Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 21925

Search results for: syntactic analysis

21925 Study of Syntactic Errors for Deep Parsing at Machine Translation

Authors: Yukiko Sasaki Alam, Shahid Alam


Syntactic parsing is vital for semantic treatment by many applications related to natural language processing (NLP), because form and content coincide in many cases. However, it has not yet reached the levels of reliable performance. By manually examining and analyzing individual machine translation output errors that involve syntax as well as semantics, this study attempts to discover what is required for improving syntactic and semantic parsing.

Keywords: syntactic parsing, error analysis, machine translation, deep parsing

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21924 Syntactic Ambiguity and Syntactic Analysis: Transformational Grammar Approach

Authors: Olufemi Olupe


Within linguistics, various approaches have been adopted to the study of language. One of such approaches is the syntax. The syntax is an aspect of the grammar of the language which deals with how words are put together to form phrases and sentences and how such structures are interpreted in language. Ambiguity, which is also germane in this discourse is about the uncertainty of meaning as a result of the possibility of a phrase or sentence being understood and interpreted in more than one way. In the light of the above, this paper attempts a syntactic study of syntactic ambiguities in The English Language, using the Transformational Generative Grammar (TGG) Approach. In doing this, phrases and sentences were raised with each description followed by relevant analysis. Finding in the work reveals that ambiguity cannot always be disambiguated by the means of syntactic analysis alone without recourse to semantic interpretation. The further finding shows that some syntactical ambiguities structures cannot be analysed on two surface structures in spite of the fact that there are more than one deep structures. The paper concludes that in as much as ambiguity remains in language; it will continue to pose a problem of understanding to a second language learner. Users of English as a second language, must, however, make a conscious effort to avoid its usage to achieve effective communication.

Keywords: language, syntax, semantics, morphology, ambiguity

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21923 A Syntactic Errors Analysis in the Malaysian ESL Learners' Written Composition

Authors: Annie Gedion, Johan Severinus Tati, Jacinta Caroline Peter


Syntax error analysis studies have a significant role in English language teaching especially in the second language. This study investigates the syntax errors in written composition by 50 multilingual ESL learners in Politeknik Kota Kinabalu Sabah, Malaysia. The subjects speak their own dialect, Malay as their second language and English as their third or foreign language. Data were collected from the written discourse in the form of descriptive essays. The subjects were asked to write in the classroom within 45 minutes. 15 categories of errors were classified into a set of syntactic categories and were analysed based on the five steps of the syntactic analysis procedure. The findings of the study showed that the mother tongue interference, as well as lack of vocabulary and grammar knowledge, were the major sources of syntax errors in the learners’ written composition. Learners should be exposed to the differentiation of Malay and English grammar to avoid interference and effective learning of second language writing.

Keywords: errors analysis, syntactic analysis, English as a second language, ESL writing

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21922 The Latent Model of Linguistic Features in Korean College Students’ L2 Argumentative Writings: Syntactic Complexity, Lexical Complexity, and Fluency

Authors: Jiyoung Bae, Gyoomi Kim


This study explores a range of linguistic features used in Korean college students’ argumentative writings for the purpose of developing a model that identifies variables which predict writing proficiencies. This study investigated the latent variable structure of L2 linguistic features, including syntactic complexity, the lexical complexity, and fluency. One hundred forty-six university students in Korea participated in this study. The results of the study’s confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) showed that indicators of linguistic features from this study-provided a foundation for re-categorizing indicators found in extant research on L2 Korean writers depending on each latent variable of linguistic features. The CFA models indicated one measurement model of L2 syntactic complexity and L2 learners’ writing proficiency; these two latent factors were correlated with each other. Based on the overall findings of the study, integrated linguistic features of L2 writings suggested some pedagogical implications in L2 writing instructions.

Keywords: linguistic features, syntactic complexity, lexical complexity, fluency

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21921 The Syntactic Features of Islamic Legal Texts and Their Implications for Translation

Authors: Rafat Y. Alwazna


Certain religious texts are deemed part of legal texts that are characterised by high sensitivity and sacredness. Amongst such religious texts are Islamic legal texts that are replete with Islamic legal terms that designate particular legal concepts peculiar to Islamic legal system and legal culture. However, from the syntactic perspective, Islamic legal texts prove lengthy, condensed and convoluted, with little use of punctuation system, but with an extensive use of subordinations and co-ordinations, which separate the main verb from the subject, and which, of course, carry a heavy load of legal detail. The present paper seeks to examine the syntactic features of Islamic legal texts through analysing a short text of Islamic jurisprudence in an attempt at exploring the syntactic features that characterise this type of legal text. A translation of this text into legal English is then exercised to find the translation implications that have emerged as a result of the English translation. Based on these implications, the paper compares and contrasts the syntactic features of Islamic legal texts to those of legal English texts. Finally, the present paper argues that there are a number of syntactic features of Islamic legal texts, such as nominalisation, passivisation, little use of punctuation system, the use of the Arabic cohesive device, etc., which are also possessed by English legal texts except for the last feature and with some variations. The paper also claims that when rendering an Islamic legal text into legal English, certain implications emerge, such as the necessity of a sentence break, the omission of the cohesive device concerned and the increase in the use of nominalisation, passivisation, passive participles, and so on.

