Introduction to Syntax
Syntax is the study of the part of the human linguistic system that determines how sentences are put together out of words. Syntactic rules in a grammar account for the grammaticality of sentences, and the ordering of words and morphemes.
Syntax involves our knowledge of structural ambiguity our knowledge that sentences may be paraphrases of each other our knowledge of the grammatical function of each part of a sentence, that is, of the grammatical relations.
The sentence is regarded the highest-ranking unit of grammar. and therefore that the purpose of a grammatical description is to define.
. categories. etc). making use of whatever descriptive apparatus that may be necessary (rules.Syntax
It is also concerned with speakers' ability to produce and understand an infinite set of possible sentences.
Phrase/Group Word Morpheme
Grammatical Units and Scale
One aspect of the syntactic structure of sentences is the division of a sentence into phrases. and so forth. and those phrases into further phrases. Another aspect of the syntactic structure of a sentence is "movement" relations that hold between one syntactic position in a sentence and another.
e. and when they are considered as part of the successive unraveling of a sentence. These groups and single words are called constituents (i. sentences are not merely strings of words in a permissible order and making sense. they are known as its immediate constituents.
. They are structured into successive components.Constituents
“A unit forming part of a larger structure” Chalker and Weiner 1998 Although the term string is often used technically to refer to sequences of words. consisting of single words or groups of words. structural units).
This sentence and in general any sentence of the language may be represented as a particular arrangement of the ultimate constituents. Every sentence has therefore what we will refer to as a linear structure. which are the minimal grammatical elements. In syntax. we find out that it consists of seven word arranged in a particular order. the seven words in this model sentence are its ultimate constituents. The small units are known as its immediate constituents.
. of which the sentence is composed.Constituents
When we consider sentence My friend came home late last night.
Then. After a sentence is cut into its constituent elements. from which word strings are formed. Sentences are regarded as hierarchies of interlocking smaller units. or segmentation. or constituents. which is seen as the ultimate constituent.Immediate Constituent Analysis
“One of the parts which a linguist unit is immediately divisible.
. the two parts that are yielded are called immediate constituents. we get the smallest grammatical unit obtained through the division. by a process of immediate constituent analysis.” IC Chalker and Weiner Formal accounts of syntax are based on establishing the basic constituents. namely. categories.
. For example: (1) Poor| John║ ran |out. The analysis can be carried out in ways of tree diagrams.The segmentation of the sentence up into its immediate constituents by using binary cuttings until its ultimate constituents are obtained is an important approach to the realization of the nature of language. bracketing or any other. called Immediate Constituent Analysis (IC Analysis).
Immediate Constituent Analysis
Endocentric construction is one whose distribution is functionally equivalent to that of one or more of its constituents.construction
A construction is a relationship between constituents. A word or a group of words acts as a definable center or head. Exocentric construction refers to a group of syntactically related words where none of the words is functionally equivalent to the group as a whole. There is no definable center or head inside the group.
. Constructions are divided into two types: endocentric constructions and exocentric constructions.
Some types of phrase contain a HEAD word and have the same formal function in their clause as the single head would:
Too dreadful Rather more surprisingly She who must be obeyed
Containing no element that is functionally equivalent to the whole structure (non-headed or unheaded) Some phrases are always exocentric The boy stood on the burning deck. since neither part can stand for the whole:
The boy / stood on the burning deck.
. Who was the man in the iron mask? A basic English sentence (consisting of subject and predicate) is always exocentric.
Three universal basic syntactic rules:
Linear order of constituents Categorization of constituents Grouping of constituents into constituent structures
There are different ways of dealing with sentence types. it can be shown that each of the longer sentences of a language (and these are in the majority usually) is structured in the same way as one of a relatively small number of short sentences which are impossible to reduce to a short form.Sentence Types
Sentences in any language are constructed from a rather small set of basic structural patterns and through certain processes involving the expansion or transformation of these basic patterns. When we consider sentence types from another perspective. These short sentences have the basic sentence types.
John Stuart Mill
Simple Sentence Coordinate Sentence Complex Sentence
“ The structure of every sentence is a lesson in logic”.
• • • • •
A simple sentence contains only one clause with a single verb group. Dora yelled.
