Three points are discussed in thischapter:1-The ways in which words may be linkedtogether to form larger units.2-How sentences are analysed into theircomponent parts.3-Ways of representing an analysis.
The ways in which words are linked together:Different languages use different devices for showing therelationship of one word to another and linking one word toanother. The following are the common devices:1-Word order:This is a syntactic device that shows the sequential (linear)arrangement of words within a sentence and shows therelationship of one word to another. English relies heavily onword order to indicate grammatical relations.David defends Laura.Laura defends David.
Two important points about these two sentences:1-What shows the difference in meaning between these twosentences is not the number or the form of the words ratherit is the order of the words. So, the word order is critical.Because the word order shows ‘who defended whom’.2-The order of the words shows which one is the subjectand which one is the object not the form of the words. Thesubject of an English sentence typically precedes the verband the object typically follows it.
Although some languages display considerable freedom ofword order (standard examples being Latin andRussian), in no human language may the words of asentence occur in any random order.
Configurational languages:It includes those languages which rely heavily on wordorder to show the relationship of one word to another suchas English. That is, they have fixed word order andhierarchical constituent structure.2-InflectionsIt is an other device through which grammaticalrelationships between a word and another is indicated.Russian and Latin depend on inflections to indicategrammatical relationships.
Maxim zashishajet Victora.Maxim Victora zashishajet.Victora Maxim zashishajet.Victora zashishajet Maxim. (Examples from Russian).All these sentences mean Maxim defends Victor. Theinflectional suffix -a shows Victor is defended and that –a isan accusative (object) case marker.So, Russian is a non-configurational language in that wordorder is not critical, though some word order preferences arefound.
3-Function wordsAnother device through which relationships among wordsare established is the use of function words such asof, by, that, or, …I know that he will come.The Queen of England.She was terrified by a spider.
Key points about function words:1-Function words are used to some extent in English andLatin.2-Fucntion words have a grammatical role because theyconnect the content words into larger grammatical units.3-A function word can, in some cases, be used in twoways: as a function word and as a content word.Paul wants to go home. (Function word)Peter went to the river. (content word)
Constituent analysisIt is a linguistic procedure which divides sentences intotheir component parts or constituents.Q-How are sentences divided into their component parts?Sentences can be divided into their component parts by afundamental technique of syntactic analysis calledsuccessive substitution.The duck bit the burglar. Five original componentsIt bit him Three basic componentsThe duck slept Two basic componentsNote: Read the details in the book.
Ways of representing an analysisThere are two important ways to represent a constituentanalysis:1-Tree diagram: A particular type of graphicalrepresentation of the structure of a sentence in which thereis a central node which branches on to other nodes, whichthemselves have branches. It is so-called because itsbranches resemble an upside-down tree.Example:
The duck bit the burglarS (sentence)NP (noun phrase) VP (verb phrase)D (determiner) N (noun) V (verb) NPD NThe duck bit the burglar
2-Rewrite rule (Phrase Structure Rule): It is a replacementrule, in which the symbol to the left of an arrow is replacedby an expanded form written to the right of an arrow.The sentence ‘The duck bit the burglar’ can be summarizedin three rules:Example:S NP VPVP V NPNP D NMeans ‘replace’
The advantage of rewrite rules:1-They are perfectly explicit.2-They don’t leave anything to the imagination withoutanalysis.3-By following them, you can produce a perfect Englishsentence and these rules will tell us what is a well-formedEnglish sentence
Identifying constituents:A constituent is a word or a group of words that functionsas a single unit within a hierarchical structure.The constituent structure of sentences is identifiedusing constituency tests.What are the constituency tests used to identify theconstituent structure of sentences?1-Movement (topicalization, fronting)Constituents can be preposed to beginning or postposed tothe end.Example: The mouse ran up the clock.Up the clock ran the mouse.Example: The mouse ate up the cheese.Up the cheese ate the mouse.
