March Notes on the Antisymmetry of Syntax. Bernhard Rohrbacher. University of Pennsylvania. Follow this and additional works at. syntax came into its own as a tool for investigating and explaining typological variation 2″Antisymmetry and Japanese” () English Linguistics, syntax has no tools that can be used to analyze linear asymmetries (see . closer to answering the questions raised by Kayne’s antisymmetry.

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In linguisticsbranching refers to the shape of the parse trees that represent the structure of sentences. The direction of branching reflects the position of heads in phrasesand in this regard, right-branching structures are head-initialwhereas left-branching structures are head-final.

Some languages are mostly right-branching head-initial. Languages typically construct phrases with a head word or nucleus and zero or more dependents modifiers. The following phrases show the phrase heads in bold. Concerning phrases such as the house and the house therethis article assumes the traditional NP analysis, meaning that the noun is deemed to be head over the determiner.

On a DP-analysis determiner phrasethe phrase the house would be right-branching instead of left-branching.

Left- and right-branching structures are illustrated with the trees that follow. Each example appears twice, once according to a constituency-based analysis associated with a phrase structure grammar [5] and once according to a dependency-based analysis associated with a dependency grammar. The upper row shows the constituency-based structures, and the lower row the dependency-based structures.

In the constituency-based structures, left-branching is present but not really visible in so far as the non-head daughter is to the left of the head.

Branching (linguistics)

In the corresponding dependency-based structures in the lower row, the left-branching is clear; the dependent appears to the left of its head, the branch extending down to the left. The following structures demonstrate right-branching:. The upper row again shows the constituency-based structures, and the lower row the dependency-based structures. The constituency-based structures are right-branching insofar as the non-head daughter is to the right of the head.

This right-branching is completely visible in the lower row of dependency-based structures, where the branch extends down to the right. The c -examples contain one instance of right-branching the upper branch and one instance of left-branching the lower branch.

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The following trees illustrate phrases that combine both types of branching:. The combination of left- and right-branching is now completely visible in both the constituency- and dependency-based trees.

The head appears in a medial position, which means that the phrase combines both types of branching. Note that the b -trees also contain a PP phrase that is an instance of pure right-branching. The nature of branching is most visible with full trees. The following trees have been chosen to illustrate the extent to which a structure can be entirely left- or entirely right-branching.

The following sentence is completely left-branching. The constituency-based trees are on the left, and the dependency-based trees are on the right: The following sentence is completely right-branching:. Most structures in English are, however, not completely left- or completely right-branching, but rather they combine both. The following trees illustrate what can be seen as a stereotypical combination of left- and right-branching in English:.

In the big picture, right-branching structures tend to outnumber the left-branching structures in English, which means that trees usually grow down to the right. The X-bar schema [8] combines left- and right-branching. The standard X-bar schema has the following structure:.

This structure is both left- and right branching.

LINGUIST List R. Kayne, The Antisymmetry of Syntax

It is left-branching insofar as the bar-level projection of the head X’ follows the specifier, but it is right-branching insofar as the actual head X 0 precedes the complement.

Despite these conflicting traits, most standard X-bar structures in English are more right-branching than left-branching because specifiers tend to be less complex i. This distinction can have a profound impact on the overall nature of the theory of syntax. The two main possibilities in a phrase structure grammar are illustrated with the following trees:. The n-ary branching structure on the right is a more traditional approach to branching.

One can muster arguments for both approaches. For instance, the critics of the strictly binary branching structures charge that the strict binarity is motivated more by a desire for theoretical purity than by empirical observation. Strictly binary branching structures increase the amount of syntactic structure number of nodes to the upper limit of what is possible, whereas flatter n-ary branching tends to restrict the amount of structure that the theory can assume.


Worth noting in this area is that the more layered the syntactic structures are, the more discontinuities can occur, which means the component of the theory that addresses discontinuities must play a greater role.

Antisymmetry – Wikipedia

Given the flatter structures associated with n-ary branching, certain phenomena e. As stated above, the main branching trait for a language is just a tendency and it often shows exceptions.

Spanishfor example, while overwhelmingly right-branching, puts numeral modifiers before nouns and, in certain cases, objects before verbs. Languages like English or Swedish, though regarded as being right-branching because the main verbs precede direct objects, place adjectives and numerals before their nouns.

Japanese and most other languages of northeastern Asia and the Indian subcontinenton the other hand, are practically a model for rigidly left-branching languages. The Mon—Khmer and Austronesian languages of southeast Asia and many African languages come close to rigidly right-branching, with numerals as well as adjectives following their nouns and with degree words like verytooextremelyand quite following the adjectives they modify.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. An introduction to transformational syntax. A study of phrase structure. Linguistic Inquiry Monograph 2. Language universals and linguistic typology: The World Atlas of Language Structures. The antisymmetry of syntax. Linguistic Inquiry Monograph Twenty-Five. Why are there no directionality parameters? On the double object construction. Linguistic Inquiry 19, — Introduction to the theory of grammar. Retrieved from ” https: Grammar Linguistic typology Word order.

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