Documentation for the Grammar Matrix Customization Word Order Library

Versions 16 – 22

By AntskeFokkens (previously published as a tech-report: Fokkens (2010),.bib)

Introduction

This document presents background information on the word order library of the Grammar Matrix Customization System (Bender et al., 2002; Bender and Flickinger, 2005; Bender et al., 2010). General instructions on using the questionnaire can be found here.

Citing the Word Order Library

The standard reference for the Word Order Library and its implementations is Fokkens (2010). The full reference can be found here.

Word Order Options

This section provides basic guidelines to help users fill out the Word Order page of the customization system.

Pattern of basic main clause word order

The first question on the word order page refers to the order of subject, object and verb in the language. The implementations are strict: when SOV is chosen, the grammar will only accept structures where the order is Subject-Object-Verb. As the questionnaire page describes, we ask for the pattern that best describes the word order in your language.

The word order analyses are still under development. We are aware that many (or even most) languages have word order restrictions that are somewhere in between a rigid order of elements and completely free word order, and are not accurately described by any of the patterns proposed for now. When doubting what would be the best choice for your language, it may be helpful to look whether one of the patterns would allow the grammar to parse most simple sentences in the language. If this is the case, it is probably easiest to choose this pattern, and add adapt/add phrases to provide analyses for less common word orders. If your language uses two or three of the proposed patterns frequently, but does not allow other word orders, it probably also easiest to start with one of these patterns, and adapt/add phrases accordingly. If word order in your language has constraints that are not related to the main constituents (subject, object, verb), starting with free word order and adapting/adding constraints is probably your best choice.

Analyses for verb-second order are currently under development and the explanations provided above do not necessarily apply to customized grammars with this word order. The choice of complement determines what may occur in the first position, before the conjugated verb, VPs or Vs. Sentential complements are not possible for this word order. We are aware that the current possibilities are too restrictive, future plans will be addressed below.

Auxiliary-verb order

There are three aspects that (may) influence the position of auxiliaries in the customization system’s present implementation. In addition to the word order option of the auxiliary following or preceding the verb, the kind of complement and restrictions on the number of auxiliaries in the clause can have an impact on the permitted word orders of the starter grammar.

The kind of complement chosen influences word order if the word order between the auxiliary and its complement is disharmonic compared to the order of the main verb and its arguments. Disharmonic word order occurs when the auxiliary precedes its complement whereas main verbs follow their object, or vice versa. If an auxiliary precedes a V-complement and the main-verb follows its object, the relative order of the three elements concerned is Object - Auxiliary - Verb. In case of a VP or S complement, the relative order would be Auxiliary - Object - Verb. Likewise, the relative position between the subject and auxiliary changes if auxiliary-complement and head-subject order is disharmonic depending on the auxiliary taking S-complement on the one hand, or a VP or V-complement on the other hand.

Languages with basic VSO or OSV order form a special case: the customization system assumes that relative word order for these languages is Auxiliary-SVO and OVS-Auxiliary, respectively, for harmonic word order when the auxiliary takes VP-complements. This assumption is based on Irish and Welsh data (see among others O’Siadhail (1989) and King (2003)). Disharmonic word order and VP-complements are not allowed, because without evidence for such behavior in a particular language, it is not clear what word order the language would exhibit.

An additional question that may influence word order relates to the restriction of more than one auxiliary in a sentence. Using our current implementation for free word order, we cannot produce a grammar that allows more than two verb forms in a sentence that occur in complete free order without introducing spurious ambiguity. Complete free word order is therefore (at present) only allowed when the language allows only one auxiliary to occur per clause. Else, the grammar obliges auxiliaries to be immediately adjacent to their complement, i.e. the verbal forms are placed in a verbal cluster. We are not aware of languages allowing multiple auxiliaries per clause that do not form a verbal cluster, but we know that the current possibilities do not cover all languages: Bulgarian clauses may contain two verbal clusters, our grammars only allow for one.

Word order analyses

In this section, I will provide an overview of the analyses provided through the word order library. The information provided here is mainly of interest to users new to grammar engineering with the LKB (Copestake, 2002), or who are unfamiliar with the Grammar Matrix.

