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Embedded Clauses in TAG

Embedded Clauses

Matrix Clause
S
NP

VP
V

S-bar

Embedded Clause
S

COMP

We think that

NP

VP

they have left.

Linguistic Background
Constraints
Semantic roles

Embedded Clauses:
Constraints
Main verbs are subcategorized for
The complementizer (that, for, to, etc.) Nonfinite for-to
We hoped for there to be no trouble.
A word at the beginning of a subordinate clause that
identifies it as a complement

The morphology of the embedded verb


Finite: present or past tense
Non-finite: infinitive, present participle, past
participle

Examples: Constraints imposed by the


main verb on the embedded verb
Say requires a finite embedded clause:
Sam said that Sue saw him.
*Sam said Sue to see him.
*Sam said that Sue seeing him.

that is a complementizer that goes with finite


clauses. When it comes after a verb, it is
optional:
Sam said Sue saw him.
That he left is a problem.
*He left is a problem.
That is only optional after a verb.

Examples: Constraints imposed by the


main verb on the embedded verb
Expect takes a finite clause or an infinitive, but
not a participle:
We expect to see him.
We expect that we will see him.
Modal auxiliary verbs (will, would, may, might, can, could,
shall, should, etc) are always finite.

*We expect seeing him.


Might sound grammatical because seeing him can be a
noun phrase, and expect can occur with a noun phrase:
We expect problems

*We expect seen him.

Finite embedded clauses


Finite embedded clause
I believe (that) it is snowing.
Say, think, scream

Finite with dummy subject


It seems that they have left.

Finite embedded question


I wondered/asked whether/if it was snowing.

Finite plus object


We told them that it was snowing.

Finite plus PP
We said to them that it was snowing.

Non-finite embedded clauses


Non-finite for-to
We hoped for there to be no trouble.

Non-finite: Raising to subject


They seem (to us) to have left.
Appear, continue

Non-finite: Subject Equi


They tried to leave.
Intend, expect, plan, hope

Non-finite: Raising to object


We believe them to have left.
consider

Non-finite: Object Equi


We persuaded them to leave.
Convince, order, force, signaled

Non-finite: promise
We promised them to leave.

English Auxiliary Verbs


Modal verbs: (will, would, can, could, shall, should, may,
might, and a few others)
Invariant: dont have a third person singular form.
Only occur where you can have present or past tense. Dont
occur in infinitives, gerunds, or participles:

I will go.
I would go.
I said I would go.
*I want to can go.
Compare: I want to be able to go.

*Canning go would make me happy.


Compare: Being able to go would make me happy.

The next verb must be an infinitive without to.


I will have gone.
I will be going.
*I will going/gone/went/goes.

English Auxiliary Verbs


Have
Must be followed by a past participle:
I have gone.
*I have going/went/goes/go.

Progressive be
Must be followed by a present participle:
I am going.
*I am goes/went/go.

Passive be
Must be followed by a passive verb:
The cookies were devoured.
*The cookies were devouring/devours/devour.

Auxiliary verbs as main verbs


(for syntax; not for semantics)
The auxiliary verb can impose constraints on the
main verb.
Sam is sleeping/*slept/*sleeps.

The main clause has to be finite (has a tense).


Sam sleeps/slept.
*Sam to sleep.
*Sam sleeping.

The auxiliary verb carries the tense, not the main


verb:
Sam is sleeping.
*Sam be sleeps.

S
NP

VP
V

Sam

VP

is

sleeping

S
NP

Sam

VP
V

VP

has

slept

Summary of constraints on
embedded clauses
The main verb determines the tense and
morphology of the embedded verb.
More than one embedded clause:
Each verb determines the tense and
morphology of the next one:
I think that Sam tried to sleep.
Think requires try to be finite.
Try requires sleep to be infinitive.

The car needs washed.


In most dialects of English, need takes an infinitive as a
complement:
The car needs to be washed.
Sam needs to sleep.

There are a few verbs that take passive participles as


complements:

We had them arrested by the police.


We got them arrested by the police.
They were arrested by the police.
They got arrested by the police.

In Pittsburgh, need and want can take passive


participles as complements:
The car needs washed.
Do you want pushed?

