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copulas and locatives; particles and intransitive prepositions

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:50 pm
by Edwin F Ashworth
In the 'Conversion - Adverbs functioning as Adjectives (!?)' thread, I quoted What is the function of there in They asked for a ride there?

Erik answered that it is best to consider the construction as an ellipted prepositional phrase, so They asked for a ride to that place. However, this sidesteps the question "What part of speech is there in the sentence?"

Perhaps wisely.

In the similar simple and common sentence He is here, there is a similar problem in pinning down the word class to which here belongs.

There is even argument over whether this is a copular usage of be (as opposed to a purely intransitive usage, of course - we're not considering auxiliary usage here):

be (b) v.
v.intr.
1. To exist in actuality; have life or reality: I think, therefore I am.
2.
a. To occupy a specified position: The food is on the table.

...
5. Used as a copula in such senses as:
a. To equal in identity: "To be a Christian was to be a Roman" (James Bryce).
b. To have a specified significance: A is excellent, C is passing. Let n be the unknown quantity.
c. To belong to a specified class or group: The human being is a primate.
d. To have or show a specified quality or characteristic: She is witty. All humans are mortal.
e. To seem to consist or be made of: The yard is all snow. He is all bluff and no bite.
...
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition


be1 vb
...
4. (copula) used as a linking verb between the subject of a sentence and its noun or adjective complement or complementing phrase. In this case be expresses the relationship of either essential or incidental equivalence or identity (John is a man; John is a musician) or specifies an essential or incidental attribute (honey is sweet; Susan is angry). It is also used with an adverbial complement to indicate a relationship of location in space or time (Bill is at the office; the dance is on Saturday)

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged

I'm with CalifJim (and Collins, above)(http://www.englishforums.com/English/Li ... #sc1280965) when he says:

Quite often the linking verb be simply connects a subject to what is predicated of that subject. It's a place-holder required by English grammar which often has little or no meaning of its own [– it is delexical; EA].

This coat is red.

If you don't distinguish between modification and complementation, then I suppose you think that "red" in some way modifies the meaning of "is". But "is" has only structural meaning here, so it's hard to conceptualize "red" as somehow modifying that "meaning". I would say that "red" is a complement, not a modifier -- much in the same way that "letter" is not a modifier of "sent" in I sent them a letter. It's a complement.

_____________

The coat is on the chair.

Here a location rather than a property (a color) is predicated of a coat. Again I would say that "on the chair" has no role as a modifier of "is". This is an example of another use of be -- to indicate a location. Therefore it has a complement that signifies a location.
______

The coat is here.

Here the locational phrase is reduced to a single adverb, but I don't see "here" as a modifier of anything. It's simply a complement in the location usage of be.


- I think that, as the terms suggest, copulas (link verbs) are verbs that simply connect a subject to what is predicated of that subject - and place-holders required by English grammar.
Link-like verbs do similar connecting jobs to prototypical link-verbs, but also carry semantic weight (the meat is off v the meat smells off). The (post-verb) predicate is referring back to the subject rather than modifying the verb.

but to cite an alternative opinion,

Professor Paul Roberts (Cornell University) in his book Understanding Grammar (1954):
(2) In He is here,be is best considered not a linking verb but a predicating verb, like exist in 'He exists.' "
(3) Here may now be construed conventionally as an adverb modifying a verb.


I have no problem with adverbs modifying link-like verbs:
The man rapidly became tired.
But as I hold he is here to be a link-verb usage, I find it impossible to classify here as an adverb according to either the rigorous or traditional definitions of adverb:

[A] a word that serves to modify a verb
a word (or group of words) that serves to modify a whole sentence, a verb, another adverb, or an adjective - or indeed any part of speech apart from a substantive

This sort of complement is often known as an adverbial complement (!) or locative complement. If a one-word adverbial complement isn't an adverb, what is it? Or do we allow some words to be outside the general classification system?

Re: copulas and locatives

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:46 pm
by Wizard of Oz
.. Ed ..

He is here. .. and >>>

He is in.
He is out.
He is near.
He is away.

.. same function ??