The first sentence can be analysed as having threeconstituents: [The mouse] [ran] [up the clock].And the tree diagram for this sentence can be as follows:SNP VPD N V PPP NPD NThe mouse ran up the clock
The second sentence can be analysed as having threeconstituents: [The mouse] [ate up] [the cheese].And the tree diagram for this sentence can be as follows:SNP VPD N VB NPV PRT D NThe mouse ate up the cheeseVB= Phrasal verbPRT= Particle
2-Substitution:Constituents can be replaced by pro-forms(pronouns, one, ones, here, there, so, ….).Example: The duck bit the burglarIt bit him.3-Clefting:Constituents can be the focus of it-cleft sentences. Thefollowing is the pattern of it-cleft sentences:It + (be) + (the focus constituent) + relative clause.Tom broke the window last night.It was Tom who broke the window last night.
4-Passivization:The elements that can be moved when changing an activesentence to a passive one or vice-versa can be regarded asconstituents.Example: Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook.Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg.5-Omission:Sometimes a sequence of words (mostly temporal and localadverbials) may be omitted without influencing thegrammaticality of the sentence, such sequences are regardedas constituents.Example: He died in Africa two years later.He died in Africa.He died two years later.
In addition to these tests to identify whether a string ofwords is regarded as a constituent or not, It is alsopossible to build specific tests for the presence of aparticular constituent. The following are some tests toidentify particular constituents:1-Preposition phrases: one test for a preposition phrase isthat its preposition cannot immediately follow its NP.The mouse ran the clock up.Jane went the woods into.Linda swam the bridge under.
2-NPs: English NPs recur in certain specifiable positions:A) At the beginning of a sentence before the verb:The cat ate the canary.B) At the end of a sentence after the verb:The canary feared the cat.C) After ‘by’ in a passive sentence:The canary was eaten by the cat.D) After an auxiliary verb in questions:Did the cat eat the canary?So, the above tests can be applied to know whether astring of words is an NP or not.
A) At the beginning of a sentence before the verb:Uncle Harry kicked the cat. Suddenly Harry kicked the cat.B) At the end of a sentence after a verb:The cat scratched Uncle Harry. The cat scratched suddenly Harry.C) After ‘by’ in a passive sentence:The cat was kicked by Uncle Harry. The cat was kicked by suddenly HarryD) After an auxiliary verb in questions:Did Uncle Harry kick the cat? Did suddenly Harry kick the cat?(Suddenly Harry) cannot be an NP because the above tests cannotbe applied to it but (Uncle Harry) can be because the tests can beapplied to it.
Adding in extra patterns:-The duck bit the burglar. (See above for the rewrite rulesand tree diagram, this seems to be a simple structure).-The duck slept in the bath: This sentence has a morecomplicated structure than the above sentence:The rewrite rules for this sentence:S NP VPVP V PPPP P NPNP D NThe extra rewrite rules are: VP V PP PP P NP
The duck slept in the bathSNP VPD N V PPP NPD NThe duck slept in the bathIn the rewrite rule the PP is optional (the duck slept), thiscan be shown by putting brackets round the PP:VP V (PP)
Another example:The burglar put the duck in a sackHere in this sentence, having the NP and the PP is essential.The rewrite rule is: VP V NP PPSo, there are different rewrite rules for English VPs:1-VP V NP The duck bit the burglar.2-VP V (PP) The duck slept, The duck slept in the bath3-VP V NP PP The burglar put the duck in a sack.
