When a gas is collected over water, is the gas pure? Why or why not? How can the partial pressure of the collected gas be determined?
Basic English Syntax with Exercises MarkNewson Marianna Hordós Dániel Pap Krisztina Szécsényi Gabriella Tóth Veronika Vincze Bölcsész Konzorcium 2006 Kiadta a Bölcsész Konzorcium A Konzorcium tagjai: •Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem •Pécsi Tudományegyetem •Szegedi Tudományegyetem •Debreceni Egyetem •Pázmány Péter Katolikus Egyetem •Berzsenyi Dániel Főiskola •Eszterházy Károly Főiskola •Károli Gáspár Református Egyetem •Miskolci Egyetem •Nyíregyházi Főiskola •Pannon Egyetem •Kodolányi János Főiskola •Szent István Egyetem A kötet szerzői: Mark Newson HordM óarianna Pap Dániel SzécsKériysiztina TóthGabriella VinczV eeronika Szerkesztette: Szécsényi Tibor és Nádasdi Péter Lektor: Pelyvás Péter A kötet megjelenése az Európai Unió támogatásával, a Nemzeti Fejlesztési Terv keretében valósult meg: A felsőoktatás szerkezeti és tartalmi fejlesztése HEFOP-3.3.1-P.-2004-09-0134/1.0 ISBN 963 9704 70 9 © Bölcsész Konzorcium. Minden jog fenntartva! Bölcsész Konzorcium HEFOP Iroda H-1088 Budapest, Múzeum krt. 4/A. tel.: (+36 1) 485-5200/5772 – firstname.lastname@example.org 009900--kkoollooffoonn..iinndddd 11 22000066..0099..0077.. 1133::2211::2255 Basic English Syntax with Exercises Mark Newson Gabriella Tóth Krisztina SzØcsØnyi Veronika Vincze Preface Linguists, it has to be admitted, are strange animals. They get very excited about things that the rest of the species seem almost blind to and fail to see what all the fuss is about. This wouldn’t be so bad if linguists were an isolated group. But they are not, and what’s more they have to teach non-linguists about their subject. One mistake that linguists often make is to assume that to teach linguistics, students should be instilled with the kind of enthusiasm for the subject that linguists themselves have. But not everybody wants to be a linguist and, as a friend of mine once said, not everybody can be a linguist. What the dedicated language student wants, however, is not the ability to analyse complex data from languages in exotic regions of the world, or to produce coherent theories that explain why you can’t say his being running in a more elegant way than anyone else can. What they want from linguistics is to see what the subject can offer them in coming to some understanding of how the language that they are studying works. It is for these students that this book has been written. This is not to say that this is not a linguistics text. It is, and linguistics permeates every single page. But the difference is that it is not trying to tell you how to become a linguist – and what things to get excited about – but what linguistic theory has to offer for the understanding of the English language. Many introductory text books in syntax use language data as a way of justifying the theory, so what they are about is the linguistic theory rather than the language data itself. A book which was about language would do things differently; it would use the theory to justify a certain view of the language under study. We have attempted to write such a book. As part consequence of this, we have adopted a number of strategies. The first is what we call the ‘No U-turn’ strategy. If you have ever read an introductory book on a linguistic topic you may have found pages and pages of long and complicated arguments as to why a certain phenomena must be analysed in such and such a way, only to find in the next chapter that there is actually a better way of doing things by making certain other assumptions. This is the sort of thing that linguist find fun. But students often find it confusing and frustrating. So we have attempted to write this book without using this strategy. As far as possible, concepts and analyses that are introduced at some point in the book are not altered at some later point in the book. Obviously, pictures have to be painted a bit at a time to make them understandable and so it isn’t possible to ‘tell the whole truth’ right from the start. But an attempt has been made to build up the picture piece by piece, without having to go back and rub out earlier parts of the sketch. Another strategy adopted in the book is to avoid unnecessary formalisms. These are very useful if you want to understand the workings of a theory to the extent needed to see where its weaknesses are and how it needs to be developed to overcome these. But as this is not our aim, it is not necessary to make students fully aware of how to formalise grammatical principles. All they need is an understanding of how the principles work and what they predict about the language and this can be put over in a less formal way. Preface The target audience for the book is BA students, covering the introductory syntax level and going through to more advanced BA level material. For this reason, the book starts from the beginning and tries to make as few assumptions as possible about linguistic notions. The first two chapters are a fairly substantial introduction to grammatical concepts both from a descriptive and a theoretical point of view. This material alone, along with the exercises, could form the basis of an introduction to a syntax course. The latter chapters then address specific aspects of the English language and how the concepts and grammatical mechanisms introduced in the first two chapters can be applied to these to enable an understanding of why they are as they are. As the book relies on a ‘building’ process, starting out at basic concepts and adding to these to enable the adequate description of some quite complex and subtle phenomena, we have also provided an extensive glossary, so that if you happen to forget a concept that was introduced in one part of the book and made use of in another, then it is easy to keep yourself reminded as you read. Obviously, another feature that we hope is more student-friendly is the exercises, of which we have a substantial amount. These range in type and level, from those which you can use to check your understanding of the text, to those which get you to think about things which follow from the text, but which are not necessarily discussed there. Some are easy and some will make you think. A fairly unique aspect of the book is that it also provides model answers to the exercises so that you can check to see whether you were on the right track with your answer and also for you to learn from: making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn. But if you never know what mistakes you