat chocolate covered almonds. b. *TA the can t eat chocolate covered almonds?

19 Structure Hypothesis # 1 To form a yes/no question move the 2nd word to the front of the sentence Problem: a. The TA can t eat chocolate covered almonds. b. *TA the can t eat chocolate covered almonds? Hypothesis #2 To form a yes/no question move the verb to the front of the sentence

20 Structure

21 Structure Hypothesis # 2 To form a yes/no question move the verb to the front of the sentence.

22 Structure Hypothesis # 2 To form a yes/no question move the verb to the front of the sentence. Problem: a. The TA ate chocolate covered almonds. b. *Ate the TA chocolate covered almonds.

23 Structure Hypothesis # 2 To form a yes/no question move the verb to the front of the sentence. Problem: a. The TA ate chocolate covered almonds. b. *Ate the TA chocolate covered almonds. Hypothesis #3 To form a yes/no question move the auxiliary to the front of the sentence

24 Structure

25 Structure Hypothesis #3 To form a yes/no question move the auxiliary to the front of the sentence

26 Structure Hypothesis #3 To form a yes/no question move the auxiliary to the front of the sentence Problem: a.the TA has been eating chocolate covered almonds. b.*been the TA has eating chocolate covered almonds?

27 Structure Hypothesis #3 To form a yes/no question move the auxiliary to the front of the sentence Problem: a.the TA has been eating chocolate covered almonds. b.*been the TA has eating chocolate covered almonds? Hypothesis #4 To form a yes/no question move the first auxiliary to the front of the sentence

28 Structure

29 Structure Hypothesis #4 To form a yes/no question move the first auxiliary to the front of the sentence

30 Structure Hypothesis #4 To form a yes/no question move the first auxiliary to the front of the sentence Problem: a.the TA who is here can eat chocolate covered almonds. b.*is the TA here can eat chocolate covered almonds? c.(cf. Can the TA who is here eat chocolate covered almonds?)

31 Structure Hypothesis #4 To form a yes/no question move the first auxiliary to the front of the sentence Problem: a.the TA who is here can eat chocolate covered almonds. b.*is the TA here can eat chocolate covered almonds? c.(cf. Can the TA who is here eat chocolate covered almonds?) What s the problem here? The first auxiliary is part of the subject of the sentence: [The TA who is here] can eat chocolate covered almonds

32 Structure

33 Structure Hypothesis 5 To form a yes/no question move the first auxiliary after the subject to the front of the sentence

34 Structure Hypothesis 5 To form a yes/no question move the first auxiliary after the subject to the front of the sentence We require a notion where there is internal structure to the sentence: We need a notion of what the subject is: which words are in the subject and which words aren t.

35 Structure Hypothesis 5 To form a yes/no question move the first auxiliary after the subject to the front of the sentence We require a notion where there is internal structure to the sentence: We need a notion of what the subject is: which words are in the subject and which words aren t. There is an alternative hypothesis (move the main clause auxiliary to the front) but this again requires a notion of internal structure: we need to be able to distinguish which words are just in the main clause from those in relative clauses.

36 Internal structure is represented by the notion of Constituent

37 A Constituent is any unit of internal syntactic structure. (i.e., a group of words functioning as a unit) [The TA who is here] can eat chocolate. Bracketing (as above) is one of two notations for representing, or marking, constituents. (The other is tree notation, which we ll formally cover next week).

38 Constituents represent semantically related material

39 Constituents represent semantically In the sentence: related material

40 Constituents represent semantically related material In the sentence: The elephant snorted a bowl of peanuts

41 Constituents represent semantically In the sentence: related material The elephant snorted a bowl of peanuts There is the intuition that the & elephant are more closely related than peanuts and snorted.

42 Constituents represent semantically In the sentence: related material The elephant snorted a bowl of peanuts There is the intuition that the & elephant are more closely related than peanuts and snorted. This intuition is captured with constituency

43 Constituent

44 Constituent Constituent is a group of words that functions as a unit.

45 Constituent Constituent is a group of words that functions as a unit. The elephant snorted the bowl of peanuts

46 Constituent Constituent is a group of words that functions as a unit. The elephant snorted the bowl of peanuts

47 Constituent Constituent is a group of words that functions as a unit. The elephant snorted the bowl of peanuts

48 Constituent Constituent is a group of words that functions as a unit. The elephant snorted the bowl of peanuts

49 Constituent Constituent is a group of words that functions as a unit. The elephant snorted the bowl of peanuts

50 Constituent Constituent is a group of words that functions as a unit. The elephant snorted the bowl of peanuts

51 Constituency Tests: Modification

52 Constituency Tests: Modification If one word modifies (limits the meaning of) another, then they are probably part of the same constituent. I bought a red balloon a and red both modify balloon so they are all part of the same constituent: [a red balloon]

53 Constituency Tests: Movement

54 Constituency Tests: Movement If you can move a group of words, they are functioning as a unit and are a constituent:

55 Constituency Tests: Movement If you can move a group of words, they are functioning as a unit and are a constituent: Clefting: It is/was that

56 Constituency Tests: Movement If you can move a group of words, they are functioning as a unit and are a constituent: Clefting: It is/was that It was [a brand new car] that he bought

57 Constituency Tests: Movement If you can move a group of words, they are functioning as a unit and are a constituent: Clefting: It is/was that It was [a brand new car] that he bought Preposing: [Big bowls of beans] are what I like.

