I am trying to get rid of lexical threading in the Matrix.
One of the issues that arose is morphological marking of questions.
Before, with lexical threading, it was easy to say that lexical rules which do not mark questions (aren’t “interrogative mood”) insist on a QUE-empty synsem, something like this (from my Yukaghir development grammar, with lexical threading):
INTR-MAIN-1SG-lex-rule := INTR-MAIN-lex-rule & infl-lex-rule & [ SYNSEM [ LOCAL [ CAT.VAL.SUBJ.FIRST.LOCAL.CONT.HOOK.INDEX.PNG [ PER 1st, NUM SG ], CONT.HOOK.INDEX.SF ques ], NON-LOCAL.QUE.LIST < > ] ].
But without lexical threading, it seems like I need to be able to say something the arguments explicitly. It is unclear to me how to do that because there is nothing in the position class that directly tells me how many arguments the verb which takes it has (the user-specified INTRAN here is irrelevant).
I should be able to track that information down in the hierarchy and propagate it far enough to have access to it at the level of the position class, but it is not easy for me to do (the code being somewhat complicated) and will require lots of scattered changes in the lexicon and in the morphotactics libraries, so I want to get an idea that I am on the right track before I spend any more time?
Does that sound like the most straightforward way of getting what I want? If the position class is for intransitive verbs, create interrogative lexical rules which reflect that; ditto for transitive?..
If a language is “better-behaved” than Yukahghir in the sense that there is no need to model different morphology for intransitive and transitive verbs, but is similar to Yukaghir in that there are different markers for polar and for wh-questions, then there is still, I think, a similar problem.
It seems like I need lexical rules which:
(1) say the subject is WH; no constriant on the object
(2) say the object is WH, the subject is not
(3) say neither subject nor object are WH
(4) say the subject is not WH, the COMPS list is empty
Does that sound right or does that sound like it is too much and I am on the wrong track?
Here’s a sample grammar that is working correctly (with the proposal above). It is a pseudolanguage which has different markers for polar and wh-questions (but no different paradigms for intransitive and transitive verbs):
;;; Lexical rule types itrg-lex-rule-super := add-only-no-ccont-rule & infl-lex-rule & [ INFLECTED.ITRG-OR-NONQUES-FLAG +, DTR verb-lex ]. itrg-lex-rule := add-only-no-ccont-rule & [ SYNSEM.LOCAL.CONT.HOOK.INDEX.SF ques ]. prop-lex-rule := add-only-no-ccont-rule & [ SYNSEM.LOCAL.CONT.HOOK.INDEX.SF prop ]. intran-polar-lex-rule-super := itrg-lex-rule & [ SYNSEM.LOCAL.CAT.VAL [ SUBJ < [ NON-LOCAL.QUE.LIST < > ] >, COMPS < > ] ]. tran-polar-lex-rule-super := itrg-lex-rule & [ SYNSEM.LOCAL.CAT.VAL [ SUBJ < [ NON-LOCAL.QUE.LIST < > ] >, COMPS < [ NON-LOCAL.QUE.LIST < > ] > ] ]. ;;; The following two type names were created automatically instead of one user-specified type PQ-lex-rule intran-PQ-lex-rule := intran-polar-lex-rule-super & itrg-lex-rule-super. tran-PQ-lex-rule := itrg-lex-rule-super & tran-polar-lex-rule-super. wh-subj-lex-rule := itrg-lex-rule & [ SYNSEM.LOCAL.CAT.VAL.SUBJ < [ NON-LOCAL.QUE.LIST cons ] > ]. wh-obj-lex-rule := itrg-lex-rule & [ SYNSEM.LOCAL.CAT.VAL [ SUBJ < [ NON-LOCAL.QUE.LIST < > ] >, COMPS < [ NON-LOCAL.QUE.LIST cons ] > ] ]. ;;; The following two type names were created automatically instead of one user-specified type WHQ-lex-rule subj-WHQ-lex-rule := itrg-lex-rule-super & wh-subj-lex-rule. obj-WHQ-lex-rule := itrg-lex-rule-super & wh-obj-lex-rule. nonques-lex-rule-super := add-only-no-ccont-rule & const-lex-rule & [ INFLECTED.ITRG-OR-NONQUES-FLAG +, DTR verb-lex ]. decl-lex-rule := nonques-lex-rule-super & prop-lex-rule.