QUE feature on the verb

And the daughter of that rule?

So I cannot find it in the mother, but if I look at the local AVM of the node in the tree (the head daughter), the QUE list is empty:

…and the VP looks like the verb; QUE looks “healthy” in the sense that the thing on it is identified with something on its ARG-ST but I cannot determine whether it is empty or not.

So the extracted subject phrase is manipulating QUE, perhaps?

It doesn’t look like that to me, although the head-filler phrase insists on a QUE-empty head daugher, I think:

mc-wh-subj-phrase := basic-head-filler-phrase & interrogative-clause & 
		  head-final &
			VAL #val,
			HEAD verb & [ FORM finite ] ],
     HEAD-DTR extracted-subj-phrase & [ SYNSEM.LOCAL.CAT [ MC na,
							   VAL #val & [ SUBJ < >,
									COMPS < > ] ] ],
     NON-HEAD-DTR.SYNSEM.NON-LOCAL.QUE <! ref-ind !> ].

extracted-subj-phrase := basic-extracted-subj-phrase &

basic-extracted-subj-phrase := basic-extracted-arg-phrase & head-compositional &
			   SPR < >,
			   COMPS < > ],
					       [ LOCAL #local & local &
						       [ CONT.HOOK.INDEX ref-ind ] ] >,
        				COMPS olist ],
				  MC na ],
		      NON-LOCAL.SLASH.LIST < #local > ] ].

basic-extracted-arg-phrase := head-valence-phrase & head-only &

basic-filler-phrase := binary-phrase & phrasal &
                                 SPR < > ],
			         POSTHEAD + ] ],
			 NON-LOCAL.SLASH 0-dlist ],
    ARGS < [ SYNSEM [ LOCAL #slash & local &
			    [ CAT.VAL [ SUBJ olist,
					COMPS olist,
					SPR olist ],
			      CTXT.ACTIVATED + ],
		      NON-LOCAL.SLASH 0-dlist ] ],
	   [ SYNSEM [ LOCAL.CAT [ VAL.COMPS olist ],
		      NON-LOCAL [ SLASH 1-dlist &
					[ LIST [ FIRST #slash,
						 REST < > & #last ],
					  LAST #last ],
				  QUE 0-dlist,
				  REL 0-dlist ] ] ] > ].

I am confused about how this could ever work, even with only one wh-word, if we expected all the QUEs to be gathered on the verb? I must be misunderstanding something.

Is it that extracted-subj is just failing to constrain the mother’s QUE at all? (If you do View | Grammar Rule for that rule you can check.) This would be compatible with QUE 0-dlist on the head-daughter of head-filler, but probably isn’t right… That is, just leaving it underspecified seems incorrect.

Extracted subject seems to be saying: my QUE is my daughter’s QUE. This comes via head-nexus-que. (Also from looking at the grammar rule in the LKB).

Then repeat that step for the rule licensing the daughter. What does the rule definition for that one say?

(Spoiler: perhaps the Bare-NP rule is to blame)

The Head-Comp rule?

Here’s the tree by the way:


So we have just examined the second (lower) S, licensed by the Subject-Extraction rule. Next in line is the Head-Complement rule.

That one is saying: the mother’s QUE is the head daughter’s QUE.

Then there is the lexical rule (tense) which seems to be saying: My NON-LOCAL features are my daughter’s NON-LOCAL features (that includes QUE).

As for the complement, the bare NP rule does look like it is underspecifying the QUE:


(I am not sure why it is so because it is inheriting from head-valence-phrase which is a subtype of head-nexus-phrase, which should take care of the QUE…)

Can we back up at review the top-level question here? What are you trying to discover and why?

I want to make sure that I get correct grammars (from the Matrix), specifically that the QUE feature is what I should expect, including on the verb.

Hi Olga – in talking with @sweaglesw yesterday I remembered a critical piece of what’s going on here: The whole point of the LOCAL/NON-LOCAL feature distinction. The QUE value of the extracted wh word is not amalgamated into the QUE value of the verb, because the verb only sees its LOCAL features. Take a look at the type gap — the thing that ends up on the verb’s ARG-ST if an argument-extraction rule applies. It should have a non-empty SLASH value, identified with its own LOCAL value, but empty QUE and REL.

