Authors: Jiayu Wang and Yi Zhang
Abstract: This study aims at figuring out the types and features of the recursion in Verb Phrase (VP) through adopting Phrase Structure Rules (PS rules) that are used to generate the deep structure——tree structure in transformational grammar. The types and features of recursions can be revealed explicitly in PS rules. The VPs are cited from Oxford English Dictionary, and the classification of VP is summed up, based upon Lyda E.LaPalombara (1978)’s research on verb types. The paper makes use of Qian (2001)’s definition of recursion, in which it consists of reiteration and embedding. The results show that two types of recursion both appear in VP, but their existent forms are single reiteration and the mix of reiteration and embedding. No single embedding is found in VP. Furthermore, VP itself is not able to produce recursions, all of which are produced by its three subordinate components Prepositional Phrase (PP), Noun Phrase (NP) and Adjectives. Theoretically, they can be recursive for n times, but when the structures are VP→Vt+NPdo +NPoc and VP→Vt+NP io +NPdo, the recursion of NP appears n (n≥2) times, and when the structure is VP→Vt+NP+PPn, if PP is recursive for n times, N is recursive for n+1 times. Ultimately, this study proves that basic recursions do exist in and start from the deep structure of English.
Keywords: -Recursion; Phrase Structure Rules; Verb Phrase