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Locative Adverbial Phrases

Locative adverbial phrases are multi-word adverbial modifiers whose meanings relate to spatial location. Locatives consist of a locative adverb (such as ahead or downstream) preceded by an NP, an adverb, or nothing, as in Examples ((381))-((383)) respectively. The modifier as a whole describes a position relative to one previously specified in the discourse. The nature of the relation, which is usually a direction, is specified by the anchoring locative adverb(behind, east). If an NP or a second adverb is present in the phrase, it specifies the degree of the relation (for example: three city blocks, many meters, and far).
The accident three blocks ahead stopped traffic  (381)0(381
The ship sank far offshore  (382)0(382
The trouble ahead distresses me 

Locatives can modify NPs, VPs and Ss. They modify NPs only by right-adjoining post-positively, as in Example ((381)). Post-positive is also the more common position when a locative modifies either of the other categories. Locatives pre-modify VPs only when separated by balanced punctuation (commas or dashes). The trees locatives select when modifying NPs are shown in Figure 20.16.

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{Locative Modifier Trees: $\beta$nxnxARB, $\beta$nxARB


When the locative phrase consists of only the anchoring locative adverb, as in Example ((382)), it uses the nxARB tree, shown in Figure 20.16, and its VP analogue, vxARB. In addition, these are the trees selected when the locative anchor is modified by an adverb expressing degree, as in Example (382). The degree adverb adjoins on to the anchor using the ARBarb tree, which is described in Section 20.5. Figure 20.17 shows an example of these trees in action.

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{Locative Phrases featuring NP and Adverb Degree Specifications


One possible analysis of locative phrases with NPs might maintain that the NP is the head, with the locative adverb modifying the NP. This is initially attractive because of the similarity to time NPs, which also feature NPs that can modify clauses. This analysis seems insufficient, however, in light of the fact that virtually any NP can occur in locative phrases, as in example ((384)). Therefore, in the XTAG analysis the locative adverb anchors the locative phrase trees. A complete summary of all trees selected by locatives is contained in Table 20.3. 2620.9 adverbs select the locative trees.

I left my toupee and putter three holes back 

  Degree Phrase Type
Category Modified NP Ad/None
NP nxnxARB nxARB
VP (post) vxnxARB vxARB
VP (pre, punct-separated) punxARBpuvx puARBpuvx
{Locative Modifiers


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Next: Auxiliaries Up: Modifiers Previous: Adverbs
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