Basic Word Order

Word order properties are mainly handled by the phrasal types that combine words and phrases into larger constituents. Subcategorizarion properties, semantics and the sharing of properties between the phrase and its head-daughter are all defined in matrix.tdl types. The head-complement-phrase, head-subject-phrase and head-specifier-phrase in an individual grammar inherit these properties from matrix.tdl. Each headed phrase in the starter grammar additionally inherits from head-final or head-initial, matrix.tdl types that define whether the head daughter follows or, respectively, precedes the non-head daughter.

SOV, VOS, SVO and OVS word order

In addition to the choice of head-final and head-initial, basic word order facts are influenced by the permitted moment of application of a phrase. For grammars with SOV, VOS, SVO or OVS word order, the head-subject-phrase has a constraint [COMPS < >] on the head-daughter’s valency. This constraint ensures that the complement list of the head-daughter must be saturated for the subject and complement to combine. As a consequence, the subject-head-rule cannot apply before all subcategorized objects are found. This excludes word orders where the subject is placed in between the verb and one of its objects.

VSO and OSV word order

The implementation for VSO and OSV languages depends on whether the language has auxiliaries or not. If no auxiliary properties are assigned, the grammars add the constraint [SUBJ < >] to the valency lists of head-daughters of head-complement-phrases. This constraint prevents verbs from combining with an object before picking up their subject. As a consequence, objects may not be placed between the verb and its subject.

This approach no longer works when accommodating auxiliary structures for languages where the auxiliary takes a VP-complement. In that case, the position of the subject is guaranteed by the requirement that the head-daughter may not have combined with any other elements before picking up their subject. This behavior is achieved by the features LIGHT and HC-LIGHT. Head-subject phrases must have a daughter that has a (local) value of [LIGHT +]. The value of LIGHT in a phrase is always identical to the HC-LIGHT value of its head-daughter. Verbs in VSO and OSV languages have the property [HC-LIGHT −] as part of their category information. When they become head of a phrase, this phrase will be [LIGHT −], preventing the newly formed phrase to become head of a phrase requiring [LIGHT +] head-daughters, such as the head-subject-phrase.

Verb-initial and verb-final word order

Verb-initial or verb-final word order is achieved by creating head-initial or head-final phrases, respectively, for both head-subject-phrases and head-complement-phrases without any of the additional constraints explained above.

Free word order

Free word order requires some additional manipulations compared to the more restrictive orders. It is not a good solution to simply provide unconstrained rules in both directions for free word order languages, because this would introduce massive spurious ambiguity. At each point, the grammar can create trees where the head combines with elements to its left and trees where it combines with elements to its right until the sentence is parsed. If the input sentence is grammatical, none of these trees will lead to a failure. We therefore force the verb to first combine with all elements on its right and then with all elements to its left.

The idea behind the analysis is that as soon as a head-final-rule has been applied in a parse, all head-initial-rules are blocked from applying. The customization system adds a new feature [ATTACH xmod] to the synsem in the language specific file. The value xmod is defined in the grammar matrix with a similar purpose in mind to deal with flexible word order of modifiers.

For both head-initial and head-final phrases, a subtype is introduced, called head-initial-head-nexus and head-final-head-nexus, respectively. The head-initial-head-nexus phrases introduce the constraint [ATTACH notmod-or-lmod] on their head-daughter’s synsem, and the feature-value pair [ATTACH lmod] on their own synsem. The value notmod-or-lmod unifies with lmod, so head-initial-head-nexus phrases can apply sequentially until all arguments right of the head are found.

The head-final-head-nexus phrase applies no constraints to the ATTACH-feature of its head-daughter, allowing it to apply any time. The phrase itself is [ATTACH rmod]. The value rmod does not unify with notmod-or-lmod preventing head-initial-head-nexus phrases from applying after a head-final-head-nexus phrase has applied.

All head-final phrases inherit from head-final-head-nexus, and all head-initial phrases from head-initial-head-nexus. As a result, head-initial phrases can never apply after a head-final phrase has applied.

