Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:


Still Needed:


Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

New from Cambridge University Press!


Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.

Summary Details

Query:   Syntax of NP Coordination with PP Modifiers
Author:  Myroslava Dzikovska
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Computational Linguistics

Summary:   A while ago I asked a question on the list regarding the syntax of NP
coordination with PP modifiers in the examples like
(1) The [boys and girls]_N' [in the picture]_PP are smiling
(2) [The man]_NP and [the woman]_NP [in the picture]_PP made an agreement


My question was how to treat this in the grammar, seeing that PP appears to
attach to N' in the first case, and NP in the second case. I received a
number of excellent suggestions, and I sincerely apologize that it took me
so long to post a summary to the list

The most common suggestion I received is to allow for the ambiguous
attachment both to N' and NP, citing examples from
Ray S. Jackendoff, in X' Syntax: A Study of Phrase Structure
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press) pp. 191-192
and also a variety of cases where it is possible to attach PPs to pronouns,
such as ''John Smith from the bursar's office''.

Several people also suggested treating example (2) as right node rising.

Another suggestion was to check out the treatment in the ERG grammar.
Following up on that, I attempted to parse those and similar sentences
using the online ERG demo at http://www.delph-in.net
It appears that NPs are only allowed to modify N' in that version of the
grammar, returning the semantic interpretations of (2) where ''in the
picture'' modifies only ''woman''.

There is also related research on using underspecification with
coordination and with relative clause attachment

''Underspecification and NP Coordination in Constraint-based Grammar''
Chaves R. P. (2005), In F. Richter and M. Sailer (Eds.), Workshop on
Empirical Challenges and Analytical Alternatives to Strict
Compositionality, pp. 38-58, 17th ESSLLI, Heriot-Watt University,
Edinburgh, Scotland.

Magdalena Zoeppritz: Syntax for German in the User Specialty Languages
System, Tubingen: Niemeyer, 1984.

Tibor Kiss Semantic constraints on relative clause extraposition In:
Natural Language and Linguistic Theory (2005) 23; 281 - 334.

Many thanks to the following people for helpful comments and examples
Emily Bender
Rui Pedro Chaves
Soyoung Kang
Michael T. Wescoat
Shuichi Vatabe
Martin Haspelmath
Magdalena Zoeppritz
Bingfu Lu
Stefan Muller

LL Issue: 18.1465
Date Posted: 14-May-2007
Original Query: Read original query


Sums main page