jueves, 31 de mayo de 2012

The Charles Fillmore’s grammatical cases & The Semantic Structure Form the Perspective of Wallace Chafe.

The Charles Fillmore’s grammatical cases

Charles Fillmore was one of the first linguists to introduce a representation of linguistic knowledge that blurred this strong distinction between syntactic and semantic knowledge of a language. He introduced what was termed case structure grammar and this representation subsequently had considerable influence on psychologists as well as computational linguists. He was a proponent of Noam Chomsky's theory of generative grammar during its earliest transformational grammar phase.
He was one of the founders of cognitive linguistics, and developed the theories of Case Grammar (Fillmore 1968), and Frame Semantics (1976). In all of his research he has illuminated the fundamental importance of semantics, and its role in motivating syntactic and morphological phenomena.

Associated with each verb sense is a set of cases. Some of the cases are obligatory and others are optional. A case is obligatory if the sentence would be ungrammatical if it were omitted. For example, John gave the book is ungrammatical.
     There are two notable features that are illustrated in the example representation. First, the cases associated with a verb seem to be associated with questions that we one would naturally ask about an event. Who did what to whom when?
The representation seems well adapted to the retrieval of the information provided in a sentence. This feature was particularly appealing to psychologists and computational linguists
          A second interesting feature is that the same representation is provided to both the active and passive forms of the sentence. In the figure the active form is shown above the representation and the passive form below. This feature would be consistent with a finding that we rarely recall the exact syntactic form of the sentence but do recall the basic information provided by the sentence.
The eight cases are as follows, with examples either of the English case or of the English syntactic alternative to case:
·       Nominative case indicates the subject of a finite verb.
Ex. We went to the store.
She bought a new dress.

·       Accusative case indicates the direct object of a verb.
Ex.  The clerk remembered us.
He forgot her.

·       Dative case indicates the indirect object of a verb.
Ex.  The clerk gave us a discount.
He gave a flower to his mom.
·       Ablative case indicates movement from something, or cause.
Ex. The patient went to the doctor because she had headache.
He was unhappy because of depression.

·       Genitive case, which roughly corresponds to English's possessive case and preposition of, indicates the possessor of another noun.
Ex. John's book was on the table.

·       Vocative case indicates an addressee.
Ex.  John, are you alright?
Hello, John!

·       Locative case indicates a location.
Ex. We live in China.
John is at the supermarket.

·       Instrumental case indicates an object used in performing an action:
Ex. We wiped the floor with a mop.
      The essay was written by hand.
Fillmore suggests that the verb establishes a set of cases in a sentence: these are like slots, which usually need not all be filled. For example, consider these sentences:
1. Mary opened the door with a key.
2. Mary opened the door.
3. A key opened the door.
4. The door opened.

In (1) the semantic cases are: Mary - agent; the door - object; a key - instrument.
In (2) they are as in (1), except that there is no instrument.
In (3) the cases are: a key - instrument; the door - object.
In (4) the only case is the door - object.
In other words, to open requires at the minimum that the object be specified in a sentence.

"The Case for Case" (1968). In Bach and Harms (Ed.): Universals in Linguistic Theory. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1-88.
 "Frame semantics and the nature of language" (1976): . In Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences: Conference on the Origin and Development of Language and Speech. Volume 280: 20-32.
Charles F. Schmidt. Case grammar. Understanding, Interpreting and Remembering Events. 2010. Retrieved from May 15th, 2012 < http://www-rci.rutgers.edu/~cfs/305_html /Understanding/CaseGram1.html>
The Semantic Structure Form the Perspective of  Wallace Chafe.
The Semantics means “everything that have a meaning”, is the interpretation of any symbol of a Language or abstract expression; semantics can be studied since different points of view, which are: linguistic semantics, logical semantics and semantics in cognitive science.
            Linguistic semantics gives meaning to the words of a Language, by examinating its variations over time and their changes for new meanings, but it cannot assign meanings to words, because lexicography is the responsible for that, semantics only studies the meaning.        
            Wallace Chafe’s perspective has been influenced by the fact that he studied  in Yale by the middle of the 50s, Yale was one of the universities called structuralists, in that moment the Bernard Bloch was in charge of that university.
            In 1957 Noam Chomsky published his work of syntactic structuralism, which shook the foundations of structuralism. But Chafe did not feel the need to replace his ideas of language instead of the Chomskians. Although he was surprised that many linguists accepted the new doctrine. “Chomsky’s notion of phrase structure seemed to me at best to be a caricature of the immediate constituent model as I understood it.”(Chafe,2).
            Chafe was also influenced by the Bureau of American Ethnology, he was already familiarized with the work of Floyd Lounsbury in Yale and it was natural for him that his semantic structures were influenced by the model of the components.
            He started to think about a phenomenon which he called ‘semantic axes’ and it was formed by : the actor-action axis, the action-goal axis, the possessor-possessed axis, the coordination axis , and others. 
Ex. My father laughed
He said that the phonetics and semantics are parallel and he invented a diagram, instead of a tree and as far as it was taking shape, he realized the virtues of the work of Chomsky and he agreed to him until 1963 “I thought of Language in terms of semantic units, structured in a certain way, being linked to phonetic units.” (Chafe, 8).
Semantic structure à surface structure à symbolization àunderlying phonology à phonetic structure
                The sentence is the most basic unit to organize a syntactic description and with it Wallace Chafe begins to make the analysis by separating the verb and the noun and then analyzing its inflections and changes, gender, number etc.
To finally analyze the inmediate components of a sentence.
L. Chafe, Wallace. Meaning and the structure of language. 4a ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago, 1970.
CLICK HERE: Cases of Fillmore & Semantic Structure of Chafe

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