Verb-second word order

The concept behind our current verb-second implementation is similar to the idea behind free word order. Verb second clauses are built by letting the verb combine with all elements present on its right, and exactly one element on its left. The implementation behind it, however, differs from free word order. The category feature MC (‘main-clause’) is used to register whether the structure is verb-initial, or verb-second. Originally meant to distinguish main clause from subordinate clause, MC is used in this case to register which rule last applied. The main idea is that we want only one constituent before the verb that heads the sentence, and achieve this by making sure the head of a clause cannot attach to any other element as soon as it has been head-final once. Verbs start out with the value [MC na]. Both head-final and head-initial rules require this value on their head-daughter. The value of MC is passed up to the mother, each time a head-initial rule applies. The head-final rule, on the other hand, assigns the value bool (for boolean) to MC, so that neither head-final rules, nor head-initial rules can apply thereafter. The file roots.tdl specifies that only sentences with the value [MC +] are acceptable main clauses. The grammar will thus only accept sentences where the head-final rule has applied exactly once, placing the head of the sentence in second position.

Auxiliary Word Order - VP-complements

Auxiliaries are combined with their complement using the basic-head-complement-phrase that (among others) also combines verbs with their object. Your language.tdl file contains a general type representing auxiliaries which specifies that their verbal complement must have an empty complement list ([VAL.COMPS < [LOCAL.CAT.VAL.COMPS < >] > ]).

SOV, VOS, SVO, OVS word order

When auxiliary-complement order and verb-object order are harmonic (i.e. identical), the grammar does not contain any additions to word order rules or constraints to ensure its correct behavior. Disharmonic order is implemented as follows. First, the grammar will contain two head-complement-phrases: one that has head-final and one with head-initial word order. The rule that represents auxiliary-complement order is restricted to apply to head-daughters with a head feature value [HEAD verb & [ AUX + ]] only. The head-complement-rule that is used to combine the main verb with its object will bear the constraint [AUX −] on its head-daughter.

VSO and OSV word order

For VSO, it is predicted that auxiliaries following a vp-comp do not occur, the same holds for vp-comp-preceding auxiliaries in OSV-languages. VSO and OSV word order is implemented using the constraint [VAL.SUBJ < >] on the head-daughter of the head-complement-phrase, preventing the rule from applying when the head is still looking for a subject. An auxiliary taking VP-complements must combine with its complement before picking up its subject, which is not compatible with this standard analysis. The current implementation for VSO and OSV languages with auxiliaries taking VP-complements removes the [VAL.SUBJ < >] constraint from the head-complement-phrase, and restrains the head-subject-phrase instead. All verbs get a [LIGHT +] and a [HC-LIGHT −] feature-value pair. Head-complement-phrases obtain their LIGHT value from the HC-LIGHT feature of their head-daughter (a standard constraint specified in matrix.tdl). Verb phrases are thus [LIGHT +] until the head-complement-rule has applied to them, after which they are [LIGHT −]. The head-subject-phrase can only have a head-daughter which is [LIGHT +], ensuring that the head-subject-phrase only applies to heads that have not combined with a complement yet.

Verb-initial and verb-final word order

We assume that verb-final and verb-initial languages form a verbal cluster when auxiliaries are present in the clause. This must still be confirmed by typological research. When verb-initial has preceding auxiliaries, or verb-final complement following auxiliaries, we use the general verbal cluster analysis to solve this. This is developed to ensure auxiliaries pick up their verbal complements before picking up other complements and/or their subject. It is both used to get the right distribution and to prevent spurious ambiguity.

The feature [VC luk] is introduced to the synsem in languages that form verbal clusters (luk (Flickinger, 2000) is defined in matrix.tdl and a supertype of bool (for ’boolean’)). Lexical rules simply pass the value of VC up. The analysis adds a constraint to the head-complement-phrase which makes the value of the VC feature of a phrase identical to that of the non-head-daughter. This way, it can keep track whether a specific complement (being [VC +]) has already been taken up in the phrase. Main verbs are [VC +], auxiliaries are [VC −]. By stating that the head-daughter of head-complement- and head-subject- phrases must be [VC +], auxiliaries can only become the head of such phrases if they have combined with a main verb, or an auxiliary that has done so (or with an auxiliary combined with an auxiliary combined with main verb, etc.). If the auxiliary complement order is not harmonic (i.e. verb-initial with following auxiliaries, or verb-final with preceding auxiliaries), the head-complement-phrase combining the verb with its object is restricted to be [AUX −]. The head-complement-phrase that allows auxiliaries to combine (in opposite direction as usual) has the additional constraint that the subject list is not empty ([VAL.SUBJ < [ ] >]), excluding structures where the subject stands between the verbs. This implementation is provided for sake of completeness, but, intuitively, it seems not very likely that there are languages that show this behavior.

