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English Syntax Week 9. Verb movement: Aspectual Auxiliaries
X-bar parameters • Many (most? ) languages of the world have something like a basic word order, an order in which words come in “neutral” sentences. • English: SVO – Akira ate an apple. • Japanese & Korean: SOV – – John wa ringo o tabeta. 존 은 사과를 먹었다. John top apple acc ate ‘John ate an apple. ’
X-bar parameters • These two word IP IP orders work nicely with X-bar theory as NP NP I I it stands; the Akira I VP I John은 VP difference can be -ed -었 stated in terms of a V V simple parameter which differentiates NP NP V V languages as to 먹다 eat an apple 사과를 whether they are head-initial or headfinal.
X-bar parameters • Notice that in English, IP both V and I are headinitial, and in Korean, NP I both V and I are headfinal. In fact, languages Akira I VP -ed tend to be consistent in V their headedness: V eat IP NP I John은 VP V NP NP an apple 사과를 I -었 V 먹다
Some more thoughts on I • I is also where we seem to see auxiliary verbs, namely have and be. – I am (not) hungry. – She has (not) eaten. • Auxiliary verbs are a special kind of verb, but they are verbs after all. They aren’t modals, and it isn’t clear that they really should be classified as being of category I (rather than category V).
Some more thoughts on I • So why do we see auxiliary verbs in I? • This is something we will cover in more detail later, but the idea which we will be adopting here (generally, the mainstream view) is that auxiliary verbs are verbs, the head of a VP, and then they move into I.
Auxiliary be – John was (not) happy. • The verb be starts out (abstractly) as shown here, the head of the NP VP. IP I N I VP [+past] N John V V be Adj. P Adj happy
Auxiliary be – John was (not) happy. • The verb be starts out (abstractly) as shown here, the head of the NP VP. • The verb then moves (before we N pronounce it) up to I. N • But not if there is a modal in I John – John might (not) be happy. • This is sort of similar to (but backwards from) the idea of how [past] -ed “hops” down from T to V to form past tense verbs. IP I V+I VP be+[past] V V — Adj. P Adj happy
Auxiliary have • The same can be said of have. • In general have is a “helping verb”; when it occurs, an auxiliary is not the only verb in the sentence. The other verb is in its own VP, in the complement of have’s VP. – John might (not) have written. • For the moment, we’ll treat the participle written as if it were a simple verb (not worrying about where the -en came from); we’ll come to that later. IP NP N N John I V+I VP have+[past] V V — VP V V written
Movement Lexicon X-bar Theory DS Movement SS Think about the motivation of Movement.
Movement: V to I Movement Why does V move to I? • In English, the tense affix (e. g. , -ed) moves down to the verb rather than the verb moving up to T. • However, the negative marker not blocks this movement—for reasons that are controversial, but we can state the fact as a stipulation (not otherwise derived from our system) like so: • Affix lowering is blocked by the presence of not in English.
Why does V move to I? • “The verb and tense have to get together” is what I said before, but we can focus this question a little bit more. • Think about the English past tense morpheme, generated in (originating in, at DS) I, which we’ve written as -ed. • We wrote it this way because it isn’t a whole word, it is the regular past tense suffix that appears attached to verbs.
Why does V move to I? • Regular tense morphology is realized as a suffix on the verb. • One productive way of thinking about why the verb and tense need to get together is that tense is a verbal suffix. • By definition, a verbal suffix can’t stand on its own, it needs a verb to attach to. • That is, the “need” for the verb and tense to get together isn’t something that the verb needs, it’s something that tense needs. A verbal suffix needs a verb to attach to. • If tense is “stranded” with no verb, the result is morphologically ill-formed = ungrammatical.
Why does V move to T? • What happens in negative sentences in English, then, is that the tense affix is “stranded” up in T; it can’t lower to the verb because not is “in the way”. • Bill -ed not buy cheese. (DS) • As a “last resort”, English has a rule which salvages this situation by inserting the meaningless verb do to “support the tense affix”— do is only there to provide something for -ed to affix to. • Bill did not buy cheese. (SS)
Why does V move to I? • We can state the rule like this: • Do-insertion When there is no other way to support inflectional affixes in I, insert the dummy verb do into I. • Bill did not buy cheese. • In this sentence, the verb has not moved up to I nor has I moved down to V. And we see no tense suffix on the verb as a result.
• John did not break the mirror. IP NP I John I VP do -ed not V insert V NP break the mirror
Why does V move to I? • English has two special verbs which do move to T, the auxiliary verbs have and be in English. – Bill is sloppily eating apples. – Bill is not eating apples. – *Bill sloppily is eating apples. – *Bill not is eating apples. – *Bill did not be eating apples. – Bill has not eaten the apples. – *Bill not has eaten the apples. Why can’t we treat have and be like the modal verbs which are assumed to be positioned in I?
Why does V move to I? • Notice that if there is something in I already, like a modal, then the verb doesn’t move up to I. • John might not be eating apples. • And moreover, the verb has no tense inflection. • This all suggests that the view that it is the affix in I which causes V to move to I. The verb is happy not to move, but will move when it can in order to help I out. • There are requirements on I, not on V.
A word on auxiliaries • English has two (aspectual) auxiliary (“helping”) verbs have and be, which are not the main verbs of a sentence but generally serve to indicate differences in verbal aspect (progressive, past perfect, …). • These auxiliary verbs are verbs, but they have special properties. Among these properties: they move to I, and they have no theta-roles to assign.
