QUE feature on the verb

Yes, that looks underspecified. I also wouldn’t expect the wh word to inherit from basic-one-arg or any of those.

Why not?

As for the undespecified lists: I wonder what is going on, because I just created a mini-English grammar using the Matrix trunk and I am observing the same thing. Could it be that I am looking at a wrong thing, still? I am looking at local AVM of the verb and the noun…

The purpose of the types like basic-one-arg et al is to do the lexical threading, creating the NON-LOCAL values for each of the elements out of the append of the NON-LOCAL value of their arguments. (This is basically the analysis from Bouma, Malouf & Sag 2000.) Pronouns in general are ARG-ST < >, so they have no arguments (basic-zero-arg, then I think), BUT wh pronouns should have non-empty QUE values and so that type is incorrect.

As for a grammar that has decent behavior along these lines, maybe the English from grammar here is a good one to look at?


Looking at the 567 English grammar linked above.

The empty QUE lists on sentences like cats chase dogs look healthy.

This is what I am seeing for who chases dogs?, the local AVM for chases:


The local AVM for who:

Doesn’t look right does it? The LIST for chases’s QUE should be pointing to @1?

Yes, that looks good. The local avm for the verb should point only to the QUE of the things on its ARG-ST, which, as this is the local avm, aren’t unified with anything else in the sentence.

How do I confirm that the QUE list is not empty for this verb? By looking at the local AVM for the S and then tracking down the verb?.. If I look at the local AVM for the S, I don’t see any ARGS.

What’s the QUE value on the S?

On the (top) S’s mother, it is empty, and that I think is expected because that’s the effect of the head filler rule?

(Note no ARGS)

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.