WoZ is

Re: copulas and locatives; particles and intransitive prepositions

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:57 pm
by Edwin F Ashworth
Dante (who seems to be away) would no doubt claim that the CGEL says that in and near have to be considered as intransitive prepositions, the locatives being elisions of the obviously appropriate 'in his/the house' and 'near here/us'. I don't know if they claim out is short for 'out of the house' and away short for 'away from this area (etc)'.

If we have to analyse these locative complements (using complements in the usual sense of 'if you omit them, you're left with a senseless statement, or one with a totally different meaning'), I'd say that they 'identify' more closely with the subject (referent) than with tacking extra meaning onto the verb. Thus in

John is out

out is essentially telling us something about John, not enlarging on the information conveyed by the verb. The verb be is simply a linking device in this construction, tying John and his location together. English grammar doesn't allow us to get away with 'John out', although apparently Chinese does.

If we contrast John is out with John sings superbly, where no-one would argue against superbly modifying the verb, we can see that the usage involving out here is hardly modifying the verb - hardly adverbial.

With, say, John went out, out does modify (qualify) the process of going, so can be said to fulfil the requirement for being classified as an adverb.

With John sounds near, we're back to a link-like verb, and near is agreed to be an adjective modifying John - as in John sounds dreadful and John looks wet. Of course, the fact that John sounds near is an elision of the version with a non-finite clause (John sounds to be near) or even of the version with a finite clause (John sounds as if he is near) adds a layer of complication to the analysis.

Re: copulas and locatives; particles and intransitive prepositions

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:54 am
by dante
Hello there Edwin :) I've been extremely busy lately, didn't have time to spare for writing, but I've read here regularly. You just write, I'll follow it, no worries :)
Dante (who seems to be away) would no doubt claim that the CGEL says that in and near have to be considered as intransitive prepositions, the locatives being elisions of the obviously appropriate 'in his/the house' and 'near here/us'. I don't know if they claim out is short for 'out of the house' and away short for 'away from this area (etc)'.
You're right of course, we both made ourselves clear on this more than once before. The problem with parsing sentences in traditional account is pretty complex. The inconsistencies in the use of terminology are abundant because of the flawed starting premises and concepts in the sentence analysis. The use of the term "adverbial" clearly shows the reasoning behind the classification of word classes, syntactically relating locatives "in" and "in the house" on the basis of their identical semantic role in the sentence. But the same logic isn't followed with time expressions for example:

I called them before/Monday/yesterday.

In traditional account, "before" is an adverb by virtue of being a time expression, but the words "monday" and "yesterday" aren't so. They remain nouns in spite of indicating the time reference.
If we contrast John is out with John sings superbly, where no-one would argue against superbly modifying the verb, we can see that the usage involving out here is hardly modifying the verb - hardly adverbial.
Not all semantic classes of adjuncts are equally integrated in the clause structure, and not all of them clearly modify the basic meaning of the verb. Adjuncts belonging to certain classes qualify the whole proposition or serve the purpose of making transitions or connections within the wider discourse.
The category of adverbials in Quirk's grammar is divided into three groups: adjuncts, disjuncts and conjuncts. Huddleston&Pullum use the term "adjunct" for traditional "adverbials". In CGEL they give 26 semantic classes of adjuncts graded from those which are the most tightly integrated in the clause structure (starting with manner adverbs such as "superbly", as a semantic class which has the strongest bond with the verb) to those which are loosely attached to the rest of the sentence.
John is out

out is essentially telling us something about John, not enlarging on the information conveyed by the verb. The verb be is simply a linking device in this construction, tying John and his location together.
As you noted Edwin, "out" here is a locative complement of the subject, in a linking/copular construction.

This mix-up of form and function with locative expressions clearly shows inadequacy of traditional analysis. Locative expressions are typically verb complements or adjuncts with a tight bond to the verb but it's not their sole function. In your example "out" tells about John, his location, it is the subject complement. Locative can be the subject of the sentence too http://suite101.com/article/six-other-f ... es-a112704:

Under the bed needs cleaning.

or it can modify the verb phrase:

Friday night I had a meal out with my friends from the running club.

