This assignment is to be submitted to Quercus by noon on the due date. See the syllabus for due date, formatting requirements, and other relevant instructions.
Prepositions are words that often express some sort of spatial or temporal relationship between different entities, like on in the damaged sign on the hill and before in the violent protest before the election.
The set of prepositions are a syntactic category with some identifiable properties, though demonstrating their unity as a syntactic category is trickier than for nouns, adjectives, and verbs. They have a generally shared basic meaning of a spatial/temporal relationship (though some prepositions, like for, of, and about, do not quite have that basic meaning), they only have one morphological form (no affixes can attach to them), and they have a syntactic distribution such that they can usually fit into at least one of the following sentence frames:
A marble fell P the box. It rained P the concert.
The syntactic category of prepositions contains words like the following: on, up, above, down, under, below, beneath, in, into, within, during, to, toward, at, near, beside, by, along, with, between, across, behind, before, until, around, through, off, out, without, after, since, for, of, and about. There are many other possible examples (some only questionably categorizable in this syntactic category), but for the purposes of this course, you can restrict yourself to just these words as examples of prepositions. Your task is to argue that a preposition followed by a noun phrase (such as on the hill) is a syntactic constituent, a prepositional phrase (PP), like NPs and VPs. Begin by looking through the given data in (1)–(44) and find four examples that show how PP behaves as a constituent, one for each of our four constituency tests: question/answer, structural variants of a basic sentence, reference from another
word/expression, and inability to be divided by certain adverbs. Note that there may be more than one example of each test in (1)–(44), but you only need to select one for each test. Further note that many of the examples are “distractors” that do not bear on the issue of the constituency of PP. For each constituency test, identify the example you are using by citing it by number and by repeating the full example. In every case, underline the string of words that you are analyzing as the relevant PP constituent. Then carefully and fully describe how this example specifically lends support to the idea that PPs are syntactic constituents, making direct and explicit reference to all relevant portions of the example and how the example satisfies the test. Do not just write out every detail about the example
using all the linguistics vocabulary you know! Only refer to relevant information in your data. Depending on the constituency test, you will need to explain your data in different ways, including creating new related data of your own for comparison. Here are some guidelines to follow for the different ways to demonstrate constituency.
If you claim that a given string of words forms a PP constituent because of how it shapes the way a question is posed and answered, explain how. Be sure your proposed PP is truly capable of standing on its own as a response, and explicitly identify which part of the question it is a response to. You may find it helpful to verify that the PP is a valid response by constructing new data containing a full response, with both the PP and the relevant portion of the question. If you claim that a given string of words forms a PP constituent because of how certain other variants
of a sentence can be formed, explicitly identify how your proposed PP behaves like a constituent in the variant structure, such as acting as the subject of the sentence. If you claim that a given string of words forms a PP constituent because of how it can be referred to by some other word or expression, explicitly identify what that other word or expression is and how you know that it refers to your proposed PP. For example, you could explicitly show that replacing the referring expression with the PP preserves the meaning of the original example. If you claim that a given string of words forms a PP constituent because of how it cannot be broken apart by certain adverbs, then in addition to showing how it is ungrammatical when broken up by the adverb, explicitly show that the same example is grammatical with the adverb missing, as well as in a different location outside your proposed PP.
Keep in mind that that all ungrammatical data, including those you select from (1)–(44) must each be marked by a preceding asterisk (*), following standard notational conventions in linguistics. There are many ungrammatical examples in (1)–(44), some useful for this assignment, but many of which are not. Even if you are a native speaker of English, you may want to get opinions from other native speakers to verify which sentences are grammatical and which are ungrammatical.
Writing goals: This writing assignment is intended to help you focus on how to find and describe a relevant set of linguistic data that leads to a particular conclusion (in this case, a conclusion that has been given to you). Your mark will be primarily based on proper selection of the data and how well you explain how it supports the conclusion, as well as your correct use of appropriate technical jargon. As always, strike the right balance in length; writing too little may not be sufficiently informative,whereas too much prose could be boring or difficult to read. Write your response for a hypothetical reader who already knows about basic syntactic structure, but who hasn’t yet thought seriously about the syntactic role of prepositions. You will of course be assessed on other aspects of your writing, such as spelling and proper use of appropriate academic English, especially technical terminology and concepts from this course. Please keep the assessment categories in mind as you write, because they will form the basis of your mark
for your written response. Data to choose from. The data in (1)–(44) are grouped by similarity for clarity, but these groupings do not necessarily relate to the assignment itself. Any given block of data might have zero, one, or more
examples relevant to the constituency tests. Regardless of the blocks, for each of the four constituency tests, there is at least one example somewhere in all of (1)–(44) that is directly relevant to that test, showing the effect of that test. Note that you must use the examples here as-is; do not make any changes to these examples.
