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This page pertains to UD version 2.

Clauses with Predication or Presentation of Location

Locational clauses are one of the types of nonprototypical clauses. Some of the strategies they use are similar to object and property predication.

In locative predication, an entity (typically, but not necessarily, denoted by a definite nominal) is predicated to be at a particular location (typically denoted by a cased nominal or an adverb). Example: The food is in the fridge. (Presumably the food has already been introduced to the discourse and now its location is specified.)

The strategies used by locative predication may also overlap with presentational location, which is a separate construction (and in some languages it will use strategies that differ significantly from predication). Example: There is food in the fridge. (Both the food and its location are new concepts in the discourse.)

The exact UD analysis of the construction depends on the strategy used by the language to express it. In some cases, the phrase denoting the location will be treated as the main predicate and the entity that is at that location will be attached as the subject. In other cases though, the phrase denoting the location will be just a modifier of another predicate.

Zero Strategy

In some languages, the subject and the locative predicate are simply juxtaposed. “Zero” refers to the absence of any verbal inflection and any linking morpheme between the subject and the predicate.

Russian [ru] uses the zero strategy in present indicative:

Иван/PROPN в/ADP Москве/PROPN ./PUNCT \n Ivan v Moskve . \n Ivan in Moscow .
nsubj(Москве, Иван)
nsubj(Moskve, Ivan-6)
nsubj(Moscow, Ivan-11)
case(Москве, в)
case(Moskve, v)
case(Moscow, in)
punct(Москве, .-4)
punct(Moskve, .-9)
punct(Moscow, .-14)

Arabic [ar]: Here the construction is rather presentational because the subject nominal is indefinite.

وَفدٌ/NOUN مِن/ADP اَلوَكَالَةِ/NOUN فِي/ADP إِيرَانَ/PROPN ./PUNCT \n wafdun min al-wakālati fī ʾīrāna . \n A.delegation from the-agency in Iran .
nmod(وَفدٌ, اَلوَكَالَةِ)
nmod(wafdun, al-wakālati)
nmod(A.delegation, the-agency)
case(اَلوَكَالَةِ, مِن)
case(al-wakālati, min)
case(the-agency, from)
nsubj(إِيرَانَ, وَفدٌ)
nsubj(ʾīrāna, wafdun)
nsubj(Iran, A.delegation)
case(إِيرَانَ, فِي)
case(ʾīrāna, fī)
case(Iran, in)
punct(إِيرَانَ, .-6)
punct(ʾīrāna, .-13)
punct(Iran, .-20)

Verbal Copula Strategy

Many languages use a verbal copula to link the subject with the predicated location and to add verbal features (e.g., Tense) where needed. In UD we treat such copulas as auxiliaries (AUX) and attach them to the locative predicate as cop.

Russian [ru] uses the zero strategy in the present indicative, but it uses a verbal copula in other tenses and moods:

Иван/PROPN был/AUX в/ADP Москве/PROPN ./PUNCT \n Ivan byl v Moskve . \n Ivan was in Moscow .
nsubj(Москве, Иван)
nsubj(Moskve, Ivan-7)
nsubj(Moscow, Ivan-13)
cop(Москве, был)
cop(Moskve, byl)
cop(Moscow, was)
case(Москве, в)
case(Moskve, v)
case(Moscow, in)
punct(Москве, .-5)
punct(Moskve, .-11)
punct(Moscow, .-17)

English [en]

nsubj(Moscow, Ivan)
cop(Moscow, is)
case(Moscow, in)
punct(Moscow, .)

This way the zero strategy and the verbal copula strategy receive parallel annotations both within a language (e.g., Russian) and between languages (Russian vs. English). However, the copula analysis is quite different from constructions with non-copular verbs. Here, the location is attached to the verb as obl or advmod:

Ivan/PROPN dances/VERB in/ADP Moscow/PROPN ./PUNCT
nsubj(dances, Ivan)
obl(dances, Moscow)
case(Moscow, in)
punct(dances, .)

Multiple Copular Verbs?

By default the guidelines assume that at most one lemma can serve as copula in a language; but there are exceptions.

Since the analysis of locative predicate with copula is so different from locative modifier of a non-copular verb, the dividing line between these two constructions is important. UD draws the line as soon as possible, i.e., between the most neutral verb (“to be”) that only adds verbal features to the predication but no extra shade of meaning, and all other verbs.

For example, posture verbs (“to stand, sit, lie, hang” etc.) are often used in clauses where the location is more important than the posture, but they are not analyzed as copulas if the language also allows using the more neutral “to be”.

Dutch [nl] is one of the languages where posture verbs are the more typical strategy for simple locative predication, although the verbal copula zijn “be” is possible, but less idiomatic, alternative in some cases (van Oosten 1986:138,139; Croft 2022:304). We do not distinguish cases where the posture verb predicates the posture from cases where it simply supports a locative predicate. We analyze the posture verb as the head of the clause in all contexts.