Keywords: English legal texts, Islamic legal texts, nominalisation, participles, passivisation, syntactic features, translation implications

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21920 A Corpus-Based Analysis on Code-Mixing Features in Mandarin-English Bilingual Children in Singapore

Authors: Xunan Huang, Caicai Zhang


This paper investigated the code-mixing features in Mandarin-English bilingual children in Singapore. First, it examined whether the code-mixing rate was different in Mandarin Chinese and English contexts. Second, it explored the syntactic categories of code-mixing in Singapore bilingual children. Moreover, this study investigated whether morphological information was preserved when inserting syntactic components into the matrix language. Data are derived from the Singapore Bilingual Corpus, in which the recordings and transcriptions of sixty English-Mandarin 5-to-6-year-old children were preserved for analysis. Results indicated that the rate of code-mixing was asymmetrical in the two language contexts, with the rate being significantly higher in the Mandarin context than that in the English context. The asymmetry is related to language dominance in that children are more likely to code-mix when using their nondominant language. Concerning the syntactic categories of code-mixing words in the Singaporean bilingual children, we found that noun-mixing, verb-mixing, and adjective-mixing are the three most frequently used categories in code-mixing in the Mandarin context. This pattern mirrors the syntactic categories of code-mixing in the Cantonese context in Cantonese-English bilingual children, and the general trend observed in lexical borrowing. Third, our results also indicated that English vocabularies that carry morphological information are embedded in bare forms in the Mandarin context. These findings shed light upon how bilingual children take advantage of the two languages in mixed utterances in a bilingual environment.

Keywords: bilingual children, code-mixing, English, Mandarin Chinese

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21919 An Automatic Model Transformation Methodology Based on Semantic and Syntactic Comparisons and the Granularity Issue Involved

Authors: Tiexin Wang, Sebastien Truptil, Frederick Benaben


Model transformation, as a pivotal aspect of Model-driven engineering, attracts more and more attentions both from researchers and practitioners. Many domains (enterprise engineering, software engineering, knowledge engineering, etc.) use model transformation principles and practices to serve to their domain specific problems; furthermore, model transformation could also be used to fulfill the gap between different domains: by sharing and exchanging knowledge. Since model transformation has been widely used, there comes new requirement on it: effectively and efficiently define the transformation process and reduce manual effort that involved in. This paper presents an automatic model transformation methodology based on semantic and syntactic comparisons, and focuses particularly on granularity issue that existed in transformation process. Comparing to the traditional model transformation methodologies, this methodology serves to a general purpose: cross-domain methodology. Semantic and syntactic checking measurements are combined into a refined transformation process, which solves the granularity issue. Moreover, semantic and syntactic comparisons are supported by software tool; manual effort is replaced in this way.

Keywords: automatic model transformation, granularity issue, model-driven engineering, semantic and syntactic comparisons

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21918 The Impact of Syntactic Priming on Language Learners’ Perception of Relative Clauses

Authors: Kaine Gulozer


Listening comprehension in a foreign language context has been a constant challenge for Turkish speakers of English. Syntactic priming (SP) of relative clauses might affect the perception of subsequent sentences of identical structure and this could have an impact on the listening comprehension of second or foreign language learners. There has been little attempt to investigate the syntactic priming of English subject relative clauses and object relative clauses in relation to perception for the learners of English in Turkish context. This study investigates SP effects on low-proficiency EFL learners’ production of English relative clauses. Both qualitative and quantitative method along with a pre-test and post-test tasks were adopted, recruiting 62 EFL learners to receive a six-week listening instruction on relative clauses. Testing instruments for language production included the two tasks: (1) the visual- cued presentation and recall and (2) the auditory-cued presentation and recall. Students’ listening comprehension in task 1 and 2 were recorded and transcribed. Fifteen of the participants were also interviewed. The results of the dependent samples t-test analyses revealed that SP had a significant effect on the overall perception of relative clauses.

Keywords: listening comprehension, relative clauses, structural priming, syntactic persistance, syntactic priming

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21917 Exploring Syntactic and Semantic Features for Text-Based Authorship Attribution

Authors: Haiyan Wu, Ying Liu, Shaoyun Shi


Authorship attribution is to extract features to identify authors of anonymous documents. Many previous works on authorship attribution focus on statistical style features (e.g., sentence/word length), content features (e.g., frequent words, n-grams). Modeling these features by regression or some transparent machine learning methods gives a portrait of the authors' writing style. But these methods do not capture the syntactic (e.g., dependency relationship) or semantic (e.g., topics) information. In recent years, some researchers model syntactic trees or latent semantic information by neural networks. However, few works take them together. Besides, predictions by neural networks are difficult to explain, which is vital in authorship attribution tasks. In this paper, we not only utilize the statistical style and content features but also take advantage of both syntactic and semantic features. Different from an end-to-end neural model, feature selection and prediction are two steps in our method. An attentive n-gram network is utilized to select useful features, and logistic regression is applied to give prediction and understandable representation of writing style. Experiments show that our extracted features can improve the state-of-the-art methods on three benchmark datasets.

Keywords: authorship attribution, attention mechanism, syntactic feature, feature extraction

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21916 The Effects of English Contractions on the Application of Syntactic Theories

Authors: Wakkai Hosanna Hussaini


A formal structure of the English clause is composed of at least two elements – subject and verb, in structural grammar and at least one element – predicate, in systemic (functional) and generative grammars. Each of the elements can be represented by a word or group (of words). In modern English structure, very often speakers merge two words as one with the use of an apostrophe. Each of the two words can come from different elements or belong to the same element. In either case, result of the merger is called contraction. Although contractions constitute a part of modern English structure, they are considered informal in nature (more frequently used in spoken than written English) that is why they were initially viewed as constituting an evidence of language deterioration. To our knowledge, no formal syntactic theory yet has been particular on the contractions because of its deviation from the formal rules of syntax that seek to identify the elements that form a clause in English. The inconsistency between the formal rules and a contraction is established when two words representing two elements in a non-contraction are merged as one element to form a contraction. Thus the paper presents the various syntactic issues as effects arising from converting non-contracted to contracted forms. It categorizes English contractions and describes each category according to its syntactic relations (position and relationship) and morphological formation (form and content) as integral part of modern structure of English. This is a position paper as such the methodology is observational, descriptive and explanatory/analytical based on existing related literature. The inventory of English contractions contained in books on syntax forms the data from where specific examples are drawn. It is noted as conclusion that the existing syntactic theories were not originally established to account for English contractions. The paper, when published, will further expose the inadequacies of the existing syntactic theories by giving more reasons for the establishment of a more comprehensive syntactic theory for analyzing English clause/sentence structure involving contractions. The method used reveals the extent of the inadequacies in applying the three major syntactic theories: structural, systemic (functional) and generative, on the English contractions. Although no theory is without scope, shying away from the three major theories from recognizing the English contractions need to be broken because of the increasing popularity of its use in modern English structure. The paper, therefore, recommends that as use of contraction gains more popular even in formal speeches today, there is need to establish a syntactic theory to handle its patterns of syntactic relations and morphological formation.

