Paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations By Dr.Hoshang Farooq Assistant professor- Sulaimani University
• Paradigmatic is a term that describes the substitutional relationships that a linguistic unit has with other units. For example in the sentence below (I hunted a bear), each of the words can be exchanged with a number of other words without changing the basic syntactic arrangement:• I hunted a bear.• You hunted a mouse.• He fed a cat.• We looked after rabbit.• The man caged a parrot.
• Question: what is the importance of paradigmatic relations?• The paradigmatic relation is one of the important criteria in the classification of words into various categories such as noun, verb, pronouns, etc. Items which can substitute for (I) will be pronouns, whilst those which substitute for (hunted) will be verbs.• Question: Are paradigmatic relations realized at the syntactic level only?• No, they can be realized at all levels of language. For example, at the phonological level, the phonemes /p/, /k/, and /f/ can all be substituted for /f/ in the context of /-it/ as in (poked, cracked, flapped, etc.).
Note: sets of paradigmatically related items are often referred toas SYSTEMS, and so linguists talk about the ‘consonant system’or the ‘pronoun system’.Syntagmatic is a term that refers to the sequential characteristicsof language. When we construct words and sentences, we followa certain order in arranging the individual items. For instance, informing /kat/, we are obliged to utter the the particularphonemes in that order; any other order would make thesequence unacceptable or entirely different in meaning.Note: each phoneme in the above example is referred to assyntagm
• Like paradigmatic relations, syntagmatic relations can operate at all linguistic levels. In the phrase the boy, which consists of a determiner plus noun, we can put a variety of items between the and boy, but we are not permitted to reverse them.• Paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations together constitute the identity of an item within the linguistic systems as a whole. In other words, every linguistic item (phoneme, morpheme, word, etc.) can be characterized or identified by:1. Where it is able to occur sequentially with other units (itsdistribution), and 2. referring to the set of terms with which itcan be interchanged (substituted).
• Question:Which relation is stronger?The syntagmatic relation is stronger and can easily dominate theparadigmatic relation. consider:- The butter became rancidHere the paradigmatic relation is so weak that it can allow onlytwo or three substitutions. May be “the oil became rancid, or thecheese”. But in the example: The big carThe adjective ‘big’ can be substituted by hundreds of otheradjectives.Consider this example:
• The dog barked (what else can bark?• Here, it is obvious that the syntagmatic relation runs or directs the paradigmatic relations since the scope of the latter is too narrow.
Semantic fields:• Semantic field is defined as an area of meaning containing words with related sense. It is derived largely from the works of the German and Swiss scholars of the 1920s and 1930s.• According to semantic field theory, meanings of words cluster together into even larger fields until the entire larger is constituted.• For example, the following terms which come in the sense of ‘income’ or ‘earnings’ form one semantic field: pay, wage, salary, fee, stipend, pension, retainer, etc.
• All these terms form a semantic field since they are paradigmatically related to each other:-John received his ………………….. salary wage stipend pension, etc.Thus, there are two major criteria for a set of words to form asemantic field: 1. The words must be paradigmatically related.2. They must be close in meaning (they must hold lexical or senserelations).
• Normally, a general term covers all the terms in a semantic field which hold various relations among themselves although they are all hyponymically related to the general term. However, the member words in the semantic field hold the relation of incompatibility with each other.• Citrus fruits: orange, lemon, tangerine, grapefruit, kiwi, lime.- here, the relationship among the words is ‘incompatibility’.• It is a condition that all the members in a semantic field belong to the same word class or syntactic category. For example, (orange, lemon, tangerine) is an acceptable semantic field since all the members are nouns, and the general term (citrus fruit) is a noun.
• But consider the following words: [ hot, warm, cool, cold]adjs- What is the general term that covers all these words? Is it weather? Or temperature? [both nouns]- Here the semantic field is incomplete since the general term belongs to a word class which is different from the word class to which the members of the semantic field belong.Notes:1. All the members of a semantic field must belong to onevariety or dialect or sub-dialect of a language since a semanticfield derives from the cognitive lexicon in the mind, or the wayspeakers od a speech community divide up their world andphysical environment.
• For instance, if we take the semantic field of vegetables [cabbage, cucumber, carrot, eggplant], these words form a semantic field (of vegetables) in Standard American English. Now, if we add the word ‘aubergine’ from Standard British English, there will be no room for the word since the above members have divided up the field among themselves, each covering an amount of semantic space.• Consider also: infant, baby, child, teenager, adult. Now try to add the word ‘adolescent’. Where would you put it? ‘adolescent’ belongs to a more formal register.SEE NOTEBOOK FOR FIGURES and SHAPES
• Polysemous words are distributed among different semantic fields according to their different senses. consider:Head 1: head 2:Chest chairman/chairwoman/chairpersonAbdomen/belly bossLeg managerHands etc.• Members of a semantic field are analyzed and isolated using a procedure called semantic feature analysis. Hence, to distinguish an orange from a tangerine, they must be different in at least one feature, yet the general term must have a feature in common with all the member terms.