Het/DET boek/NOUN ligt/VERB op/ADP de/DET tafel/NOUN ./PUNCT \n The book lies on the table .
det(boek, Het)
det(book, The)
nsubj(ligt, boek)
nsubj(lies, book)
obl(ligt, tafel)
obl(lies, table)
case(tafel, op)
case(table, on)
det(tafel, de)
det(table, the)
punct(ligt, .-7)
punct(lies, .-15)

On the other hand, it is possible that one of the posture verbs grammaticalizes as the neutral copula. This is the case of Amele [aey] (Roberts 1987:186,65; Stassen 1997:149), where the verb whose original meaning is “to sit” became a copula that is used not only with locative predicates but also for property predication. Example: Uqa jo na bilia. “He is in the house.” (Compare with Uqa me bilia. “He is well.”)

Uqa/PRON jo/NOUN na/ADP bilia/AUX ./PUNCT \n He house in sits .
nsubj(jo, Uqa)
nsubj(house, He)
case(jo, na)
case(house, in)
cop(jo, bilia)
cop(house, sits)
punct(jo, .-5)
punct(house, .-11)

The circumstances to consider when deciding whether a verb is a copula include:

Finally, there are situations where a language should exceptionally be allowed more than one verbal copula. Typically there is some kind of deficient paradigm where one stem has only past tense forms and the other only present tense; or one has affirmative and the other negative forms; or one is in default imperfective aspect while the other is iterative. Depending on the language-specific lemmatization rules, the forms may or may not be grouped under one lemma. If each of them has its own lemma, both/all such lemmas can be registered as copulas.

For example the Czech [cs] lemmas být, bývat, bývávat are all variants of “to be”, the longer forms being iterative or habitual alternatives. The morphological proces from the shorter to the longer forms is considered derivation, therefore each has its own lemma but all three are treated as copulas. All three are also used in property predication and object predication.

V/ADP pondělí/NOUN bývám/AUX v/ADP kanceláři/NOUN ./PUNCT \n On Monday I.(usually).am in office .
case(pondělí, V)
case(Monday, On)
obl(kanceláři, pondělí)
obl(office, Monday)
cop(kanceláři, bývám)
cop(office, I.(usually).am)
case(kanceláři, v)
case(office, in)
punct(kanceláři, .-6)
punct(office, .-13)

On the other hand, Czech also has the verb nacházet se “to be found”, which is still fairly neutral with respect to locative predication. But it is not the canonical “be”-copula (it is derived from nacházet “to find”) and it is treated as normal verb:

Třeboň/PROPN se/PRON nachází/VERB v/ADP jižních/ADJ Čechách/PROPN ./PUNCT \n Třeboň REFL is.located in southern Bohemia .
nsubj(nachází, Třeboň-1)
nsubj(is.located, Třeboň-9)
expl:pv(nachází, se)
expl:pv(is.located, REFL)
obl(nachází, Čechách)
obl(is.located, Bohemia)
case(Čechách, v)
case(Bohemia, in)
amod(Čechách, jižních)
amod(Bohemia, southern)
punct(nachází, .-7)
punct(is.located, .-15)

Verbal Strategy

Finally, some languages will treat the locative predicate as a verb rather than a noun, and apply verbal inflection to it. As a consequence, the predicate will be analyzed in UD as a VERB and the construction will be unrecognizable from normal predication of action concepts. (Note that the MISC column can optionally carry information about the verb being derived from a noun, but this is neither required nor regulated by the UD guidelines.)

Kalispel [fla] “I am here” (Vogt 1940:69; Stassen 1997:143; Croft 2022:305):

Čin-es-əlʹéi/VERB ./PUNCT \n 1SG-CONT-here .
punct(Čin-es-əlʹéi, .-2)
punct(1SG-CONT-here, .-5)

Language-specific word segmentation may play a role in distinguishing the verbal strategy from verbal copulas. In Turkish [tr], the surface representation looks either like the zero strategy (in present tense) or like the verbal strategy (when past-tense suffix -DI is attached to the locative predicate). But as of UD v2, the suffix is analyzed as a form of encliticized copula i and is treated as a separate syntactic word. Consequently, the sentence is analyzed as using the verbal copula strategy.

Murat/PROPN banyoda/NOUN =ydı/AUX ./PUNCT \n Murat bathroom-in was .
nsubj(banyoda, Murat-1)
nsubj(bathroom-in, Murat-6)
cop(banyoda, =ydı)
cop(bathroom-in, was)
punct(banyoda, .-4)
punct(bathroom-in, .-9)

Presentational or Existential Constructions

In some languages, predication of location is very similar to presentational constructions where a new entity is introduced to the discourse together with its location. The presentational constructions, in turn, overlap with existential ones (where the mere existence of an entity is asserted). The entity being introduced may be accompanied by its location, by some other bit of information, or by nothing at all.

Czech [cs] can distinguish predicational and presentational location by word order in otherwise identical clauses. Word order is a standard means for pragmatic distinctions of known vs. new information in Czech (while from the syntactic perspective the word order is quite free).

Since the same verb is used in all these examples and there are no significant syntactic differences, we do not distinguish them by different tags. The verb být “be” is always tagged AUX. However, in the third and fourth example it must be promoted to the head position because there is no location that could serve as the main predicate (it is the same analysis that would be used if a locational predicate was elided: “Are they in the fridge? Yes, they are.”)

