Syntactic Theory

Constituent Structure in HPSG: Basic Principles

The constituent structures assumed in HPSG are very close to those sketched on the Traditional Grammar pages.

Some key features of constituent structures in HPSG are:

  • The leaves are words, which contain both the phonological and the syntactic information.
  • Non-branching structures are avoided.
  • Auxiliaries are verbs, with a feature specification [AUX plus]. Non-auxiliary verbs are specified as [AUX minus].
    The auxiliary verbs include:
    • the infinitival marker to,
    • be in all its uses,
    • have, at least in its uses as temporal auxiliary.
  • The highest verb in a clause is the head of the clause.

Example structure:

  • To see how these structures are licensed by the grammar, look at the page about HPSG grammar rules.