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  1. #1
    Bmack is offline Newbie
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    Sub-catergorization- please help me understand this better

    I was giving a question by my teacher:

    In a short answer, explain how subcatergorization accounts for the ungrammaticality of the following.

    *The instructor suggested the students to study.
    *The customer requested for a fork
    *After getting home they devoured.

    My text book does not go deep in depth about sub-catergorization. However, from what I understood. These sentences are ungrammatical because they make no sense. These words can not occur together in a sentence.


    I am not really grasping the meaning of C-selection/sub-categorization.If you can suggest a website that explains it in simple terms. Or point me in the right direction...that would be helpful.

    Please, any help is appreciated.
    Last edited by Bmack; 06-Mar-2008 at 18:48.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Sub-catergorization- please help me understand this better

    Try this: http://people.umass.edu/bhatt/601-f04/l3.pdf

    Do they really make no sense? There are words that don't go like the preposition after request, but I would say that bthe meaning was clear enough in each case.

  3. #3
    CHOMAT is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Sub-catergorization- please help me understand this better

    Quote Originally Posted by Bmack View Post
    I was giving a question by my teacher:

    In a short answer, explain how subcatergorization accounts for the ungrammaticality of the following.

    *The instructor suggested the students to study.
    *The customer requested for a fork
    *After getting home they devoured.

    My text book does not go deep in depth about sub-catergorization. However, from what I understood. These sentences are ungrammatical because they make no sense. These words can not occur together in a sentence.


    I am not really grasping the meaning of C-selection/sub-categorization.If you can suggest a website that explains it in simple terms. Or point me in the right direction...that would be helpful.

    Please, any help is appreciated.
    subcategorisation is the description of morphosyntactic and semantic linguistic constraints. The relation between predicates and arguments and the restriction imposed by a word upon other dependent words.
    In your examples,
    the predicate REQUEST subcategorizes transitive and direct object. FOR ?
    the predicate devour demands an object in direct position.THERE IS NO.
    Your first example is quite interesting:
    suggest+ to subcategorizes a cluster of words . Semantically speaking, that verb restricts : students and study are highly improbable in those places ( intensional restriction): to suggest non animate to animate. the ambiguous nature of to is significant here too.
    Subcategorisation aims at reducing syntactic ambiguity.
    Last edited by CHOMAT; 09-Mar-2008 at 21:12.

  4. #4
    Bmack is offline Newbie
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    Re: Sub-catergorization- please help me understand this better

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Try this: http://people.umass.edu/bhatt/601-f04/l3.pdf

    Do they really make no sense? There are words that don't go like the preposition after request, but I would say that bthe meaning was clear enough in each case.
    Thanks for your help,
    When I say that they make no sense I mean the nature of words don't make sense because something is missing.

    *The instructor suggested the students to study.

    The instructor suggested the students to study seems like its missing what what the students should study or the word to does not belong there...

    *The customer requested for a fork. The customer requested for a fork looks like the word for does not belong, or there needs to be something he/she requested the fork for.

    *After getting home they devoured. what did they devour it requires an object to complete the sentence.

    I am confused with how subcatergorization plays a part because I don't understand what sub-catergorization is from reading my text and info online.
    Last edited by Bmack; 08-Mar-2008 at 21:05. Reason: to add info

  5. #5
    CHOMAT is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Sub-catergorization- please help me understand this better

    How do you understand the following example ?
    The instructor suggested the students to study
    In what case should one use the verbal form suggest to ?

    Subcategorisation aims at reducing ambiguity by showing the expected links between different words semantically and syntactically speaking.

    To cut a potato with a knife .
    Is it To cut a potato and to cut a knife.
    To cut a potato which has a knife
    To cut a potato by means of a knife.

    To cut : the predicate entails a direct object : potato
    The semantic dimension ( common knowledge): if with is followed by a word ( tool) it is linked to the predicate cut : to cut with
    if not , it belongs to the direct object
    To cut a potato with a hole.

    I'm waiting for your answer . I'll try to help you I'll do my damnest!

  6. #6
    Bmack is offline Newbie
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    Re: Sub-catergorization- please help me understand this better

    Quote Originally Posted by CHOMAT View Post
    How do you understand the following example ?
    The instructor suggested the students to study
    In what case should one use the verbal form suggest to ?

    I think it means that the professor suggested they study. However the sentence is lacking what it was he suggested they study.

    He could just suggest they study or suggest they study something.