In the sentence above "out" tells about the place where "had a meal" happened and in this case it is an adjunct (adverbial), and can meaningfully be compared with the manner adjuncts, as both modify the verb phrase. "I" being "out" is only a secondary implication that logically follows from the proposition "the meal was out" .
If the locative expression functions as a verb complement or adjunct is not always easy to determine. Generally, when the locative expression is obligatory for the meaning of the sentence it is considered to be a complement as in the following sentence:

I put a book on the table.

The obligatory status of a certain phrase in a sentence is the obvious but not necessary criteria for qualifying that phrase as an adjunct or complement. Leaving out a verb complement from the sentence substantially changes the meaning of that sentence. Resultative phrase can be used for comparison


I've painted a house in the depths of winter.

I've painted a house in the middle of nowhere.

I've painted the house red.

The time and locative expressions in the first two sentences respectively are adjuncts, as using any semantically similar verb in the place of "paint" will render a meaningful sentence: decorated/built/ a house.. in the depths of winter/ in the middle of nowhere.
Replacing "painted" in the third sentence, on the other hand, with some other verb is not possible, i.e *decorated the house red, *built the house red or similar is not possible, and that's why resultative phrase is invariably a complement in the sentence.

Re: copulas and locatives; particles and intransitive prepositions

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:14 pm
by Edwin F Ashworth
Hi, Dante :-)

I'm rather concerned with fundamental differences among weighty authorities.

(1) M-W says that the following use of be is non-copular, but Collins says it is copular (with which we both agree):

John is out.

(2) Almost all definitions of 'adverb' seem to demand that it is a word 'modifying' either solely a verb, or a verb / adj / adv / clause / sentence. (Though most authorities would also say out above is an adverbial something). But 'out' above seems not to satisfy either definition. Does CGEL offer an even broader one?

Re: copulas and locatives; particles and intransitive prepositions

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:38 pm
by dante
I've checked CGEL Edwin and interestingly, they do make distinction between locative complement and predicative complement. They use the term "copular clause" for the clauses with the verb "to be" only. Here's what they say under the heading "Relation between locative complements and predicative complements":

p257 CGEL
One common type of complement to the verb be is a locative expression, as in The letter is on the table. The structural similarity between this and, say, The letter is highly offensive suggests that assigning a location to something is comparable to assigning it a property. One respect in which locative complements resemble predicatives is that they too are oriented towards a particular element, subject in intransitives, object in transitives:

Intransitive S orientiation: Transitive O orientation:

ia) Sue remained calm. ib) I kept it handy (Predicative complement)

iia) Sue remained outside. iib) I kept it in the drawer (Locative)


Moreover there is a significant degree of overlap between the verbs which take the two kinds of complement. Further examples of verbs which license both include the following (those in i being intransitive, those in ii transitive)

Predicative complement Locative complement


i. get They got angry. They got into the car.
go He went mad. He went to hospital.
stay She stayed calm. She stayed inside.

ii. drive He drove them mad. He drove them to the bank.
get They got me angry. They got me to the shore.
leave They left me unmoved. They left me in the waiting room.


However, there are also numerous verbs which take only one or the other, and for this reason we will not assimilate the locatives to the predicatives, but will regard them as syntactically distinct kind of complement taht exhibit certain semantic resemblances.

Re: copulas and locatives; particles and intransitive prepositionss

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:19 pm
by dante
One respect in which locative complements resemble predicatives is that they too are oriented towards a particular element, subject in intransitives, object in transitives
For me, this is the main argument in the CGEL citation from my previous post against subcategorizing locatives like out, outside, inside, down etc. as adverbs. As far as I know adverbs cannot be used predicatively and putting them in the same word category with, say, manner expressions like superbly, easily, etc would make that category highly heterogeneous. Locatives used as in "John is out" very much resemble predicative complement for the reason the authors noted here - they have a predicand- subject or object.
As to the definition of adverbs, CGEL is pretty vague there, but in the Student's Introduction to English Grammar the same authors give the following definition, in the glossary at the end of the book:
Adverb. A category of lexemes whose prototypical members are derived from adjectives by adding ·ly: audibly, cleverly, remarkably, softly, etc. Generally function as modifiers of verbs (speaks clearly) and other categories other than nouns.