made, you can’t learn from them. Obviously, the best way to use the exercises and model answers is to have a go at the exercises by yourself first and then go and read the model answers. While you may be able to learn something by reading the model answers without having a go at the exercises, it is doubtful that you will get as much out of them. Finally, a brief word about the team of writers is in order. Although we very much opted for a division of labour approach to the writing of this book, it has been no less of a team effort. The text was written by Mark Newson and the exercises prepared by Hordós Marianna, SzØcsØnyi Krisztina, Pap DÆniel, Tóth Gabriella and Vincze Veronika. SzØcsØnyi Krisztina prepared the glossary. Most of the editing was carried out by Hordós Marianna, NÆdasdi PØter, SzØcsØnyi Krisztina and SzØcsØnyi Tibor. SzØcsØnyi Tibor also has had the responsibility for the electronic version of the book and managing the forum set up to help us keep in touch. Thanks go to Kenesei IstvÆn for his help in setting up the project and for valuable comments on the text and also to MarosÆn Lajos for equally valuable comments. We are also grateful for the conscientious work and useful remarks of our reviewer, PelyvÆs PØter. Marianna and Krisztina are responsible for everything. Without them, nothing would have happened. vi Table of Contents Preface v Table of Contents vii Chapter 1 Grammatical Foundations: Words 1 1 Language, Grammar and Linguistic Theory 1 2 Word Categories 4 2.1 The Lexicon 4 2.2 Categories 5 2.3 Morphological criteria for determining category 6 2.4 Distribution 8 3 A Typology of Word Categories 10 3.1 Categorial features 11 3.2 Predicates and arguments 15 3.3 Grammatical aspects of meaning 17 3.4 The Thematic categories 18 3.5 Functional Categories 37 3.6 Functionally underspecified categories 47 Check Questions 51 Test your knowledge 51 Chapter 2 Grammatical Foundations: Structure 57 1 Structure 57 1.1 The building blocks of sentences 57 1.2 Phrases 59 1.3 Sentences within phrases 61 1.4 Structural positions 64 1.5 Structural terminology 65 1.6 Labels 66 1.7 Rules 67 2 Grammatical Functions 68 2.1 The subject 68 2.2 The object 72 2.3 Indirect object 74 3 Testing for Structure 75 3.1 Substitution 75 3.2 Movement 79 3.3 Coordination 82 3.4 Single-word phrases 83 Check Questions 84 Test your knowledge 85 Table of Contents Chapter 3 Basic Concepts of Syntactic Theory 87 1 X-bar Theory 87 1.1 Rewrite rules and some terminology 87 1.2 Endocentricity 89 1.3 Heads and Complements 92 1.4 Specifiers 95 1.5 Adjuncts 96 1.6 Summary 100 2 Theoretical Aspects of Movement 101 2.1 Move ▯ 102 2.2 D-structure and S-structure 104 2.3 Traces 113 2.4 Locality Restrictions on movement 118 3 Conclusion 120 Check Questions 120 Test your knowledge 121 Chapter 4 The Determiner Phrase 129 1 Why the Noun is not the Head of the DP 129 2 The Internal Structure of the DP 137 2.1 Determiners and Complements 137 2.2 The Specifier of the DP 138 2.3 Adjunction within the DP 142 3 Multiple Determiners 143 4 Conclusion 148 Check Questions 148 Test your knowledge 149 Chapter 5 Verb Phrases 153 1 Event Structure and Aspect 153 2 Verb Types 156 2.1 Unaccusative verbs 156 2.2 Light verbs 159 2.3 Ergative verbs 162 2.4 Transitive verbs 172 2.5 Intransitive verbs 182 2.6 Multiple complement verbs 184 2.7 Phrasal verbs 188 2.8 Verbs with clausal complements 193 2.9 Summary 197 3 Aspectual Auxiliary Verbs 197 3.1 The auxiliary as a dummy 198 3.2 The nature of the aspectual morpheme 201 4 Adverbs, PPs and Clausal modifiers 203 4.1 Adverbs 203 4.2 PP modifiers 206 4.3 Clausal modifiers 207 5 Conclusion 209 Check Questions 210 Test your knowledge 210 viii Table of Contents Chapter 6 Inflectional Phrases 213 1 The structure of IP 213 2 The syntax of inflection 218 2.1 Inserting auxiliaries into I 220 2.2 Do-insertion 221 2.3 Tense and Agreement 225 2.4 Movement to tense and I 230 3 Movement to Spec IP 233 4 Adjunction within IP 238 5 Conclusion 239 Check Questions 239 Test your knowledge 240 Chapter 7 Complementiser Phrases 243 1 The structure of CP 243 2 The Clause as CP 246 3 Interrogative CPs 248 3.1 Basic positions within the CP 248 3.2 Wh-movement 250 3.3 Inversion 253 3.4 The interaction between wh-movement and inversion 254 3.5 Subject questions 261 4 Relative Clauses 263 4.1 The position of the relative clause inside the NP 263 4.2 A comparison between relative and interrogative clauses 265 5 Other fronting movements 270 5.1 Topicalisation 270 5.2 Focus fronting 272 5.3 Negative fronting 273 6 Conclusion 277 Check Questions 277 Test your knowledge 278 Chapter 8 The Syntax of Non-Finite Clauses 281 1 Exceptional and Small Clauses 281 1.1 Clauses without CP 281 1.2 Clauses without IP 288 2 Raising and Control 290 2.1 Raising 294 2.2 Control 298 3 The Gerund 303 4 Conclusion 307 Check questions 308 Test your knowledge 308 ix Table of Contents Suggested Answers and Hints 313 Chapter 1 313 Chapter 2 327 Chapter 3 329 Chapter 4 346 Chapter 5 364 Chapter 6 376 Chapter 7 396 Chapter 8 413 Glossary 431 Bibliography 455 Index 456 x Chapter 1 Grammatical Foundations: Words 1 Language, Grammar and Linguistic Theory This book attempts to describe some of the basic grammatical characteristics of the English language in a way accessible to most students of English. For this reason we start at the beginning and take as little as possible for granted. Definitions are given for grammatical concepts when they are first used and there is a glossary at the back of the book to remind the reader of these as he or she works through it. At the end of each chapter there are an extensive set of exercises which the student is encouraged to consider and work through either in class or alone. For those students working alone, we have also provided model answers for the exercises. These are for the student to check their understanding of the material supported by the exercises and to offer observations that the student may have missed. The uninitiated student might be surprised to find that there are many ways to describe language, not all compatible with each other. In this book we make use of a particular system of grammatical description based mainly on Government and Binding theory, though it is not our aim to teach this theory and we will very rarely refer to it directly. We use the theory to offer a description of English, rather than using English to demonstrate the theory. We will spend a short amount of time at the beginning of the book to state our reasons for choosing this theory, as opposed to any other, to base our