Mandarinky/NOUN jsou/AUX v/ADP ledničce/NOUN ./PUNCT \n Tangerines are in fridge .
nsubj(ledničce, Mandarinky)
nsubj(fridge, Tangerines)
cop(ledničce, jsou)
cop(fridge, are)
case(ledničce, v)
case(fridge, in)
punct(ledničce, .-5)
punct(fridge, .-11)
V/ADP ledničce/NOUN jsou/AUX mandarinky/NOUN ./PUNCT \n In fridge are tangerines .
nsubj(ledničce, mandarinky)
nsubj(fridge, tangerines)
cop(ledničce, jsou)
cop(fridge, are)
case(ledničce, V)
case(fridge, In)
punct(ledničce, .-5)
punct(fridge, .-11)
Jsou/AUX mandarinky/NOUN ,/PUNCT které/DET nemají/VERB jadérka/NOUN ./PUNCT \n Are tangerines , that do.not.have seeds .
nsubj(Jsou, mandarinky)
nsubj(Are, tangerines)
acl:relcl(mandarinky, nemají)
acl:relcl(tangerines, do.not.have)
punct(nemají, ,-3)
punct(do.not.have, ,-11)
nsubj(nemají, které)
nsubj(do.not.have, that)
obj(nemají, jadérka)
obj(do.not.have, seeds)
punct(Jsou, .-7)
punct(Are, .-15)
Mandarinky/NOUN už/ADV nejsou/AUX ./PUNCT \n Tangerines already are.not .
nsubj(nejsou, Mandarinky)
nsubj(are.not, Tangerines)
advmod(nejsou, už)
advmod(are.not, already)
punct(nejsou, .-4)
punct(are.not, .-9)

In contrast, English has different analyses for predicational and presentational location on the ground that the latter has specific syntax (despite still using the verb to be — which is tagged VERB in presentational constructions).

There/PRON are/VERB tangerines/NOUN in/ADP the/DET fridge/NOUN ./PUNCT
expl(are, There)
nsubj(are, tangerines)
obl(are, fridge)
case(fridge, in)
det(fridge, the)
punct(are, .)

Welsh [cy] does not even change the word order to distinguish presentation from predication. The only signal that the first of the following two examples is predicational is the definite article of the subject (Feuillet 1998:691; Creissels 2019:51; Croft 2022:318):

Mae/AUX 'r/DET car/NOUN yma/ADV ./PUNCT \n Is the car here .
cop(yma, Mae)
cop(here, Is)
det(car-3, 'r)
det(car-9, the)
nsubj(yma, car-3)
nsubj(here, car-9)
punct(yma, .-5)
punct(here, .-11)
Mae/AUX car/NOUN yma/ADV ./PUNCT \n Is car here .
cop(yma, Mae)
cop(here, Is)
nsubj(yma, car-2)
nsubj(here, car-7)
punct(yma, .-4)
punct(here, .-9)

In other languages, presentational constructions use strategies that have nothing in common with copular predication (they use a verb or other predicator that cannot function as a copula in the language). Consequently, their UD analysis is different, too. German [de] and Spanish [es] are such languages. We show just two examples here; for more details, see presentational clauses.

German [de]: Es gibt Unterschiede. “There are differences.”

Es/PRON gibt/VERB Unterschiede/NOUN ./PUNCT \n It gives differences .
expl(gibt, Es)
expl(gives, It)
obj(gibt, Unterschiede)
obj(gives, differences)
punct(gibt, .-4)
punct(gives, .-9)

Spanish [es]: Hay diferencias. “There are differences.”

Hay/VERB diferencias/NOUN ./PUNCT \n Has differences .
obj(Hay, diferencias)
obj(Has, differences)
punct(Hay, .-3)
punct(Has, .-7)

Multiple Adverbial Predicates/Modifiers?

Besides location, temporal and other circumstances may be predicated in a similar fashion. Compare English [en]:

The/DET event/NOUN is/AUX here/ADV ./PUNCT
det(event, The)
nsubj(here, event)
cop(here, is)
punct(here, .)
The/DET event/NOUN is/AUX today/ADV ./PUNCT
det(event, The)
nsubj(today, event)
cop(today, is)
punct(today, .)

If multiple circumstances are predicated at the same time, one of them has to be selected as the main predicate and the others will be analyzed as its adverbial / oblique modifiers. Typically, location gets precedence over time:

The/DET concert/NOUN will/AUX be/AUX here/ADV on/ADP Sunday/PROPN ./PUNCT
det(concert, The)
nsubj(here, concert)
aux(here, will)
cop(here, be)
obl(here, Sunday)
case(Sunday, on)
punct(here, .)

Another possible strategy is that the two predications are coordinated. The UD analysis will then follow the guidelines for coordination:

The/DET event/NOUN is/AUX here/ADV and/CCONJ now/ADV ./PUNCT
det(event, The)
nsubj(here, event)
cop(here, is)
conj(here, now)
cc(now, and)
punct(here, .)