Re: copulas and locatives; particles and intransitive prepositions

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:56 pm
by Edwin F Ashworth
Thanks, Dante.

Their definition is still very vague.

We still have the problem with identifying the word-class of here in he is here - not even P & H could come up with an elision that could convince anyone that here is an intransitive preposition (it never functions as an ordinary one!).

And if we have to posit a new class for here (and there and yonder), why not bung P & H's intransitive prepositions in there too!
(A major snag with their 'intransitive preposition' classification is that they have pinched a term (preposition) which already had an agreed meaning and tried to redefine it, forcing their extended definition on everybody. If it is claimed that 'intransitive prepositions' are not really prepositions, as the term is still generally accepted, their term is obviously confusing and misleading.)

These locative words seem to 'frame' the claim made by the verb about the subject, rather than give further details pertaining to the state the verb informs us about.
(John → here, NOT
is → herishly).
(A (rare?) example of a true 'locative' adverb that cannot be used in the types of constructions we are considering is locally as in Our vegetables are grown locally.)
One is reminded that it was eventually decided that determiners were best not considered adjectives.

If there are too many word-classes for some people's liking, let us learn a lesson from the chemists, who have found having 100+ elements more sensible and accurate than having 4.

Re: copulas and locatives; particles and intransitive prepositions

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:43 am
by dante
You often insist on finding a perfect match between syntax and meaning Edwin but for some reason not now :) I can't see why deictic spatial expressions here and there would be subcategorized into a separate group, different from other spatial expressions like in, down, out etc. They are clearly all words indicating location, and I can't find any syntactic or semantic grounds against doing so.

John is here.

John is out.
We still have the problem with identifying the word-class of here in he is here - not even P & H could come up with an elision that could convince anyone that here is an intransitive preposition (it never functions as an ordinary one!)
Here and there can be modified by right. Most of the (central at least) prepositions can be modified by right but not adverbs or any other word class.

John is right here.

John is right out there.

Re: copulas and locatives; particles and intransitive prepositions

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:00 pm
by Edwin F Ashworth
Just off the top of my head, right modifies adjectives in some dialects and odd expressions, and at least one adverb in standard English:

right (AHD)

9. Chiefly Southern U.S. Considerably; very:

They have a right nice place.

(also colloquial in NW England)

ALSO: Right Reverend

The OED has, apparently, right modifying nouns in 'You look a right clown' and 'made a right mess of things' (both expressions I'm quite familiar with.) [added 22 / 06 / 12]

Also, at, for example, http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1508017 (tweaked):

...The phrase "go right ahead", in the following passage, means the same as "go ahead", but adding the word "right" intensifies the expression:

A: Would it be okay if I opened the window?
B: Sure, go right ahead.



Right yonder sounds alien to my ears, so there isn't even that tiny endorsement for yonder's classification within a prepositional superclass. Is it just this word that needs its own class?

Ah, then there's the old favourite, home.

He went right home is allowable, with right meaning straight, immediately, or all the way, not exactly here.
He is right home? *** So home can't be a preposition, according to the right test.

And I've just this moment come up with another indisputable right + adverb collocation, right now!

Apparently, Radford (1997), Jackendoff (1973) and Emonds (1982) claim that the test has to be applied only with the 'completely' sense of right, as in 'right to the top', but I don't think many people would claim 'He brought it right here' meant the same as 'He brought it right to the doorstep'.

Who was asking for here and there to be in a different group from other spatial expressions? I just don't approve of CGEL's forcing, ex cathedra, a new, conflicting meaning on the word 'preposition' (to include 'connecting the verb to a (possibly easily construable) missing noun group).

And I think that the judgement of the value of the results of strange tests that seem to corroborate a pet theory should be opened up to peer debate before being claimed as a proof. Scientists have been shot for less.