descriptions. Whatever else language might be (e.g. a method of communicating, something to aid thought, a form of entertainment or of aesthetic appreciation) it is first and foremost a system that enables people who speak it to produce and understand linguistic expressions. The nature of this system is what linguistics aims to discover. But where do we look for this system It is a common sense point of view that language exists in people’s heads. After all, we talk of knowing and learning languages. This also happens to be the belief of the kind of linguistics that this book aims to introduce: in a nutshell, the linguistic system that enables us to ‘speak’ and ‘understand’ a language is a body of knowledge which all speakers of a particular language have come to acquire. If this is true, then our means for investigating language are fairly limited – we cannot, for instance, subject it to direct investigation, as delving around in someone’s brain is not only an ethical minefield, but unlikely to tell us very much given our current level of understanding of how the mind is instantiated in the brain. We are left, therefore, with only indirect ways of investigating language. Usually this works in the following way: we study what the linguistic system produces (grammatical sentences which have certain meanings) and we try to guess what it is that must be going on in Chapter 1 - Grammatical Foundations: Words the speaker’s head to enable them to do this. As you can imagine, this is not always easy and there is a lot of room for differences of opinion. Some of us might tell you that that is exactly what makes linguistics interesting. There are however some things we can assume from the outset about the linguistic system without even looking too closely at the details of language. First, it seems that speakers of a language are able to produce and understand a limitless number of expressions. Language simply is not a confined set of squeaks and grunts that have fixed meanings. It is an everyday occurrence that we produce and understand utterances that probably have never been produced before (when was the last time you heard someone say the bishop was wearing a flowing red dress with matching high heeled shoes and singing the Columbian national anthem – yet you understood it!). But if language exists in our heads, how is this possible The human head is not big enough to contain this amount of knowledge. Even if we look at things like brain cells and synapse connections, etc., of which there is a very large number possible inside the head, there still is not the room for an infinite amount of linguistic knowledge. The answer must be that this is not how to characterise linguistic knowledge: we do not store all the possible linguistic expressions in our heads, but something else which enables us to produce and understand these expressions. As a brief example to show how this is possible, consider the set of numbers. This set is infinite, and yet I could write down any one of them and you would be able to tell that what I had written was a number. This is possible, not because you or I have all of the set of numbers in our heads, but because we know a small number of simple rules that tell us how to write numbers down. We know that numbers are formed by putting together instances of the ten digits 0,1,2,3, etc. These digits can be put together in almost any order (as long as numbers bigger than or equal to 1 do not begin with a 0) and in any quantities. Therefore, 4 is a number and so is 1234355, etc. But 0234 is not a number and neither is qewd. What these examples show is that it is possible to have knowledge of an infinite set of things without actually storing them in our heads. It seems likely that this is how language works. So, presumably, what we have in our heads is a (finite) set of rules which tell us how to recognise the infinite number of expressions that constitute the language that we speak. We might refer to this set of rules as a grammar, though there are some linguists who would like to separate the actual set of rules existing inside a speaker’s head from the linguist’s guess of what these rules are. To these linguists a grammar is a linguistic hypothesis (to use a more impressive term than ‘guess’) and what is inside the speaker’s head IS language, i.e. the object of study for linguistics. We can distinguish two notions of language from this perspective: the language which is internal to the mind, call it I-language, which consists of a finite system and is what linguists try to model with grammars; and the language which is external to the speaker, E-language, which is the infinite set of expressions defined by the I-language that linguists take data from when formulating their grammars. We can envisage this as the following: 2 Language, Grammar and Linguistic Theory (1) grammar models provides data I-language E-language defines So, a linguist goes out amongst language speakers and listens to what they produce and perhaps tests what they can understand and formulates a grammar based on these observations. It is the way of the universe that no truths are given before we start our investigations of it. But until we have some way of separating what is relevant to our investigations from what is irrelevant there is no way to proceed: do we need to test the acidity of soil before investigating language It seems highly unlikely that we should, but if we know nothing from the outset, how can we decide It is necessary therefore, before we even begin our investigations, to make some assumptions about what we are going to study. Usually, these assumptions are based on common sense, like those I have been making so far. But it is important to realise that they are untested assumptions which may prove to be wrong once our investigations get under way. These assumptions, plus anything we add to them as we start finding out about the world, we call a theory. Linguistic theories are no different from any other theory in this respect. All linguists base themselves on one theory or another. One group of linguists, known as generativists, claim that in order to do things properly we need to make our theories explicit. This can be seen as a reaction to a more traditional approach to linguistics which typically claims to operate atheoretically, but, in fact, makes many implicit assumptions about language which are themselves never open to investigation or challenge. Generative linguists point out that progress is unlikely to be made like this, as if these assumptions turn out to be wrong we will never find