Aix’s Macrosyntax

A maximal macrosyntactic unit is an utterance constituted at least of a nucleus. The nucleus may occur with peripheral elements (prenuclei, postnuclei) or with inserted elements (innuclei), i.e. adnuclei. Nuclei, prenuclei, postnuclei and innuclei are minimal macrosyntactic units.

A nucleus is the fundamental part of a maximal macrosyntactic unit. A maximal macrosyntactic unit (MU) contains at least a nucleus. A nucleus corresponds to a potentially isolated, autonomous utterance, which is characterised by an illocutionary force on its own (from a pragmatic perspective, a nucleus can be considered as a minimal illocutionary unit). A nucleus can namely be negated, whereas adnuclei cannot:

Ex: j’ai mon frère il est malade
Negation test: *
je n’ai pas mon frère il est malade vs j’ai mon frère il n’est pas malade

The nucleus is therefore il est malade (and j’ai mon frère is a prenucleus).

A maximal macrosyntactic unit can consist of a grouping, i.e. a nucleus accompanied by one or several adnuclei. Beyond macrosyntax, it is worth noting in the commentary tier certain configurations, i.e. series of nuclei that are characterised by similar syntactic constructions and/or lexicon in the same semantic field. Configurations of this kind have to figure in the commentary tier.

Nuclei may have different realisations. They may be organised around pivots of different categories (Verbal nuclei, Nominal nuclei, Pronominal nuclei, Adjectival nuclei, Adverbial nuclei, Sentence nuclei, « little word » in oral french, Vocalisations as nuclei)

Annotation Tagset :

TAG English label French label

MU – Macrosyntactic Units

MU Maximal Macrosyntactic Unit Unité macrosyntaxique maximale
MU_dis Discontinuous MU UM discontinue
MU_par Parenthetical MU UM parenthétique
MU_col Collaborative MU UM collaborative
MU_ab Abandoned MU UM abandonnée

A-AdN – Components (ab & dis as extra information)

N / N_dis Nucleus / Discontinuous N Noyau / N discontinu
PreN / PreN_ab Prenucleus / Abandoned PreN Prénoyau / PréN abandonné
PostN / PostN_ab Postnucleus / Abandoned PostN Postnoyau / PostN abandonné
InN / InN_ab Innucleus / Abandoned InN Innoyau / InN abandonné

Graft – Graft Phenomena

DS Direct Speech Discours direct
Graft Other cases of grafts Autres cas de greffes

Comment – Segmentation Comments

Series of MU Series of MU

Série d’unités macrosyntaxiques

Segmentation problem Segmentation problem (to be defined)

Problème de segmentation (à définir)

For aexample An abandoned macrosyntactic unit is an unfinished construction from a syntactic point of view.

Here, Elise produces a first utterance “well anyway from the moment er” (ben de toute façon à partir du moment où euh), which is unfinished. This first utterance is made up of one prenucleus and an abandoned nucleus (as à partir du moment où is considered as governed: see below) where the governing element is nonetheless absent. After a long pause, the subsequent unit consists only of a nucleus (c’est rigolo, “it’s funny”).


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