Tag Archives: two-sided grammar

About so-called tonic personal pronouns again

Let’s consider the so-called ‘tonic personal pronouns’ used in the imperative, in an affirmative (non-negative) form: parle-moi, _ , parle-lui, parlez-nous, parlez-vous, parle-leur (talk to me, , talk to him/her, talk to us, talk to you, talk to them; parla mi, _, parla li, parleti ci, parleti vi, parla li). Here again, we have the equivalence of meaning: parle-moi = parle à moi, _ , parle-lui = parle à lui/elle, parlez-nous = parlez à nous, parlez-vous = parlez à vous, parle-leur = parle à eux/elles (no difference in english; parla mi = parla à mè, _, parla li = parla ad eddu/edda, parleti ci = parleti à no, parleti vi = parleti à vo, parla li = parla ad eddi). Therefore, once again: ‘me = à moi, te = à toi, lui = à lui/elle, nous = à nous, vous = à vous, leur = eux/elles’ (mi = à mè, ti = à tè, li = ad eddu/edda, ci = à no, vi = à vo, li = ad eddi). Thus, in the so-called ‘tonic personal pronoun’ used in the imperative, the preposition placed before the personal pronoun is included. In the present model, ‘tonic personal pronouns’ cannot be considered as a category of personal pronouns, but are viewed here as a contraction, i.e. a preposition+personal pronoun group.

On the category of adverb modifiers

Let’s continue to rethink the gruesome (so is it argued here) category of adverbs (in the classical sense). Let’s now turn our attention to the category of ‘adverb modifiers’. Adverbs are understood here in a restricted sense: they are either verb modifiers or proposition modifiers. In this context, we are likely to encounter adverb modifiers. In general, the adverb modifier precedes the adverb. Thus, very (‘très’) is an adverb modifier in the sequence he was eating very rarely (il mangeait très rarement’, manghjava mori raramenti).

Likewise more (‘plus’, più) is in some cases an adverb modifier. This is the case in the sequence he was drinking more frequently (‘il buvait plus fréquemment’, biia più suventi).

More on two-sided grammar

Let’s focus on analyzing the following phrases:

  • à force de courage (bravely)
  • à force de courage et de persévérance (by dint of courage and perseverance)
  • avec beaucoup d’abnégation (selflessly)
  • d’une manière ou d’une autre (in any way)
  • d’une façon vraiment admirable (in a very admirable way)
  • au moment le plus opportun (when most appropriate)

What is their grammatical nature? From the point of view of two-sided grammar, what are they?

From a synthetic standpoint, first of all, they are adverbs. Let us turn now to their nature from an analytical point of view.

  • à force de courage (bravely): analytically, it is a preposition, followed by a common noun, then another preposition, then another common noun: PS-NC-PS-NC.
  • à force de courage et de persévérance (by dint of courage and perseverance): analytically, it is a preposition, followed by a common noun, then another preposition, then another common noun, then a conjunction, then another preposition and then another common noun: PS-NC-PS-NC-CONJ-PS-NC.
  • and so on

Powering MT with two-sided grammar: the case of ‘près de’

‘près de’ (near) is considered to be a prepositive locution. From the viewpoint of two-sided grammar, it is (synthetically) a preposition, made up (analytically) of an adverb (‘près’) followed by the preposition ‘de’. In Corsican language, this is translated as vicinu à. But this grammatical analysis does not solve all cases, as the example above shows. Because in the sentence ‘depuis près de dix ans, il travaillait’ (for almost ten years, he has been working), ‘près de’ (almost; guasgi) has a different grammatical role. According to classical analysis, it would rather be an adverb.
In the present conceptual framework, we will analyze ‘près de’ (almost; guasgi) in ‘depuis près de dix ans, il travaillait’ (for almost ten years, he has been working) as a modulator of the cardinal determinant ‘dix’ (ten), i.e. as a modulator of cardinal determinant. A prototype implemented with this type of grammatical analysis then gives the correct translation, where ‘near’ is replaced by guasgi (nearly) . It seems that two-sided grammar is beginning to produce interesting results (to be confirmed).

Expanding on noun modulators

Let’s take a closer look at noun modulators, especially common noun modulators. We have seen that adjectives could be considered, in the present conceptual framework, as noun modulators. In this context, the question arises, are there other forms of noun modulators? It seems that there are.

