A blog about any and all things linguistic. Topics can range from phonetics to syntax to aspects of specific languages. Updated weekly.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
More syntactic constituents
I've talked about syntactic constituents before (here), and recently another difficult regarding them came to my attention via the Famous Dave's web site. On their site you are prompted to "enter either a zip code or select a state". If this were proper VPE (Verb Phrase Ellipsis), I would be expected to (i) enter a zip code or (ii) enter select a state. Since (ii) is ungrammatical, clearly something has gone wrong here. My guess is that this phrasing resulted from a blend of (a) "enter either a zip code or a state" and (b) "either enter a zip code or select a state". Note that with (a) we get (ai) enter a zip code or (aii) enter a state, and with (b) we get (bi) enter a zip code or (bii) select a state. However, as is the request would be parsed as [enter [either [a zip code] or [select a state]]].
I live in New Brunswick, NJ with my wife Amanda, and am currently a 3rd year linguistics Ph.D. student at Rutgers. My research interests include phonetics, phonology, Optimality Theory, Native American languages (esp. Na-Dene and Algonquian), loanword adaptation, and syllable structure. Send comments/suggestions/questions to:
rdenzerk at eden.rutgers.edu