Free word order

No additional rules are needed to parse auxiliary-complement structures in free word order languages, if the auxiliary takes a VP complement. The head-complement-phrase representing the disallowed auxiliary-complement word order4 bears the constraint [AUX −], preventing auxiliaries from becoming head of such phrases.

Verb second word order

No additional constraints or rules are provided for verb second languages. The question on auxiliary-complement word order is currently ignored by the system (see below for more information on planned implementations).

Auxiliary Word Order - V-complements

Auxiliaries are combined with their complement using the basic-head-complement-phrase that (among others) also combines verbs with their object. Your language.tdl file contains a general type representing auxiliaries which specifies that their verbal complement must be [LIGHT +] ([ VAL.COMPS < [LOCAL.LIGHT +] >]). Main verbs have the category property to be [HC-LIGHT −]. This creates [LIGHT −] verb-phrases as soon as a main verb has combined with a complement or subject. This ensures that verbs cannot combine with the auxiliary after taking up their object, or subject. The auxiliary adds all elements from its complements COMPS-list to its own COMPS-list, i.e. it raises all complements ([VAL.COMPS < [LOCAL.CAT.VAL.COMPS #comps ] . #comps >]).

The current web-interface forces users to choose one permissible word order. If both orders occur, this can be obtained by removing the constraint [AUX −] of the head-complement-phrase that bears it in the grammar.

SOV, VOS, SVO and OVS word order

If the auxiliary-complement order is harmonic to the verb-object order (i.e. they are both head-final or both head-initial), the category of auxiliaries bears the feature-value pair [HC-LIGHT −], just like main verbs. Auxiliaries can only combine with complements (whether they are main verbs or auxiliaries themselves) that have not combined with an argument themselves. This restriction prevents spurious ambiguity from occurring. If the auxiliary-complement and verb-object order are disharmonic, a special auxiliary complement phrase (aux-comp-phrase) is added to the grammar. This phrase inherits from the so-called marker-comp-phrase in matrix.tdl. This phrase has been added to matrix.tdl to accommodate structures with disharmonic auxiliary word-order and will be explained briefly below.

The basic-marker-comp-phrase functions in the exact same manner as basic-head-comp-phrase, except that the phrase does not share the value of the feature HEAD from its marker-daughter (equivalent to the head-daughter in a head-complement-phrase). Matrix.tdl also contains a marker-initial-phrase and a marker-final-phrase, modeled after head-initial and head-final to take care of the word order of the marker-daughter and non-marker-daughter. In the case of disharmonic word order between auxiliary-complement and verb-object structure, it is used because, normally, both verbal and non-verbal complements are combined with their head using the basic-head-complement-rule. When auxiliaries have different word order constraints from main-verbs, the usual solution is to introduce two head-complement-rules with different word order, one restricted to head-daughters whose head is [AUX −], and one restricted to [AUX +] head-daughters. However, when the auxiliary takes V-complements, it raises the main verb’s complements. It will head phrases that must combine with non-verbal complements using a head-complement rule requiring [AUX −] head-daughters. For this reason, we use an auxiliary-rule that does not share all head-features with its head-daughter.

The aux-comp-phrase states that its marker-daughter’s head bears the feature-value pair [AUX +], and that the non-marker-daughter must be a verb ([HEAD verb]). Since the head-value of the marker-daughter is not shared with the phrase, the value of the AUX remains underspecified. The phrase does receive the value from the FORM-feature from its marker-daughter. Auxiliaries can combine with their verbal complement using the aux-comp-phrase. Because they have an underspecified AUX-value, the newly created phrase may become head of a head-complement-phrase which is restricted to head-daughters that are [AUX −].

