Talk:Sentence diagram

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Contrary to what it says in the first paragraph, sentence diagrams were never widely used professionally by academic linguists, but were always predominantly pedagogical in purpose. AnonMoos 00:53, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

objects and complements[edit]

It seems odd that prepositions are described as having complements, while predicate nouns and adjectives are called objects. If the terms are to be used interchangeably, wouldn't it be better to use one or the other throughout? Using different terms with the reverse of the usual distinction seems awfully confusing. Not R (talk) 18:42, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

What's the purpose?[edit]

The article doesn't say, and no one ever knows what it's really for, so what's the deal? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:52, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Maybe this is a later edit, but the purpose of sentence diagramming is stated in the introductory paragraph, and then expanded upon in the History section. rowley (talk) 16:04, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Natural and constructed languages[edit]

Currently, the introduction includes this sentence:

"In pedagogy, a sentence diagram is a pictorial representation of the grammatical structure of a natural-language sentence."

It seems strange to include the phrase "natural-language", given that sentence diagrams can also be used for constructed languages. Perhaps the phrase is not needed. Ordinary Person (talk) 08:55, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

to a certain degree, pedagogy and constructed languages are often exclusive: constructed languages are usually self-taught or researched independently (perhaps Esperanto is an exception?) Examples or quotations about sentence diagramming outside of natural-language teaching should be included. Actually I'd like to see reference or examples of sentence diagramming in ANY other language than English. Is there something about English that makes it especially suitable for diagramming? Cuvtixo (talk) 22:20, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps the "market" for English language sentence diagrams is greater than that for other languages. :-) Ordinary Person (talk) 03:08, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

R-K ref[edit]

The R-K citation seems unclear (which of the two works?), and the second R-K ref is incomplete: 'hundre' ?? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Kdammers (talkcontribs) 07:50, 11 December 2006 (UTC).

The Buffalo buffalo etc. image example[edit]

The picture diagram used at the top of this article (Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo) is a complex and tricky example of a sentence, and therefore serves as a poor way to begin an article that is trying to explain the concept of sentence diagrams. When I first arrived at this page I immediately assumed it was vandalism. Can this please be replaced with a more straightforward sentence example? Genedecanter 18:57, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree. I put it there because at the time there were no non-trivial example diagrams. Someone needs to make one. —Ben FrantzDale 18:58, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Diagrams a Must[edit]

Diagrams for each component would really help here. I'm off to search google because, despite being well-written, without diagrams this page doesn't help one understand the subject at all.

Perhaps an animation would be nice too, showing the process by which one would diagram a sentenceRSido 17:11, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Hollow, hollow, hollow.[edit]

There seems to be a section missing. Shouldn't "Other Structures" be preceded by a section covering more basic structures such as verbs and subjects? At least one of the internal cross-references seems to dangle over this hole.


I have a sentence that you can put into a diagram that is correct. I can explain it as well, but I need to know how to do such a thing.... Thank you and please answere as soon as you can.... Please answere me on my talk or I may not get it, thank you..... In the morning we walked to the rim of the volcano. Rianon Burnet 16:02, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

regarding more pictures[edit]

This page, as suggested before, needs examples of each individual type of diagram. Anyone else agree? Anyone willing to do it?

(I made a new section so that people wouldn't be looking for where the discussion for the tag is, instead of placing it in the previous suggestion) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Flashpoint (talkcontribs) 20:18, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

What's the purpose (again)?[edit]

The editor who asked this in January made a good point: what is the purpose? We're given a short history and some examples, but no explanation of why diagramming is popular. It's not self-evident! Incidentally, I don't remember ever diagramming a sentence at school (1980s and early 1990s). Is this less popular in the UK (where I live) than elsewhere? (talk) 20:49, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Sentence diagramming was taught in grade school (grammar school) and high school in the 1950s and 60s when I was a kid. I think it's fallen out of favor since then... which is a shame.
Again, maybe this is due to a later edit, but the purpose is mentioned in the intro paragraph, and then explained further in the History section, specifically in the Reed-Kellogg quote. rowley (talk) 16:09, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

S, D, N, V, NP, VP?[edit]

The Constituency and Dependency section suddenly starts using the labels D, N, V, NP, and VP, without explaining what they refer to. Some are obvious enough, but there's no clue in the accompanying text about D, NP, or VP. rowley (talk) 16:13, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Incorrect definition of constituency[edit]

"Constituency is a one-to-one-or-more relation; every word in the sentence corresponds to one or more nodes in the tree diagram." The last part doesn't make sense - a word corresponds to one node and one node only (a word cannot be parsed into more than one label). Or if "corresponding" here is also referring to all the ancestor nodes, then I don't see how this property doesn't also hold true for a dependency tree. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:51, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

A word can easily be parsed into more than one label. Take a look at the standard X-bar schema, which is of course constituency-based. Every head word corresponds to at least three nodes (X, X', XP). In other words, every head word projects upward three levels. Count the number of nodes in most any constituency-based tree, you will find that there are many more nodes than elements in the sentence (words). Now do the same for a dependency tree. If the dependency tree is a purely dependency-based, the number of nodes should match exactly the number of elements (words). --Tjo3ya (talk) 01:14, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
yes, I see now here "corresponds" means any ancestor node and how that doesn't apply to a dependency parse. The last 2 sentences and this other explanation from the constituency page seem to explain it better than this page did.

"For each element in a sentence, there are one or more nodes in the tree structure that one assumes for that sentence. A two word sentence such as Luke laughed necessarily implies three (or more) nodes in the syntactic structure: one for the noun Luke (subject NP), one for the verb laughed (predicate VP), and one for the entirety Luke laughed (sentence S). The constituency grammars listed above all view sentence structure in terms of this one-to-one-or-more correspondence." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:33, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

Gendered examples[edit]

Please reconsider the stereotypical ways in which gender is represented in the diagrammed examples. "Boys like rockets" and "Girls like good news" reifies both boys and girls and subtly reinforces moribund social structures. Perhaps it would be best to move away from gendered language altogether with examples like "Elephants eat grasses" or "Trains run on tracks."

I would gladly take on the task if I had the ability to alter the diagrams. But I would happily work with someone who does have that skill to fix the problem.

The gender imbalance of Wikipedia is one of its most basic and troublesome problems, apparent not only in the ratio of women's and men's biographies but in the examples we use to illustrate concepts that, in themselves, are not gendered. Please let me know how I can help. KC 16:34, 19 February 2016 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Boydstra (talkcontribs)

Outside US[edit]

Outside the US, Reed-Kellogg is hardly known at all, but many other systems are used: Karl Ferdinand Becker (German), Willem Gerard Brill (Dutch) etc. --Babelfisch (talk) 12:29, 28 September 2016 (UTC)