past participle + preposition

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donnach

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In the following sentence:

Chomsky suggested that children have a built-in mechanism, which he called the Language Acquisition Device, or LAD, which pre-programs them to develop grammar based on the linguistic input they receive.

1. Is "to develop grammar" an object complement? If not, what is it?

2. What is "based on"? Is "based" the verb, with "grammar" the subject and "on the linguistic input" an adverbial phrase modifying "based"? Or....?

There are verbs like "points to", etc. that seem to require a preposition after them to make sense. Are they just regular old verbs, nothing special?

Thank you,

Donna
 

Buddhaheart

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‘To develop’ is an infinitive, functioning as an adjectival modifier of ‘grammar’.

“Based’ is the participial adjective; ‘on’ is the preposition. The last part of the sentence is more easily understood if we develop ‘based on the linguistic input they receive’ into a full clause: ‘…which pre-programs them to develop grammar that is based on the linguistic input they receive.’
 

Buddhaheart

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I wish to add that ‘based on’ might have been used as an adverb qualifying the verb ‘pre-grams’. Traditionally the adjectival phrase is not used as an adverb or a preposition. It’s either a phrasal verb or a past-participial adjectival phrase. I believe it’s used with the force of and adjective here modifying the noun ‘grammar’.
 

donnach

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‘To develop’ is an infinitive, functioning as an adjectival modifier of ‘grammar’.

“Based’ is the participial adjective; ‘on’ is the preposition. The last part of the sentence is more easily understood if we develop ‘based on the linguistic input they receive’ into a full clause: ‘…which pre-programs them to develop grammar that is based on the linguistic input they receive.’


By the elliptical 'that is' what we have is a noun absolute that modifiies 'grammar' then?

Thanks,

Donna
 

velimir

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Hello Donna and Buddaheart,

I'm not a teacher, not even close :). Just a regular grammar enthusiast.
I would say yes as the answer on " 1. Is "to develop grammar" an object complement? " . It is the complement of "them" .But it would be better if you didn't cut off postmodifer of "grammar" since it is also part of the complement which informs you what kind of grammar is in question.The whole object complement is "to develop grammar based on the linguistic input they receive". If you want to analyse the subordinate clause "which pre-programs them ..." , to my opinion it should be analysed like this :

Which - subject
pre-programs - verb
them- object
to develop grammar based on the linguistic input they receive- object complement

Now, if you want to analyse the object complement you can see that it is by form non-finite clause.You can transform it easily to its finite counterpart taking "they" as the implied subject (them being objective case of this pronoun in the original sentence)and make the analysis more understandable:

They develop grammar based on the linguistic input they receive.

they - subject
develop - verb
grammar based on the linguistic input they receive - direct object

If you analyse the direct object you see that it is a noun phrase by its form, with "grammar" as its head. The whole part after "grammar" is functionaly a postmodifier in the noun phrase headed by "grammar".

This postmodifier is an adjective phrase headed by "based" .The whole part after "based" is an adjective complement which is in this case obligatory since the adjective "based" and the following preposition "on" form one lexical unit. Precisely,adjective and its complementing preposition are inseparable since you will automatically add "on" after saying "based" in such contexts.( I suppose you will :)).Of course, the bond between the adjective and its complement need not to be so strong and obligatory like it is in the case of "based on". So, "on the linguistic input" is an adjective complement by its function and a prepositional phrase by its form. (I've intentionally left out as part of this complement "they receive " as a postmodifier of "input" in order to shorten the phrase a bit. It is way too long :))

And of course it is true that : "There are verbs like "points to", etc. that seem to require a preposition after them to make sense" , exactly like this previous case with adjective "based on". As well as adjectives,verbs sometimes form a lexical unit (= logical unit) with its following preposition and they are then called "prepositional verbs". And yes,they are special,since the preposition (unless stranded) of this verbs is always followed by the prepositional object .