Keywords: application, effects, English contractions, syntactic theories

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21915 Automatic Intelligent Analysis of Malware Behaviour

Authors: Hermann Dornhackl, Konstantin Kadletz, Robert Luh, Paul Tavolato


In this paper we describe the use of formal methods to model malware behaviour. The modelling of harmful behaviour rests upon syntactic structures that represent malicious procedures inside malware. The malicious activities are modelled by a formal grammar, where API calls’ components are the terminals and the set of API calls used in combination to achieve a goal are designated non-terminals. The combination of different non-terminals in various ways and tiers make up the attack vectors that are used by harmful software. Based on these syntactic structures a parser can be generated which takes execution traces as input for pattern recognition.

Keywords: malware behaviour, modelling, parsing, search, pattern matching

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21914 The Role of Paraphrase in Interpreting Students’ Writing

Authors: Maya Lisa Aryanti, S. S. M. Hum


To improve students’ skill, writing is the most challenging skill to be developed. The reason is that besides helping the students to develop their skill, this activity also helps them to express themselves. This paper depicts how paraphrasing is very helpful to interpret students’ writing. Syntactic units, used tenses and meanings will indeed change once the writings were paraphrased. The objectives of this research are to reveal the inappropriate structure of syntactic units, to show what types of sentences the students often make, and to show how paraphrasing can help to infer the message. The methodology of this research is descriptive qualitative research. In addition, theories of linguistics are also included. This includes theory of Syntax to describe syntactic units and tenses and theory of Semantics to describe theories of meaning and how paraphrasing works. The theories of general linguistics, grammar and writing are also provided to support the theories of Syntax and Semantics. The results of this research are concerned with how the message is received in the end. The message written in the students’ essay is not clear because of the improper structure of syntactic units and use of incorrect of tenses. The students tend to use simple sentences, compound sentences and complex sentences with a few mistakes in their writing. In addition, they tend to create unnecessary phrases. The last point is that this research shows how paraphrase works to attain complete meaning of a sentence.

Keywords: meanings, syntactic units, tenses, syntax and semantics

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21913 The Culture of Journal Writing among Manobo Senior High School Students

Authors: Jessevel Montes


This study explored on the culture of journal writing among the Senior High School Manobo students. The purpose of this qualitative morpho-semantic and syntactic study was to discover the morphological, semantic, and syntactic features of the written output through morphological, semantic, and syntactic categories present in their journal writings. Also, beliefs and practices embedded in the norms, values, and ideologies were identified. The study was conducted among the Manobo students in the Senior High Schools of Central Mindanao, particularly in the Division of North Cotabato. Findings revealed that morphologically, the features that flourished are the following: subject-verb concordance, tenses, pronouns, prepositions, articles, and the use of adjectives. Semantically, the features are the following: word choice, idiomatic expression, borrowing, and vernacular. Syntactically, the features are the types of sentences according to structure and function; and the dominance of code switching and run-on sentences. Lastly, as to the beliefs and practices embedded in the norms, values, and ideologies of their journal writing, the major themes are: valuing education, family, and friends as treasure, preservation of culture, and emancipation from the bondage of poverty. This study has shed light on the writing capabilities and weaknesses of the Manobo students when it comes to English language. Further, such an insight into language learning problems is useful to teachers because it provides information on common trouble-spots in language learning, which can be used in the preparation of effective teaching materials.

Keywords: applied linguistics, culture, morpho-semantic and syntactic analysis, Manobo Senior High School, Philippines

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21912 Syntactic Analyzer for Tamil Language

Authors: Franklin Thambi Jose.S


Computational Linguistics is a branch of linguistics, which deals with the computer and linguistic levels. It is also said, as a branch of language studies which applies computer techniques to linguistics field. In Computational Linguistics, Natural Language Processing plays an important role. This came to exist because of the invention of Information Technology. In computational syntax, the syntactic analyser breaks a sentence into phrases and clauses and identifies the sentence with the syntactic information. Tamil is one of the major Dravidian languages, which has a very long written history of more than 2000 years. It is mainly spoken in Tamilnadu (in India), Srilanka, Malaysia and Singapore. It is an official language in Tamilnadu (in India), Srilanka, Malaysia and Singapore. In Malaysia Tamil speaking people are considered as an ethnic group. In Tamil syntax, the sentences in Tamil are classified into four for this research, namely: 1. Main Sentence 2. Interrogative Sentence 3. Equational Sentence 4. Elliptical Sentence. In computational syntax, the first step is to provide required information regarding the head and its constituent of each sentence. This information will be incorporated to the system using programming languages. Now the system can easily analyse a given sentence with the criteria or mechanisms given to it. Providing needful criteria or mechanisms to the computer to identify the basic types of sentences using Syntactic parser in Tamil language is the major objective of this paper.