The aux-comp-phrase is always combined with the verbal cluster analysis, which 10 makes sure that auxiliaries combine with verbal complements before becoming a complement themselves. In this case, it is used to prevent spurious ambiguity. The feature [VC luk] is introduced to synsem. Lexical rules simply pass the value of VC up. The analysis adds a constraint to the head-complement-phrase which makes the value of the VC feature of a phrase identical to that of the non-head-daughter. This way, it can keep track whether a specific complement (being [VC +]) has already been taken up in the phrase. Main verbs are [VC +], auxiliaries are [VC −]. By stating that the head-daughter of head-complement- and head-subject- phrases must be [VC +], auxiliaries can only become the head of such phrases if they have combined with a main verb, or an auxiliary that has done so (or with an auxiliary combined with an auxiliary combined with main verb, etc.).

VSO and OSV word order

When the grammar has VSO or OSV word order and auxiliaries take V-complements, basic word order is implemented using the constraint [VAL.COMPS < >] on the head-daughter of the subject-head-phrase, as explained in Section 3.2.2. For VSO and OSV word order, the customization system provides an analysis that creates verbal clusters. This anaysis introduces the feature [VC luk] to synsem. Lexical rules simply pass the value of VC up. The analysis adds a constraint to the head-complement-phrase which makes the value of the VC feature of a phrase identical to that of the non-head-daughter. This way, it can keep track whether a specific complement (being [VC +]) has already been taken up in the phrase. Main verbs are [VC +], auxiliaries are [VC −]. By stating that the head-daughter of head-complement-phrases and head-subject-phrases must be [VC +], auxiliaries can only become the head of such phrases if they have combined with a main verb, or if their complement is an auxiliary that has done so (or if their complement is an auxiliary combined with an auxiliary combined with a main verb, etc.).

When the language has harmonic word order between auxiliary-complement and head-object phrases (i.e. both phrases are head-final, or both are head-initial), the verbal cluster analysis is all that the grammar contains to account for auxiliary word order. When the auxiliary follows its complement in VSO, or precedes it in OSV, the grammar uses a special aux-comp-phrase that inherits from marker-comp-phrase. The basic-marker-comp-phrase functions in the exact same manner as basic-head-comp-phrase, except that the phrase does not share the value of the feature HEAD from its marker-daughter (equivalent to the head-daughter in a head-complement-phrase). Matrix.tdl also contains a marker-initial-phrase and a marker-final-phrase, modeled after head-initial and head-final to take care of the word order of the marker-daughter and non-marker-daughter. In the case of disharmonic word order between auxiliary-complement and verb-object structure, it is used because, normally, both verbal and non-verbal complements are combined with their head using the basic-head-complement-rule. When auxiliaries have different word order constraints from main-verbs, the usual solution is to introduce two head-complement-rules with different word order, one restricted to head-daughters whose head is [AUX −], and one restricted to [AUX +] head-daughters. However, when the auxiliary takes V-complements, it raises the main verb’s complements. It will head phrases that must combine with non-verbal complements using a head-complement rule requiring [AUX −] head-daughters. For this reason, we use an auxiliary-rule that does not share all head-features with its head-daughter.

The aux-comp-phrase states that its marker-daughter’s head bears the feature-value pair [AUX +], and that the non-marker-daughter must be a verb ([HEAD verb]). Since the head-value of the marker-daughter is not shared with the phrase, the value of the AUX remains underspecified. The phrase does receive the value from the FORM-feature from its marker-daughter. Auxiliaries can combine with their verbal complement using the aux-comp-phrase. Because they have an underspecified AUX-value, the newly created phrase may become head of a head-complement-phrase which is restricted to head-daughters that are [AUX −]. The verbal cluster analysis described above is used to prevent spurious ambiguity.

Verb-initial and verb-final word order

We assume that a verbal cluster is formed at the beginning or end of the clause when a language has verb-initial or verb-final word order, respectively. This analysis introduces the feature [VC luk] to synsem. Lexical rules simply pass the value of VC up. The analysis adds a constraint to the head-complement-phrase which makes the value of the VC feature of a phrase identical to that of the non-head-daughter. This way, it can keep track whether a specific complement (being [VC +]) has already been taken up in the phrase. Main verbs are [VC +], auxiliaries are [VC −]. By stating that the head-daughter of head-complement-phrases and head-subject-phrases must be [VC +], auxiliaries can only become the head of such phrases if they have combined with a main verb, or if their complement is an auxiliary that has done so (or if their complement is an auxiliary combined with an auxiliary combined with a main verb, etc.). The use of the VC-feature both reduces spurious ambiguity and prevents subjects from being placed in the verbal group. When the auxiliary-complement order is harmonic (i.e. head-initial for verb-initial languages, or head-final for verb-final languages), no other additions regarding word order are made to accommodate auxiliaries in the grammar.

