Focus What are some basic aspects of English syntax?
How do insights from syntax apply to teaching reading and teaching a second language?
What is Grammar?
Four Views of Grammar A description of syntactic structure Prescriptions for how to use structure and words Rhetorically effective use of syntactic structures
The functional command of sentence structure that enables us to comprehend and produce language
Grammar as a Description of Syntactic Structures Humans are born with a set of mental structures that enable them to use language input to form subconscious rules for how language works
Over time, humans develop an internal grammar they can use to understand and produce one or more languages
Grammar as Prescriptions for Correct Use A set of prescriptive rules taught in school-if students learn about grammar, they could apply this knowledge to both writing and speaking
Research consistently shows that students have trouble learning traditional grammar and applying grammar rules when they write or speak
Grammar as Prescriptions for Correct Use National Council of Teachers of English’s report
“ In view of the widespread agreement of research studies based upon many types of students and teachers, the conclusion can be stated in strong and unqualified terms: the teaching of formal grammar has a negligible or, because it usually displaces some instruction and practice in actual composition, even a harmful effect on the improvement of writing. “ (pp. 37-38)
Grammar as Prescriptions for Correct Use Weaver (1996) list several reasons teachers continue to teach traditional prescriptive grammar, despite research consensus: Do not believe in the research Believe grammar is interesting and teach it simply for that reason
Notice that some students who are good readers and writers are also good at grammar, so they assume that this correlation shows cause and effect.
Grammar as Prescriptions for Correct Use Required to teach grammar Feel pressure to teach grammar from parents or other community members
Feel that although grammar may not help the average student, it still may help some students
Grammar as Rhetorically Effective Use of Syntactic Structures Teach grammar in the context of student writing, particularly during the editing stage
Helps students produce more effective pieces of writing
Grammar as the Functional Command of Syntax A set of subconscious notions that allow humans to comprehend and produce meaningful utterances
These internal rules are refined to match the norms of the language community of which the speaker is a part
Theory of Syntax
An attempt to describe the rules that govern the order of words at the deep-structure level and also to account for how deep-structure syntax is changed to create different surface-structure sentences
Theory of Syntax Chomsky’s theory of generative grammar: Sentences have both a surface and a deep structure
The chicken was too hot to eat.
Theory of Syntax Some sentences look different on the surface but are the same at a deep level The teacher read the book.
The book was read by the teacher.
Describing the Syntax of English Morphological word categories Content words (noun, verb, adjectives, adverbs) Function words (determiners, pronouns) Function of parts of sentences (subject, predicate)
Dependency among parts of sentences (subject/verb agreement)
Describing the Syntax of English Use these words to discuss the syntax of English
Develop teachers creative lessons linguistics
Rules of English Used to describe the structure of English sentences at a deep level
Linguist hypothesize that sentences are structured because allows them to explain why a series of unambiguous words can have an ambiguous meaning.
Question Rule Develop a rule to explain how you change a statement into a question. Keep in mind the description of English syntax. Teachers can develop creative linguistics lessons. Some teachers can develop creative linguistics lessons.
Teachers who read this book can develop creative linguistic lessons.
Phrase Structure Rules Structure of a simple sentence NP (DET) – (Q) – (ADJP) – N – (PP)
VP V – (NP) – (PP) – (ADVP)
Complex and Compound Sentences Compound sentences consist of two or more simple sentences joined by a coordinate conjunction. Three common coordinate conjunctions: and (addition of an idea), or (an alternative idea), but (an opposite idea)
Coordinate conjunctions show the relationship between two statements that are of equal importance.
Complex Sentences Consist of a main clause and one or more subordinate clauses. Main clause referred to as independent clause because it can stand alone as a complete sentence.
Subordinate clause referred to as dependent clause because it depends on an independent clause.
Sentence Combining Combine these simple sentences into a complex sentence The chair is comfortable.
Compare your answer with your classmates. Discuss which sentence you think is the most effective.
Syntax and the Two Views of Reading Syntax plays a limited role Sociopsycholinguistic View Syntax is a important component One of the three cueing systems Readers use syntactic patterns to predict the morphological categories of upcoming words.
Readers make substitutions that maintain the sentence syntax.
Lexico-Syntax Link between words and syntactic patterns The linguist went to the lecture. The teacher put her keys on her desk. The student gave the teacher her homework.
The linguist wished to ______ a new language. He wanted to ____about the syntax of sentences in this language. He started to ___a large corpus of language samples. Then he began to ___the language to ___to ___ patterns.