Exercise 8, Grammar Development

Complementation and Control: Raising

Traditionally, a distinction is made between raising and control predicates. The intuition is that there is no thematic argument in so-called raising verbs. I.e., in examples like It seems to be raining., there is no actual "it" that is doing the raining. LFG encodes non-thematic arguments by placing them outside of the angle brackets, as shown in the sample lexical entry for seem. The control equations work exactly the same way as the control verbs we have already seen, such as want, persuade, or promise.

seem V * (^ PRED) = `seem<(^XCOMP)>(^SUBJ)'
         (^ XCOMP SUBJ) = (^ SUBJ)

Modfiy your grammar so that the following sentences can be parsed.

  1. It seems to be raining.
  2. Mary seems to be eating a banana.

Long Distance Dependencies: Functional Uncertainty

Expand your grammar to deal with long-distance dependencies as well (you can read up on them some more in the Dalrymple textbook).

Introduce an Stop as we agreed in class (Stop --> NP (COMMA) S) and annotate the topicalized constituent as shown below.

Functional Uncertainty Annotation

Remember to add the functional uncertainty equation below to the NP preceding the S.

(^ TOPIC) = ! 
(^ {XCOMP|COMP}* {OBJ|OBJ2}) = !

You should be able to parse (at least) the following sentences.

  1. Kim likes beans.
  2. Beans, Kim likes.
  3. Beans, Kim wants Mary to like.
  4. Beans, John persuaded Mary to want to eat.
  5. Beans, John wanted Mary to think that Bill persuaded Kim to eat.
  6. Beans, John thought that Mary wanted Bill to think that that Kim wants to eat.


Now add some imperatives to your grammar. The following sentences should work.

  1. Eat the beans!
  2. Promise me to eat the beans!
  3. Think a creative thought!
The following sentences should not work.
  1. Eats the beans!
  2. Promised me to eat the beans!

You will need to make (at least) the following changes to your grammar:


Remember to keep thinking and working on your projects.

Please submit your exericses and your testsuite to Maike Müller (uni konstanz Addresse) by 24.6.2014 at 10 am.

Relevant Reading Material

Dalrymple (2001), Relevant parts of Chapter 14.

Functional Uncertainty in the XLE Documentation.

Empty Strings and Nodes in the XLE Documentation.