Tools of Syntactic Analysis, by Dr. Shadia Yousef Banjar.pptx
LANE 334 -EA: Syntax
2011 – Term 1
Tools of Syntactic Analysis
Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar http://wwwdrshadiabanjar.blogspot.com
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We are going to
deal with written
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LEVELS OF LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS
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Phonology looks at and describes the sound system
of a language.
Morphology looks at the way words are formed .
Syntax describes the way words fit together to form
sentences or utterances.
Semantics study meaning.
Pragmatics study usage.
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• Syntax: is the branch of
linguistics deals with sentence
• In order to study the structure of
sentences, we have to know the
grammatical rules governing the
way words are combined to form
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√√√√√√√ a ‘well-formed’
1. I shot the sheriff.
2. *the shot sheriff I.
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S word + word + word + …….
(sentence) word order
phrase structure rules
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To understand the language in terms of syntactic rules, we
have to know what are the SYNTACTIC CATEGORIES!
A syntactic category is either a phrasal category, such as
noun phrase or verb phrase, which can be decomposed into
smaller syntactic categories, or a lexical category, such as
noun or verb, which cannot be further decomposed.
The three criteria used in defining syntactic categories are:
1. The type of meaning it expresses.
2. The type of affixes it takes.
3. The structure in which it occurs.
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A family of expressions that can substitute for one
another without loss of grammaticality is called a
1. The cat chases the mouse.
2. The dog chases the mouse
3. The policeman chases the mouse.
4. The mother mouse chases the mouse.
If words and phrases could not be assigned to a
small group of categories, it would be very hard to
learn or use a language.
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– In the given examples: 1-4,
– every word is a member of a category.
– a word’s category type determines the
kind of phrase it can form.
– a phrase is a word or string of words
that functions as a unit in a sentence,
built around a head.
– Every language has specific phrase
structure rules determining how phrases
can be combined to form sentences.
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LEXICAL WORD CATEGORIES
Lexical word categories are:
Words that have some sort of inherent meaning
are called lexical words (or content words).
Categories pertaining to such words are called
lexical categories e.g. NOUN, VERB, ADJECTIVE.
Open-class in the sense that new words can be
added, and thus have a large number of class
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Functional word categories
Functional word categories are:
Words that don’t have (an easily detectable) inherent
meaning are called functional words because such words
perform some function in the sentence.
Categories belong to such words are called FUNCTIONAL
CATEGORIES e.g. DETERMINER, CONJUNCTION
Functional word categories tend to be CLOSED-CLASS
(new words may not be added) and have a small number of
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it can take a plural -s morpheme;
Exceptions: children, deer, mice, fish, . . .
it can be modified by a possessive (apostrophe: ’s)
it contains morphemes like the following: -ity, -ness,
-action, -er, -ion, -ment, -ance, -hood.
These are all NOUN- OR NOMINAL SUFFIXES e.g
friendliness, writer, government, neighborhood.
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Syntactic properties of the class of NOUN
• preceded by articles like: the, demonstrative
pronouns like: this, that, these, those and
numerals like: one, two, three.
•preceded by an ADJECTIVE or several
•followed by a PREPOSITION.
•preceded by a PREPOSITION.
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• takes a past tense –ed1 form e.g. He walked.
• takes the –s form of the verb for third-person
singular agreement e.g. He goes to work daily.
• takes the –ing form to express the
progressive aspect e.g. he is running.
• takes the –ed2 form to express the perfective
aspect e.g. I have finished my work.
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Syntactic properties of the class of VERB
• preceded by AUXILIARIES. These are words
like do and have e.g. has come, does like.
•preceded by MODAL VERBS. These are words
like can, must, will and should e.g. can
cook, must work, will sleep, and should eat.
•preceded by negation words like not and
never e.g. not cry, never shouts.
• preceded by an ADVERB or ADVERBS e.g.
• can be followed by a NOUN e.g. hate John.
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• has morphemes like -ous, -y, -ish, e.g. furious,
angry, brownish, friendly.
•able to form comparatives and superlatives with -er
and -est. e.g. bigger , biggest.
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• can be preceded by ADVERBS e.g. very
angry, more hard-working.
•can occur after determiners like the, a, this,
these, those and numerals and before
NOUNS e.g. the angry boy, those twelve small
• modifies a NOUN.
•cannot immediately follow PREPOSITIONS
e.g. *in angry. XXXXXXX
•can follow VERBS. E.g. He is angry.
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• often followed by the morpheme –ly, e.g. swiftly,
Exceptions: abroad, now, fast, often, well, also, very,
too, never, so, ...
• modifies a VERB; e.g. walks quickly.
•modifies an ADJECTIVE; e.g. swiftly angry.
•modifies another ADVERB; e.g. very angrily.
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A constituent is a grammatical unit which
is part of a larger grammatical unit.
in example (1):
• The cat = noun phrase
• Noun Phrase =determiner + noun
• "determiner" and "noun“ are the
constituents of the noun phrase.
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Three aspects of a speaker’s syntactic
knowledge are explicitly represented in tree
1. The linear order of the words in the
2. the groupings of words into syntactic
3. the hierarchical structure of the syntactic
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The Tree Diagram For:
Juliet loves Romeo
Juliet loves Romeo
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Form and Function
•Words can be grouped in certain patterns to
•In terms of forms, a sentence consists of a
noun phrase and a verb phrase.
•In terms of function, a sentence consists of a
subject and a predicate. A predicate must contain
a predicator which is a verb.
•The class of a constituent indicates its form
and what the form does or act as a grammatical
unit indicates its function.
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