58 Constituency Tests: Movement If you can move a group of words, they are functioning as a unit and are a constituent: Clefting: It is/was that It was [a brand new car] that he bought Preposing: [Big bowls of beans] are what I like. Passive: [The big boy] was kissed by the slobbering dog.

59 Constituency Tests: Movement If you can move a group of words, they are functioning as a unit and are a constituent: Clefting: It is/was that It was [a brand new car] that he bought Preposing: [Big bowls of beans] are what I like. Passive: [The big boy] was kissed by the slobbering dog. There are other kinds of movement!

60 Constituency Tests: Replacement

61 Constituency Tests: Replacement If you can replace a group of words with a single word (keeping the meaning roughly the same) then they form a constituent:

62 Constituency Tests: Replacement If you can replace a group of words with a single word (keeping the meaning roughly the same) then they form a constituent: I ve always loved [the man in a natty suit]

63 Constituency Tests: Replacement If you can replace a group of words with a single word (keeping the meaning roughly the same) then they form a constituent: I ve always loved [the man in a natty suit] I ve always loved [John]

64 Constituency Tests: Replacement If you can replace a group of words with a single word (keeping the meaning roughly the same) then they form a constituent: I ve always loved [the man in a natty suit] I ve always loved [John] I ve always loved [him]

65 Constituency Tests: Pro-form Replacement

66 Constituency Tests: Pro-form Replacement If you can replace a group of words with a proform (pronoun, pro-verb, pro-adjective etc.) (keeping the meaning roughly the same) then they form a constituent:

67 Constituency Tests: Pro-form Replacement If you can replace a group of words with a proform (pronoun, pro-verb, pro-adjective etc.) (keeping the meaning roughly the same) then they form a constituent: I ve always loved [the man in a natty suit]

68 Constituency Tests: Pro-form Replacement If you can replace a group of words with a proform (pronoun, pro-verb, pro-adjective etc.) (keeping the meaning roughly the same) then they form a constituent: I ve always loved [the man in a natty suit] I ve always loved [him]

69 Constituency Tests: Pro-form Replacement If you can replace a group of words with a proform (pronoun, pro-verb, pro-adjective etc.) (keeping the meaning roughly the same) then they form a constituent: I ve always loved [the man in a natty suit] I ve always loved [him] Susan [bought a truck with mag wheels]

70 Constituency Tests: Pro-form Replacement If you can replace a group of words with a proform (pronoun, pro-verb, pro-adjective etc.) (keeping the meaning roughly the same) then they form a constituent: I ve always loved [the man in a natty suit] I ve always loved [him] Susan [bought a truck with mag wheels] Susan [did (so) too)

71 Constituency Tests: Ellipsis

72 Constituency Tests: Ellipsis This is a special constituency test for a constituent called a Verb Phrase (VP). If an item is a VP, then it can be deleted under (near) identity with another VP

73 Constituency Tests: Ellipsis This is a special constituency test for a constituent called a Verb Phrase (VP). If an item is a VP, then it can be deleted under (near) identity with another VP Bill [found a gold nugget in the stream] but I don t think John will [find a gold nugget in the stream]

74 Constituency Tests: Stand Alone (sentence fragment)

75 Constituency Tests: Stand Alone (sentence fragment) Can the group of words serve as a sentence fragment in response to a question?

76 Constituency Tests: Stand Alone (sentence fragment) Can the group of words serve as a sentence fragment in response to a question?

77 Constituency Tests: Stand Alone (sentence fragment) Can the group of words serve as a sentence fragment in response to a question? Q: What did Heidi buy at the flea market?

78 Constituency Tests: Stand Alone (sentence fragment) Can the group of words serve as a sentence fragment in response to a question? Q: What did Heidi buy at the flea market? A: [A bag of moldy vacuum cleaner parts]

79 Constituency Tests: Stand Alone (sentence fragment) Can the group of words serve as a sentence fragment in response to a question? Q: What did Heidi buy at the flea market? A: [A bag of moldy vacuum cleaner parts]

80 Constituency Tests: Stand Alone (sentence fragment) Can the group of words serve as a sentence fragment in response to a question? Q: What did Heidi buy at the flea market? A: [A bag of moldy vacuum cleaner parts] Q: What did Heidi do at the fleamarket?

