You’ve got a British sense of humor, my friend… :)
Q:Hi, I was wondering why Linguists use phrase structure rules? Why do they use them in addition to trees?
Well that’s because each constituent of a sentence has a role. The reason you have trees is because some constituents are in a strong relationship with others (ie adjectives are bound to names because they modify them).
Of course there is an ‘umbrella’ kind of hierarchy (The S of ‘sentence’ is on top because the sentence contains all of the constituents).
So in English you can have S-> NP VP (as in ‘The dog eats’, where ‘The dog eats’ is ‘S’, ‘The Dog’ is an NP (nominal phrase) which can be divided in ‘Det’, for the article ‘The’, and ‘N’ for the noun ‘Dog’. Of course each language has a specific syntax order, hence ‘phrase structure rules’, for example, for each NP, the ‘Det’ comes BEFORE the ‘N’, etc.
Then you can have PPs (prepositional phrases) as in ‘To the girl’, and so go on…
This is to say that constituents are ordered according to specific laws - but you can still have syntactically correct but semantically nonsensical sentences, as in Chomsky’s famous ‘Colorless green ideas sleep furiously’. The sentence is syntactically perfect, but still it makes no sense from the semantic point of view:
'Posphene' Word of the day, Merriam Webster
The Syllable Everyone Recognizes
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics claim that "huh" is a universal word. (via the NYT)
Not that universal… Italians say ‘eh?’. Very similar, but not the same. Speakers of my dialect say ‘co?’. Probably almost everybody recognizes ‘huh’ but I guess this fact alone doesn’t make it universal.
Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire.
Untitled on We Heart It. http://weheartit.com/entry/81214544/via/CatsRuleCatty
Oh well, that was pretty random. :D
By the way…
Do you see what I see?