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2018

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2018

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  1. : 2018

  2. Syntax: A First Encounter Marcel den Dikken Department of English Linguistics ELTE

  3. SAFE 5 Theta-roles/grids →SAFEty First • of the three syntactically relevant types of information stored in the lexicon, we have so far discussed two: ✓ – category ✓ – subcategorisation – thematic roles •category information determines the labels of phrases, and is also essential in the statement of selectional restrictions in terms of subcategorisation frames •subcategorisationis an essential ingredient of the internal syntax of phrases: it tells us whether there is an object (or more than one), what the category of the object(s) is, and where the object(s) stand(s) relative to the head •but subcategorisation frames tell us nothing about the subject – now we need to start thinking about that

  4. SAFE 5 Theta-roles/grids • separately from their subcategorisation properties, we can also make distinctions for the lexical categories in terms of the number and nature of thematic roles (or theta-roles, θ-roles) that they assign ?! why this symbol? → the word ‘thematic’ is the adjective corresponding to the noun ‘theme’ (the name of one of the θ-roles), which is of Greek origin, and in Greek begins with the letter θ

  5. SAFE 5 Theta-roles/grids • separately from their subcategorisation properties, we can also make distinctions for the lexical categories in terms of the number and nature of thematic roles (or theta-roles, θ-roles) that they assign • θ-roles represent the participants in the eventuality denoted by the predicate head we can think of the predicate head as the title of a play, and of the θ-roles as descriptions of the roles played by the ‘actors’ (called arguments) required for the play

  6. SAFE 5 Theta-roles/grids • separately from their subcategorisation properties, we can also make distinctions for the lexical categories in terms of the number and nature of thematic roles (or theta-roles, θ-roles) that they assign • θ-roles represent the participants in the eventuality denoted by the predicate head →an event of ‘sleeping’ involves just a sleeper (Agent); we add this information to the lexical entry for sleep in the form of a so-called θ-grid – sleep category: [–F, –N, +V] subcat: [ ___ Ø] θ-grid: <Agent>

  7. SAFE 5 Theta-roles/grids • separately from their subcategorisation properties, we can also make distinctions for the lexical categories in terms of the number and nature of thematic roles (or theta-roles, θ-roles) that they assign • θ-roles represent the participants in the eventuality denoted by the predicate head →an event of ‘devouring’ involves a devourer (Agent) and something devoured (Theme), and this information is registered in the θ-grid for the verb devour – devour category: [–F, –N, +V] subcat: [ ___ DP] θ-grid: <Agent, Theme> NBthe Theme is the argument of which a (change of) state or location is predicated → ‘devouring’ makes the object undergo a change of state

  8. SAFE 5 Theta-roles/grids • separately from their subcategorisation properties, we can also make distinctions for the lexical categories in terms of the number and nature of thematic roles (or theta-roles, θ-roles) that they assign • θ-roles represent the participants in the eventuality denoted by the predicate head →but in an event of ‘caressing’, the object is not a Theme: it does not undergo a change of state or location; so for caress, the θ-grid will not list a Theme but a Patient – caress category: [–F, –N, +V] subcat: [ ___ DP] θ-grid: <Agent, Patient> NBthe Theme is the argument of which a (change of) state or location is predicated → ‘devouring’ makes the object undergo a change of state

  9. SAFE 5 Theta-roles/grids • separately from their subcategorisation properties, we can also make distinctions for the lexical categories in terms of the number and nature of thematic roles (or theta-roles, θ-roles) that they assign • θ-roles represent the participants in the eventuality denoted by the predicate head →but in an event of ‘caressing’, the object is not a Theme: it does not undergo a change of state or location; so for caress, the θ-grid will not list a Theme but a Patient – caress category: [–F, –N, +V] subcat: [ ___ DP] θ-grid: <Agent, Patient> cf. – devour category: [–F, –N, +V] subcat: [ ___ DP] θ-grid: <Agent, Theme>

  10. SAFE 5 Theta-roles/grids • separately from their subcategorisation properties, we can also make distinctions for the lexical categories in terms of the number and nature of thematic roles (or theta-roles, θ-roles) that they assign • θ-roles represent the participants in the eventuality denoted by the predicate head →an event of ‘putting’ involves a putter (Agent), a thing put (Theme), and a place where it is put (Location), and this is registered in the θ-grid for the verb put – put category: [–F, –N, +V] subcat: [ ___ DP PP] θ-grid: <Agent, Theme, Loc> → the nominal object of put is a Theme, as in the case of devour – the referent of devour’s object undergoes a change of state; put’s undergoes a change of location

