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BU CAS LX 522 - Week 15a. Reprise

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1Week 15a. RepriseCAS LX 522Syntax IStarting over Let’s take a tour of the system from thebeginning, to help get a better “wide-angle”view of how everything fits together andto try to tie up the loose ends. This is the final statement of where we are,what you should take as the end result.The lexicon The lexicon is where it all begins, where thecomponent parts of a sentence come from. A sentence is a number of lexical items,arranged. Lexical items have certain properties, or features.Some are nouns, for example. Some are wh-words, some are quantifiers, some aredeterminers. Every head we see in our trees came from thelexicon. So, C, I, v, these are also in the lexicon,components from which we build sentences.The lexicon Since phonological realization and even aspectsof meaning can be considered to be properties oflexical items, really what a lexical item is is abunch of features, bundled together. A thing,with properties. Some of the properties lexical items have are inthe form of requirements, which need to besatisfied by the time the syntactic structure isfinished (the LF tree).Minimalism As we try to determine what the properties ofthis grammatical system are, we should assumeas little as we can get away with. Any language-like system that is going to createhierarchical structure is going to need somethingthat takes two (or more, but let’s say that “two issimpler than any other number”) things andputs them together into something eligible forfurther combinations. So, the machine that builds the trees has at leastthe operation Merge.Our model of grammar A structure is built by starting with some lexical itemson the workbench, that are assembled by using Mergeand Adjoin between objects, and Copy/Move to movethings inside an object to its edge.LexiconWorkbenchMerge, Adjoin,Copy/MovepronounceinterpretPFLF2X′-theory A phrase is a syntacticobject formed bycombining (merging) twosyntactic objects, with theproperties inherited fromone of them (the head ofthe phrase). A word is a syntacticobject.specifiercomplementXYP X′XPheadZPintermediateprojectionmaximalprojectionminimalprojectionθ-theory Lexical items can be classified in terms of beingpredicates or arguments. Predicates require something else for thecomputation of their meaning. They might beconsidered to be relations between the facts ofthe world (“truth”) and some other entity. Arguments are those other entities, that areplaced in relations. These are often DPs, like Johnor the sandwich. Or, they can be propositions, likethat John left or John to leave, generallycombinations of a predicate and an argument.θ-theory The number of participants that predicatesrequire are at the heart of θ-theory. The θ-criterion says that: Every θ-role required by a predicate must be assignedto some argument. No argument can play more than one role. No argument can be inserted superfluously; everyargument must get a θ-role. θ-roles are assigned by heads to a specifier or acomplement. That’s two per head, maximum.θ-theory The number (and type) of θ-roles assigned by thepredicates are recorded in the lexicon. “Weather verbs”: assign no θ-roles, there are noparticipants (e.g., rain, snow). Transitive verbs: assign two θ-roles, often Agent andTheme. These are assumed to assign the external θ-roles through a v component. (e.g., kick, like, see, eat) Intransitive verbs: assign one θ-role, can be external(often Agent or Experiencer) (unergative verbs, e.g.,run, laugh, dance) or Theme (unaccusative verbs, e.g.,melt, sink, trip, fall). “Ditransitive verbs”: assign three θ-roles, often Agent,Theme, Goal. These necessarily arise from acombination of v and V. (e.g., put, introduce, give)Common thematic relations Agent: initiator or doer in the event Theme: affected by the event, or undergoes theaction Bill kicked the ball. Experiencer: feels or perceives the event Bill likes pizza. Proposition: a statement, can be true/false. Bill said that he likes pizza. Goal: Bill ran to Copley Square. Bill gave the book to Mary. (Recipient)Ditransitive verbs In order to assign three θ-roles(for ditransitive verbs likeintroduce), we need two XPs,which we’ve drawn like this. The labor of assigning θ-roles isdivided between v, the lightverb that assigns the Agent orExperiencer θ-role, and V, themain verb that assigns theTheme and Goal θ-roles.PPV′VVPDOv′vvPSUB3Unaccusatives and transitives In The ice melted there is no external θ-role.So there is no v. In Bill melted the ice, we add a causer, anAgent. Bill caused [the ice to melt]. “Bill was the agent of an ice-melting.” So, something like this, where the mainverb moves up to the light verb (which wehad evidence for in ditransitives). In general, Agent and Experiencer arealways assigned by a v.v′vvPDPVPVthe icemeltDPBillDPVPVthe icemeltUnergatives,transitives Unergatives Just an external θ-role… Bill lied. There’s an Agent, so there’s a v. Bill ate the sandwich looks just likeBill melted the ice. v assigns Agent to Bill, V (eat)assigns Theme to the sandwich.v′vvPDPVPVthesandwicheatDPBillv′vvPVPlieDPBillBill tried PRO to leave There is a class of verbs (control verbs) thatembed nonfinite clauses that seem to be“missing an argument”: try, want, … Think about the θ-roles; leave has to assigna θ-role, to the leaver, and try has to assigntwo θ-roles, one to the proposition (IP)tried, and one to the trier (Bill). But we only see two of those arguments:the IP and Bill. The missing argument is PRO.Reluctance… Mary is reluctant[PRO to leave]. PRO does not get Case. *Mary is reluctant Bill to leave. In fact, PRO cannot get Case. *Mary is reluctant for to leave Mary is reluctant for Bill to leave PRO refers (like a pronoun or ananaphor) to Mary.AreluctantA′APDPiMarytjVPVj+IisI′IPvPItoI′IPleavetiθθv′VPθVVk+vtktmDPmPROSubject and object control Subject control predicates Billi is reluctant [PROi to leave] be reluctant, want, try, ask (no object), … Object control predicates Johni persuaded Billj [PROj to leave] persuade, ask (with object), tell, convince, … PROarb [PROarb to leave now] would be a mistake. [PROarb pontificating] irritates me.Structural uniformity The different elements of the structure are eachresponsible for a


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