Keywords: tamil, syntax, criteria, sentences, parser

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21911 The Audio-Visual and Syntactic Priming Effect on Specific Language Impairment and Gender in Modern Standard Arabic

Authors: Mohammad Al-Dawoody


This study aims at exploring if priming is affected by gender in Modern Standard Arabic and if it is restricted solely to subjects with no specific language impairment (SLI). The sample in this study consists of 74 subjects, between the ages of 11;1 and 11;10, distributed into (a) 2 SLI experimental groups of 38 subjects divided into two gender groups of 18 females and 20 males and (b) 2 non-SLI control groups of 36 subjects divided into two gender groups of 17 females and 19 males. Employing a mixed research design, the researcher conducted this study within the framework of the relevance theory (RT) whose main assumption is that human beings are endowed with a biological ability to magnify the relevance of the incoming stimuli. Each of the four groups was given two different priming stimuli: audio-visual priming (T1) and syntactic priming (T2). The results showed that the priming effect was sheer distinct among SLI participants especially when retrieving typical responses (TR) in T1 and T2 with slight superiority of males over females. The results also revealed that non-SLI females showed stronger original response (OR) priming in T1 than males and that non-SLI males in T2 excelled in OR priming than females. Furthermore, the results suggested that the audio-visual priming has a stronger effect on SLI females than non-SLI females and that syntactic priming seems to have the same effect on the two groups (non-SLI and SLI females). The conclusion is that the priming effect varies according to gender and is not confined merely to non-SLI subjects.

Keywords: specific language impairment, relevance theory, audio-visual priming, syntactic priming, modern standard Arabic

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21910 Transfer of Constraints or Constraints on Transfer? Syntactic Islands in Danish L2 English

Authors: Anne Mette Nyvad, Ken Ramshøj Christensen


In the syntax literature, it has standardly been assumed that relative clauses and complement wh-clauses are islands for extraction in English, and that constraints on extraction from syntactic islands are universal. However, the Mainland Scandinavian languages has been known to provide counterexamples. Previous research on Danish has shown that neither relative clauses nor embedded questions are strong islands in Danish. Instead, extraction from this type of syntactic environment is degraded due to structural complexity and it interacts with nonstructural factors such as the frequency of occurrence of the matrix verb, the possibility of temporary misanalysis leading to semantic incongruity and exposure over time. We argue that these facts can be accounted for with parametric variation in the availability of CP-recursion, resulting in the patterns observed, as Danish would then “suspend” the ban on movement out of relative clauses and embedded questions. Given that Danish does not seem to adhere to allegedly universal syntactic constraints, such as the Complex NP Constraint and the Wh-Island Constraint, what happens in L2 English? We present results from a study investigating how native Danish speakers judge extractions from island structures in L2 English. Our findings suggest that Danes transfer their native language parameter setting when asked to judge island constructions in English. This is compatible with the Full Transfer Full Access Hypothesis, as the latter predicts that Danish would have difficulties resetting their [+/- CP-recursion] parameter in English because they are not exposed to negative evidence.

Keywords: syntax, islands, second language acquisition, danish

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21909 Reliability of Self-Reported Language Proficiency Measures in l1 Attrition Research: A Closer Look at the Can-Do-Scales.

Authors: Anastasia Sorokina


Self-reported language proficiency measures have been widely used by researchers and have been proven to be an accurate tool to assess actual language proficiency. L1 attrition researchers also rely on self-reported measures. More specifically, can-do-scales has gained popularity in the discipline of L1 attrition research. The can-do-scales usually contain statements about language (e.g., “I can write e-mails”); participants are asked to rate each statement on a scale from 1 (I cannot do it at all) to 5 (I can do it without any difficulties). Despite its popularity, no studies have examined can-do-scales’ reliability at measuring the actual level of L1 attrition. Do can-do-scales positively correlate with lexical diversity, syntactic complexity, and fluency? The present study analyzed speech samples of 35 Russian-English attriters to examine whether their self-reported proficiency correlates with their actual L1 proficiency. The results of Pearson correlation demonstrated that can-do-scales correlated with lexical diversity, syntactic complexity, and fluency. These findings provide a valuable contribution to the L1 attrition research by demonstrating that can-do-scales can be used as a reliable tool to measure L1 attrition.

Keywords: L1 attrition, can-do-scales, lexical diversity, syntactic complexity

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21908 On Early Verb Acquisition in Chinese-Speaking Children

Authors: Yating Mu


Young children acquire native language with amazing rapidity. After noticing this interesting phenomenon, lots of linguistics, as well as psychologists, devote themselves to exploring the best explanations. Thus researches on first language acquisition emerged. Early lexical development is an important branch of children’s FLA (first language acquisition). Verb, the most significant class of lexicon, the most grammatically complex syntactic category or word type, is not only the core of exploring syntactic structures of language but also plays a key role in analyzing semantic features. Obviously, early verb development must have great impacts on children’s early lexical acquisition. Most scholars conclude that verbs, in general, are very difficult to learn because the problem in verb learning might be more about mapping a specific verb onto an action or event than about learning the underlying relational concepts that the verb or relational term encodes. However, the previous researches on early verb development mainly focus on the argument about whether there is a noun-bias or verb-bias in children’s early productive vocabulary. There are few researches on general characteristics of children’s early verbs concerning both semantic and syntactic aspects, not mentioning a general survey on Chinese-speaking children’s verb acquisition. Therefore, the author attempts to examine the general conditions and characteristics of Chinese-speaking children’s early productive verbs, based on data from a longitudinal study on three Chinese-speaking children. In order to present an overall picture of Chinese verb development, both semantic and syntactic aspects will be focused in the present study. As for semantic analysis, a classification method is adopted first. Verb category is a sophisticated class in Mandarin, so it is quite necessary to divide it into small sub-types, thus making the research much easier. By making a reasonable classification of eight verb classes on basis of semantic features, the research aims at finding out whether there exist any universal rules in Chinese-speaking children’s verb development. With regard to the syntactic aspect of verb category, a debate between nativist account and usage-based approach has lasted for quite a long time. By analyzing the longitudinal Mandarin data, the author attempts to find out whether the usage-based theory can fully explain characteristics in Chinese verb development. To sum up, this thesis attempts to apply the descriptive research method to investigate the acquisition and the usage of Chinese-speaking children’s early verbs, on purpose of providing a new perspective in investigating semantic and syntactic features of early verb acquisition.