    Subcategorisation aims at reducing ambiguity by showing the expected links between different words semantically and syntactically speaking.

    To cut a potato with a knife .
    Is it To cut a potato and to cut a knife.
    To cut a potato which has a knife
    To cut a potato by means of a knife.

    To cut : the predicate entails a direct object : potato
    The semantic dimension ( common knowledge): if with is followed by a word ( tool) it is linked to the predicate cut : to cut with
    if not , it belongs to the direct object
    To cut a potato with a hole.

    I'm waiting for your answer . I'll try to help you I'll do my damnest!
    I hope that makes sense. It seems to be missing a direct object or Prepositional phrase and direct object.

  7. #7
    CHOMAT is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Sub-catergorization- please help me understand this better

    The instructor suggested the student to study*

    To suggest someone for
    To suggest somethingto someone or to suggest to someone something
    To suggest things to do
    to suggest that subject + should /subjunctive.

    The common point of the words or clauses that directly follow the verb suggest : those words are the very things suggested. The direct object is the thing suggested:(the verb suggest subcategorizes the direct object; It restricts the choice of objects)

    I suggest patience to him : Patience is suggested to him
    I suggest apples to eat : apples are suggested
    I suggest John for Presidence : John is suggested for...

    In your example The instructor suggested students to study : Students were suggested , that is the thing suggested. that won't do.
    I suggest (that) students (should) study .
    I suggest work to students. would give the expected meaning.

    Try to make a tree, a diagram in order to sort out the different constituents .

  8. #8
    Bmack is offline Newbie
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    Re: Sub-catergorization- please help me understand this better

    Quote Originally Posted by CHOMAT View Post
    The instructor suggested the student to study*

    To suggest someone for
    To suggest somethingto someone or to suggest to someone something
    To suggest things to do
    to suggest that subject + should /subjunctive.

    The common point of the words or clauses that directly follow the verb suggest : those words are the very things suggested. The direct object is the thing suggested:(the verb suggest subcategorizes the direct object; It restricts the choice of objects)

    I suggest patience to him : Patience is suggested to him
    I suggest apples to eat : apples are suggested
    I suggest John for Presidence : John is suggested for...

    In your example The instructor suggested students to study : Students were suggested , that is the thing suggested. that won't do.
    I suggest (that) students (should) study .
    I suggest work to students. would give the expected meaning.

    Try to make a tree, a diagram in order to sort out the different constituents .
    The sentence requires a direct object right? I will post tree diagram.

  9. #9
    Bmack is offline Newbie
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    Re: Sub-catergorization- please help me understand this better

    Quote Originally Posted by CHOMAT View Post
    How do you understand the following example ?
    The instructor suggested the students to study
    In what case should one use the verbal form suggest to ?

    Subcategorisation aims at reducing ambiguity by showing the expected links between different words semantically and syntactically speaking.

    To cut a potato with a knife .
    Is it To cut a potato and to cut a knife.
    To cut a potato which has a knife
    To cut a potato by means of a knife.

    To cut : the predicate entails a direct object : potato
    The semantic dimension ( common knowledge): if with is followed by a word ( tool) it is linked to the predicate cut : to cut with
    if not , it belongs to the direct object
    To cut a potato with a hole.

    I'm waiting for your answer . I'll try to help you I'll do my damnest!

    Okay, I re-read the chapter again and the sentence is ungrammatical because of the words to and for. They do not belong there it should have had the complement "that" as in "The professor suggest that the students study" The verb suggest needs to be followed by a direct object.

    ................S
    ............../\
    ..........Np.........Vp
    ........./\....../\
    ......det...N.........V......NP
    .......|......|........|....../\
    .....The..Prof..suggest N'...NP
    ...............................|.../_\
    ............................adjp ....|
    ..................................That the students study
    I am not sure I did the tree right as usual.

    The C-selection (sub-categorization) seems to restrict what categories (VP, NP, PP etc.) sentences can use as a complement. With the first sentence on the test "The Prof. suggested the students to study" The transitive verb "suggested" requires a NP complement. Most NPs need for a restrictive clause "that" to head the NP complement. In other words there are restrictions on what complements can head certain sentence complements. And restrictions that Sub-categorization places on sentences. The trantitive verb is suggesting "the students" and it is using them as a direct object, and that does not work.
    Last edited by Bmack; 14-Mar-2008 at 15:49.

  10. #10
    Bmack is offline Newbie
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    Re: Sub-catergorization- please help me understand this better

    CHOMAT, I believe I have a better understanding.

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