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PHRASE STRUCTURE (PS) GRAMMAR

There are three distinct periods of development in the theory of constituent structure. 1. Bloomfield only introduced the notion and explained it by means of examples. 2. His followers, notably, Eugene ida, !ulon "ells, #ells Harris, formulated the principles of constituent analysis in greater detail. $. %inally, the theory of constituent structure has been formali&ed and sub'ected to mathematical rigor by (homs)y and the other scholars and has been called *Phrase Structure Grammar’. +nce we start to use *labels, we have clearly departed from simple analysis and are underta)ing analysis somewhat similar to traditional phrasing, the division of sentences into already established grammatical elements. This )ind of analysis is called *phrase structure grammar,. -hrase .tructure !ules or /rammar considers sentence as linear se0uence of elements. The aim is to identify these elements for their functions and class them appropriately. This is, therefore, better viewed as an alternative system to the 1( analysis.

IC Analysis in Phrase Structure Grammar
The .entence (The boys played with the girls) may be divided into two constituents2 The boys and played with the girls. The first constituent may be categori&ed as - 3 oun -hrase4 and the second as 5- 35erb -hrase4. This structure may be shown by a tree diagram. A phrase structure tree diagram will have all the nodes labelled. The above sentence may be analy&ed as under. The boys played with the girls.

6 tree such as this represents an analysis of the sentence and may be described variously as an analysis tree, a phrase marker, or a parse tree, or is called simply an analysis or parse for the sentence. ow we shall ta)e a long sentence. %or example

A tall man with a gun followed the boy in a white uniform. . . 5-

7et

6d'

oun

-rep 6rt

5erb

-ast

6rt

-rep

6rt

6d'

A tall man

with a gun

ollow !ed the boy

in

a

white uni orm

8et us consider another sentence2 Old Sam sunbathed beside a stream 6ccording to the -. model, the constituents of this sentence can be shown in the following manner.

1. .
2. $. 5;. 5<. -=. -

- 9 5:od 36d'4 9 :5 9 -5erb -rep. 9 6rt. 9 -

3+ld .am 9 sunbathed beside a stream4

3 +ld 9 .am4 3sunbathed 9 beside a stream4 3sunbathed4 3beside 9 a stream4 3a 9 stream4

This can be shown in a tree>diagram . 5-:od 6d'. "ld Sam 5 sunbathed -rep. beside 6rt. a stream -

6 sentence thus consists of an - 3 oun -hrase4 and a 5- 35erb -hrase4 or the -redicate -hrase. The 5erb -hrase may include a verbal group and one or more oun -hrase3s4, 6d'ective -hrase3s4 or 6dverbial or -repositional -hrases. (homs)y presented three models of grammar in his revolutioni&ing boo) ‘Syntactic Structures’2 #inite State Grammar, Phrase Structure Grammar, and $rans ormational Grammar. The first, the %inite .tate /rammar is the most basic and elementary and is full of inade0uacies. The -hrase .tructure /rammar ta)es us a long way in removing these shortcomings. The Transformational model is an extension of the -./ with addition of more complex type of rules.

Phrase Structure %ules
-hrase>structure rules are a way to describe a given language,s syntax. They are used to brea) a natural language sentence down into its constituent parts 3also )nown as syntactic categories4 namely phrasal categories and lexical categories 3or traditionally parts of speech4. -hrasal categories include the oun -hrase, 5erb -hrase, and -repositional -hrase? 8exical categories include oun, 5erb, 6d'ective, 6dverb, and many others. 6 grammar which uses phrase structure rules is called a phrase structure grammar. -hrase structure rules are usually of the form A that the constituent A is separated into two sub constituents examples are2 1. . 2. $. 55- followed by a 5-. This means, 5!. meaning and !. .ome

7et.

The first rule reads2 6n . consists of an

&A sentence consists o a noun phrase '(P) ollowed by a verb phrase '*P).’ The next one2 &A noun phrase consists o a determiner '+et.) ollowed by a noun.’

.ome further categories are listed here2 6- 3ad'ective phrase4, 6dv3adverb phrase4, -- 3prepositional phrase4, etc. 6pplying the phrase structure rules in a neutral manner, it is possible to generate many proper sentences of English. But it is also 0uite possible that the rules generate syntactically correct but semantically nonsensical sentences. The following example sentence is notorious in this regard, since it is complete nonsense, even though it is syntactically correct2 !olorless green ideas sleep furiously This sentence was constructed by oam (homs)y as an illustration that phrase structure rules are capable of generating syntactically correct but semantically incorrect sentences. -hrase structure rules brea) sentences down into their constituent parts. These constituents are often represented as tree structures. The tree for (homs)y@s famous sentence can be rendered as follows2

.

6 6 5 56dv.

Colorless

green

ideas

sleep

uriously.

A constituent is any word or combination o words that is dominated by a single node. Thus each individual word is a constituent. %urther, the

sub'ect - !olorless green ideas, the minor - green ideas, and the 5- sleep furiously are constituents. -hrase structure rules and the tree structures that are associated with them are a form of immediate constituent analysis.

-hrase structure grammar is itself hemmed in with limitations. 1t is efficient in explaining *intra>sentence constituent elements,, but cannot show *inter>sentence relations, such as declarative>interrogative, active>passive, and so on. 1t runs into difficulties when see)ing to account for ambiguous sentences, ambiguity being more than a matter of immediate constituency as we can see in this ambiguous sentence. "lying planes can be dangerous. .imilarly, -. rules cannot explain such discontinuous sentences as, #e called me up$ when the ob'ect is a pronoun and the discontinuous construction is obligatory.
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