A Course In Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar GPSG by Paul Bennett

By Paul Bennett

The "Generalized word constitution Grammar" GPSG is a tremendous syntactic concept which has been followed through the computational linguistics global. this article assumes an introductory wisdom of syntactic thought and covers all of the major constructs of the grammar.

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The directionality of government. We cannot explain this fully here, but it can be likened to the traditional concept whereby one says (for instance) that verbs govern their objects. If lexical categories govern their complements, then the distinction between English and Japanese (cf. (22) and 23)) would be captured by saying that in English lexical categories govern to their right, and in Japanese to their left. Alternatively, we could say that English is a headinitial language, and Japanese a head-final language.

If we use our [noun, 2] -type notation, we could introduce variables and write [X, n ] for an item of type X and level n . Then we could state that PS-rules must be as in (38). (38) [X, n ] … [X, m]… (where m=n or m=n−1) (38) encodes the requirement just stated. The dots on either side of [X, m] stand for nodes not on the projection path; more will be said about this shortly. The rules in (37) conform to the schema in (38), but rule (33b) does not do so, because it would be stated in feature notation as (39).

There have been attempts to incorporate such tendencies in generative grammar, and in particular to employ X-bar theory to capture them. For example, Lightfoot (1979: pp. ) proposes the universal schema (21) for PS-rules. (21) a. X2 {Spec X1} b. X1 {Comp X0} Symbols such as X2 are variables over category types (equivalent to our earlier [X, 2]). The curly brackets on the right-hand side indicate that the symbols here are unordered. ‘Spec’ stands for specifier (this would include English articles, for instance, though the exact category would depend on the category of the sister), while ‘Comp’ stands for a string of complements.

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