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Syntax And Semantics Of Prepositions

Recent second language (L2) acquisition research has proposed that purely syntactic features are easier to acquire and less vulnerable than ones involving the interfaces (Sorace, 2004; Serratrice et al. 2004). The present paper addresses this issue by investigating the acquisition of the Spanish personal preposition a in English L2 learners of Spanish. The distribution of a in direct object NPs relates to the specificity/definiteness of the NP, the animacy/agentivity of the subject, and verb semantics (Torrego 1998; Zagona 2002). 33 English L2 learners of Spanish of different proficiency levels, and 14 Spanish controls participated in an acceptability judgement task. The results showed significant differences between native speakers and L2 learners of all proficiency levels, who performed at chance, and support the claim that L2 learners have difficulties acquiring structures involving the syntax/semantics interface. However, the advanced learners showed sensitivity to the least complex condition providing evidence that interface phenomena may be acquirable.

Syntax and Semantics of Prepositions

This article presents a unified approach to the semantics of prepositions based on the theory of conceptual spaces. Following the themes of my recent book The Geometry of Meaning, I focus on the convexity of their meanings and on which semantic domains are expressed by prepositions. As regards convexity, using polar coordinates turns out to provide the most natural representation. In addition to the spatial domain, I argue that for many prepositions, the force domain is central. In contrast to many other analyses, I also defend the position that prepositions have a central meaning and that other meanings can be derived via a limited class of semantic transformations.

Bohnemeyer, J. (2012). A vector space semantics for reference frames in Yucatec. In E. Bogal-Allbritten (Ed.), Proceedings of the Sixth Meeting on the Semantics of Under-Represented Languages in the Americas (SULA 6) and SULA-Bar (pp. 15-34). Amherst: GLSA Publications.

About this book This book is the first to provide an integrated view of preposition from morphology to reasoning, via syntax and semantics. It offers new insights in applied and formal Social Sciences - General, and cognitive science. It underlines the importance of prepositions in a number of computational Social Sciences - General applications, such as information retrieval and machine translation. The reader will benefit from a wide range of views and applications to various linguistic frameworks, among which, most notably, HPSG. The book is for researchers working in the fields of computational Social Sciences - General, Social Sciences - General, and artificial intelligence.

In linguistics, an argument is an expression that helps complete the meaning of a predicate,[1] the latter referring in this context to a main verb and its auxiliaries. In this regard, the complement is a closely related concept. Most predicates take one, two, or three arguments. A predicate and its arguments form a predicate-argument structure. The discussion of predicates and arguments is associated most with (content) verbs and noun phrases (NPs), although other syntactic categories can also be construed as predicates and as arguments. Arguments must be distinguished from adjuncts. While a predicate needs its arguments to complete its meaning, the adjuncts that appear with a predicate are optional; they are not necessary to complete the meaning of the predicate.[2] Most theories of syntax and semantics acknowledge arguments and adjuncts, although the terminology varies, and the distinction is generally believed to exist in all languages. Dependency grammars sometimes call arguments actants, following Lucien Tesnière (1959).

The basic analysis of the syntax and semantics of clauses relies heavily on the distinction between arguments and adjuncts. The clause predicate, which is often a content verb, demands certain arguments. That is, the arguments are necessary in order to complete the meaning of the verb. The adjuncts that appear, in contrast, are not necessary in this sense. The subject phrase and object phrase are the two most frequently occurring arguments of verbal predicates.[3] For instance:

Theories of syntax that acknowledge n-ary branching structures and hence construe syntactic structure as being flatter than the layered structures associated with the X-bar schema must employ some other means to distinguish between arguments and adjuncts. In this regard, some dependency grammars employ an arrow convention. Arguments receive a "normal" dependency edge, whereas adjuncts receive an arrow edge.[5] In the following tree, an arrow points away from an adjunct toward the governor of that adjunct:

Modern theories of semantics include formal semantics, lexical semantics, and computational semantics. Formal semantics focuses on truth conditioning. Lexical Semantics delves into word meanings in relation to their context and computational semantics uses algorithms and architectures to investigate linguistic meanings.