out, as they are never questioned. In order to find out if our assumptions are correct, they need to be constantly questioned and the only way to do this is to make them explicit. Because of this, it is my opinion that the generative perspective is the one that is most likely to provide the best framework for a description of language. We will therefore adopt this perspective and so certain aspects of the theory will form part of the content of the book, but only in so far as they help to achieve the main goal of explaining why English is as it is. In true generative style, I will take the rest of this chapter to try to make explicit some of the basic assumptions that we will be making in the rest of the book. 3 Chapter 1 - Grammatical Foundations: Words 2 Word Categories 2.1 The Lexicon The first assumption we will make is that one of the things that a speaker of a language knows is facts about words. We know, for instance, how a given word is pronounced, what it means and where we can put it in a sentence with respect to other words. To take an example, the English word cat is known to be pronounced [kæt], is known to mean ‘a small, domesticated animal of meagre intelligence that says meow’ and is known to be able to fit into the marked slots in sentences (2), but not in those marked in (3): (2) a the cat slept b he fed Pete’s cat Note! An asterisk at the beginning of a c I tripped over a cat sentence indicates that the sentence is ungrammatical. (3) a *the dog cat the mouse b *cat dog howled c *the dog slept cat a kennel It is obvious that this knowledge is not predictable from anything. There is no reason why the object that we call a cat should be called a cat, as witnessed by the fact that other languages do not use this word to refer to the same object (e.g. macska (Hungarian), chat (French), Katze (German), gato (Spanish), quatus (Maltese) kot (Russian), kissa (Finnish), neko (Japanese), mao (Chinese), paka (Swahili)). Moreover, there is nothing about the pronunciation [kæt] that means that it must refer to this object: one can imagine a language in which the word pronounced [kæt] is used for almost anything else. This kind of linguistic knowledge is not ‘rule governed’, but is just arbitrary facts about particular languages. Part of linguistic knowledge, therefore, is a matter of knowing brute fact. For each and every word of the language we speak it must be the case that we know how they are pronounced and what they mean. But this is different from our knowledge of sentences. For one thing, there are only a finite number of words in any given language and each speaker will normally operate with only a proportion of the total set of words that may be considered to belong to the language. Therefore, it is not problematic to assume that knowledge of words is just simply stored in our heads. Moreover, although it is possible, indeed it is fairly common, for new words to enter a language, it is usually impossible to know what a new word might mean without explicitly being told. For example, unless you had been told, it is not possible to know that the word wuthering found in the title of the novel by Emily Brontº is a Yorkshire word referring to the noise that a strong wind makes. With sentences, on the other hand, we know what they mean on first hearing without prior explanation. Thus, knowledge of words and knowledge of sentences seem to be two different things: knowledge of words is brute knowledge while knowledge of sentences involves knowing a system that enables us to produce and understand an infinite number of them (an I-language). Clearly, part of knowing what a sentence means involves knowing what the words that constitute it mean, but this is not everything: the meanings of the words three, two, dogs, cats, and bit simply do not add up to the meaning of the sentence three dogs bit 4 Word Categories two cats (if you think about it this sentence might mean that anything between two and six cats got bitten, which is not predictable from the meaning of the words). Let us assume that these different types of linguistic knowledge are separate. We can call the part of I-language which is to do with words the Lexicon. This might be imagined as a kind of mental dictionary in which we store specific information about all the words that we use: how they are pronounced, what they mean, etc. 2.2 Categories Lexical knowledge concerns more than the meaning and pronunciation of words, however. Consider the examples in (2) and (3) again. The word cat is not the only one that could possibly go in the positions in (2), so could the words dog, mouse and budgerigar: (4) a the dog slept b he fed Pete’s mouse c I tripped over a budgerigar This is perhaps not so surprising as all these words have a similar meaning as they refer to pets. However, compare the following sets of sentences: (5) a the hairbrush slept b he fed Pete’s algebra c I tripped over a storm (6) a the if slept b he fed Pete’s multiply c I tripped over a stormy There is something odd about both these set of sentences, but note that they do not have the same status. The sentences in (5), while it is difficult to envisage how they could be used, are not as weird as those in (6). Given that neither sets of sentences make much sense, this does not seem to be a fact about the meanings of the words involved. There is something else involved. It seems that some words have something in common with each other and that they differ from other words in the same way. Hence, the set of words in a language is not one big homogenous set, but consists of groupings of words that cluster together. We call these groups word categories. Some well known categories are listed below: (7) nouns verbs adjectives prepositions The obvious question to ask is: on what basis are words categorised As pointed out above, it is not straightforward to categorise words in terms of their meaning, though traditionally this is a very popular idea. Part of the problem is that when one looks at the range of meanings associated with the words of one category, we need to resort to some very general concept that they might share. For example, a well known definition for the category noun is that these are words that name people, places or 5 Chapter 1 - Grammatical Foundations: Words things. While this may give us a useful rule of thumb to identifying the category of a lot of words, we often run into trouble as the notion is not particularly precise: in what way do nouns ‘name’ and what counts as a thing, for example While it may be obvious that the word Bartók names a