The semantic field of color:• Two reasons are behind the semantic field of color being studied more than other fields: 1. the colors can be isolated and delimited more easily. 2. the colors are universal concepts found in all languages of the world.• Colors were first studied by linguists and anthropologists to add support to the concept of linguistic relativism in language; the concept which maintains that language divides up the environment in the way it sees, and the way in which we conceptualize the world depends on the particular language we speak.• Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: linguistic relativism• The classic case was the issue of color perception. Languages do differ in their color terms:- In Navajo: green+blue= one word (there is one word for both)
• In Russian, however, there are two distinct words for two kinds of blue:- Sky blue one word- Dark blue one word• A distinction is made between two interpretations of semantic universals:1. Strong universals: all languages have a category X2. Weak universals: there exists a universal set of semantic features of which every language possesses one set).Every language makes up words according to its own needs and the way itsees the world. One example was the difference between English and Irish.English distinguishes between blue and green while Irish does not. (uses theword glass for both)
• After Berlin and Kay’s study, the above hypothesis was reversed and a universal view was adopted. In their comparison of the colors in almost one hundred languages, Berlin and Kay concluded that there exist a number of basic colors from which every language selects a subset and gives them names.• Not only do they say that there are eleven basic categories (white, black, red, green, yellow, blue, brown, purple, pink, orange and grey), but that these categories are ordered in a strict way and that colors are first formed from black and white: Purple White Green Pink red blue brown black yellow Orange grey
• This figure shows that if a given language has a term for blue, then it must necessarily have a term for green and yellow, too. Likewise, when it has a term for brown, it must have distinct terms for the preceding six colors. This is known as “universal implications”.• See the table below:
Two terms White, black Jale (New Guinea)Three = White, black, red Tiv (Nigeria)four White, black, red, green Hanuanoo (Philippines)four White, black, red, yellow Ibo (Nigeria)five White, black, red, yellow, green Tzeltal (Mexico)six White, black, red, yellow, green, blue Tamil (India)seven White, black, red, yellow, green, blue, Nez Perce brownEight, nine, White, black, red, yellow, green, blue, Englishten or brown, purple and/or pink or orange oreleven grey
Note:• Berlin and Kay’s hypothesis is based on two assumptions:1. Basic and peripheral colors are distinguished from each other by the following: a. basic colors do not mix with each other b. basic colors are widespread and of common use c. basic colors are made up of monomorphemic words2. Color terms or concepts should be identified by the foci rather than theboundaries of their range of reference. Accordingly, in a three-colorsystem, the terms ‘white’, ‘black’, and ‘red’ will spread over a wider range ofhues and intensities of color than they will within an eleven-term system. Thisis because their foci are easy to recognize. Thus, it is easier to distinguishbetween white and red than between purple and blue. The less the numberof colors, the clearer the range of reference, and thus confusion is more likely.
The semantic field of Kinship terms:1. Kinship terms form a semantic field which exists in all societies.2. Kinship terms are seen as fields where issues of semantic theory are tested.3. The interpretation of such terms specify the dimensions that play a role in kinship terms by bringing out their differences in different languages.4. Some languages classify kinship terms according to ‘sex’, whilst others according to generations or ranks.5. In English and Kurdish, a number of simple words are used as kinship terms such as: father, mother, brother, dayk, bawk, bra, etc. These words might be combined with other words(such as grand, step, gawra, peer, zrr) to expand their scope and fill the gaps in first and second generations.
Question: In what way are Kurdish and English different? Kurdish has a number of simple terms for relations which are formed outof marriage, like what? ( ). What aboutEnglish?• For senior and junior or other generations, Kurdish employs terms such as ( ) while English uses grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, grandson, granddaughter.• For relations arising from marriage, Kurdish uses (apart from simple words) compound words, too. Examples are: . In English, sister-in-law, brother-in-law are used respectively, but for (awalzawa), we have no equivalent.• When a second marriage takes place, other terms come into existencesuch as ‘step-father’, step-mother, step-brother, etc.
• Most kinship terms mark generations; so the category ‘generation’ becomes a dimension in the analysis of kinship terms. Senior Generation 2 Generation 3 Generation 4 generation Grandfather, Father, step- Ego, brother, Grandson, grandmother father, father- sister, cousin granddaughter in-law, uncle, mother-in-law, wife, husband
• Most kinship terms display ‘gender’ as follows:- father, husband, uncle, grandfather, grandson, nephew: for male- Mother, wife, aunt, mother-in-law, granddaughter: for female• Some other terms do not show gender, such as: ‘cousin’ in English and ‘amoza’, ‘xaloza’ in Kurdish.• According to Palmer, kinship terms are analyzed in terms of three features: gender, generation, rank.Aunt: - male cousin ±male + G2 G3 Collateral Collateral