Let us consider elements of sentences such as ‘bois de châtaignier’ (chestnut wood; legnu castagninu) or ‘oiseau de proie’ (bird of prey; aceddu di preda). In ‘bois de châtaignier’, ‘de châtaignier’ seems to play the role of noun modulator, in the same way as an adjective. In traditional grammar, ‘de châtaignier’ is considered as a noun complement. In the present framework, it would be a noun modulator, since it clarifies and restricts the meaning of the noun ‘bois’ (wood; legnu). The role of ‘de proie’ in ‘oiseau de proie’ is identical, as it acts as a modulator of the name ‘bird’.

Interestingly, it turns out that the comparison between languages tends to validate this type of analysis. Indeed, ‘bois de châtaignier’ is better translated in Corsican language by legnu castagninu than litterally by legnu di castagnu (chestnut wood); and in this case, castagninu (of chestnut) is an adjective, i.e. a noun modulator. Thus, castagninu and di castagnu being equivalent here, confirming in both cases their same nature of adjective modulator.

Grammatical categories by position again: the case of adverbs and modulators placed before a modulator

Let us try to delve more deeply into the case of adverbs. We shall continue now to define them by their position in relation to other grammatical categories. The result is that adverbs are divided into several different categories. Now let’s look at the adverbs that may be placed before an adjective modulator. To begin with, let us cite but a few adjective modulators:

  • peu, très, extrêmement, surtout, étonnamment, à peine, vraiment, assez, bien, trop, tellement, etc.
  • pocu, assai, estremamente, sopratuttu, in modu stunante, appena, propriu/propria/proprii/proprie, abbastanza, bellu/bella/belli/belle, troppu/troppa/troppi, troppe, tantu/tanta, tanti/tante, etc.
  • not veryveryextremelyespeciallysurprisinglyhardlyreallyenoughall/very, tooso, etc.

Now some modulators of adjective modulators are:

  • pas, peut-être, surtout, vraiment, etc.
  • micca, forse, soprattuttu, veramente, è cetera.
  • not, maybe, mostly, really, etc.

Here are some relevant examples: “il était surtout trop blanc” (he was mostly too white, era sopratuttu troppu biancu); “il était vraiment très beau” (he was really very beautiful, era propriu bellissimu); “il était bien trop grand” (he was far too tall ; era bellu troppu maiore).

Let’s call this category modulators of adjective modulators. The fact of being placed before the adjective modulator is related to the fact that the modulator modifies the meaning of the adjectivemodulator.

Hence, if we reason in terms of two-sided grammar, an adjective modulator preceded by a modulator remains an adjective modulator: MOD-MODAQ = MODAQ.

To sum up. So far we have distinguished several categories among the classical class of adverbs:

  • modulators of adjectives
  • modulators preceding verbs: verb pre-modulators
  • modulators following verbs: verb post-modulators
  • modulators preceding cardinal determinants
  • modulators preceding adjective modulators

More on two-sided grammar

Let us expand the idea of two-sided (from the analytic/synthetic duality standpoint) grammatical analysis: consider, for example, ‘beaucoup et souvent’ (a lot and often) in the sentence ‘il mange beaucoup et souvent’ (he eats a lot and often). Analytically, ‘beaucoup et souvent’ is composed of and adverb (‘beaucoup’, a conjunction (‘et’) and another adverb (‘souvent’). But synthetically, ‘beaucoup et souvent’ is an adverb, the structure of which is ADVERB+CONJUNCTIONCORD+ADVERB, according to the meta-rule ADVERB = ADVERB+CONJUNCTIONCORD+ADVERB . In the same way, ‘beaucoup mais souvent’ (a lot but often) is also, from a synthetic point of view, an adverb. Analogously, ‘rarement ou souvent’ (rarely or often) is also an adverb, from a synthetic viewpoint. In the same way, ‘rarement voire jamais’ is also a synthetic adverb. This leads to considering ‘even’ as a conjunction of coordination.

Now it is patent that we can expand on that. As hinted at earlier, it seems some progress in rule-based machine translation (we should better speak of, say, ‘human-like MT, since it mimics human reasoning) requires revolutionizing grammar.