Syntax & Stylistics 1

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Syntax & Stylistics 1

  1. 1. Syntax & Stylistics Revealing the Bones of Language
  2. 2. Intuitions about Words Belonging Together My cat eats ate really fancy restaurants [[my cat ][ eats [ at [[ really fancy ] restaurants ]]]] <ul><li>There seems to be a closer relationship between “really” and “fancy” than btw. “eats” and “at.” </li></ul><ul><li>Syntax is the way capture these intuitions. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Constituent Structure <ul><li>Sentences are not just a linear string of words. We can use a tree structure to represent these relationships: </li></ul>My cat eats at really fancy restaurants
  4. 4. Using Introspective Data Syntax is fun!
  5. 5. Intuitions about Language <ul><li>You’re going to be making judgments about sentences you’ve never seen before. </li></ul><ul><li>What criteria are we using? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the sentence well-formed? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does it conform to your dialect? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We’re not talking about meaning. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Syntax is different from Semantics </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Form vs. Meaning <ul><li>Some famous sentences: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. (?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revolutionary new ideas occur infrequently. (√) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>?I’m going to visit that country last year. (?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I’m going to visit that country next year. (√) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Meaning may broken, but syntax is still good. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Introspective Judgments <ul><li>We’re using acceptability and ambiguity as a window on our own grammar. </li></ul><ul><li>The grammar we create may generate sentences we wouldn’t find acceptable. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Infinitely long </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Center embedded </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Silly meanings </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Constituents <ul><li>Further approximation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rather than being linear strings of words, sentences contain constituents. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Constituents are groups of words that function as a unit with respect to grammatical processes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Constituents can be grouped into larger constituents. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The hierarchical organization of sentences represents the structure of constituents. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Constituent Tests <ul><li>It was X that Y. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The greedy mouse devoured the cheese in the cupboard . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It was the greedy mouse that devoured the cheese in the cupboard . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It was the cheese in the cupboard that the greedy mouse devoured . </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Constituent Tests <ul><li>Answer to a Question: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What did the greedy mouse do? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ devoured the cheese in the cupboard.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where did the greedy mouse devour the cheese? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ in the cupboard.” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Constituent Tests <ul><li>Replacement with a proform (pronoun, proverb, proadjective, propreposition). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Kozo loves eating at really fancy restaurants , and Dori loves to too . (proverb) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The compulsive mouse ate the cheese but he did not eat the tuna. (pronoun) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kozo is quite thoroughly independent minded , but Dori is less so . (proadjective) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Constituent Test <ul><li>Deletion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>My dog likes to eat at really fancy restaurants. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>My dog likes to eat at restaurants. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. What’s a Constituent? <ul><li>Are the underlined strings of words constituents or not? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Humpty Dumpty washed himself with soapy water . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The greedy mouse devoured the cheese in the tower. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Cheshire Cat dislikes grey mice with pink tails . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Mad Hatter will give some herbal tea to Alice. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Humpty Dumpty and the Cheshire Cat never eat together </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Constituent Tests <ul><li>It was X that Y </li></ul><ul><li>Replacement with a proform </li></ul><ul><li>Answer to a question </li></ul><ul><li>Deletion </li></ul>
  15. 15. Ambiguity <ul><li>Some sentences have multiple meanings: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Wanted: Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ambiguity provides evidence about the structure. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Frege: The meaning of a sentence is composed of the meanings of the parts and their mode of combination. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. A Richer Hierarchical Structure The dog that is chasing the ball is limping
  17. 17. Ambiguity <ul><li>“ The harbor pilot saw the ship’s captain with the telescope.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One sentence, two meanings. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Meaning 1: The harbor pilot had the telescope. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Meaning 2: The ship’s captain had the telescope. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The only way for the same string of unambiguous words to have two meanings is for the structures (mode of combination) to be different. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Ambiguity The harbor pilot saw the ship’s captain with a telescope The harbor pilot saw the ship’s captain with a telescope Each meaning is associated with a different structure:
  19. 19. Find the Ambiguity <ul><li>Describe the two meanings in each of the following ambiguous sentences: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wanted: Man to take care of cow that does not drink or smoke. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The old cat and dog sat on the porch. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tibetan history teacher to visit the college. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More intelligent administrators are required to solve this problem. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Ambiguity <ul><li>Make up four more sentences that are ambiguous in the same way as “The pilot saw the captain with a telescope.” Use words such as to, from under, without and on . </li></ul>
