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Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG) Motivation for LFG LFG in a ...

Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG) Motivation for LFG LFG in a ...

Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG) Motivation for LFG LFG in a

Motivation for LFG Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG) L614 Spring 2010 Based heavily upon Dalrymple (2001) and to a lesser degree on Austin (2001) • Lexical = (not transformational) richly structured lexicon, where relations between, e.g., verbal alternations, are stated • Functional = (not configurational) abstract grammatical functions like subject and object are primitives, i.e., not defined by the phrase structure configurations 2/50 LFG in a nutshell Part I: F-structure LFG (minimally) distinguishes two kinds of representation: • c-structure (constituent structure): overt linear and hierarchical organization of words into phrases • f-structure (functional structure): abstract functional organization of the sentence, explicitly representing syntactic predicate-argument structure and functional relations These are two completely different formalisms: trees (c-structure) and attribute-value matrices (f-structure) (We will largely ignore A-structure and σ-structure here.) F-structure maps more closely to meaning and encodes abstract grammatical relations like subject and object as primitives, i.e. not reducible to anything else (e.g., tree structure) Motivation: • Study of grammatical relations predates modern linguistic theory • Categories like subject and object are cross-linguistic → languages vary less in their f-structure • e.g., Keenan-Comrie Hierarchy (for relative clause formation) is supposedly universal subj > do > io > obl > gen > ocomp 3/50 4/50 Grammatical functions Governable & non-governable grammatical functions Inventory: subject, object, obj θ , comp, xcomp, oblique θ , adjunct, xadjunct • Terms (core functions): subj, obj, obj θ • Semantically restricted: obj θ , obl θ – Thematic restrictions (θ) placed on function – obj θ : secondary obj functions associated with thematic roles: objtheme only one used in English – obl θ : thematically restricted oblique functions, often corresponding to adpositions • Open clausal functions (no internal subject): xcomp, xadj – comp: sentential or closed (nonpredicative) infinitival complement – xcomp: open (predicative) complement with subject externally controlled • Governable functions: subj, obj, obj θ , comp, xcomp, obl θ – A predicate can govern these functions (i.e., subcategorize for them) • Non-governable functions: adj, xadj – adj: David devoured a sandwich yesterday. – xadj: Having opened the window, David took a deep breath. 5/50 6/50

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