particular person, because that is what we call the thing that this word refers to, it is not clear why, therefore, the word think is not considered a name, because that is what we call the thing that this refers to. Moreover, the fact that the words: (8) idea weather cold friendliness diplomacy are all nouns means that the concept thing must extend to them, but how do we therefore stop the concept from extending to: (9) conceptualise atmospheric warm friendly negotiate which are not nouns Fortunately, there are other ways of determining the category of words, which we will turn to below. But it is important to note that there are two independent issues here. On the one hand is the issue of how the notion of word category is instantiated in the linguistic system and on the other hand is the issue of how we, as linguists, tell the category of any particular word. As to the first issue, word categories are simply properties of lexical elements, listed in the lexical entry for each word, and, as we have pointed out, lexical information is arbitrary. Therefore, word categories are whatever the linguistic system determines them to be. While there may be some link between meaning and category established by the linguistic system, for now it is not important that we establish what this link is or to speculate on its nature (does meaning influence category or does category influence meaning, for example). More pressing at the moment is the issue of how we determine the category of any given word. Before looking at specific categories, let us consider some general ways for determining categories. 2.3 Morphological criteria for determining category Consider the set of words in (8) again. Alongside these we also have the related words: (10) ideas weathers colds friendlinesses diplomacies 6 Word Categories Although some of these may sound strange concepts, they are perfectly acceptable forms. The idea–ideas case is the most straightforward. The distinction between these two words is that while the first refers to a single thing, the second refers to more than one of them. This is the distinction between singular and plural and in general this distinction can apply to virtually all nouns. Consider a more strange case: friendliness– friendlinesses. What is strange here is not the grammatical concepts of singular or plural, but that the semantic distinction is not one typically made. However, it is perfectly possible to conceptualise different types of friendliness: one can be friendly by saying good morning to someone as you pass in the street, without necessarily entering into a deeper relationship with them; other forms of friendliness may demand more of an emotional commitment. Therefore we can talk about different friendlinesses. By contrast, consider the following, based on the words in (9): (11) conceptualises atmospherics warms friendlies negotiates While not all of these words are ill formed by themselves, none of them can be considered to be the plural versions of the words in (9). These words simply do not have a plural form. Plural forms are restricted to the category noun and other categories do not have them. What we have been looking at in the above paragraph is the morphological properties of words: the various forms we find for different words. Often morphemes constitute different pieces of words: the form ideas can be broken down into ‘idea’ and ‘s’, where the second piece represents the plural aspect of the word and is called the plural morpheme. The point is that only words of certain categories can host morphemes of certain types. Consider warms from (11). This, too, breaks down into two pieces, ‘warm’ and ‘s’. But the ‘s’ here is not the plural morpheme but another one which expresses something entirely different. This is the morpheme we get on words like hits, sees, kisses and imagines and it represents present tense, which has a number of meanings in English ranging from the description of what is taking place at the present moment to something that habitually happens: (12) a the groom kisses the bride (commentary on a video of a wedding) b John hits pedestrians only when he’s not paying attention Note that this morpheme cannot go in any of the words in (8) (except for weather, a fact that we will return to): ideas is not the present tense form of the word idea. Essentially then, different categories of words have different morphological properties and therefore one can distinguish between categories in terms of what morphemes they take: if it has a plural form, it is a noun and if it has a present tense form it is a verb. It should be noted however, that there are a number of complications to the simple picture given above. First, it should be pointed out that morphological forms are not always uniformly produced. For example, compare the following singular and plural forms: 7 Chapter 1 - Grammatical Foundations: Words (13) idea ideas cat cats man men sheep sheep hippopotamus hippopotami The first two cases in (13) represent the regular plural form in English, as we have been discussing. But even here there are differences. In the first case the morpheme is pronounced [z] whereas in the second it is pronounced [s]. This is a fact about English morpho-phonemics, that certain morphemes are unvoiced following an unvoiced consonant, that we will not go into in this book. However, this does show that what we are dealing with is something more abstract than simply pronunciations. This point is made even more forcefully by the third and fourth cases. The plural form men differs from the singular man in terms of the quality of the vowel and the plural form sheep is phonetically identical to the singular form sheep. From our point of view, however, the important point is not the question of how morphological forms are realised (that is a matter for phonologists), but that the morphological forms exist. Sheep IS the plural form of sheep and so there is a morphological plural for this word, which we know therefore is a noun. There is no plural form for the word warm, even abstractly, and so we know that this is not a noun. What about cases like weather, where the form weathers can either be taken to be a plural form or a present tense form, as demonstrated by the following: (14) a the weathers in Europe and Australasia differ greatly b heavy rain weathers concrete This is not an unusual situation and neither is it particularly problematic. Clearly, the word weather can function as either a noun or a verb. As a noun it can take the plural morpheme and as a verb it can take the present tense morpheme. There may be issues here to do with how we handle this situation: are there two entries in the lexicon for these cases, one for the noun weather and one for the verb, or is there one entry which can be categorised as either a noun or a verb Again, however, we will not concern ourselves with these issues as they have little bearing on syntactic issues. 