Thursday, December 09, 2010

Story #327: Articles of Syntax

I am taking a break from studying for my finals and GRE (sheesh...studying for 3 tests at the same time isn't fun! I feel like my brain has been sliced into 3 parts, one for each test) because I feel like my brain needs to digest all the information I fed it in the last few days. I was just reviewing on one of the topics in my syntax class, human sentence processing mechanism. Apparantly, we only have so much working memory and processing overload occurs if too much info is stuffed in a sentence. Right now, I feel exactly that. Overload. Instead of doing something fun like watch a movie, I chose to read the "articles of syntax" that my brilliant professor wrote. It made me happy. You can skip it, but it's pretty funny(especially no.13). For me, at least. Ahh... I love being a Mormon linguistics student.

c/o the brilliant Dr. Lonsdale, proving that linguists really do have a sense of humour. Even if we're the only ones who understand our jokes.

  1. We believe in the phrasal category node, in her daughter the bar-level node, and in her daughter the basic category node.
  2. We believe that a tree will be graded on the merits of its own structure, and not by influence exerted on the grader.
  3. We believe that, through the XP template, all constituents may be diagrammed, by obedience to the first principles and constraints of attachment.
  4. We believe that the first principles and constraints of attachment are: first, subcategorizationof heads for their arguments; second: attachment of specifiersto the phrasal category node; third: attachment of complements to the bar-level node.
  5. We believe that a student must be inspired by desire, by motivation and by the actual drawing of phrase-structure trees under the supervision of teachers and TA’s, to succeed in piecing together phrase-markers and working out the transformations thereof.
  6. We believe in the same organization that exists in any language’s syntax: namely, subjects, predicates, objects, constituents, clauses, sentences, and so forth.
  7. We believe in the transformations of: wh-movement, verb raising, auxiliary inversion, verb-particle movement, do-insertion, and so on.
  8. We believe the phrase-structure tree to be the structure of language as far as it is diagrammed correctly; we also believe parts of speech to tag the words of language.
  9. We believe all the syntax we have learned, all that we now learn, and we believe that we will yet learn many great and important things pertaining to the syntax of languages.

  10. We believe in the nature of surface structure and in the restoration of deep structure; that transformations can traced back, and that empty categories can be re-filled and receive their original contents.

  11. We claim the privilege of doing homework according to the assignments given by our professor, and allow all fellow students the same privilege: let us do our homework how, where, and when we must.

  12. We believe in being subject to X-bar, subcategorizationconstraints, cooccurrencerestrictions and constituency judgments; in determining, projecting, and leveraging part-of-speech tags.
  13. We believe in being careful, patient, methodical, and in properly labeling every node. Indeed, we may say we follow the exhortation of Dr. Lonsdale: we diagram all constituents, we have diagrammed many sentences, and we hope to be able to diagram any sentence. If there is any sentence in any language that is complete, grammatical, and well-formed we seek to diagram these sentences.

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