Keywords: Chinese-speaking children, early verb acquisition, verb classes, verb grammatical structures

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21907 Differences in the Processing of Sentences with Lexical Ambiguity and Structural Ambiguity: An Experimental Study

Authors: Mariana T. Teixeira, Joana P. Luz


This paper is based on assumptions of psycholinguistics and investigates the processing of ambiguous sentences in Brazilian Portuguese. Specifically, it aims to verify if there is a difference in processing time between sentences with lexical ambiguity and sentences with structural (or syntactic) ambiguity. We hypothesize, based on the Garden Path Theory, that the two types of ambiguity entail different cognitive efforts, since sentences with structural ambiguity require that two structures be processed, whereas ambiguous phrases whose root of ambiguity is in a word require the processing of a single structure, which admits a variation of punctual meaning, within the scope of only one lexical item. In order to test this hypothesis, 25 undergraduate students, whose average age was 27.66 years, native speakers of Brazilian Portuguese, performed a self-monitoring reading task of ambiguous sentences, which had lexical and structural ambiguity. The results suggest that unambiguous sentence processing is faster than ambiguous sentence processing, whether it has lexical or structural ambiguity. In addition, participants presented a mean reading time greater for sentences with syntactic ambiguity than for sentences with lexical ambiguity, evidencing a greater cognitive effort in sentence processing with structural ambiguity.

Keywords: Brazilian portuguese, lexical ambiguity, sentence processing, syntactic ambiguity

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21906 The Co-Existence of Multidominance and Movement in the Syntax of Chinese Bi-Comparatives

Authors: Yaqing Hu


This paper puts forward a syntactic analysis involving multidominance and rightward movement in Chinese bi-comparatives, as in 'Yuehan bi Mali gao (John is taller than Mary).' It is argued here that the predicate of comparison is a shared constituent in two small clauses, namely one for the target and one for the standard; and then it moves rightward to form a degree phrase with the comparative morpheme. This proposal comes from four aspects. First, the example above can also be expressed in this way, 'A: Yuehan he Mali, shui gao? (John and Mary, who is taller?) B: Yuehan gao./Yuehan geng gao. (John is taller).' This shows that the gradable adjective is predicated of the target. In addition, according to a constraint on Chinese bi-comparatives, namely the target and the standard must be arguments of the predicate simultaneously, it is not unreasonable to assume that the gradable adjective may also be predicated of the standard. Second, subcomparatives are totally disallowed in Chinese, as in '*zhe-zhang zhuozi bi zhe-zhang yizi kuan chang. (This table is longer than this chair is wide.)' In order to save it from ungrammaticality, the target and the standard should be compared along the same dimension denoted by the gradable adjective. It may follow that in Chinese comparatives, having equal roles in the same eventuality, the target and the standard bear the same thematic relationship with the predicate of comparison. Third, verb-copy can appear in Chinese bi-comparatives, as in 'Yuehan qi ma bi Mali qi ma qi de kuai. (John rides horses faster than Mary does.)' The predicate qi seems to form a small clause with both the target and the standard. This might be supporting evidence that both the target and the standard share the predicate of comparison. Fourth, Chinese comparatives do have comparative morphemes, as in 'Yuehan bi Mali geng gao. (John is taller than Mary)', which is semantically equivalent to the first example above. Thus, it follows that one feature of Chinese comparative morphemes is that they can remain overt or covert in the syntax, which will not affect semantics. This further shows that comparative morphemes in bi-comparatives may not be able to saturate the degree argument denoted by the predicate of comparison due to its optionality in the structure. These four aspects present a challenge to the Direct Analysis used in Chinese comparatives since this approach would presume that the target and the standard somehow show independency with the predicate in the syntax. Meanwhile, this study also rejects the previous analysis of multidomiance in bi-comparatives in which the degree phrase comprised of the comparative morpheme and the gradable adjective may be shared by the standard when the comparative morpheme is covert. This syntactic analysis proposed in this study will therefore offer a different perspective of how to treat degree phrase in Chinese comparatives and may offer evidence to argue whether there is degree phrase movement in bi-comparatives as in its English counterparts.

Keywords: Chinese comparatives, degree phrase, movement, multidominance, syntactic analysis

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21905 Examining the Development of Complexity, Accuracy and Fluency in L2 Learners' Writing after L2 Instruction

Authors: Khaled Barkaoui


Research on second-language (L2) learning tends to focus on comparing students with different levels of proficiency at one point in time. However, to understand L2 development, we need more longitudinal research. In this study, we adopt a longitudinal approach to examine changes in three indicators of L2 ability, complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF), as reflected in the writing of L2 learners when writing on different tasks before and after a period L2 instruction. Each of 85 Chinese learners of English at three levels of English language proficiency responded to two writing tasks (independent and integrated) before and after nine months of English-language study in China. Each essay (N= 276) was analyzed in terms of numerous CAF indices using both computer coding and human rating: number of words written, number of errors per 100 words, ratings of error severity, global syntactic complexity (MLS), complexity by coordination (T/S), complexity by subordination (C/T), clausal complexity (MLC), phrasal complexity (NP density), syntactic variety, lexical density, lexical variation, lexical sophistication, and lexical bundles. Results were then compared statistically across tasks, L2 proficiency levels, and time. Overall, task type had significant effects on fluency and some syntactic complexity indices (complexity by coordination, structural variety, clausal complexity, phrase complexity) and lexical density, sophistication, and bundles, but not accuracy. L2 proficiency had significant effects on fluency, accuracy, and lexical variation, but not syntactic complexity. Finally, fluency, frequency of errors, but not accuracy ratings, syntactic complexity indices (clausal complexity, global complexity, complexity by subordination, phrase complexity, structural variety) and lexical complexity (lexical density, variation, and sophistication) exhibited significant changes after instruction, particularly for the independent task. We discuss the findings and their implications for assessment, instruction, and research on CAF in the context of L2 writing.

