Linguistics 522

Background Lecture

### XBar Theory: Complements and adjuncts

We assume the following PS-rules (phrase-structure rules):

1. NP => (D) N'
2. N' => N' PP (Adjunct rule)
3. N' => N PP (Complement rule)

The first thing these rules do is claim that there is a constituent intermediate between an NP and lexical N. This will be a constituent containing the head noun and its modifiers, the italicized sequences in the following NPs.

1. the king of France
2. the yellow bird
3. the letter carrier
4. the unattractive hippotamus in the living room
So far we only have rules for PP modifiers. Rules for other types of modifiers will be given below.

The other thing the 3 PS-rules do is distinguish between three kinds of PP modifiers, Specifier, complements and adjuncts. Here are some examples to motivate the distinction:

1. specifier: the student
2. complement: the student of physics

Figure 1
3. adjunct: the student with red hair

Figure 2
There is a semantic intuition here which is not always clear but can roughly described as follows. The adjunct and the noun express two distinct properties of the individual described. It can be paraphrased in two separate clauses:
• He is a student and he has red hair.
The complement and the noun function together to express one property, which can be expressed in one clause, and not in two:
• He studies physics.
• * He is a student and he is of physics.
This semantic intuition is not very solid and the more you think about it, the slipperier it gets. We are going to rely on some syntactic tests to back the intuition up.

In determing whether a modifier is a complement or adjunct remember the following:

1. When asked to produce an argument that something is a complement or an adjunct, you are being asked to apply some of the tests below, not to report your intuition about whether one property or two is being attributed.
2. It is also bad form, when asked to produce an argument that something is a complement or an adjunct, to draw a tree like the tree in Figure 1 and say "of physics is a complement because it is sister to the lexical head N". The tree in Figure 1 is a technical way to notate the claim that something is a complement. It is not an argument. You could also draw the tree

Figure 3
And this would make the competing claim that of physics is an adjunct. When you are asked to produce arguments that something is a complement or an adjunct, you are being asked to decide WHICH tree is the right tree, and then produce evidence that it is the right tree. Drawing the tree is not one of the arguments; it's what you're arguing for.
3. Note: the notions complement and adjunct are both relational. A modifier is a complement of some head. The first decision to make in arguing that something is a complement is to decide what head it is the complement of. Some of the tests below only work when the head is of a particular category. For example, one- replacement is only relevant when the head is a noun. do so replacement only works when the head is a verb. Preposing only works when the head is a verb.
4. The tests you use and the examples you produce must be discriminating. They should produce one result when applied to a complement and a distinct result when applied to an adjunct. Make sure you know which result correlates with which outcome and say that in your explanation of the test result. You can be compact, present 3 example sentences, and say "All these results are evidence that X is a complement," but if the results are split, you MUST say which result points to complementhood, which to aduncthood.
5. Use minimal pairs whenever possible. For example, when applying the reordering test below, show both orders, thus demonstrating that any ungrammatical sentence you produce has no problems independent of the reordering. When using the obligatoriness test, always give one example with the modifier claimed to be obligatory, and one without. And so on.
6. The property you are determining in performing adjunct/complement tests is a lexical property of the head word. This will become more clear in Chapter 8. That means it is a property of the head word when it has a particular meaning. In constructing examples you must never change the head word and you must never change the head word's meaning. And the syntactic category, and semantic relation of the modifier to the head word should remain fixed. As a consequence, if the modifier is a prepositional phrase, the preposition should not be changed, because that almost always affects the semantic relation. The purpose of the initial example, then, is to fix the head word, the meaning, the semantic relation, and the category of the complement. Almost everything else can be changed (and should be, in the service of producing a good example).
1. Initial example: I had an argument with a colleague.
2. Head word: argument Modifier: with a colleague
4. Irrelevant example: I had an argument about a colleague. (different semantic relation)
5. Irrelevant example: I gave her an argument with an agenda. (different semantic relation. The agenda is something the argument possesses, the colleague is your opponent in the argument. The agenda is not the opponent in the argument and the argument does not possess a colleague.)

We introduce a set of tests for the complement/adjunct distinction. As a set of properties that all converge on making the same distinction they constitute an argument for it. Some of them are also simple predictions that follow directly from making this structural distinction.

### A Complicated tree from the homework

7 k from 194 (Ch. 6)

Tree 1

The same tree in the theory of Ch. 7

Tree 1