In order to account for disharmonic auxiliary-complement order, the system creates a special aux-comp-phrase, which inherits from the basic-marker-comp-phrase in matrix.tdl. The basic-marker-comp-phrase functions in the exact same manner as basic-head-comp-phrase, except that the phrase does not share the value of the feature HEAD from its marker-daughter (equivalent to the head-daughter in a head-complement-phrase). Matrix.tdl also contains a marker-initial-phrase and a marker-final-phrase, modeled after head-initial and head-final to take care of the word order of the marker-daughter and non-marker-daughter. In the case of disharmonic word order between auxiliary-complement and verb-object structure, it is used because, normally, both verbal and non-verbal complements are combined with their head using the basic-head-complement-rule. When auxiliaries have different word order constraints from main-verbs, the usual solution is to introduce two head-complement-rules with different word order, one restricted to head-daughters whose head is [AUX −], and one restricted to [AUX +] head-daughters. However, when the auxiliary takes V-complements, it raises the main verb’s complements. It will head phrases that must combine with non-verbal complements using a head-complement rule requiring [AUX −] head-daughters. For this reason, we use an auxiliary-rule that does not share all head-features with its head-daughter.

The aux-comp-phrase states that its marker-daughter’s head bears the feature-value pair [AUX +], and that the non-marker-daughter must be a verb ([HEAD verb]). Since the head-value of the marker-daughter is not shared with the phrase, the value of the AUX remains underspecified. The phrase does receive the value from the FORM-feature from its marker-daughter. Auxiliaries can combine with their verbal complement using the aux-comp-phrase. Because they have an underspecified AUX-value, the newly created phrase may become head of a head-complement-phrase which is restricted to head-daughters that are [AUX −].

Free word order

For free word order languages where auxiliaries take v-complements, there are two options: either the auxiliary forms a verbal cluster with its complements, or there is maximally one auxiliary present in the clause. When at most one auxiliary can occur in the clause, the constraint [AUX −] is added to the head of the auxiliaries complement, making sure that an auxiliary can only combine with main verbs ([VAL.COMPS < [LOCAL.CAT.HEAD.AUX −] > ] on a generic type for auxiliaries).

For languages with free word order that allow more than one auxiliary per clause, the system provides an analysis forming verbal clusters. This analysis introduces the feature [VC luk] to synsem. Lexical rules simply pass the value of VC up. The analysis adds a constraint to the head-complement-phrase which makes the value of the VC feature of a phrase identical to that of the non-head-daughter. This way, it can keep track whether a specic complement (being [VC +]) has already been taken up in the phrase. Main verbs are [VC +], auxiliaries are [VC −]. By stating that the head-daughter of head-complement-phrases and head-subject-phrases must be [VC +], auxiliaries can only become the head of such phrases if they have combined with a main verb, or if their complement is an auxiliary that has done so (or if their complement is an auxiliary combined with an auxiliary combined with a main verb, etc.).

Auxiliaries combine with their complement using a special aux-comp-phrase, inheriting from the basic-marker-comp-phrase defined in matrix.tdl. The basic-marker-comp-phrase functions in the exact same manner as basic-head-comp-phrase, except that the phrase does not share the value of the feature HEAD from its marker-daughter (equivalent to the head-daughter in a head-complement-phrase). Matrix.tdl also contains a marker-initial-phrase and a marker-final-phrase, modeled after head-initial and head-final to take care of the word order of the marker-daughter and non-marker-daughter. In the case of disharmonic word order between auxiliary-complement and verb-object structure, it is used because, normally, both verbal and non-verbal complements are combined with their head using the basic-head-complement-rule. When auxiliaries have different word order constraints from main-verbs, the usual solution is to introduce two head-complement-rules with different word order, one restricted to head-daughters whose head is [AUX −], and one restricted to [AUX +] head-daughters. However, when the auxiliary takes V-complements, it raises the main verb’s complements. It will head phrases that must combine with non-verbal complements using a head-complement rule requiring [AUX −] head-daughters. For this reason, we use an auxiliary-rule that does not share all head-features with its head-daughter.

