Dependency syntax: theory and practice by Igor A. Melcuk

By Igor A. Melcuk

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Let it be emphasized, however, that a grouping is not a constituent because unlike a constituent, (1) its elements are not linearly ordered, (2) dependency relations among them are explicitly shown and (3) there is no higher node to represent the grouping as a whole. Moreover, I allow the grouping device only in strictly controlled contexts: for instance, in conjoined structures of the types illustrated and in a few other structures in which the syntactic scope of "operator" words (such as negation or only) may play a role.

Next page > < previous page page_32 next page > Page 32 but not in (9) or (11)). In other words, I prefer a more natural description: if the problem for D-formalism is created by a contrast between dependency of or on the whole phrase and dependency of or on the head of this phrase, this contrast should be expressed as such, explicitly and systematically. Therefore, I introduce groupings into D-formalism. A grouping is a complete subtree taken as a whole; groupings must be indicated in D-trees wherever this is relevant.

Available Mathematical Apparatus Modern linguistics, and especially syntax, is, in conformity with general tendencies of contemporary science, strongly biased toward mathematization. Linguists have made it a point of honor to borrow from mathematics as much as possible. The trend is clearly visible from Bloomfield (his "Set of Postulates for the Science of Language," 1926) to Harris to Chomsky and his followers. I find this phenomenon highly productive for linguistics; but the mathematical zeal of early prophets turned out to be harmful to dependencies.

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