2.4 Distribution Let us turn now to the observations made in (2) and (3). There we observed that there are certain positions in a sentence that some words can occupy and other words cannot. Clearly, this is determined by category. This is perhaps the most basic point of word categories as far as syntax is concerned. The grammar of a language determines how we construct the expressions of the language. The grammar, however, does not refer to the individual words of the lexicon, telling us, for example, that the word cat goes in position X in expression Y. Such a system would not be able to produce an indefinite number of sentences as there would have to be such a rule for every expression of the language. Instead, the grammar defines the set of possible positions for word categories, hence allowing the construction of numerous expressions from a small number of grammatical principles. The question of how these positions are defined is mostly what this book is about, but for now, for illustrative purposes only, let us pretend that English has a rule that says that a sentence can be formed by putting a 8 Word Categories noun in front of a verb. This rule then tells us that the expressions in (15) are grammatical and those in (16) are not: (15) a John smiled b cats sleep c dogs fly d etc. (16) a *ran Arnold b *emerged solutions c *crash dogs d *etc. This is not meant to be a demonstration of how English grammar works, but how a rule which makes reference to word categories can produce a whole class of grammatical expressions. We call the set of positions that the grammar determines to be possible for a given category the distribution of that category. If the grammar determines the distribution of categories, it follows that we can determine what categories the grammar works with by observing distributional patterns: words that distribute in the same way will belong to the same categories and words that distribute differently will belong to different categories. The notion of distribution, however, needs refining before it can be made use of. To start with, as we will see, sentences are not organised as their standard written representations might suggest: one word placed after another in a line. We can see this by the following example: (17) dogs chase cats If distribution were simply a matter of linear order, we could define the first position as a position for nouns, the second position for verbs and the third position for nouns again based on (17). Sure enough, this would give us quite a few grammatical sentences: (18) a dogs chase birds b birds hate cats c hippopotami eat apples d etc. However, this would also predict the following sentences to be ungrammatical as in these we have nouns in the second position and verbs in the third: (19) a obviously dogs chase cats b rarely dogs chase birds c today birds hate cats d daintily hippopotami eat apples It is fairly obvious that the sentences in (19) are not only grammatical, but they are grammatical for exactly the same reason that the sentences in (17) and (18) are: the nouns and verbs are sitting in exactly the same positions regardless of whether the 9 Chapter 1 - Grammatical Foundations: Words sentence starts with a word like obviously or not. It follows, then, that distributional positions are not defined in terms of linear order. Just how distributional positions are defined is something to which we will return when we have introduced the relevant concepts. A further complication is indicated by the following observation: (20) a Knut hates sea b *Knut smiles sea The morphological forms hates and smiles are both present tense, indicating that the words are of the same category, i.e. verbs. However, as demonstrated by (20), these words appear to have different distributions and thus they belong to different categories. How can this apparent contradiction be reconciled We will see that part of the solution to this problem follows from the way in which distributions are defined, which we have yet to discuss. However, another aspect of distribution can be discussed at this point. Note that a sentence in which the verb smiles would be grammatical, would be ungrammatical with the word hates: (21) a Knut smiles b *Knut hates Obviously there are words which cannot go in either of these positions: (22) a *Knut cats sea b *Knut cats What (22) indicates is that the positions we are considering here are both verb positions, and hence a noun cannot occupy them. Yet some verbs can occupy one of these positions and other verbs can occupy the other. This suggests that there are different types of verb, what we might call subcategories of the category verb. If this is right, we would expect that the set of possible verbal positions would be divided up between the different verbal subcategories so that the positions in which one can appear in are those in which the others cannot. In other words, different subcategories will have complementary distributions. This indeed seems to be true, as (20) and (21) indicate. 3 A Typology of Word Categories Having introduced some of the basic concepts, let us now turn to look at what categories we need to refer to in the description of a language like English. In generative linguistics it is often seen as a positive aim to keep basic theoretical equipment to a bare minimum and not to expand these unnecessarily. This can be seen in the standard approach to word categories in terms of the attempt to keep these to as small a number as possible. In the present book we will mainly be concerned with eight basic categories. These come in two general types: thematic categories and functional categories. In the thematic categories we have verbs (V), nouns (N), adjectives (A) and prepositions (P) and in the functional categories there are inflections (I), determiners (D), degree adverbs (Deg) and complementisers (C). Thus we have the following classification system: 10 A Typology of Word Categories (23) Words thematic categories functional categories V N A P I D Deg C We will introduce these categories individually in the following sections. 