  11. SAFE 5 Theta-grid vs Subcat NB there is a degree of overlap between θ-grids and subcategorisation frames: both register information about the predicate head’s object(s) • but there are important differences between the two: (i)subcat frames only list objects: the Agent in V’s θ-grid has no match in the subcat frame – put category: [–F, –N, +V] subcat: [ ___ DP PP] θ-grid: <Agent, Theme, Loc>

  12. SAFE 5 Theta-grid vs Subcat NB there is a degree of overlap between θ-grids and subcategorisation frames: both register information about the predicate head’s object(s) • but there are important differences between the two: (i)subcat frames only list objects: the Agent in V’s θ-grid has no match in the subcat frame →we refer to theTheme and Loc arguments of put as the internal arguments of put: they have a match internal to the verb’s subcat frame → the Agent is the external argument of put: it is listed in the θ-grid for put but external to the verb’s subcat frame – put category: [–F, –N, +V] subcat: [ ___ DP PP] θ-grid: <Agent, Theme, Loc>

  13. SAFE 5 Theta-grid vs Subcat NB there is a degree of overlap between θ-grids and subcategorisation frames: both register information about the predicate head’s object(s) • but there are important differences between the two: (i)subcat frames only list objects: the Agent in V’s θ-grid has no match in the subcat frame (ii)onlysubcat frames include information about the category of the object(s) and about their position relative to each other and to the predicate head – put category: [–F, –N, +V] subcat: [ ___ DP PP] θ-grid: <Agent, Theme, Loc>

  14. SAFE 5 Theta-grid vs Subcat →there is variation regarding the categorial properties of the internal arguments of a predicate head, and with respect to their linear placement → there is no such variation for theexternal argument: it is overwhelmingly nominal and precedes the predicate (ii)onlysubcat frames include information about the category of the object(s) and about their position relative to each other and to the predicate head – put category: [–F, –N, +V] subcat: [ ___ DP PP] θ-grid: <Agent, Theme, Loc> – give category: [–F, –N, +V] subcat: [ ___ DPPP / DPDP] θ-grid: <Agent, Theme, Goal>

  15. SAFE 5 flashback The Lexicon • syntactic structures are projections of properties stored for each word or subword atom (‘morpheme’, such as -ed in our previous example) in a great pre-syntactic storage house called the lexicon • the lexicon harbours at least three syntactically relevant types of information ✓ – category ✓ – subcategorisation ✓ – thematic roles →we have now discussed all of the information stored for words in the lexicon Qas syntacticians, what do we need all this information for?

  16. SAFE 5 Projection • syntactic structures are projections of properties stored for each word or morpheme in the lexicon category subcategorisation frame θ-grid •the Projection Principledemands that all lexical information stored for a predicate head be syntactically projected →so we must ensure, for a head such as put, that in its syntactic structure there is something with the category label ‘V’, and that the verb’s subcatframe and θ-grid are adequately projected into this syntactic structure – put category: [–F, –N, +V] subcat: [ ___ DP PP] θ-grid: <Agent, Theme, Loc>

  17. SAFE 5 Projection • syntactic structures are projections of properties stored for each word or morpheme in the lexicon category subcategorisation frame θ-grid •the Projection Principledemands that all lexical information stored for a predicate head be syntactically projected •for thematic information, there are two more specific demands placed on the relationship between lexical representations and syntactic representations (i) the θ-Criterion says that every θ-role must be assigned to one and only one argument, and every argument must be assigned one and only one θ-role

  18. SAFE 5 Projection • consider the lexical representation we gave previously for the verb eat, which takes an object optionally – eat category: [–F, –N, +V] subcat: [ ___ (DP)] θ-grid: <Agent, (Theme)> •now imagine that we decided to only insert a subject in our syntactic structure for eat, and to assign to that sub- ject both the Agent θ-role and the Theme θ-role →then the sentence below should be able to mean ‘the cannibals are eating themselves’ – which in fact it cannot the cannibals are eating (i) the θ-Criterion says that every θ-role must be assigned to one and only one argument, and every argument must be assigned one and only one θ-role

  19. SAFE 5 Projection • similarly, consider the lexical representation for the verb introduce, which takes a Goal-PP optionally – introduce category: [–F, –N, +V] subcat: [ ___ DP (PP)] θ-grid: <Agent, Theme, (Goal)> •now imagine that we decided not to insert a PP in syntax, and to assign to the DP-object both the Theme θ-role and the Goal θ-role (which we know a DP can bear) →then the sentence below should be able to mean ‘John introduced Mary to herself’ – which in fact it cannot John introduced Mary (i) the θ-Criterion says that every θ-role must be assigned to one and only one argument, and every argument must be assigned one and only one θ-role