Oh yeah!.. Right…

But what is happening with it (the verb) inheriting from basic-two-arg then? That is bypassed somehow, or ignored, or what is going on?

The verb is amalgamating the SLASH, REL, and QUE of the two elements on its ARG-ST. The first of these, having been extracted, is of type gap:

gap := expressed-non-canonical &
  [ LOCAL #local,
    NON-LOCAL [ REL 0-dlist,
		QUE 0-dlist,
		SLASH 1-dlist &
		    [ LIST < #local > ] ] ].

So, for that one, it get 0-dlist from REL and 0-dlist from QUE. The LOCAL value of the gap is identified with it’s own SLASH’s LOCAL and ultimately with the LOCAL value of the filler. But, crucially, not the NON-LOCAL value of the filler.

For full details, see Bouma, Malouf & Sag 2001: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1006473306778

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I read Bouma et al. today and they do give an account of how gap-synsem participates in licensing subject, complement, and adjunct extraction (also under the Argument Structure Extension and Argument Realization Principle). However they do not focus on LOCAL vs. NON-LOCAL distinction, at least not overtly (perhaps there is something implicit).

Are we talking about the Locality principle here perhaps? A verb should not see any non-local features of its arguments because there is little linguistic motivation for it?

No, I don’t think it’s the locality principle. I think it’s specifically for the mechanics of the analysis of long-distance dependencies. I don’t have P&S to hand just now, but perhaps that’s where NON-LOCAL v LOCAL is introduced?

P&S use the “trace” lexical item (which is similar to gap-synsem in that it identifies its LOCAL with the SLASH) and the Nonlocal Feature Principle which means the mother’s NON-LOCAL is the union of its daughters’ NON-LOCALs. This is as far as the analysis of long-distance dependencies goes. As for where NON-LOCAL is introduced: it is in chapter 1 but it simply says that the discussion of nonlocal features is postponed till chapter 4 (the long-distance dependencies chapter). The answer might be somewhere there but I am afraid it may be implicit… Perhaps somewhere in the ungrammatical examples which their analysis rules out because of how they are treating LOCAL vs. NONLOCAL… But I can’t find anything explicit so far.

The only other thing I can find is they say that their nonlocal features are similar to GPSG. Should I look there?..

(My goal here is to understand the theory behind the Grammar Matrix’s usage of QUE; which makes me think perhaps I should be looking in Flickinger somewhere.)

(Update: looked in Flickinger; nope.)

Update: Ginzburg and Sag (2001) have a “WH-amalgamation constraint” similar to SLASH-amalgamation, stating that a word’s WH is the union of its ARG-ST element’s WHs. (WH there corresponds to QUE). So a noun will have its specifier’s WH, for example. Then for verbs, they say that “subject-selecting verbs must be WH-empty”, but that is because they have something called WH-Subject Prohibition: a word’s SUBJ must be WH-empty. This is so that sentences like Who left are licensed by the HFR and not the HSR. They have yet an additional WH-Constraint stating that “any non-initial element of a lexeme’s ARG-ST must be WH-empty”. It is a bit confusing to me; the section on verbs is disappointingly short and focuses entirely on special cases, not really explicating how the basic cases are supposed to work. Maybe I will find that in an earlier section (though I already have read them!)

Interesting! So: they’re using it to prevent spurious ambiguity in sentences like “Who left?”. Because the wh word’s NON-LOCAL features are not accessible to the verb (because it can see only the LOCAL when its SLASH is identified with the filler in the HFR), then a constraint that says that “subject-selecting verbs must be WH-empty” would indeed have the effect of forcing the HFR analysis for these sentences.

But this makes me wonder: (1) What do they mean by “subject-selecting verbs”? Do they not have (most) verbs selecting for subjects in the lexicon? (2) What do they do with the WH values of in situ non-subject WH words?

(1) This is what confuses me. I will look for an answer though I suspect they just mean all (most) verbs… Maybe as opposed to infinitives or something like that?..
(2) Their wh-words are optionally WH-specified. You can have a what which is WH-empty as well as one which is WH-nonemtpy.