The English Resource Grammar includes analyses of a number of phenomena that involve dislocated or missing elements, often characterized as extraction or extraposition. However, even some quite normal-looking sentences exhibiting one or both of these kinds of dependencies remain outside the scope of the current ERG, and I hope to get some counsel on how best to extend the grammar to cover them. For this session, let's focus on extraction from within a noun phrase, which the ERG so far uniformly disallows, both for lack of clarity about when to allow it, and for fear of the added processing costs if such gaps are allowed.
Extraction from noun phrases
Ever since Ross's 1967 dissertation, grammarians of English have tended to assume that unbounded dependencies should not reach down inside of noun phrases, a constraint motivated by the ungrammticality of examples like this:
*Who did you hear [NP the rumor [CP that Mary kissed t ]]
While this might be true of finite clausal complements of nouns, well-known exceptions to this generalization include so-called picture nouns, as in the grammatical sentence
Who do you think she took a picture of?
Here are more grammatical variants that seem to show extraction from within a complement of a noun:
His love of chocolate is something he makes little effort to conceal.
Which draft should we make another attempt to correct?
That's the draft that resisted our earlier attempts to correct.
Another source of NPs with a missing constituent is with verbal gerunds, as in the following examples:
This is something he is interested in knowing.
This is something he is afraid of forgetting.
This is something he is afraid of me forgetting.
This is something we are looking forward to seeing.
(1) How should the grammar be modified to allow extraction where needed while still preserving the general prohibition that Ross illuminated in his Complex NP Constraint? It would be nice to also avoid a massive cost in parsing efficiency.
(2) Where do these extractions from within NPs interact with other phenomena that involve unbounded dependencies? Note the following examples:
Right-Node Raising: That player is becoming or in danger of becoming a real liability.
Multiple gaps: This is a problem that I have no idea how to solve.
Across-the-board extraction: That actor is someone we look forward to meeting and want a picture of.