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R A Brown, On 29/04/2010 11:44:
> And Rosta wrote:
>> There are two main things to account for: (1) the
>> discontinuities/nonprojectivities (between adjective and noun), (2)
>> the order of constituents of the clause.
> 
> OK.
> 
>> For (1), there are essentially two types of analysis. (A) Movement,
>> so that the adjective or the noun is syntactically in two places at
>> once (i.e. in the 'NP' and in the 'S'). (B) Discontinuity, which
>> allows the concatenation of words' or phrases' phonological forms
>> to fail to follow syntactic structure (so the adj and noun wd form
>> a 'NP' together, yet their forms would not be contiguous).
>>
>> Like 99.9% (but not 100%) of syntacticians, I find it hard to
>> envisage a workable, constrained, intelligible version of (B).
> 
> It seems to me that in languages where there is no morphological marking 
> of 'agreement' between adjective and noun, then sure the adjective & 
> noun must stand next to one another (whether the adjective precedes or 
> follows the noun) with only the possibility of particles of adverbs 
> separating the two; but in languages where there is morphological 
> marking of agreement, this marking serves to bind the elements of the 
> NP, not position. Therefore, the syntactic analysis should, as I see it 
> (I'm not a synctactician), deal rather with the bonding of NP (or 
> whatever) and leave the surface representation to the nature of the 
> language: in English, Chinese etc the bonding must effected almost 
> entirely by position; in Latin position is less important and morphology 
> is more important.

I agree that in any syntactic analysis there must be a direct syntactic relationship between adj and noun, since the interpretation of the sentence is such that the adj is predicated of the noun. You also offer a convincing ergonomic reason for why some languages (such as Latin) permit the forms of the adj and noun to be nonadjacent. But that still leaves the question of what the grammatical analysis of the Latin sentence is, and that's the question to which my (A) and (B) are the two types of answer.

--And.