Best regards

Velimir
 
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donnach

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This postmodifier is an adjective phrase headed by "based" .The whole part after "based" is an adjective complement which is in this case obligatory since the adjective "based" and the following preposition "on" form one lexical unit. Precisely,adjective and its complementing preposition are inseparable since you will automatically add "on" after saying "based" in such contexts.( I suppose you will :)).Of course, the bond between the adjective and its complement need not to be so strong and obligatory like it is in the case of "based on". So, "on the linguistic input" is an adjective complement by its function and a prepositional phrase by its form.

Would it be the same thing, or at least plausible, to say:

"on the linguistic input" is an adverbial prepositional phrase modifying the adj. "based"
"based" is an adj. modifying the noun "grammar"
"grammar" is the noun object of the verbal (infinitive phrase) "to develop"
"to develop grammar" as the infinitive phrase acting as an object complement for "them"
"they receive" is an elliptical relative clause ("that they receive") that modifies "input"?

And of course it is true that : "There are verbs like "points to", etc. that seem to require a preposition after them to make sense" , exactly like this previous case with adjective "based on". As well as adjectives,verbs sometimes form a lexical unit (= logical unit) with its following preposition and they are then called "prepositional verbs". And yes,they are special,since the preposition (unless stranded) of this verbs is always followed by the prepositional object .

This is helpful and I will research prepositional verbs further.

Thank you,

Donna
 

velimir

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Hello Donnach,

Let's start from the whole sentence:

Chomsky suggested that children have a built-in mechanism, which he called the Language Acquisition Device, or LAD, which pre-programs them to develop grammar based on the linguistic input they receive.

This sentence can be splitted into the following functions:

Chomsky - subject

suggested - verb

the red painted part in the sentence above - direct object

Would you please analyse the object of the sentence(remove the conjunction "that" from the begining of it)and post your analysis ? That is,identify functions in the sentence which represents the direct object and indicate what is the form of every function in that sentence respectively.I think that it would be of great help for the explanation,and your better understanding of the issue.

Best regards

Velimir
 
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donnach

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that children have a built-in mechanism, which he called the Language Acquisition Device, or LAD, which pre-programs them to develop grammar based on the linguistic input they receive.

that children have a built-in mechanism - direct object of suggested

which he called the Language Acquisition Device, or LAD - adjectival clause modifying mechanism

which pre-programs them to develop grammar based on the linguistic input they receive - adjectival clause modifying mechanism

The part I want to understand word for word is:

which pre-programs them to develop grammar based on the linguistic input they receive

which - subject

pre-programs - verb

them - direct object of pre-programs?

to develop grammar - infinitive phrase consisting of infinitive + object? What function is this though? An object comeplement to them?

based on the linguistic input - past participial phrase modifying grammar?
based - past participal
on the linguistic input - prep. phrase

they receive - elliptical (missing that) relative/adjectival clause modifying input?

What do you think of this analysis?

Thanks,

Donna
 
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velimir

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Hello Donnach,

It is almost magnificient :). I think that you will see now clearly what your analysis lacks to be perfectly magnificient.
Remember that mixing the levels of analysis is most often the cause of confusion.When you chop the whole sentence into pieces like we did ,splitting it into Subject - Verb - Direct Object (and for me ,this is the most important step in analysis,since the mistake in this initial step will make a mess in every further step) you may want to analyse the Direct Object.The task was to analyse the structure of the direct object (..the red painted part in the sentence above - direct object..Would you please analyse the object of the sentence...),and you've labeled one part of it "the direct object".That makes confusion, so I would suggest you to always keep orientation in the analysis.Let's start from what I think is the confusing part:


1.This is the culprit : ...a built-in mechanism, which he called the Language Acquisition Device, or LAD, which pre-programs them to develop grammar based on the linguistic input they receive.

Although so lengthy ,this is a noun phrase with 'mechanism' as its head.This noun head is pre-modified with the adjective "built-in" and postmodified with the two relative (adjective) clauses

2..Let's say that we substitute the second relative clause with "new" and say like :

..a new built-in mechanism which he called the Language Acquisition Device, or LAD

then you would make a mistake labeling the part "that children have a new built-in mechanism" as the direct object,this time leaving out the first relative clause as a postmodifier(you would never leave "new" out , I'm sure )

3..If we replace the first relative clause with "language" we have the noun phrase like:

...a new built-in language mechanism.

and in this case (without the relative clauses)you would label it right i.e "that children have a new built-in mechanism" is a direct object.