A word on auxiliaries • The DS of a sentence with an auxiliary verb would be something like this, where the auxiliary verb heads a VP, and takes the main verb’s VP as its complement. • Notice that we are treating the past participle eaten as just a special kind of verb. This is good enough for present purposes. TP NP DS T T -ed VP V V have VP V V eaten …
A word on auxiliaries TP • See (79)-(81) of 9. 6 DP SS T Vi+T have+-ed VP V ti VP V V eaten …
(81) This artist will have been painting portraits. IP NP I This artist I VP [+T/+P] [+Agr] V VP will have V VP been V NP painting two portraits
Draw the trees for the following sentences. (1) This student has been writing two essays. (2) The student has not broken the mirror. (3) This student must have written two essays. (4) This student must be writing two essays. (5) This student is not writing two essays. (6) This student will not have written it. (7) This student will have not written it.
French – – Jean mange souvent des pommes. Jean eats often of. the apples ‘Jean often eat apples. ’ John often eats apples. • If we suppose that the French sentence starts out just like the English sentence, we have the underlying DS (deep structure) representation shown here. • What needs to happen to get the correct surface word order? TP DP DS T Jean T [PRES] VP V Adv. P V souvent V PP mange des pommes
French – Jean mange souvent des pommes. – Jean eats often of. the apples – ‘Jean often eats apples. ’ DP TP T SS • Of course—the V (mange) Jean moves up to the T position. Vi+T VP mange+[PRES] • This always happens in French V with a tensed/agreeing verb. This generally doesn’t happen Adv. P V in English. souvent ti PP • Hence, the difference in “adverb position” (really, of course, it’s des pommes verb position)
Why does this happen? • Why would a language need to move its verb up to tense? • In French, verbs are marked for tense and agreement— past tense verbs look different from present tense verbs, which look different from future tense verbs. If the tense information is in T ([PRES]), and the verb reflects this, somehow the verb needs to get together with T. • French does this by moving the verb to T. (like English aspectual auxiliaries, be and have) • English does this by moving T (-ed) to the verb.
• My brother will not bake a cake. IP NP I My brother I VP [+T/+P] [+Agr] not V will V NP bake a cake
• My brother will perhaps not bake a cake. IP NP I My brother I VP [+T/+P] [+Agr] perhaps VP will not V V NP Sentential adverb bake a cake
Practice • • • He has probably broken the mirror. I am probably not dreaming. This students must write two essays. Chuck will probably not have seen it. He may have broken the vase accidentally. Edward will have carefully wrapped the present.
Movement in Interrogative Sentences • Consider English yes-no questions… • To form a question from a statement like: – Bill should eat his peas. • We prepose the modal should to the front of the sentence, before the subject. – Should Bill eat his peas? • Where is should in this sentence?
Movement – Should Bill eat his peas? • There is one position in our sentence structures so far that is to the left of the subject, the one where the complementizer that goes (C): – I said that Bill should eat his peas. • This is where we expect should to be. It is, after all, a modal, of category T. It is not a complementizer. • Also notice that if we embed this question, should stays after the subject, and if is in C: – I wonder if Bill should eat his peas.
Movement • All of this suggests that the way to look at this is that we start with the sentence… – Bill should eat his peas • …as usual, and if we’re forming a yes-no question, we follow this up by moving should to the position of C. If we can’t move it (in an embedded question, there’s already something in C: if ), it stays put.
English yes-no questions • Now, let’s go back and think about English yes-no questions, which we took originally to be motivation that movement occurs. – Bill will buy cheese. – Will Bill buy cheese? • What’s happening here? Well, we saw earlier that it is reasonable to think that the modal will, which starts out in T, moves to C in questions. – Willi Bill ti buy cheese?
English yes-no questions • Why does this movement happen? CP SS • By analogy with the motivation for C V-to-I movement, we will take C to hold a special (this time silent, Ii+C IP or perhaps prosodic) affix that will+Ø+Q must be joined up with I. This affix DP I Bill is the “question” morpheme, of ti VP category C, which we can write as Ø+Q. buy cheese
English yes-no questions • Also notice that if there is an overt question morpheme there in English (which happens in embedded questions), there is no need to move T to C: – I asked if Bill will buy cheese. – *I asked (if) will Bill buy cheese.
Ø+Q • Incidentally, lots of languages have an overt question morpheme, which adds plausibility to our assumption that English has a question morpheme in C that is just null. – Akira ga hon o kaimasita ka? – Akira top book acc bought Q – ‘Did Akira buy the book? ’ – 철수가 책을 샀습니까? (Japanese)
I to C • In English, anything that would be in I moves to C. So, modals and auxiliaries all “invert” around the subject: – Will Bill buy cheese? – Is Bill buying cheese? – Has Bill bought cheese? • But main verbs never raise to I in English. Consider then: – Did Bill buy cheese?
I to C – Did Bill buy cheese? • Why is there a do there? Before, we only saw do in sentences with not, inserted because the tense affix couldn’t “reach” the verb, blocked by not. • What seems to be the case is that if I moves to C (that is, the past tense suffix -ed in this case), it also gets too far away from the verb (now Bill is between the suffix and the verb), and Do-insertion is required.
Practice • (61) Simon hates game shows. • (62) Does Simon hate game shows? • (63) a. The student can play the piano. b. Can the student play the piano? • (64) a. My brother is reading a book. b. Is my brother reading a book?