The burglar put the duck in a sackSNP VPD N V NP PPD N P NPD NThe burglar put the duck in the sack
All the three rules above can be combined together in onerule for English VPs in the following way:V1 NPVP V2 (PP)V3 NP PPThese three rules can be summed up in only one rule:VP (NP) (PP)Which means: ‘A VP consists of a V optionally followed byan NP and/or a PP’.Put V [-NP PP]Slept V [-(PP)]Bit V [-NP]
Layers of branches:Till now we have considered tree diagrams with few layers.There are sometimes complicated tree diagrams.When there are nodes in tree diagrams which are neitherthe simple unit (N, A, P, ….) nor the whole unit(NP, AP, PP, ….), these are given the label bar. Thus, they arerecognized as: (N, A, P, ….).Consider the following example:
Maurice took a photograph of a platypusSNP VPV NP or ND NN PPP NPD NMaurice took a photograph of a platypus
A standard procedure which avoids wasting time and spaceis to draw a triangle ( ) in place of the details of the PP.That is, the tree can be as follows:NP or ND NN PPa photograph of a platypus
Tree diagrams reveal that there are similarities betweenNPs, APs, VPs and PPs, how?The head in one type of phrase is in a very similar position tothe head in another. For example, a noun in an NP is likely tobe in a parallel location to an adjective in an AP, a verb in aVP, and a preposition in a PP.Consider the following: (‘Very proud of the platypus’ issimilar in structure to ‘a photograph of a platypus’)AP or A NP or NDEG A D NA PP N PPvery proud of the platypus a photograph of a platypus
X-bar theory:X-bar is a system of syntactic description based on thenotion that every constituent has a head element.Key points about x-bar system:1-It states that all phrases have heads.2-The phrase type is related to the type of the head.3-One of the rules of X-bar theory is that an X-barconsists of an X (a head) plus any number ofcomplements.4-An X-Phrase consists of an optional speciﬁer and an X-bar.
Lexical phrases: Those phrases whose head is a lexicalword, e.g. this read book, right in the centre, very fast.Lexical phrases include NPs, APs, PPs, ….Functional phrases: Those phrases which are introducedby function elements like tense, agreement, infinitivemarker (to).Functional phrases include: Inflectional phrases(IP), complementizer phrases (CP), …..
Examples: Lexical phrases-He is a nice French student of English-An old man with a wooden leg.-This beautiful expensive red carpet-He is very proud of his country-The bullet hit him right through the heart-She was very fond of the sea.
Examples: Functional phrases-He kicked the dog-He will find the book-I wonder whether she will pass-He can find the letters.
Complex sentences:Conjoining: It is a process by which two or more sub-sentences which are of equal importance can be joinedtogether by using conjuncts, such as and, or,..etc..e.g. Rose played tennis.Peter went fishing.Rose played tennis, and Peter went fishing.
Embedding: It is a process by which one or moresubsidiary sentences are inserted into the mainsentence.e.g. The fact is not surprising.(that) the rumour worried the public(that) the dinosaur had escapedThe fact that the rumour that the dinosaur had escapedworried the public is not surprising.
Recursion: It is the possibility of repeatedly re-using thesame construction so that there is no fixed limit to thelength of sentences or phrases.e.g. John saw the picture of the baby on the table in theattic.e.g. John believes the burglar took the duck.
Verbs: the syntax-meaning overlap:Thematic relations:Thematic relations are the semantic roles of theparticipants involved in an action. This includes thesemantic roles of nouns and noun phrases in relation to averb in a sentence.Linguists recognize a number of roles:1-Agent: It is used to denote someone (NP) whodeliberately performs the action.e.g. John smashed the bottle.
2-Theme: It is the semantic role of the NP that undergoesthe change of location or it is the entity which moves or isin a state.e.g. The snowball rolled down the hill.e.g. Mike gave her a pencil.e.g. John received a letter.3-Patient: It is to denote something which undergoes theconsequences of an action or affected by the action.e.g. Mike killed John.e.g. I have repaired the roof. The dog chewed a bone.
4-Recipient: It is the semantic role of the noun phrase thatreceives something. Here, there is a change in ownership.e.g. Paul sent a letter to Jane.5-Goal: It is a place to which an entity is moved or atwhich movement terminates.e.g. I am flying to London.e.g. He reached a conclusion.Thematic roles are important in relating semantics tosyntax.
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