Keywords: second language writing, Fluency, accuracy, complexity, longitudinal

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21904 The Contribution of Corpora to the Investigation of Cross-Linguistic Equivalence in Phraseology: A Contrastive Analysis of Russian and Italian Idioms

Authors: Federica Floridi


The long tradition of contrastive idiom research has essentially been focusing on three domains: the comparison of structural types of idioms (e.g. verbal idioms, idioms with noun-phrase structure, etc.), the description of idioms belonging to the same thematic groups (Sachgruppen), the identification of different types of cross-linguistic equivalents (i.e. full equivalents, partial equivalents, phraseological parallels, non-equivalents). The diastratic, diachronic and diatopic aspects of the compared idioms, as well as their syntactic, pragmatic and semantic properties, have been rather ignored. Corpora (both monolingual and parallel) give the opportunity to investigate the actual use of correlating idioms in authentic texts of L1 and L2. Adopting the corpus-based approach, it is possible to draw attention to the frequency of occurrence of idioms, their syntactic embedding, their potential syntactic transformations (e.g., nominalization, passivization, relativization, etc.), their combinatorial possibilities, the variations of their lexical structure, their connotations in terms of stylistic markedness or register. This paper aims to present the results of a contrastive analysis of Russian and Italian idioms referring to the concepts of ‘beginning’ and ‘end’, that has been carried out by using the Russian National Corpus and the ‘La Repubblica’ corpus. Beyond the digital corpora, bilingual dictionaries, like Skvorcova - Majzel’, Dobrovol’skaja, Kovalev, Čerdanceva, as well as monolingual resources, have been consulted. The study has shown that many of the idioms that have been traditionally indicated as cross-linguistic equivalents on bilingual dictionaries cannot be considered correspondents. The findings demonstrate that even those idioms, that are formally identical in Russian and Italian and are presumably derived from the same source (e.g., conceptual metaphor, Bible, classical mythology, World literature), exhibit differences regarding usage. The ultimate purpose of this article is to highlight that it is necessary to review and improve the existing bilingual dictionaries considering the empirical data collected in corpora. The materials gathered in this research can contribute to this sense.

Keywords: corpora, cross-linguistic equivalence, idioms, Italian, Russian

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21903 An Event-Related Potentials Study on the Processing of English Subjunctive Mood by Chinese ESL Learners

Authors: Yan Huang


Event-related potentials (ERPs) technique helps researchers to make continuous measures on the whole process of language comprehension, with an excellent temporal resolution at the level of milliseconds. The research on sentence processing has developed from the behavioral level to the neuropsychological level, which brings about a variety of sentence processing theories and models. However, the applicability of these models to L2 learners is still under debate. Therefore, the present study aims to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying English subjunctive mood processing by Chinese ESL learners. To this end, English subject clauses with subjunctive moods are used as the stimuli, all of which follow the same syntactic structure, “It is + adjective + that … + (should) do + …” Besides, in order to examine the role that language proficiency plays on L2 processing, this research deals with two groups of Chinese ESL learners (18 males and 22 females, mean age=21.68), namely, high proficiency group (Group H) and low proficiency group (Group L). Finally, the behavioral and neurophysiological data analysis reveals the following findings: 1) Syntax and semantics interact with each other on the SECOND phase (300-500ms) of sentence processing, which is partially in line with the Three-phase Sentence Model; 2) Language proficiency does affect L2 processing. Specifically, for Group H, it is the syntactic processing that plays the dominant role in sentence processing while for Group L, semantic processing also affects the syntactic parsing during the THIRD phase of sentence processing (500-700ms). Besides, Group H, compared to Group L, demonstrates a richer native-like ERPs pattern, which further demonstrates the role of language proficiency in L2 processing. Based on the research findings, this paper also provides some enlightenment for the L2 pedagogy as well as the L2 proficiency assessment.

Keywords: Chinese ESL learners, English subjunctive mood, ERPs, L2 processing

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21902 Lexical Semantic Analysis to Support Ontology Modeling of Maintenance Activities– Case Study of Offshore Riser Integrity

Authors: Vahid Ebrahimipour


Word representation and context meaning of text-based documents play an essential role in knowledge modeling. Business procedures written in natural language are meant to store technical and engineering information, management decision and operation experience during the production system life cycle. Context meaning representation is highly dependent upon word sense, lexical relativity, and sematic features of the argument. This paper proposes a method for lexical semantic analysis and context meaning representation of maintenance activity in a mass production system. Our approach constructs a straightforward lexical semantic approach to analyze facilitates semantic and syntactic features of context structure of maintenance report to facilitate translation, interpretation, and conversion of human-readable interpretation into computer-readable representation and understandable with less heterogeneity and ambiguity. The methodology will enable users to obtain a representation format that maximizes shareability and accessibility for multi-purpose usage. It provides a contextualized structure to obtain a generic context model that can be utilized during the system life cycle. At first, it employs a co-occurrence-based clustering framework to recognize a group of highly frequent contextual features that correspond to a maintenance report text. Then the keywords are identified for syntactic and semantic extraction analysis. The analysis exercises causality-driven logic of keywords’ senses to divulge the structural and meaning dependency relationships between the words in a context. The output is a word contextualized representation of maintenance activity accommodating computer-based representation and inference using OWL/RDF.