The distinction between arguments and adjuncts is crucial to most theories of syntax and grammar. Arguments behave differently from adjuncts in numerous ways. Theories of binding, coordination, discontinuities, ellipsis, etc. must acknowledge and build on the distinction. When one examines these areas of syntax, what one finds is that arguments consistently behave differently from adjuncts and that without the distinction, our ability to investigate and understand these phenomena would be seriously hindered.There is a distinction between arguments and adjuncts which isn't really noticed by many in everyday language. The difference is between obligatory phrases versus phrases which embellish a sentence. For instance, if someone says "Tim punched the stuffed animal", the phrase stuffed animal would be an argument because it is the main part of the sentence. If someone says, "Tim punched the stuffed animal with glee", the phrase with glee would be an adjunct because it just enhances the sentence and the sentence can stand alone without it.[7]

Nouns and verbs correspond to perception- and action- representations, respectively. They are an expression of the perception-action cycle. But to study syntax, it helps to put aside semantic context, and explore how parts of speech relate to one another.

These grammatical rules need not only interest English speakers. As we will see later, a variant of these rules appear in all known human languages. This remarkable finding is known as universal grammar. Language acquisition is not about reconstructing syntax rules from scratch. Rather, it is about learning the parameters by which your particular natural language (English, Chinese, Egyptian) varies from the universal script.

How can (massively parallel) conscious thought be made into (painfully serial) speech utterances? With syntax! Simply take the concepts you desire to communicate, and construct a tree based on (a common set of) syntactical rules.

Both interpretations agree on parts of speech (colors). It is the higher-order structure that admits multiple choices. In practice, semantics constrain syntax: we tend to select the interpretation is feels the most intuitive.

Abstract: This paper offers a unified approach to Italian spatial prepositions, such as di fronte a 'in front of', verso 'towards', in 'in', dietro a 'behind', and nel mezzo di 'in the middle of'. Three assumptions play a key role. First, Italian spatial prepositions can differ sensibly in their morphological structure, but share the same syntactic properties. Second, their sentential distribution is in part context-sensitive, thus based on the categories with which they combine. Third, their semantic contribution is "layered", in the sense that it includes the meaning dimensions of both aspectual boundedness and specificity. The main result is a generalised theory on the structure and semantic interpretation of these prepositions.

Given this wealth of data, one perhaps surprising fact is that few studies investigate Italian spatial prepositions (henceforth: ISPs) in detail. A first partial exception is a group of recent papers that investigate the ability of certain ISPs to include (2) the affix a in their morphological structure, which is taken to be a non-spatial, aspectual-like element. When this happens, an ISP can receive a different interpretation than when this affix is absent (Tortora 2005; 2006; 2008; Folli & Ramchand 2005; Folli 2002; 2008). A second partial exception is Rizzi (1988), a thorough and descriptive work on ISPs that is, however, only accessible to speakers of Italian. Two examples are in (1)-(2), and include the ISPs dietro and dietro alla:

The data analysis itself is not comprehensive for all prepositions in the New Testament. For the highest frequency ones, we focused on representative usages and the processes that motivate usage. This, at least, provides readers with some guideposts about how prepositions function more generally for dealing with less common patterns that we do not discuss.

The present study examines potential age and microparametric effects in childhood bilinguals (currently adults) in an understudied language pairing, Polish-Spanish. Specifically, a Spanish group (N = 28) and a Sequential child bilingual (N = 22) and a Simultaneous bilingual (N = 8) group living in Misiones, Argentina, completed three experimental tasks assessing their knowledge of the syntactic and syntax-semantic distribution of adjectives. Results show that, despite several semantic differences related to adjective position, both experimental groups demonstrate knowledge of interpretive constraints that fall out from underlying Spanish syntax. Differences predicted as a result of crosslinguistic influence were not evidenced, yet, contrary to Polish and Spanish, the experimental groups accepted ungrammatical postnominal intensional adjectives significantly more than Spanish speakers. 041b061a72


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