. A runner from Ethiopia won the New York marathon this year. The students should have been working on the term paper. Christ resembled his father. Jack and Jill love each other.
Christ resembled his father. Mark loves Dora. but.Coordinate Sentence (Compound Sentence)
A coordinate sentence has two clauses conjoined into one by a coordinating conjunction. and she feels it. They hold equal status.
. (and. but his brother resembled his mother. or).
which is often introduced by a subordinator (who. that. since. when. The murderer escaped when the police arrived at the scene.
. though. because. as.Complex Sentence
A complex sentence is composed of two clauses with one holding main status (matrix clause) and the other incorporated or embedded into it (embedded clause). although)
Mark denied that Dora yelled.
The traditional approach to syntactic function identifies constituents of the sentence.
According to its relation to other constituents. describes the inflexion involved.
. and explains the relationship each word related to the others. a constituent may serve certain syntactic function in a clause. states the part of speech each word belongs to.
Constituency and Hierarchy
A constituency refers to the whole body of a sentence which is made up of lexical items (constituents) that are hierarchically ordered with respect to each other
B and C are constituents of A 2. 3. D and E are constituents of C.
. D and E are not constituents of B as they are not linked to B.Constituency and Hierarchy diagram
B D C E
This diagram formally reads as 1.
a tree diagram is employed as a tool to link members of a structure.Tree Diagrams
Who climbs the Grammar-Tree distinctly knows Where Noun and Verb and Participle grows.
In describing the constituent of a structure.
I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree
Phrase Structure Rule
A rule which states that a phrase of a specific category. S must consist of a NP followed by VP Phrase Marker: “a string of elements” Phrase structure tree: a tree diagram which shows the division of a form into successively smaller constituents and labels each as belonging to one or more categories Also labelled bracketing boys play well
. E. a rule = NP+VP.g.
Phrase-markers can be related to each other by dominance and precedence.
Tree Diagrams and PhraseMarkers
Dominance 1. 2. VP node dominates all the other nodes. VP node immediately dominates the nodes labeled V and PP.
. P and in. P. and N as well as in. V node precedes the nodes labeled PP. the and house. 2. V node immediately precedes the PP. det.Tree Diagrams and PhraseMarkers
. etc. and "animate: inanimate". For instance.Grammatical Categories: Number and Gender
Number is a grammatical category for the analysis of such contrasts as singular and plural of certain word classes. the moon. feminine. is grammatically feminine. grammatical gender has little to do with the biological sex. In English. Gender demonstrates such contrasts as "masculine. number is a feature of nouns and verbs. and neuter". for the analysis of certain word classes. which has nothing to do with the biological sex. in French. In most languages.
Inflectional category. basically of nouns. which typically marks their role in relation to other parts of the sentence.
. The case category is often used in the analysis of word classes to identify the syntactic relationship between words in a sentence.
past. etc. as opposed to their simple location in the present. past. present loved. future Inflectional distinction: past .Tense and Aspect
Inflectional category whose basic role is to indicate the time of an event etc. love Verbal categories that distinguish the status of events. in relation to the moment of speaking Divided notionally: present. or future I am reading your paperI have read your pap
. in relation to specific period of time.
thus providing a model for the description of human languages. In 1957.Chomskyan Syntax
Syntax is seen to be a fundamental principle for encoding and decoding meaning and is the part of grammar shared by speakers and listeners in communication. the American linguist Chomsky proposed the transformationalgenerative grammar (TG).
. The goal of TG is to find out a system of rules to account for the linguistic competence of native speakers of a language to form grammatical sentences.
It is called "transformational-generative" grammar because it attempts to do two things: to provide the rules that can be used to generate grammatical sentences how basic sentences can be transformed into either synonymous phrases or more complex sentences.
Deep Structure and Surface Structure
Abstract „syntactic representation‟ posited to explain the way in which actual sentences are interpreted
Visiting aunts can be boring John is eager to please John is easy to please Flying planes can be dangerous
Surface structure is the actually produced structure. directly observable actual form of sentences as they are used in communication
we can best use transformational rules in the total process of relating deep structure to surface structures.The relationship between deep structure and surface structure is that of transformation. Since the relationship is usually a complicated one.
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