3.1 Categorial features Before we start to look at the properties of individual categories, we will make the typology of categories described in (23) a little more systematic. One might wonder why there are these categories and why their division is so regular: four thematic categories and four functional ones. Moreover, we may have the feeling that the categories given in (23) are not completely unrelated to each other. For example, it is often felt that nouns and verbs are somehow opposites of each other or that adjectives have some things in common with nouns and other things in common with verbs. Even across the thematic/functional divide, we may see similarities. For example, words like the, these and some are determiners and these seem more related to nouns, which they usually accompany, than to verbs. Modal auxiliary verbs, such as may, can and must, which as we will see are classified as belonging to the inflections, are obviously more closely related to verbs than nouns. But how can we explain these perceived relationships It is certain that if we define word categories in individual terms, say by just listing possible categories, then any explanation of the categories themselves or their relationships will be impossible. An analogy might serve to make the point clearer. Suppose that biologists had never thought of categorising living things into taxonomic groups and instead simply identified individual sub-species such as ladybirds, field mice, pythons, etc. From this perspective it would be impossible to answer questions such as why do ladybirds and bluebottles both have six legs and wings At best, biologists would only be able to claim that this was an accidental chance happening. Once there is a taxonomic system, such questions are easily answered: ladybirds and bluebottles are both insects and all insects have six legs and wings. The same is true for word categories. If we merely identify categories such as nouns, verbs and determiners, we cannot explain relationships between the categories. One way to impose a system on elements is to use a set of features to distinguish between them. Each category can then be defined in terms of a unique collection of these features, but they may share some of the features with other categories, accounting for similarities between them. In linguistics, binary features, i.e. those which can be valued in one of two ways (plus or minus), have been found useful for producing systems of categorisation. For example, we might propose a feature [±F] (‘F’ to indicate functional) to distinguish between the thematic and functional categories. All thematic categories would possess the [–F] feature and all functional categories would possess the [+F] feature. In this way we can immediately distinguish between the two groups and account for why certain categories are similar to others in terms of which feature they possess. 11 Chapter 1 - Grammatical Foundations: Words Other features that have been proposed include [±N] and [±V], first suggested by Chomsky (1970). The ‘N’ and ‘V’ used in these features obviously do not stand for noun and verb as these categories are to be defined by these features. However, the fact that nouns are categorised as being [+N] and verbs as [+V] indicates that these features are meant to have something to do with these categories. To some extent, it is irrelevant what the features ‘mean’. The important point is which categories share which features and hence have something in common and which have different features and hence are distinguished. From this perspective we could have used features such as [±1] and [±2]. Consider now the intuition that nouns and verbs are diametrically opposed categories. We can account for this if we assume that they have exactly the opposite features to each other. We have said that nouns are categorised as a [+N] category and so verbs must be [–N] if we are to maintain that they oppose nouns. Similarly, as verbs are [+V], nouns must be [–V]. We therefore categorise nouns and verbs as the following: (24) nouns = [–F, +N, –V] verbs = [–F, –N, +V] Note, both nouns and verbs are thematic categories and hence they share the [–F] feature, but in every other way they differ. How can we capture the sense that determiners have something in common with nouns and modal auxiliary verbs have something in common with verbs, even though one of these pairs of elements is function and the other is thematic The answer is fairly easy. The pairs may differ in terms of the [±F] feature, but they are similar in terms of the [±N] and [±V] features: (25) determiners = [+F, +N, –V] modals = [+F, –N, +V] In other words, determiners are the functional equivalents to nouns and modals are functional verbs. To develop the system a little further, consider the intuitions that adjectives seem to have something in common with nouns, as they are typically used to modify nouns, as in crazy kid or thoughtful suggestion, but they also seem to have something in common with verbs, as they have certain distributional properties in common: (26) a Rick is ▯ rich ▯ ▯ running▯ b the ▯ rich ▯ robber ▯running▯ In this example,richis an adjective andrunning is a verb and obviously they can both appear in similar environments. But if nouns and verbs are diametrically opposed to each other, how can adjectives be similar to both The answer is that adjectives share different features with both nouns and verbs. Thus, we may categorise both nouns and adjectives as [+N] and both verbs and adjectives as [+V] and in this way adjectives will share features with both nouns and verbs. Of course, they will also have features different from nouns and verbs, but as we do not want to categorise adjectives as the 12 A Typology of Word Categories same as the other categories, this is a positive aspect of this proposal. Adjectives can therefore be categorised as: (27) adjectives = [–F, +N, +V] Having demonstrated that we can capture similarities and differences between word categories using binary features, let us turn to the issue of what categories there are. We will start this discussion by considering the two binary features [±N] and [±V]. So far we have shown how combinations of these features can be used to define nouns, verbs and adjectives. The two binary features can be combined in four possible ways, however, and hence there is one possible combination that we have yet to associate with a category. This is demonstrated by the following table: (28) N + – V + adjective verb – noun This is fortunate as there is one more thematic category left to be included into the system: the prepositions. Thus we can claim that prepositions fill this slot: (29) prepositions = [–F, –N, –V] However, this