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SYNTAX

Syntax is almost the same as morphology. They are talking about the hierarchy. The
different: syntax is talking about the hierarchy of sentences while morphology is of words.
Syntax is the study of the structure of sentences.
CATEGORIES AND STRUCTURE
 Words can be grouped together into a relatively small number of classes (syntactic
categories)  constituents of sentences. The relationships between constituents in a
sentence form the constituent structure of the sentence.
o E.g. Many persons eat at a fancy restaurant.
 There are three constituents: many persons, eat, at a fancy restaurant.
 Syntactic categories
Lexical categories Examples
Noun (N) Harry, boy, police, wheat
Verb (V) arrive, discuss, melt, hear, remain
Adjective (A) good, tall, silent, old, expensive
Preposition (P) to, in, near, on, by, at
Adverb (Adv) silently, slowly, quietly, quickly, now
Non-lexical categories Examples
Determiner (Det) the, a, this, these
Auxiliary (Aux) will, can, may, must, be, have
Conjunction (Con) and, or, but
Degree word (Deg) too, so, very, almost, more, quite

 Word-level categories and meaning
o Nouns : typically name entities, e.g. individuals and objects
o Verbs: designate actions (run, jump), sensations (feel, hurt), and states (be,
remain)
o Adjective: designate a property or attribute that is applicable to the types of
entities denoted by nouns
o Adverb: denote properties and attributes that can be applied to the actions
designated by verbs
 Phrase Categories
o Phrase
 syntactic units built around Ns, Vs, As, and Ps with an emphasis on
the organizational properties that they have in common

Intro to Linguistics – Handout 6 Page 1

have. auxiliaries. o E. be Deg specifier of a and p very. and so on).  Consisting of two levels phrase level NP VP AP PP word level N V A P  The word around which the phrase is built (the lowest level)  the head of the phrase (an N in an NP phrase. those Aux specifier of v will.g. this.) Category Function Examples Det specifier of n the. semantically. [NP the books] [VP will eat] [AP quite certain] [PP almost in]  Specifiers: words which. quite. can. more. degree words. help to make more precise the meaning of the head (determiners. almost Intro to Linguistics – Handout 6 Page 2 . a V in a VP phrase. etc. a.

complements are attached to the right of the head. and so on.  Adjective phrase (AdjP)/ (AP)  Adverbial phrase (AdvP) Intro to Linguistics – Handout 6 Page 3 . the meaning of in implies a location. o E. [NP the books about the war] b. [VP may eat the hamburger] a. the meaning of eat implies an object that is eaten. or share the same functions and distributions  verb phrase (VP) (can consist of a single V or a V plus other words (V+ADV) (V+NP+PP))  phrasal verb can be used as the predicate of the sentence.g. o In English. [PP almost in the house] o Phrasal categories: a set of constituents that behave the same. o For example. [AP quite certain about the answer] b. (The customer) may eat [the hamburger]. Complement naming the thing eaten almost in [the house] Complement naming a location o Consider the following examples: a.  Complement: element (in form of phrase) which provide information about entities and locations whose existence is implied by the meaning of the head.

 Prepositional phrase (PP)  Sentence (S) o Phrase Structure Rules  Specifier is attached at the top level to the left of the head  Complement is attached to the right of the head  The XP rules: o XP  (Specifier) X (Complement) o X stands for N. A.  The NP that combines with the VP in this way is called the subject. the largest unit of syntactic analysis is the sentence (S). XP Specifier X Complement Head o Sentence Rule  Traditionally. V. or P.  Sentence is formed by combining an NP and a VP in accordance with the rule stated.  The S Rule: S  NP VP EXERCISES Intro to Linguistics – Handout 6 Page 4 .

less bleak d. a. more towards the window d. Intro to Linguistics – Handout 6 Page 5 . d. The peaches are quite ripe. Jeremy will play the trumpet and the drums in the orchestra. could earn the money 4. Each of the following phrases consists of a specifier and a head. fixed the telephone c. He hurriedly searched through the garbage. was writing c. 2. quite near 3. Draw the phrase structure trees for the following sentences. Draw the tree diagram. Susan plays badminton and Rudi plays football. a complement. the zoo b. d. a. a. A jogger ran toward the end of the lane. That glass suddenly broke. c. The teacher organized a discussion. My mother likes cooking while my sister likes eating. into the house b. a. These dead trees must be removed. e. Those guests have left. Indicate the category of each word in the following sentences. f. 1. b. b. Draw the tree diagram. and (in some cases) a specifier. c. The following phrases includes a head.