(1) Gui-Fan aimlessly wandered across the unforgiving desert.
(2) Gui-Fan wandered aimlessly across the unforgiving desert.
(3) Gui-Fan wandered across aimlessly the unforgiving desert.
(4) Gui-Fan wandered across the unforgiving aimlessly desert.
(5) Jae put his present on the table, but Dhiraj did not put his on there.
(6) Jae put his present on the table, but Dhiraj did not put his there.
(7) Jae put his present on the table, but Dhiraj put his under it.
(8) Jae put his present on the table, but Dhiraj did not do that.
(9) How is Cheok getting to the airport? By car.
(10) How is Cheok getting to the airport? Car.
(11) How is Cheok getting to the airport? She’s driving to it.
(12) How is Cheok getting to the airport? She’s driving by car.
(13) Ilse often calls her mother in the evenings.
(14) Ilse calls often her mother in the evenings.
(15) Ilse calls her mother often in the evenings.
(16) Ilse calls her mother in the often evenings.
(17) With who is Héctor going to the party? His best friend.
(18) Who is Héctor going to the party? With his best friend.
(19) Who is Héctor going to the party with? His best friend.
(20) Who is Héctor going to the party with? With his best friend.
(21) It’s best to meet with Eyota in the afternoon.
(22) The afternoon is when it’s best to meet with Eyota.
(23) In the afternoon is when it’s best to meet with Eyota.
(24) With Eyota is when it’s best to meet in the afternoon.
(25) That is the hospital where Kylo’s father is.
(26) Kylo’s father is who is in the hospital.
(27) The hospital is where Kylo’s father is.
(28) Kylo’s father is in the hospital.
(29) Franz has consistently been working from home.
(30) Franz has been consistently working from home.
(31) Franz has been working consistently from home.
(32) Franz has been working from consistently home.
(33) Where is Amina? Cairo.
(34) Where is Amina? In Cairo.
(35) Where is Amina? From Cairo.
(36) Where is Amina from? Cairo.
(37) Burhan climbed up the tree before he chopped it down.
(38) Burhan climbed up the tree before he climbed down.
(39) Burhan climbed up the tree and rested up there.
(40) Burhan climbed up the tree and rested there.
(41) Lukas’s house is where I saw the creature.
(42) Lukas’s house is what the creature was behind.
(43) Lukas is whose house I saw the creature behind.
(44) Behind Lukas’s house is where I saw the creature.
Prepositional phrases are used to make a combination of sentences along with a preposition in such a manner that the who thing becomes one single sentence. The preposition acts as an integral part of the sentence and creates a meaning to it. It i through this prepositional phrases that we will try to look into the various forms the sentence can take and how they affect the grammatical nature as a whole. I will try to explain the part that is the prepositional phrase, which type of phrase it falls into and why I think it belongs to that particular group.
PP constituency tests: question/answer
(20) Who is Héctor going to the party with? With his best friend
The prepositional phrase in this sentence is “With his best friend”. It is because that it adequately answers the question posed in the first part of the sentence. Also, it can create a sentence of its own, “He went to the party with his best friend”.
PP constituency tests: variants of a basic sentence
(44) Behind Lukas’s house is where I saw the creature
The prepositional phrase in this sentence is “where I saw the creature”. This is a variant of a normal sentence which can be written as “I saw the creature behind Lukas’s house. This is a passive voiced sentence and the prepositional phrase works as the subject.
PP constituency tests: reference from another word/expression
(6) Jae put his present on the table, but Dhiraj did not put his there
The prepositional phrase in this sentence is “on the table”. The reason of it being a reference from another word is because the same object can be referred by “there” mentioned in the last part of the sentence. Also, “on the table” can be replaced by “there” without incurring any grammatical error.
PP constituency tests: inability to be divided by certain adverbs
(1) Gui-Fan aimlessly wandered across the unforgiving desert
The prepositional phrase in this sentence is “across the unforgiving desert”. The reason why this is an inability to be divided by certain adverbs because the prepositional phrase here tries to give meaning to the verb “wander”. The adverb “across” does not add to any meaning and even with the omission of the same, the sentence is grammatically correct.
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