To be fair, I think it was Emonds in 1985 who first advocated the classification of (what were generally regarded till then as) adverbs such as home, downstairs, and afterward as atypical prepositions, with quite a lot of supporting argument. The 'contextually obviously related variant with a full prepositional phrase, such as after an elision of after the war etc' argument, which I had understood to be the controlling one, obviously doesn't apply to these three - or here, there - which were never classified as classical prepositions.

I concede that the intransitive preposition reclassification has points to recommend it, but believe it creates so many new ones it is unjustifiable. 'Please' can have a distribution quite like an adverb - Would you please / carefully move your drink off the counter - but that doesn't mean we can choose, for convenience, to call it one. It doesn't modify the verb in any way.

And I maintain that here is hardly adverbial in Tilly is here.

Re: copulas and locatives; particles and intransitive prepositions

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:49 pm
by Edwin F Ashworth
I'm not sure if we've linked to this article before:
http://stl.recherche.univ-lille3.fr/sit ... ticles.pdf
- but Cappelle, after studying the analysis in favour of lumping these adverbial - he calls them particles - with accepted prepositions as an intransitive variation comes up with this conclusion:


The conclusion from the previous three sections is that directional particles are different from directional prepositional phrases. Though directional particles may, for reasons of terminological economy, be called ‘intransitive prepositions’, they

[1] have different distributional properties from directional PPs,

[2]ought not to be analyzed as reduced directional PPs, and

[3]do not always have the same meaning as formally related directional PPs.

Calling them a sort of preposition blinds us to these facts.


If directional particles are not just prepositions, it must follow that particles in general are to be kept distinct from the class of prepositions as well. This is so because the falsity of a general claim—in this case, 'all particles are just a sort of preposition'—is logically entailed by the proved falsity of a weaker, more specific claim—in this case, some particles, namely directional ones, are just a sort of preposition. Particles, in other words, are a kind of their own. [tidied]

Re: copulas and locatives; particles and intransitive prepositions

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:11 am
by Edwin F Ashworth
It is just as well Cappelle confined his analysis to directional whatsits.

It is hard to argue that Maître d' doesn't contain a reduced prepositional phrase.
I'm not sure whether the French or the Anglophones introduced the contraction - I know we usually pronounce it "mate-rә dee", which hardly sounds French.

Incidentally, I have found an article which classifies prepositions among the lexical (concept-defined) word classes rather than the usual function classes. This obviously makes sense for their prototypical (spatial) senses, but becomes laughable for slightly- to highly-idiomatic usages - the chair is on fire would seem less logical than the chair is on the fire.

Re: copulas and locatives; particles and intransitive prepositions

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:14 pm
by Edwin F Ashworth
We haven't addressed the little word over, as far as I can determine without a lengthy search.

The AHDEL and Collins list usages galore (some of which they term prepositional, others adverbial) (amongst others) at thefreedictionary.com .

It seems but a small step to accept the usage in 1b as intransitive-prepositional:

1a. The Vikings sailed over the North Sea from Denmark.
1b. The Vikings sailed over from Denmark.

There is an obvious reclaimable prepositional complement (derivable - as is often the case - from context).

In

1c. They sailed over from Africa. ,

one would need to have context outside the sentence itself to reclaim 'the Mediterranean', 'the Atlantic' or 'the Indian Ocean'.

However, in

2a. We're going over for drinks after work. ,

which usage both the above dictionaries class as adverbial, there seems to be no chance of a meaningful prepositional complement to reclaim. 'The intervening part of town' etc would smack of 'bending the facts to fit the explanation'. The implied metaphor is undeniable in the choice of 'over', but syntax has rather less notional requirements.

Re: copulas and locatives; particles and intransitive prepositions

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:48 am
by Wizard of Oz
WOOF WOOF WOOF !!! .. who woke the sleeping dog ???

WoZ looking for the leash (gag ??)

Re: copulas and locatives; particles and intransitive prepositions

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:34 am
by Erik_Kowal
Wizard of Oz wrote:WOOF WOOF WOOF !!! .. who woke the sleeping dog ???
It is unfortunate that the title of this thread does not even hint at its focus on grammar and thereby alert people who aren't interested in the topic.