Keywords: lexical semantic analysis, metadata modeling, contextual meaning extraction, ontology modeling, knowledge representation

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21901 Trade-Offs between Verb Frequency and Syntactic Complexity in Children with Developmental Language Disorder

Authors: Pui I. Chao, Shanju Lin


Purpose: Children with developmental language disorder (DLD) have persistent language difficulties and often face great challenges when demands are high. The aim of this study was to investigate whether verb frequency would trade-off with syntactic complexity when they talk. Method: Forty-five children with DLD, 45 chronological age matches with TD (AGE), and 45 MLU-matches with TD (MLU) who were Mandarin speakers were selected from the previous study. Language samples were collected under three contexts: conversation about children’s family and school, story retelling, and free play. MLU, verb density, utterance length difference, verb density difference, and average verb frequency were calculated and further analyzed by ANOVAs. Results: Children with DLD and their MLU matches produced shorter utterances and used fewer verbs in expressions than the AGE matches. Compared to their AGE matches, the DLD group used more verbs and verbs with lower frequency in shorter utterances but used fewer verbs and verbs with higher frequency in longer utterances. Conclusion: Mandarin-speaking children with DLD showed difficulties in verb usage and were more vulnerable to trade-offs than their age-matched peers in utterances with high demand. As a result, task demand should be taken into account as speech-language pathologists assess whether children with DLD have adequate abilities in verb usage.

Keywords: developmental language disorder, syntactic complexity, trade-offs, verb frequency

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21900 Key Findings on Rapid Syntax Screening Test for Children

Authors: Shyamani Hettiarachchi, Thilini Lokubalasuriya, Shakeela Saleem, Dinusha Nonis, Isuru Dharmaratne, Lakshika Udugama


Introduction: Late identification of language difficulties in children could result in long-term negative consequences for communication, literacy and self-esteem. This highlights the need for early identification and intervention for speech, language and communication difficulties. Speech and language therapy is a relatively new profession in Sri Lanka and at present, there are no formal standardized screening tools to assess language skills in Sinhala-speaking children. The development and validation of a short, accurate screening tool to enable the identification of children with syntactic difficulties in Sinhala is a current need. Aims: 1) To develop test items for a Sinhala Syntactic Structures (S3 Short Form) test on children aged between 3;0 to 5;0 years 2) To validate the test of Sinhala Syntactic Structures (S3 Short Form) on children aged between 3; 0 to 5; 0 years Methods: The Sinhala Syntactic Structures (S3 Short Form) was devised based on the Renfrew Action Picture Test. As Sinhala contains post-positions in contrast to English, the principles of the Renfrew Action Picture Test were followed to gain an information score and a grammar score but the test devised reflected the linguistic-specificity and complexity of Sinhala and the pictures were in keeping with the culture of the country. This included the dative case marker ‘to give something to her’ (/ejɑ:ʈə/ meaning ‘to her’), the instrumental case marker ‘to get something from’ (/ejɑ:gən/ meaning ‘from him’ or /gɑhən/ meaning ‘from the tree’), possessive noun (/ɑmmɑge:/ meaning ‘mother’s’ or /gɑhe:/ meaning ‘of the tree’ or /male:/ meaning ‘of the flower’) and plural markers (/bɑllɑ:/ bɑllo:/ meaning ‘dog/dogs’, /mɑlə/mɑl/ meaning ‘flower/flowers’, /gɑsə/gɑs/ meaning ‘tree/trees’ and /wɑlɑ:kulə/wɑlɑ:kulu/ meaning ‘cloud/clouds’). The picture targets included socio-culturally appropriate scenes of the Sri Lankan New Year celebration, elephant procession and the Buddhist ‘Wesak’ ceremony. The test was piloted with a group of 60 participants and necessary changes made. In phase 1, the test was administered to 100 Sinhala-speaking children aged between 3; 0 and 5; 0 years in one district. In this presentation on phase 2, the test was administered to another 100 Sinhala-speaking children aged between 3; 0 to 5; 0 in three districts. In phase 2, the selection of the test items was assessed via measures of content validity, test-retest reliability and inter-rater reliability. The age of acquisition of each syntactic structure was determined using content and grammar scores which were statistically analysed using t-tests and one-way ANOVAs. Results: High percentage agreement was found on test-retest reliability on content validity and Pearson correlation measures and on inter-rater reliability. As predicted, there was a statistically significant influence of age on the production of syntactic structures at p<0.05. Conclusions: As the target test items included generated the information and the syntactic structures expected, the test could be used as a quick syntactic screening tool with preschool children.

Keywords: Sinhala, screening, syntax, language

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21899 A Study of Mandarin Ba Constructions from the Perspective of Event Structure

Authors: Changyin Zhou


Ba constructions are a special type of constructions in Chinese. Their syntactic behaviors are closely related to their event structural properties. The existing study which treats the semantic function of Ba as causative meets difficulty in treating the discrepancy between Ba constructions and their corresponding constructions without Ba in expressing causativity. This paper holds that Ba in Ba constructions is a functional category expressing affectedness. The affectedness expressed by Ba can be positive or negative. The functional category Ba expressing negative affectedness has the semantic property of being 'expected'. The precondition of Ba construction is the boundedness of the event concerned. This paper, holding the parallelism between motion events and change-of-state events, proposes a syntactic model based on the notions of boundedness and affectedness, discusses the transformations between Ba constructions and the related resultative constructions, and derivates the various Ba constructions concerned.