cannot be put down to good fortune. After all, categorising elements in terms of these features has consequences concerning what other categories are related to or different from these elements. Note that the feature combination in (29) predicts that while prepositions differ from nouns in that they are [–N], they are similar to nouns in that they are [–V]. Similarly, prepositions differ from verbs in being [–V], but they share the [–N] feature with them. Thus prepositions are predicted to be similar to nouns and verbs, but in a different way to how adjectives are similar to these categories. Indeed, while prepositions do not have similar distribution patterns as verbs, as do adjectives, they share another property with verbs. Consider the following observations: (30) a see him b to him c *portrait him (portrait of him) d *mindful him (mindful of him) In (30), we see that both verbs see) and prepositions to) can be followed by a word such as him, which is a pronoun. Nouns (portrai) and adjectives mindful) cannot. We might claim therefore that the ability to be followed by a pronoun is restricted to the [– N] categories. Now consider the following: (31) a it was Sally that Sam saw b it was underneath that I found the treasure c *it was stupid that Steve seemed d *it was fishing that Fred went As shown in (31), a noun likeSally and a preposition such asunderneath can sit in the position between the words was and thatin this English construction, known as a cleft 13 Chapter 1 - Grammatical Foundations: Words construction. However, an adjective ( stupid) and a verb (fishing) cannot occupy this position. We might claim therefore that this position can only be occupied by [–V] categories. We see from the discussion above the predictive power of the system that we have set up: the system predicted that there should be a fourth thematic category that has certain properties and these fit the category of prepositions very well. We can take this as evidence in favour of this system of features. What else does the system predict It is clearly predicted that if we add a third binary feature to the two we have just been discussing, then a further four categories will be defined. This again matches perfectly with the description of categories we started this section with, as seen in (23). With the third feature, [±F], there should be four functional categories which match the four thematic categories in terms of their feature settings for [±N] and [±V]. We have already seen how determiners and modals can be analysed as functional nouns and functional verbs, respectively. The expectation is that degree adverbs, such as so and too, and complementisers, such as that and i, should be related to adjectives and prepositions in the same way. As degree adverbs modify adjectives in a very similar way to how determiners modify nouns, it is not difficult to conclude that degree adverbs are functional adjectives. This leaves complementisers to fill the final place as functional prepositions. There is evidence in favour of this assumption, but it rests on notions not yet introduced, so we will have to wait until later to demonstrate it. We can re-draw the typology given in (23) using the three features in the following way: (32) Words –F +F –N,+V +N,–V +N,+V –N,–V –N,+V +N,–V +N,+V –N,–V (verb) (noun) (adj.) (prep.) (infl) (det) (deg) (comp) A further advantage of this system is that it places restrictions on what categories we can suppose to exist, hence increasing its explanatory power. For example, we would not be entitled to come up with an extra category without destroying the system developed. One way to add extra possible categories within the system would be to declare another binary feature. But this would not allow the addition of one extra category, but a further eight! Moreover, these extra categories would have to be shown to be related and opposed to the existing categories in the same way that these are related and opposed to each other. Another way to extend the system, which we will be making some use of, relies on the notion ofunderspecification of features. All the categories discussed above are fully specified for all the features, so each is associated with a plus or minus value for all three features. Underspecification is a situation in which one or more features is not specified for its value. Thus, we might propose a new category [+N, –V] which is not specified for the [±F] feature. This category would then be a noun which is neither functional, nor thematic. We will see that there is evidence that the [±F] feature can be left underspecified and hence there are a further four ‘non-functional’ categories. We will introduce these categories in the following sections. The important point for the moment is that the system of features restricts our ability to invent new categories ‘willy-nilly’. 14 A Typology of Word Categories 3.2 Predicates and arguments To understand the difference between thematic and functional categories we first need to introduce concepts to do with how the elements of a sentence can be related to each other. Take a simple sentence: (33) Peter chased Mary This sentence describes an event which can be described as ‘chasing’ involving two individuals, Peter and Mary, related in a particular way. Specifically, Peter is the one doing the chasing and Mary is the one getting chased. The verb describes the character of the event and the two nouns refer to the participants in it. A word which functions as the verb does here, we call apredicate and words which function as the nouns do are calledarguments . Here are some other predicates and arguments: (34) a Selena slept argument predicate b Tom is tall argument predicate c Percy placed the penguin on the podium argument predicate argument argument In (34a) we have a ‘sleeping’ event referred to involving one person,Selena , who was doing the sleeping. In (34b) the predicate describes a state of affairs, that of ‘being tall’ and again there is one argument involved, Tom , of whom the state is said to hold. Finally, in (34c) there is a ‘placing’ event described, involving three things: someone doing the placing,Percy , something that gets placed,the penguin , and a place where it gets placed,on the podium . What arguments are involved in any situation is determined by the meaning of the predicate. Sleeping can only involve one argument, whereas placing naturally involves three. We can distinguish predicates in terms of how many arguments they involve: sleep is aone-place predicate , see is atwo-place predicate involving two arguments and