Constituent Questions: The Syntax and Semantics of Questions by Elisabet Engdahl (auth.)

By Elisabet Engdahl (auth.)

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Additional info for Constituent Questions: The Syntax and Semantics of Questions with Special Reference to Swedish

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He credits it with being very useful and theoretically important for showing that a large number of constructions in natural language can be defined purely in terms of a phrase structure grammar contrary to what has commonly been assumed among linguists. However, Cooper chooses not to introduce Gazdar's machinery into the syntactic rules. Rather he allows null lexical insertion in the syntax, thereby providing for nodes that dominate the empty string. The grammar thus generates trees like in (42).

J1 were/*was coming? (53) [Me/* 1,1] you can rely on I. : _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ J 47 In English there appears to be one case where this generalization does not hold, brought to my attention by R. Cooper and L. Karttunen. Many speakers of English require the case marked form whom when the word is immediately preceded by a preposition, but allow or even prefer who when the preposition is stranded. Compare, (54) Who talked to whoml*who? (55) [To whom/*whol] did you talk I? --JI? __ _ _ talk ___ ~ This fact together with some observations about failure of agreement in certain complex unbounded dependencies can be taken as an argument for being able to distinguish dislocated positions and gap positions and it might be considered a plus for the theory that it makes this distinction formally available.

This revised version of Gazdar's framework might then be semantically adequate for a language like Swedish, although the syntax would no longer be provably context-free. We recall that the grammar directly generates sentences with dislocated constituents in their surface positions. The syntactic configurations are interpreted by semantic rules RECENT APPROACHES TO UNBOUNDED DEPENDENCIES 29 which conform to the principle of compositionality: the meaning of an expression is a function of the meanings of its parts and of the way they are put together.

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