The aux-comp-phrase states that its marker-daughter’s head bears the feature-value pair [AUX +], and that the non-marker-daughter must be a verb ([HEAD verb]). Since the head-value of the marker-daughter is not shared with the phrase, the value of the AUX remains underspecified. The phrase does receive the value from the FORM-feature from its marker-daughter. Auxiliaries can combine with their verbal complement using the aux-comp-phrase. Because they have an underspecified AUX-value, the newly created phrase may become head of a head-complement-phrase which is restricted to head-daughters that are [AUX −].

Verb second word order

No additional constraints or rules are provided for verb second languages. The question on auxiliary-complement word order is currently ignored by the system (see below for more information on planned implementations).

Upcoming Work

The LinGO Grammar Matrix Customization System is constant work in progress. The list of phenomena and behavior that would be nice to have in the word order library is endless, and it is not feasible to discuss all future ideas in this document. I will therefore restrict the description to extension which are planned for the near future and for which investigation has started. Because the details of most implementations are still under development, I will not describe the analyses themselves in this document. Feedback on the planned phenomena is greatly appreciated, and requests concerning them or can be made to the author. I will start with a description of my research for the currently unfinished implementation for verb-second languages and auxiliary structures. This will be followed by a description of increasing the possibilities for the auxiliary’s word order and adding more partially flexible word order options for basic constituent order.

Verb second languages and auxiliaries

The current version of the customization system supports verb-second languages and auxiliary structures as found in Australian indigenous languages. The behavior found in Germanic verb second languages is not covered at present. On the one hand, the system forces users to choose between V-complements and VP-complements which excludes partial VP-fronting phenomena as found in German, Dutch and Swedish (Nerbonne, 1994; Holmberg, 1999). On the other hand, the system overgenerates for these languages, because verbal complements can be placed in any position of the right-hand side of the conjugated verb. Implementations of grammars that treat German, Dutch and Danish word order in the main clause correctly have been made, but several aspects of the analysis are currently under examination to provide the optimal solution. First, the verb-second implementation provided by the customization system differs from standard assumptions on Germanic verb-second word order in HPSG. I plan to make alternative implementations with both the standard (filler-gap) analysis and the current (MC-feature) analysis for verb-secondness. If both can be integrated in to the system correctly, the web-interface will allow the user to make their decision as to which analysis the grammar should contain. Second, Bender (2010) has shown that an alternative approach using an auxiliary construction5 for raising is more efficient than the standard argument-composition analysis. The system currently provides the general argument-composition analysis for auxiliaries that take a V-complement, which is described in Section 3.4. The interaction between this alternative analysis and other phenomena is currently under investigation. Just as for the verb-second analysis, I plan to provide both options to the user.

Both positions for the auxiliary

At present, users need to choose whether auxiliaries precede or follow their verbal complement. The chosen word order applies to all auxiliaries. We are aware of several languages that show more variation in auxiliary word order. The option “either” side of the verbal complement is planned to be added to the word order page for auxiliaries. We are aware of several possible conditions on alternative word order for auxiliaries:

  1. The word order of auxiliary and complement may be free for all auxiliaries
  2. The word order of auxiliary and complement may depend on the auxiliary (with options “before”, “after” or “either” for each auxiliary)
  3. The word order may depend on the morphology of the auxiliary
  4. A combination of conditions 2 and 3.
  5. An auxiliary may have clitic-like properties

The first two conditions are scheduled to be included in the customization system. I have working grammars and a proto-implementation for the interaction between morphology and auxiliaries, but additional tests are necessary to see how this implementation scales up to a wider range of interactions. It is thus not clear whether this possibility will be provided through the customization system in the near future. There are no direct plans for implementing auxiliaries that have clitic-like properties, but we may be able to provide a sample analysis based on the Bulgarian grammar currently implemented by Petya Osenova (Osenova, 2010).

Main constituents word order

Dryer (1997) argues against the six-way classification of word order showing that many languages only have clear preferences for the position of either the subject or the object. I will therefore extend the options of main constituent word order and provide the possibilities for a fixed position of the subject, with free object word order or a fixed position of the object, with free subject word order.

References

MatrixDoc/WordOrder (last edited 2018-01-31 22:36:01 by GlennSlayden)

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