Do the trees explain word order?

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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Do the trees explain word order?

Post by Stephen Carlson » March 23rd, 2015, 6:12 pm

MAubrey wrote:Do the tree give a motivation for why the linear ordering of Greek constituents is what it is?

The answer to that question is 'No.'

That's because we're now talking about the difference between what has been traditionally referred to as 'configurational languages' versus 'non-configurational languages' better: 'discourse configurational'). Basic English trees provide a motivation for linear constituent order because that order is directly tied to grammatical relations (and in turn, propositional structure). The order is meaningful and that meaningfulness is marked in the trees. But the motivations for Greek word order aren't like that. Greek word order is motivated by information structure: assumptions about the mental representation of participants by the speaker about the hearer (topics, foci, assertions, & predication.) in conjunction with the interface between syntax and prosody.
+1. I completely agree.

All I can add is that this approach to Greek word order is still an active and fruitful area of research, though its results haven't really filtered their way down to teaching yet.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Do the trees explain word order?

Post by Stephen Hughes » March 23rd, 2015, 7:15 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
MAubrey wrote:Do the tree give a motivation for why the linear ordering of Greek constituents is what it is?

The answer to that question is 'No.'

!!! SNIP !!!

No current treebanks account for these concepts. It isn't even really clear if it is possible for such trees to account for this stuff.
Ah, now I understand, and I agree. On the other hand, treebanks might be helpful to someone doing the kind of research needed to answer these questions.
I'm not doubting their usefulness. I'm querying why they're call syntax trees.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Do the trees explain word order?

Post by Stephen Hughes » March 23rd, 2015, 7:34 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
MAubrey wrote:Do the tree give a motivation for why the linear ordering of Greek constituents is what it is?

The answer to that question is 'No.'

That's because we're now talking about the difference between what has been traditionally referred to as 'configurational languages' versus 'non-configurational languages' better: 'discourse configurational'). Basic English trees provide a motivation for linear constituent order because that order is directly tied to grammatical relations (and in turn, propositional structure). The order is meaningful and that meaningfulness is marked in the trees. But the motivations for Greek word order aren't like that. Greek word order is motivated by information structure: assumptions about the mental representation of participants by the speaker about the hearer (topics, foci, assertions, & predication.) in conjunction with the interface between syntax and prosody.
+1. I completely agree.
They are different types of languages. Because the trees are based in a workable model for English, they contain enough information to describe the interaction between Greek and English, so they could serve as an aid for getting the Greek into English. As for describing the Greek itself, most of what makes Greek Greek is not described / analysed / represented in the trees. Presumably subject, verb, object, and the rest are what are needed to arrive at understandable English, but that is not Greek syntax, it's English.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Do the trees explain word order?

Post by Stephen Hughes » March 23rd, 2015, 7:37 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:Let me raise you. That infotmation is derived from the accidence and is not syntax per se. I look at these trees and see grammar relationships strangely explained in situ. The paper I gave you in the airport with the dependencies of various elements. That "takes a genitive" etc. is half of syntax. The other half is what I call the balances which I've mentioned from time to time. I don't find syntax explained in the trees.
Looks like you would prefer dependency tree instead of constituency trees. Other treebanks do the former, e.g. PROIEL.
I don't have the training or background to understand the difference between them. I'll try to scratch something and show you what I'm thinking of.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Do the trees explain word order?

Post by Stephen Carlson » March 23rd, 2015, 7:41 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:Looks like you would prefer dependency tree instead of constituency trees. Other treebanks do the former, e.g. PROIEL.
I don't have the training or background to understand the difference between them. I'll try to scratch something and show you what I'm thinking of.
The Wikipedia page on Dependency Grammar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dependency_grammar has been updated by a Timothy Osborne, a linguist who's interested in the distinction between these two type of grammars and trees. That would be a good place to start scratching.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Do the trees explain word order?

Post by Jonathan Robie » March 23rd, 2015, 10:00 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:Looks like you would prefer dependency tree instead of constituency trees. Other treebanks do the former, e.g. PROIEL.
I don't have the training or background to understand the difference between them. I'll try to scratch something and show you what I'm thinking of.
The Wikipedia page on Dependency Grammar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dependency_grammar has been updated by a Timothy Osborne, a linguist who's interested in the distinction between these two type of grammars and trees. That would be a good place to start scratching.
Any interest in scratching on this question here in B-Greek? There are basically three open data treebanks for the Greek New Testament: PROIEL (dependency), GBI (headed phrase structure grammar), or Lowfat (derived from GBI, uses a mongrel model where the verb is modeled more or less as in dependency grammars and phrases are modeled more or less like headed phrase structure grammars).

Dag Haug has done some work comparing them and converting from dependency to constituency in his paper, From Dependency Structure to LFG Representations, and people whose opinion I respect claim that you can, in general, transform dependency into constituency and vice versa. I think the basic information content is at least very similar in general, and it's at least plausible to me that transformations can be made in both directions.

The PROIEL trees have added tags to indicate whether information is new or old, etc.

Code: Select all

 <information-statuses>
      <value tag="new" summary="new"/>
      <value tag="kind" summary="kind"/>
      <value tag="acc_gen" summary="acc-gen"/>
      <value tag="acc_sit" summary="acc-sit"/>
      <value tag="acc_inf" summary="acc-inf"/>
      <value tag="old" summary="old"/>
      <value tag="old_inact" summary="old-inact"/>
      <value tag="no_info_status" summary="annotatable (undecided)"/>
      <value tag="info_unannotatable" summary="unannotatable"/>
      <value tag="quant" summary="quantifier restriction"/>
      <value tag="non_spec" summary="non-specific"/>
      <value tag="non_spec_inf" summary="inferred from non-specific"/>
      <value tag="non_spec_old" summary="non-specific old"/>
    </information-statuses>
We don't have that, it could be added, but we do not have it now.

If we wanted to do this, it might be interesting to take a set of passages, explore how they are represented in each of these models, compare the information content available in each, and think about the questions each could be used to answer and how you would go about answering those questions. Any of you linguists have time and energy to help guide me through this? I can do queries on PROIEL, Lowfat, and GBI, maybe someone else can work with Cascadia?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Do the trees explain word order?

Post by Stephen Carlson » March 23rd, 2015, 10:47 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:Dag Haug has done some work comparing them and converting from dependency to constituency in his paper, From Dependency Structure to LFG Representations, and people whose opinion I respect claim that you can, in general, transform dependency into constituency and vice versa. I think the basic information content is at least very similar in general, and it's at least plausible to me that transformations can be made in both directions.
In general, they are not convertible though it's possible to annotate them with enough information to support conversion of one into other (which is what Dag's paper is about). But that's like implementing both at the time.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

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