LINGUIST List 15.1062

Wed Mar 31 2004

Diss: Syntax: Alexandris: 'The Modifying...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. calex, The Modifying Participle as a Grammatical Category

Message 1: The Modifying Participle as a Grammatical Category

Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2004 06:05:40 -0500 (EST)
From: calex <>
Subject: The Modifying Participle as a Grammatical Category

Institution: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Program: Department of German Language and Literature
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Christina Alexandris

Dissertation Title: The Modifying Participle as a Grammatical
Category: Contrastive Analysis of German and Greek Modifying
Participles and Modifying Participial Phrases and Application in
Natural Language Processing Systems

Linguistic Field: Syntax 

Subject Language: German, Standard (code: GER) Greek (code: GRK)

Dissertation Director 1: Elisabeth Kotzia
Dissertation Director 2: Georgios Babiniotis
Dissertation Director 3: Friederiki Batsalia
Dissertation Director 4: Eleni Efthimiou

Dissertation Abstract:

The thesis supports that German and Greek modifying participles,
traditionally named "adjectival participles", constitute a separate
grammatical category and not a type of adjective or adjective phrase
or a "mixed category" (Bresnan (1998)), according to the most recent
bibliography (in both GB, HPSG and LFG and related Natural Language
Processing applications). The analysis and proof is based on the
thematic roles of the modifying participle (the traditional
"adjectival" participle) and modifying participial phrase that are
compared and contrasted to the verb and the verb phrase. Although
important elements are derived from HPSG and LFG bibliography, the
analysis is in the GB framework (Kayne (1994), connecting the
syntactic and the morphological level in a singular framework of
analysis) and based on the Mirror Image Principle (Baker (1985),
Haider (1993)) to account for the order of constituents in the two

The thesis supports that the syntactic level contains elements
differentiating the modifying participles from the grammatical
categories with which they share common characteristics, namely the
adjective and the verb. Specifically, the thesis supports that these
elements are located in the syntactic structure of the modifying
participial phrase and are differentiated against the syntactic
structure of the adjective phrase and the verb phrase. The Greek and
the German modifying participles are analysed in respect to their
morphosyntactic function based on the analysis of Kayne (1994) in
which the syntactic level interacts with the morphological level
containing the nominal and the verbal elements of the modifying

The thesis supports that the differences in respect to the order of
constituents in Greek and German verb phrases accounts for the
differences between the Greek and German modifying participial
phrases, with which they share the same thematic framework. This
relation in respect to the syntactic structure of the Greek and German
verb phrases and the respective modifying participial phrases is based
on the Mirror Image Principle (Baker (1985), Haider (1993)).

The thesis supports that the modifying participles do not constitute a
type of adjective and are differentiated from the adjectives, based on
the type of phrases they generate. The modifying participial phrase is
not identified with the adjective phrase: Both types of phrases can
alternately occupy the modifier node of N'. The thesis also supports
that, in contrast to the adjective phrase, the Greek modifying
particles can form elliptical modifying participial phrases with the
same mechanism elliptical verb phrases are formed in the same language
- in contrast to German, where both types of elliptical structures
cannot be generated.

A chapter of the dissertation concerns suggested strategies/algorithms
for the analysis and treatment of modifying participial phrases in
monolingual and multilingual Natural Language Processing applications,
namely Information Retrieval and Machine Translation. The proposed
processes are based on the classification of the modifying participle
as a separate grammatical category constituting an identifiable
element that can, therefore, be subjected to transformational
processes and/or extraction of its verbal features.
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