  21. 21. Concatenation <ul><li>First approximation: Constituent structure as simple concatenation. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As in mathematics: addition. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phrase structure corresponds to the order of words from the beginning to the end: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kozo ate Dori’s dinner. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kozo + ate + Dori’s + dinner </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Concatenation as Addition <ul><li>Addition is commutative: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 + 4 = 4 + 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Order doesn’t matter. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Language is not commutative: </li></ul><ul><li>Boy loves girl ≠ Girl loves boy. </li></ul><ul><li>(Hence, the entire history of Western literature.) </li></ul><ul><li>Dori ate Kozo’s dinner ≠ Kozo ate Dori’s dinner </li></ul>
  23. 23. Structured Concatenation <ul><li>What if we combine the first two elements to create a new object, then combine the new object with the next word to the right… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Kozo & ate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Kozo & ate) & Dori’s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>((Kozo & ate) & Dori’s) & dinner </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solves part of the problem: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Kozo & ate) ≠ (Dori & ate) </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Problems <ul><li>Structured concatenation doesn’t capture the intuitions we have about language. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Dori’s” is structurally closer to “ate” than to “dinner.” </li></ul><ul><li>( 1 ( 2 ( 3 Kozo & ate ) 3 & Dori’s ) 2 & dinner) 1 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Dori’s” belongs to the set enclosed by ( 2 … ) 2 , excluding “dinner.” </li></ul><ul><li>Our intuitions tell us that this isn’t right. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Reverse Order? <ul><li>What if we collect things into constituents from R to L? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dori’s & dinner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ate & (Dori’s & dinner) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kozo & (ate & (Dori’s & dinner)) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Resulting in this structure: </li></ul><ul><li>( 1 Kozo & ( 2 ate & ( 3 Dori’s & dinner) 3 ) 2 ) 1 </li></ul>
  26. 26. Reverse Order Kozo ate Dori’s dinner
  27. 27. Problems ( 1 the & ( 2 cat & ( 3 ate & ( 4 Dori’s & dinner) 4 ) 3 ) 2 ) 1 The cat ate Dori’s dinner <ul><li>Still doesn’t capture our intuitions about the relatedness of phrases, e.g., “the cat” </li></ul>
  28. 28. Regular (Markov) Grammars Also called “Finite State Automata.” Each dot represents a state, the words are functions from state to state. man men comes came The old ● ● ● ● ● ● very
  29. 29. Regular (Markov) Grammar What sentences can you generate with this grammar? dog dogs snores snore The old ● ● ● ● ● ● very
  30. 30. Grammaticality? <ul><li>Are the following sentences grammatical according to this grammar? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The old dog snores. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The very old dog snores. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The very old dogs snore. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The really old dogs snore. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The very old cats snore. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The very, very, very, old dogs sleep. </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Problems <ul><li>Regular grammars have no “memory.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They only know what happened on the last node. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We know that human languages do have a memory. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Missile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anti missile missile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anti anti missile missile missile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Etc. </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Mirror Languages <ul><li>In this language, we have a pattern where the number of times the word “missile” occurs is exactly one more than the number of times the word “anti” occurs (a n b n+1 ). </li></ul><ul><li>Regular grammars can’t do this, b/c they can’t count the number of times a particular node was passed. </li></ul>
  33. 33. No Memory anti missile ● ● <ul><li>There is a dialect of Swiss German that has this property. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider also: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Jon, Stephen, and Bill like cats, dogs, and fish, respectively.” </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. Question Formation <ul><li>Subject-Aux Inversion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Kozo has eaten. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has Kozo eaten? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>First hypothesis: invert the first two words in the sentence. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The cat has eaten. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>*Cat the has eaten? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>* = unacceptable </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Question Formation <ul><li>Second hypothesis: move the first auxiliary verb to the beginning of the sentence: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Kozo the wonder dog has eaten. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has Kozo the wonder dog eaten? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Problem: what about two aux verbs? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The dog that was chasing the ball is limping. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>*Was the dog chasing the ball is limping? </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Grammatical, but not Acceptable <ul><li>Consider the following sentences: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Colorless green ideas sleep furiously (rejected for semantic reasons). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The mouse the cat the dog chased ate died </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The mouse the cat the dog chased ate died </li></ul></ul>We might reject this sentence because it is just to complex to understand, even though it conforms to the rules of the grammar.

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