81 Constituency Tests: Stand Alone (sentence fragment) Can the group of words serve as a sentence fragment in response to a question? Q: What did Heidi buy at the flea market? A: [A bag of moldy vacuum cleaner parts] Q: What did Heidi do at the fleamarket? A: [Buy some cheap T-shirts]

82 Constituency Tests: Stand Alone (sentence fragment) Can the group of words serve as a sentence fragment in response to a question? Q: What did Heidi buy at the flea market? A: [A bag of moldy vacuum cleaner parts] Q: What did Heidi do at the fleamarket? A: [Buy some cheap T-shirts]

83 Constituency Tests: Stand Alone (sentence fragment) Can the group of words serve as a sentence fragment in response to a question? Q: What did Heidi buy at the flea market? A: [A bag of moldy vacuum cleaner parts] Q: What did Heidi do at the fleamarket? A: [Buy some cheap T-shirts] Q: Where did Heidi put them?

84 Constituency Tests: Stand Alone (sentence fragment) Can the group of words serve as a sentence fragment in response to a question? Q: What did Heidi buy at the flea market? A: [A bag of moldy vacuum cleaner parts] Q: What did Heidi do at the fleamarket? A: [Buy some cheap T-shirts] Q: Where did Heidi put them? A: [In the back of her car]

85 Constituency Tests: Conjunction

86 Constituency Tests: Conjunction If the group of words can be coordinated (or conjoined) with another string, then it is a constituent of the same type: [John] and [the man] went to the store *[John] and [very blue] went to the store

87 Constituency Tests: Conjunction If the group of words can be coordinated (or conjoined) with another string, then it is a constituent of the same type: [John] and [the man] went to the store *[John] and [very blue] went to the store LINGUISTICS GENERAL S WARNING: There are a *lot* of situations where the conjunction test will give you false results. Use it sparingly and with caution! (See textbook for details.)

88 Caution:

89 Caution: The constituency tests are NOT fool proof. You should always apply at least two to any given string of words, just in case you have got false results for some reason.

90 John [eats at really fancy restaurants]

91 John [eats at really fancy restaurants] Stand Alone? What does John do in his spare time? Eat at really fancy restaurants.

92 John [eats at really fancy restaurants] Stand Alone? What does John do in his spare time? Eat at really fancy restaurants. Replace by a Pro-form (pronoun, pro-verb)? John [eats at really fancy restaurants] and Bill [does (so) too]

93 John [eats at really fancy restaurants] Stand Alone? What does John do in his spare time? Eat at really fancy restaurants. Replace by a Pro-form (pronoun, pro-verb)? John [eats at really fancy restaurants] and Bill [does (so) too] Move? Eating at really fancy restaurants, that s John s favorite pastime. I told John to eat at really fancy restaurants, and [eat at really fancy restaurants] he will!

94 John [eats at really] fancy restaurants

95 John [eats at really] fancy restaurants Stand Alone? What does John do in his spare time? *Eat at really.

96 John [eats at really] fancy restaurants Stand Alone? What does John do in his spare time? *Eat at really. Replace by a Pro-form (pronoun, proverb)? *John [eats at really] fancy restaurants and Bill [does so too] fancy restaurants

97 John [eats at really] fancy restaurants Stand Alone? What does John do in his spare time? *Eat at really. Replace by a Pro-form (pronoun, proverb)? *John [eats at really] fancy restaurants and Bill [does so too] fancy restaurants Move? *Eating at really, that s John s favorite pastime. *Eating at really is what John does fancy restaurants.

98 Constituents are hierarchically organized TP NP VP The man eats at fancy restaurants. D N V PP The man eats P NP at AdjP N fancy restaurants

99 Constituents are hierarchically organized TP NP VP The man eats at fancy restaurants. D N V PP The man eats P NP at AdjP N fancy restaurants [ TP [ NP [ D The] [ N man]] [ VP [ V eats] [ PP [ P at] [ NP [ Adj fancy] [ N restaurants]]]]]

100 Summary: Constituency

101 Summary: Constituency Constituent: A group of words that functions as a unit.

102 Summary: Constituency Constituent: A group of words that functions as a unit. Captures judgments about the relatedness of words, and about the hierarchical structure of sentences

103 Summary: Constituency

104 Summary: Constituency Constituency tests: Modification Movement Replacement (single word & pro-form) Ellipsis (for VPs) Stand Alone (Sentence Fragment) Co-ordination/Conjunction

105 Summary: Constituency Constituency tests: Modification Movement Replacement (single word & pro-form) Ellipsis (for VPs) Stand Alone (Sentence Fragment) Co-ordination/Conjunction Tests are NOT infallible. Use more than 1!

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