Semantic Roles
Syntax
Word order
Constituent structure
Constraints: agreement, subcategorization,
case marking
Semantic roles:
Sue interviewed Sam.
Sue is the interviewer.
Sam is the interviewee.

Semantic Roles in Embedded


Clauses
Sam tried to sleep.
Sam is the agent of try
Sam is the agent of sleep
Sam to sleep is what was tried.

Sam seemed to sleep.


Sam is the agent of sleep.
Sam is not an argument of seem.
Sam to sleep is the only argument of
seem.

Just the facts


How many semantic arguments does
each verb take:
Try takes two.
Seem takes one.

Do the main clause and the embedded


clause share a subject?
Yes. Both seem and try share their
subjects with the embedded verb.

How we know that the semantic role


assignments are different with Seem and Try
The cat seems to be out
of the bag.
There seems to be a
problem.
That seems to be my
husband.
The doctor seemed to
examine Sam.
Sam seemed to be
examined by the doctor.

The cat tried to be out of


the bag.
*There tried to be a
problem.
That tried to be my
husband.
The doctor tried to
examine Sam.
Sam tried to be examined
by the doctor.

Raising to subject

S
NP

S
VP

NP
S-bar

VP
V

VP-bar

S
COMP

It

seems that

NP

VP
VP

COMP

they have left. They seem to

have left.

S
NP

VP
V

VP-bar

Two ways to represent that


seem and leave share a
subject.

VP
COMP

They seem to

have left.

S
NP

VP
V

S
NP

They seem e

VP

to have left.

Subj
Verb
Complement

they
seem
subj
verb leave

Comparison
Second method:
Allow empty strings as terminal nodes in the tree.
An empty string needs to take the place of the missing subject of the
lower clause.
The empty string is linked to the subject of the main clause to show that
the main and embedded clauses share a subject.
The tree represents: word order, constituent structure, grammatical
relations, semantic roles.

First method:
No empty strings in the tree.
The tree represents only word order and constituent structure.
Grammatical relations and semantic roles are represented in a separate
structure.
Structure sharing in the representation of grammatical relations shows
that the two verbs share a subject.

Is one method simpler than the other?


No. Both methods have to represent word order, semantic relations,
grammatical relations, and semantic roles.
People who argue that one is simpler are usually wrong they dont know how
to count steps in a derivation.

Two ways to represent that


try and leave share a
subject.

S
NP

VP
V

VP-bar

Subj
Verb
Complement

VP
COMP

They try to

they
seem
subj
verb leave

leave.

S
NP

PRO is an empty string, but not the same kind


of empty string as e

VP
V

S
NP

They(i) try

VP

Coindexing indicates that PRO refers to they.

PRO(i) to leave.

Seem type verbs in TAG


VP

S
NP

VP
V

John

Adjunction site

AP

to be happy

Initial Tree

VP

seem
Auxiliary Tree
These trees represent the number of
arguments for each verb:
Seem has one argument, represented
as a VP.
To be happy has one argument, John.

S
NP

VP
V

AP

to be happy
John

VP

Adjunction site

V
seem

VP

S
NP
S
NP

V
VP VP
V

VP

seems V

Adjunction

VP

seem

AP

to be happy

VP
V

John

VP

AP

to be happy

John
This tree shows word order and
constituent structure.
It also shows that John is the
subject of seem.
It doesnt show that John is the
subject of to be happy.

Try type verbs in TAG


S

NP

NP

VP
V

John

VP
TO

PRO

tried

Auxiliary Tree

Adjunction site

VP
leave

Initial Tree
These trees show the number of arguments for
each verb:
Try has two arguments.
Leave has one argument.

S
NP

VP
V

John

tried

S
NP

Adjunction site

VP
TO

PRO

VP
leave

Adjunction is only
allowed at the top S
node so as not to mess
up compositional
semantics:
After you put together
try to leave you dont
want to have to take it
apart again by inserting
another verb like
expected as in:
John tried to expect to
leave.
Inserting seem into the
middle of the tree doesnt
require you to
disassemble any of the
semantic pieces that
were already
assembled?

S
NP

VP
V

John

triedNP

VP
TO

PRO

VP
leave