Psycholinguistics Final Study Guide

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  • Topic: Syntax, Verb, Phrase structure rules
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23 March 2010
Syntax

“sentence level”
internal phrase structure: clauses. Clauses=phrases
phrase structure rules: how do we organize words?.
Phrases: syntactic units
Tree diagrams – graphical overview of phrase structure

“word classes”
open- add new lexical items to them
|Type |Examples | |Noun |River, intelligence, | | |Nora, fax, blog | |Verb |Discuss, remember, feel, gallop, text annoy | |Adjective |Unhappy, beautiful, tiny, mad, happy | |Adverb |Fast, still, hopefully, quickly |

closed- ‘function words’ – determiners vs auxiliary.
Determiners: numbers, quantities, pronouns, prepositions, conjuctions, etc Auxiliary: modal
|Type |Examples | |Determiner |The, a, this, these | |Numeral |One, five, ten, eighth | |Quantifier |All, each, every, both, | |Pronoun |They, he, she, yours | |Preposition |Without, in , on, over | |Conjunction |And, or, yet, but, so | |Degree Word |Very, so, rather, too | |Auxiliary Verb |Have, be, do | |Modal Verb |May, might, can, could |

Phrases/clauses
Phrases= constituents
Head in every phrase determines syntactic category of the phrase Head= NP, VP, AP, AdvP, PP, XP [placeholder in phrase structure rule indicating a phrase of some type] Clauses: largest syntactic phrase

Cl( NP VP

Phrase structure rules
Cl NP VP John bought a rug. I ate lunch. He ran quickly.

NP (D) (AP) N (XP) the green monster, the snake in the grass

VP (Aux) V (XP) is waiting for a seat, slept, can run quickly

AP (Deg) A very happy, old, green, so tired

AdvP (Deg) Adv very quickly, happily, still, luckily

PP (Deg) P (XP) in the house, over the moon, so in trouble

*Phrase structure rule #1: clause= NP (subject) +VP (predicate) All sentences must have s ubject, not all have an object
Phrase structure rules are not language-universal. They are a part of tacit knowledge of English. Parenthases are optional. Ex. NP((D) (+P)N (XP) here only noun is required. Relative clause: entire clause after the noun. Ex. The boy who is eating the cheese.

Tree diagrams
“noun phrase is dominated by the higher node”
tree diagrams help understand syntactic ambiguity.

Ambiguity
1) lexical- word w/ more than one meaning. NOT illustrated by tree diagrams
-balanced ambiguous words: 2 meanings, = in freq.
-biased: dom/subordinate words, not = in freq
2) syntactic ambiguity – more than one potential struc
yes, illustrated by tree diagrams.

Recursion
Clauses can contain other clauses.
Unlimited extension: phrases/clauses embedded to infinity. Clauses contain other subordinate clauses. Example of how grammar is ‘generative’ – can produce more meanings. I think Wiley claimed that Elizabeth detests clams from the bay that is famous for shellfish.

‘Silent’ syntax
some components of sentences are missing, but we still understand them. Ex. “Julio is eager to please” “Julio is eager [for himself] to please [someone] Tree diagrams need placeholders for silent syntactic material

Substitution
Pronoun substitution
Ex. “The new houses will be fine” subbed: “They will be fine” Antecedent: NP a pronoun refers to. Can be linguistic or pragmatic...
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