Remember this : Relative clause always postmodifies a noun or a noun phrase (and only marginally other clause).It is always embedded part of a noun phrase.In this case those two clauses postmodify the noun phrase "a built-in mechanism" or if you like it more,the noun "mechanism".The head of a noun phrase is(virtualy always): (if it is) premodified with an adjective or/and noun and (if it is) postmodified with a relative clause. A relative clause is not so straightforward modifier because of its length and the fact that it has its own subject and object. And that is why you left it out of the direct object.And it is labeled also as an adjective clause but personally I prefer "relative clause" for the sake of clarity in the terminology.As you see,in the third sentence the noun head "mechanism" is premodified with two adjectives (new, built-in),but also with the noun "language" and you will not label that noun i.e "adjectival noun".Similarly,"adjectival" doesn't seem apropriate label for the relative clause.This "relative" indicate that this clause relate to i.e refer back to some noun head.As a conclusion: a noun can be modified with an adjective, noun or a relative clause. The noun head along with its modifiers makes a noun phrase.

I would like you to remember this also:
When you analyse sentence you first ask yourself what is it : "Is it a simple,compound or complex sentence.Then you ask yourself: "What functions is it consisted of."
Then you may want to analyse some functional part of that sentence(i.e subject,object..) and the first step is to ask yourself : "What is it by its form" i.e "Is it a clause,a phrase, or a word".
When you've identified what it is,follows the second step i.e ask yourself: "What functions is it consisted of."


And before.."The part I want to understand word for word",can you following this instruction say now:

1. What is the form of direct object?
2. What are the functional parts of it?
3. What is the form of every functional part respectively?

Leave out conjunction "that" and analyse it as a declarative sentence.

Best regards

Velimir
 

donnach

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Remember this : Relative clause always postmodifies a noun or a noun phrase (and only marginally other clause).It is always embedded part of a noun phrase.In this case those two clauses postmodify the noun phrase "a built-in mechanism" or if you like it more,the noun "mechanism".The head of a noun phrase is(virtualy always): (if it is) premodified with an adjective or/and noun and (if it is) postmodified with a relative clause. A relative clause is not so straightforward modifier because of its length and the fact that it has its own subject and object. And that is why you left it out of the direct object.And it is labeled also as an adjective clause but personally I prefer "relative clause" for the sake of clarity in the terminology.As you see,in the third sentence the noun head "mechanism" is premodified with two adjectives (new, built-in),but also with the noun "language" and you will not label that noun i.e "adjectival noun".Similarly,"adjectival" doesn't seem apropriate label for the relative clause.This "relative" indicate that this clause relate to i.e refer back to some noun head.As a conclusion: a noun can be modified with an adjective, noun or a relative clause. The noun head along with its modifiers makes a noun phrase.

Velimir,

I tried and tried to understand your explanation, but I just can't seem to get it.

I do know that my grammar books state that noun clauses can start with indefinite relative adjectives, and indefinite relative pronouns.

that children have a built-in mechanism, which he called the Language Acquisition Device, or LAD, which pre-programs them to develop grammar based on the linguistic input they receive.
so, then the whole thing is the noun clause, I have no problem with that, since a noun clause by definition includes all its modifiers, and in this example it would be the three relative clauses inside it. (Which....LAD, Which...grammar, and the elliptical 'that' they receive. oh and the past-participial phrase based...input.)

Can't it be looked at like that?

Thanks,

Donna

please keep it simple stupid for me to understand.
 

velimir

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Hello Donnach,

First to correct myself in this part you've quoted from my previous post,and sorry if I've misled you with it.Correct would be "The head of a noun phrase is(virtualy always): (if it is) premodified with an adjective or/and noun and (if it is) postmodified with a relative clause,prepositional phrase or/and a non-finite clause.(I've painted red the part I missed to enumerate.It is generally all that you can use if you want to change in any way the meaning of any noun.(Although there are some minor type of modification of nouns).And again to emphasize what is important about the quoted part: Relative clause modifies a NOUN.The words which connect i.e glue relative clause to a noun are:Relative pronouns- who,which and that,and relative adverbs - when and where (rarely also "whom","whose"and "why" do that job but forget about it and stick to the major players).That words ,most often,immediately follow the noun which they modify,but sometimes some other phrases or clauses intervene in between the noun and a relative word.Now let's move to your latest post.