  20. SAFE 5 Projection • in order to ensure that the cannibals are eating cannot mean ‘the cannibals are eating themselves’, and that John introduced Mary cannot mean ‘John introduced Mary to herself’, we need to make the assignment of more than one θ-role to a single argument illegal •the θ-Criterion ensures this, by demanding that there be a one-to-one relationship between arguments and θ-roles •this biunique relationship between arguments and θ-roles is also violated if we insert some argument in syntax without having a θ-role available for it the cannibals are eating/*sleeping the visitors (i) the θ-Criterion says that every θ-role must be assigned to one and only one argument, and every argument must be assigned one and only one θ-role

  21. SAFE 5 Projection • in order to ensure that the cannibals are eating cannot mean ‘the cannibals are eating themselves’, and that John introduced Mary cannot mean ‘John introduced Mary to herself’, we need to make the assignment of more than one θ-role to a single argument illegal •the θ-Criterion ensures this, by demanding that there be a one-to-one relationship between arguments and θ-roles •this biunique relationship between arguments and θ-roles is also violated if we insert some argument in syntax without having a θ-role available for it the cannibals are giving/*eating the visitors a nice dinner (i) the θ-Criterion says that every θ-role must be assigned to one and only one argument, and every argument must be assigned one and only one θ-role

  22. SAFE 5 Projection • in order to ensure that the cannibals are eating cannot mean ‘the cannibals are eating themselves’, and that John introduced Mary cannot mean ‘John introduced Mary to herself’, we need to make the assignment of more than one θ-role to a single argument illegal •the θ-Criterion ensures this, by demanding that there be a one-to-one relationship between arguments and θ-roles •this biunique relationship between arguments and θ-roles is also violated if we insert some argument in syntax without having a θ-role available for it: →this, too, is correctly ruled out by the θ-Criterion (i) the θ-Criterion says that every θ-role must be assigned to one and only one argument, and every argument must be assigned one and only one θ-role

  23. SAFE 5 Projection • in order to ensure that the cannibals are eating cannot mean ‘the cannibals are eating themselves’, and that John introduced Mary cannot mean ‘John introduced Mary to herself’, we need to make the assignment of more than one θ-role to a single argument illegal •the θ-Criterion ensures this, by demanding that there be a one-to-one relationship between arguments and θ-roles →of course this also means that we can never leave any θ-role unassigned – but this already falls out from the Projection Principle, so we would not strictly speaking need to appeal to the θ-Criterion for this purpose (i) the θ-Criterion says that every θ-role must be assigned to one and only one argument, and every argument must be assigned one and only one θ-role

  24. SAFE 5 Projection • syntactic structures are projections of properties stored for each word or morpheme in the lexicon category subcategorisation frame θ-grid •the Projection Principledemands that all lexical information stored for a predicate head be syntactically projected •for thematic information, there are two more specific demands placed on the relationship between lexical representations and syntactic representations (i) the θ-Criterion says that every θ-role must be assigned to one and only one argument, and every argument must be assigned one and only one θ-role

  25. SAFE 5 Projection • syntactic structures are projections of properties stored for each word or morpheme in the lexicon category subcategorisation frame θ-grid •the Projection Principledemands that all lexical information stored for a predicate head be syntactically projected •for thematic information, there are two more specific demands placed on the relationship between lexical representations and syntactic representations (ii) the Uniformity of Theta Assignment Hypothesis (UTAH) says that identical θ-relationships between items must be represented by identical structural relationships between those items in syntactic structure

  26. SAFE 5 Projection •UTAH tells us that the placement of particular arguments in syntactic structure is not random but very tightly con- strained →if we have evidence, from a particular construction, that the bearer of a particular θ-role finds itself in a certain syntactic configuration in that construction, then we must syntactically project the bearer of that θ-role in the same syntactic configuration in all other constructions in which this θ-role is assigned as well →this will help us in our quest to build syntactic structures, which we are now fully equipped to embark upon (ii) the Uniformity of Theta Assignment Hypothesis (UTAH) says that identical θ-relationships between items must be represented by identical structural relationships between those items in syntactic structure

  27. SAFE 5 SAFE Deposits → it is time again to check our SAFE Deposit Box • syntactic structures are projections of properties stored for each word or morpheme in the lexicon, incl. category features, the subcategorisation frame and the θ-grid •the θ-grid is a list of θ-roles assignable to arguments •the Projection Principledemands that all lexical information stored for a predicate head be syntactically projected • the θ-Criterion says that every θ-role must be assigned to one and only one argument, and every argument must be assigned one and only one θ-role • the Uniformity of Theta Assignment Hypothesis (UTAH) says that identical θ-relationships between items must be represented by identical structural relationships between those items in syntactic structure

  28. Syntax: A First Encounter Marcel den Dikken Department of English Linguistics ELTE

  29. : 2018