Keywords: affectedness, Ba constructions, boundedness, event structure, resultative constructions

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21898 Competition between Verb-Based Implicit Causality and Theme Structure's Influence on Anaphora Bias in Mandarin Chinese Sentences: Evidence from Corpus

Authors: Linnan Zhang


Linguists, as well as psychologists, have shown great interests in implicit causality in reference processing. However, most frequently-used approaches to this issue are psychological experiments (such as eye tracking or self-paced reading, etc.). This research is a corpus-based one and is assisted with statistical tool – software R. The main focus of the present study is about the competition between verb-based implicit causality and theme structure’s influence on anaphora bias in Mandarin Chinese sentences. In Accessibility Theory, it is believed that salience, which is also known as accessibility, and relevance are two important factors in reference processing. Theme structure, which is a special syntactic structure in Chinese, determines the salience of an antecedent on the syntactic level while verb-based implicit causality is a key factor to the relevance between antecedent and anaphora. Therefore, it is a study about anaphora, combining psychology with linguistics. With analysis of the sentences from corpus as well as the statistical analysis of Multinomial Logistic Regression, major findings of the present study are as follows: 1. When the sentence is stated in a ‘cause-effect’ structure, the theme structure will always be the antecedent no matter forward biased verbs or backward biased verbs co-occur; in non-theme structure, the anaphora bias will tend to be the opposite of the verb bias; 2. When the sentence is stated in a ‘effect-cause’ structure, theme structure will not always be the antecedent and the influence of verb-based implicit causality will outweigh that of theme structure; moreover, the anaphora bias will be the same with the bias of verbs. All the results indicate that implicit causality functions conditionally and the noun in theme structure will not be the high-salience antecedent under any circumstances.

Keywords: accessibility theory, anaphora, theme strcture, verb-based implicit causality

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21897 Polycode Texts in Communication of Antisocial Groups: Functional and Pragmatic Aspects

Authors: Ivan Potapov


Background: The aim of this paper is to investigate poly code texts in the communication of youth antisocial groups. Nowadays, the notion of a text has numerous interpretations. Besides all the approaches to defining a text, we must take into account semiotic and cultural-semiotic ones. Rapidly developing IT, world globalization, and new ways of coding of information increase the role of the cultural-semiotic approach. However, the development of computer technologies leads also to changes in the text itself. Polycode texts play a more and more important role in the everyday communication of the younger generation. Therefore, the research of functional and pragmatic aspects of both verbal and non-verbal content is actually quite important. Methods and Material: For this survey, we applied the combination of four methods of text investigation: not only intention and content analysis but also semantic and syntactic analysis. Using these methods provided us with information on general text properties, the content of transmitted messages, and each communicants’ intentions. Besides, during our research, we figured out the social background; therefore, we could distinguish intertextual connections between certain types of polycode texts. As the sources of the research material, we used 20 public channels in the popular messenger Telegram and data extracted from smartphones, which belonged to arrested members of antisocial groups. Findings: This investigation let us assert that polycode texts can be characterized as highly intertextual language unit. Moreover, we could outline the classification of these texts based on communicants’ intentions. The most common types of antisocial polycode texts are a call to illegal actions and agitation. What is more, each type has its own semantic core: it depends on the sphere of communication. However, syntactic structure is universal for most of the polycode texts. Conclusion: Polycode texts play important role in online communication. The results of this investigation demonstrate that in some social groups using these texts has a destructive influence on the younger generation and obviously needs further researches.

Keywords: text, polycode text, internet linguistics, text analysis, context, semiotics, sociolinguistics

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21896 Passivization: as Syntactic Argument Decreasing Parameter in Boro

Authors: Ganga Brahma


Boro employs verbs hooked up with morphemes which lead verbs to adjust with their arguments and hence, affecting the whole of sentence structures. This paper is based on few such syntactic parameters which are usually considered as argument decreasing parameters in linguistic works. Passivizing of few transitive clauses which are usually construed from the verbs occurring with certain morphemes and representation in middle constructions are few of such strategies which lead to conceptualizing of decreasing of syntactic arguments from a sentence. This paper focuses on the mentioned linguistic strategies and attempts to describe the linguistic processes as for how these parameters work in languages especially by concentrating on a particular Tibeto-Burman language i.e. Boro. Boro is a Tibeto-Burman language widely spoken in parts of the north-eastern regions of India. It has an agglutinative nature in forming words as well as clauses. There is a morpheme ‘za’ which means ‘to happen, become’ in Boro whose appearances with verb roots denotes an idea of the subject being passivized. Passivization, usually has notions that it is a reversed representation of its active sentence forms in the terms of argument placements. (However, it is not accountably true as passives and actives have some distinct features of their own and independent of one and the other.) This particular work will concentrate on the semantics of passivization at the same time along with its syntactic reality. The verb khɑo meaning ‘to steal’ offers a sense of passivization with the appearance of the morpheme zɑ which means ‘to happen, become’ (e.g Zunu-ɑ lama-ɑo phɯisɑ khɑo-zɑ-bɑi; Junu-NOM road-LOC money steal-PASS-PRES: Junu got her money stolen on the road). The focus, here, is more on the argument placed at the subject position (i.e. Zunu) and the event taken place. The semantics of such construction asks for the agent because without an agent the event could not have taken place. However, the syntactic elements fill the slots of relegated or temporarily deleted agent which, infact, is the actual subject cum agent in its active representation. Due to the event marker ‘zɑ’ in this presentation it affords to reduce one participant from such a situation which in actual is made up of three participants. Hence, the structure of di-transitive construction here reduces to mono-transitive structure. Unlike passivization, middle construction does not allow relegation of the agents. It permanently deletes agents. However, it also focuses on the fore-grounded subject and highlighting on the changed states on the subjects which happens to be the underlying objects of their respective transitive structures (with agents). This work intends to describe how these two parameters which are different at their semantic realization can meet together at a syntactic level in order to create a linguistic parameter that decreases participants from their actual structures which are with more than one participant.

Keywords: argument-decrease, middle-construction, passivization, transitivity-intransitivity

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