This part in your post is not adequate:"a noun clause by definition includes all its modifiers".Let the term "modifier" asocciate you to a phrase and say "NOUN PHRASE by definition includes all its modifiers".I would use the term "modifier"only for words,phrases or clauses which modify nouns,adjectives or adverbs.Forget about the "modifiers of clauses".Let me remind you of the distinction between a clause and a phrase.Clause is a sentence on its own,only it is subordinated or coordinated to some other clause.A complete thought (= total clause) we call a sentence and it is often consisted of a whole mesh of subordinated and coordinated clauses of a lower level. The analysis of any clause is absolutely the same thing as an analysis of the whole sentence.In other words,when you analyse structure of a sentence or clause,use only following terms to avoid confusion:

Subject,Verb,Direct object,Indirect Object,Prepositional Object,Subject Complement,Object Complement and Adverbial.

Which means that a noun clause and any other clause by definition may include only some of this parts.You've correctly identified that the direct object of the original sentence("that children have a built-in mechanism, which he called the Language Acquisition Device, or LAD, which pre-programs them to develop grammar based on the linguistic input they receive"),is a noun("that")clause.But,since it is a clause we speak in terms which I've enumerated above,i.e. this clause includes: subject,verb and direct object.So,the direct object of the whole sentence has in its structure its own direct object and it is :"a built-in mechanism, which he called the Language Acquisition Device, or LAD, which pre-programs them to develop grammar based on the linguistic input they receive".And this direct object unlike its higher counterpart is a phrase,not a clause.That means,use only the following terms and no other when speaking of phrases(forget about articles and other determiners for now,although they are also included in a phrase):

Pre-modifier , Head , Post-modifier

built-in , mechanism ,relative clause 1, relative clause 2

In this phrase the connection between the clause 2 "which pre-programs them to develop grammar based on the linguistic input they receive" and the "mechanism" which it modifies, is blurred with presence of intervening clause 1 "which he called the Language Acquisition Device, or LAD" which also modifies the same noun "mechanism".In this phrase the two "which" relative clauses are on the same stand i.e ,along with "built-in" they are the modifiers of "mechanism".Putting it in the same basket with elliptical 'that'clause- they receive,and the past-participial phrase based...input, is a major mistake.Those are not of the same kind as the former two relative clauses,i.e they don't modify mechanism".Those are only parts of the relative clause2 which does modify "mechanism".

As a conclusion,what I see as baffling for you is that you can't accept a relative clause as a single modifier of a noun.Let me illustrate my point by comparing following two sentences:


1. I've bought a ruined house. vs 2. I've bought a house which is in a bad condition.

Maybe you will feel that "ruined" is too strong an expression and you will choose "which is in a bad condition".It only depends on how you want to put it.The point is that nobody forces you to use one single word to describe or tell something more about that house.
Although oversized,bulking,ungainly - relative clause is one postmodifying element of a noun.And what you are trying to do is to chop the relative clauses in a sentence,pick a word or part from it and then relate that part separately to the noun or some other parts of the whole sentence.Simple rule:After you've found that some clause is a relative clause i.e that it refers back to some noun,always interpret that relative clause as a single unseparable unit and don't relate some parts of it to that noun which the whole relative clause modify.If you do that,for the answer you will get nothing,except a confusion,of course.
And if we put it generally: A clause can be part of a phrase,and a phrase can be part of a clause.It is a reciprocal relation.
I did my best Donna this time.This issue certainly entails a lot of things but they are not difficult at all, only it seems that I just can't present it in a simple and a concise way.It is maybe the easiest way to identify, when reading some text,every case of "refering back" to a noun like:

The boy that is playing...
The place where I lived..
The girl who spoke to him..
The year when I graduated...
The mechanism which pre-programs them...
The linguistics input (that) they receive.. and so on..

All the best,

Velimir
 
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