Syntactic Theory


Selection

In HPSG selection is expressed in two ways:

  1. The ARG-ST (short for ARGUMENT-STRUCTURE) list contains all syntactic arguments of a lexical head.
    Examples:
    1. ARG-ST list of the verb walk: [ ARG-ST < NP > ]
    2. ARG-ST list of the verb read: [ ARG-ST < NP, NP > ]
    3. ARG-ST list of the verb rely: [ ARG-ST < NP, PP[on] > ]
    4. ARG-ST list of the proper noun Chris: [ ARG-ST < > ]
    5. ARG-ST list of the singular count noun table: [ ARG-ST < DP > ]
    6. ARG-ST list of the singular count noun discussion (as in The discussion with the city council about the new train station took forever.):
      [ ARG-ST < DP, PP[with], PP[about] > ]

  2. The VAL (short for VALENCE) feature encodes the grammatical functions that a syntactic category can (still) assign.
    The value of the VAL feature is internally structured into the following attributes:

  • COMPS (for COMPLEMENTS)
    • encodes whether the sign requires complements.
    • the COMPS value is a list with possibly more than one element.
  • SPR (for SPECIFIER)
    • encodes whether the sign requires a specifier.
    • the SPR value is a list with at most one element.
    • for advanced cases: SUBJ (for SUBJECT)
      To handle predicative uses of noun phrases we need to distinguish specifiers from subjects:
      Pat is my best friend.
      Here my is the specifier of friend and Pat counts as the subject of friend.
  • MOD (for MODIFIER)
    • encodes whether the sign can modify a head.
    • the MOD value is a list with at most one element.

There is a natural relation between the ARG-ST list and the VAL value:

Related exercise: