Syntax & Stylistics3


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an exploration of syntactic categories

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Syntax & Stylistics3

  1. 1. Syntax & Stylistics Syntactic Categories
  2. 2. Semantic Descriptions for Word Categories: Inadequate <ul><li>Word-category definitions based on the meanings of word categories, as shown below, are problematic: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A Noun is a person, place, or thing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An Adjective describes qualities typical of a Noun </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Verb denotes an action, event, state, or emotion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An Adverb describes qualities of a Verb, Adjective, or other Adverb </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Preposition describes a spatial or temporal relation, direction toward or away from something, and alternatives (except, despite) </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. For Example… <ul><li>Noun : n., a word that names a person, place, thing, quality, or act. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The wise talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>— Plato </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Venolia, J., Write Right! (4th edition, 2001) </li></ul>
  4. 4. FAIL.
  5. 5. Wise = Adjective <ul><li>Wise in &quot;The wise talk because they have something to say&quot; is NOT a noun. </li></ul><ul><li>It's an adjective, in a NP ( the wise ) that has no overt noun head. </li></ul><ul><li>This NP is an instance of an odd construction in English: the + Adj as an NP with generic reference. </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning: a generic plural referring to human beings, so that it can be roughly glossed as 'Adj people'. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Other Examples <ul><li>&quot; The Bold and the Beautiful ” </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;steal from the rich and give to the poor &quot; </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Decided Go In Droves To Vote Early.” [NYT] </li></ul>
  7. 7. Nouns can have many meanings: <ul><li>the destruction of the city [an action] </li></ul><ul><li>the way to San Jose [a path] </li></ul><ul><li>whiteness moves downward [a quality] </li></ul><ul><li>three miles along the path [a measurement in space] </li></ul><ul><li>It takes three hours to solve the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Tell me the answer . [“what the answer is,” a question] </li></ul><ul><li>He is a fool . [a category or kind] </li></ul><ul><li>a meeting [an event] </li></ul><ul><li>the square root of minus two [an abstract concept] </li></ul><ul><li>He finally kicked the bucket . [no meaning at all] </li></ul>Pinker (1994), p. 98
  8. 8. “being interested” <ul><li>Conversely, a single concept can be realized as different parts of speech: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>her interest in fungi [noun] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fungi are starting to interest her more and more. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fungi seem interesting to her. [adjective] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interestingly, the fungi grew an inch in an hour. [adverb] </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. POS  Meaning <ul><li>Parts of speech are tokens that obey certain formal rules (e.g, chess piece). </li></ul><ul><li>A noun is the sort of thing that comes after an article, can have ‘s stuck onto it, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>In short, we have to look at the distribution of the word to understand what category it fits into. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Distribution of POS <ul><li>Let’s look at the way words are distributed in language. </li></ul><ul><li>Begin with the view from 10k ft. </li></ul><ul><li>Frequency Analysis. </li></ul>
  11. 11. A Poem One, two! One, two! And through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back. &quot;And, has thou slain the Jabberwock? Come to my arms, my beamish boy! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' He chortled in his joy. `Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. `Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. &quot;Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!&quot; He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought -- So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought. And, as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came!
  12. 12. Frequency Analysis: The Jabberwock <ul><li>Rank Freq % </li></ul><ul><li>1. the 15 10.3448 </li></ul><ul><li>2. and 11 7.5862 </li></ul><ul><li>3. he 7 4.8276 </li></ul><ul><li>4. in 5 3.4483 </li></ul><ul><li>5. my 3 2.0690 </li></ul><ul><li>6. jabberwock 3 2.0690 </li></ul><ul><li>7. through 3 2.0690 </li></ul><ul><li>8. his 2 1.3793 </li></ul><ul><li>9. one 2 1.3793 </li></ul><ul><li>10. stood 2 1.3793 </li></ul><ul><li>Rank Freq % </li></ul><ul><li>11. beware 2 1.3793 </li></ul><ul><li>12. two 2 1.3793 </li></ul><ul><li>13. vorpal 2 1.3793 </li></ul><ul><li>14. with 2 1.3793 </li></ul><ul><li>15. it 2 1.3793 </li></ul><ul><li>16. went 2 1.3793 </li></ul><ul><li>17. came 2 1.3793 </li></ul><ul><li>18. that 2 1.3793 </li></ul><ul><li>19. as 2 1.3793 </li></ul><ul><li>20. thought 2 1.3793 </li></ul>
  13. 13. Frequency Analysis: The Village Watchman <ul><li>Rank Freq % </li></ul><ul><li>1. the 100 4.1118 </li></ul><ul><li>2. a 64 2.6316 </li></ul><ul><li>3. was 62 2.5493 </li></ul><ul><li>4. his 61 2.5082 </li></ul><ul><li>5. and 59 2.4260 </li></ul><ul><li>6. he 58 2.3849 </li></ul><ul><li>7. to 58 2.3849 </li></ul><ul><li>8. of 53 2.1793 </li></ul><ul><li>9. i 42 1.7270 </li></ul><ul><li>10. in 37 1.5214 </li></ul><ul><li>11. alan 34 1.3980 </li></ul><ul><li>12. my 30 1.2336 </li></ul><ul><li>13. me 24 0.9868 </li></ul><ul><li>14. on 23 0.9457 </li></ul><ul><li>15. we 23 0.9457 </li></ul><ul><li>16. with 22 0.9046 </li></ul><ul><li>17. would 22 0.9046 </li></ul><ul><li>18. him 20 0.8224 </li></ul><ul><li>19. it 19 0.7812 </li></ul><ul><li>20. us 19 0.7812 </li></ul><ul><li>21. for 17 0.6990 </li></ul><ul><li>22. that 16 0.6579 </li></ul><ul><li>23. our 15 0.6168 </li></ul><ul><li>24. you 15 0.6168 </li></ul><ul><li>25. like 13 0.5345 </li></ul>Rank Freq % 26. as 13 0.5345 27. from 12 0.4934 28. they 11 0.4523 29. be 11 0.4523 30. by 11 0.4523 31. is 11 0.4523 32. were 11 0.4523 33. not 11 0.4523 34. how 10 0.4112 35. who 10 0.4112 36. or 10 0.4112 37. an 10 0.4112 38. had 10 0.4112 39. this 9 0.3701 40. then 8 0.3289 41. into 8 0.3289 42. are 8 0.3289 43. ball 7 0.2878 44. but 7 0.2878 45. family 7 0.2878 46. at 7 0.2878 47. where 6 0.2467 48. what 6 0.2467 49. could 6 0.2467 50. if 6 0.2467
  14. 14. Frequency Analysis: Walking (Thoreau) <ul><li>Rank Freq % </li></ul><ul><li>1. the 853 6.8757 </li></ul><ul><li>2. of 465 3.7482 </li></ul><ul><li>3. and 452 3.6434 </li></ul><ul><li>4. a 328 2.6439 </li></ul><ul><li>5. to 323 2.6036 </li></ul><ul><li>6. in 249 2.0071 </li></ul><ul><li>7. is 214 1.7250 </li></ul><ul><li>8. i 201 1.6202 </li></ul><ul><li>9. that 164 1.3219 </li></ul><ul><li>10. it 148 1.1930 </li></ul><ul><li>11. as 136 1.0962 </li></ul><ul><li>12. which 124 0.9995 </li></ul><ul><li>13. not 119 0.9592 </li></ul><ul><li>14. for 114 0.9189 </li></ul><ul><li>15. but 89 0.7174 </li></ul><ul><li>16. are 89 0.7174 </li></ul><ul><li>17. have 76 0.6126 </li></ul><ul><li>18. we 75 0.6045 </li></ul><ul><li>19. or 75 0.6045 </li></ul><ul><li>20. they 73 0.5884 </li></ul><ul><li>21. by 70 0.5642 </li></ul><ul><li>22. his 66 0.5320 </li></ul><ul><li>23. on 65 0.5239 </li></ul><ul><li>24. there 64 0.5159 </li></ul><ul><li>25. be 61 0.4917 </li></ul>Rank Freq % 26. our 61 0.4917 27. my 61 0.4917 28. this 58 0.4675 29. he 55 0.4433 30. their 54 0.4353 31. all 54 0.4353 32. with 53 0.4272 33. from 51 0.4111 34. no 49 0.3950 35. more 49 0.3950 36. some 47 0.3788 37. man 46 0.3708 38. than 46 0.3708 39. at 46 0.3708 40. so 46 0.3708 41. was 44 0.3547 42. when 43 0.3466 43. who 42 0.3385 44. an 41 0.3305 45. will 37 0.2982 46. would 37 0.2982 47. only 36 0.2902 48. me 36 0.2902 49. one 35 0.2821 50. if 35 0.2821
  15. 15. Where’s the Beef? <ul><li>What are we looking at in these distributions? </li></ul><ul><li>Why don’t we see any nouns, verbs, adjective, adverbs? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Grammatical Categories <ul><li>Also known as function words. </li></ul><ul><li>They do not expand and hence are called closed classes. </li></ul><ul><li>Much more frequent than Lexical Categories; I.e., nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Open vs. Closed Categories <ul><li>Open Class Categories: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Noun, Verb, Adjective, Adverb </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Closed Class Categories: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determiners : e.g., a, the, some, every, their </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modal verbs : e.g., should, will, may, can, could, must </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Auxiliary verbs : e.g., be, have, do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>P ronouns : e.g., me, you, they, theirs, he, it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>D egree words : e.g., really, quite, rather, very, darn </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>C oordinators : e.g., and, or, but </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>C omplementizers : e.g., that, if, whether </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Open vs. Closed Categories <ul><li>Open class categories tend to carry most of the meaning of the sentence. </li></ul><ul><li>The meanings of closed categories tend to be hard to describe. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Open vs. Closed Categories <ul><li>Word frequency effect only holds for open-class words </li></ul><ul><li>There is no difference in the speed of accessing high vs. low-frequency closed-class words </li></ul><ul><li>We might have separate routes to retrieving words from different syntactic categories </li></ul>
  20. 22. A better definition for word categories <ul><li>Evidence like word-affixes constitute morphological properties of word categories; the affixes themselves are called morphemes. </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence like word position constitute syntactic properties of word categories. </li></ul>
  21. 23. A better definition for word categories <ul><li>We can now provide better definitions for word categories like noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, and a few others, in terms of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>their syntactic properties, and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>their morphological properties. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 24. Noun <ul><li>Morphological properties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>it can take a plural -s morpheme; (exceptions: children, deer, mice, fish, . . .) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>it can be modified by a possessive (apostrophe: ‘s) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>it contains morphemes like the following: -ity, -ness, -action, -er, -ion, -ment, -ance, -hood. These are all noun or nominal suffixes. E.g vanity , friendliness , writer , ammunition , government , compliance , neighborhood . </li></ul></ul>
  23. 25. Noun <ul><li>Syntactic properties: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>preceded by articles like: the , a , this , that , these , those and numerals like: one , two , three </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>preceded by an adjective or several adjectives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>preceded by a preposition </li></ul></ul>
  24. 26. Verb <ul><li>Morphological properties: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>takes a past tense -ed; exceptions: went , left , . . . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>third-person singular agreement -s; E.g. writes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>takes a progressive tense morpheme -ing; E.g running </li></ul></ul>
  25. 27. Verb <ul><li>Syntactic properties: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>preceded by Auxiliaries. These are words like do and have . E.g. has come , does like . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>preceded by modal verbs. These are words like can , must , will and should . E.g. can cook , must work , will sleep , and should eat . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>preceded by negation words like not and never . E.g. not cry , never shouts . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>preceded by an adverb or adverbs. E.g . quickly run </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>can be followed by a noun. E.g. hate John </li></ul></ul>
  26. 28. Adjective <ul><li>Morphological properties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>has morphemes like -ous, -y, -ish and, sometimes, -ly. E.g. fibrous, angry, freakish, friendly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>able to form comparatives and superlatives with -er and -est. E.g. angrier, angriest. </li></ul></ul>
  27. 29. Adjective <ul><li>Syntactic properties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>can be preceded by adverbs. E.g. quickly angry , more hard-working . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>can occur after articles like the , a , this , these , those and numerals and before nouns. E.g. the angry boy , those twelve monkeys . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>modifies a noun. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>cannot immediately follow prepositions. E.g. * in angry . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>can follow verbs. E.g. is angry . </li></ul></ul>
  28. 30. Adverb <ul><li>Morphological properties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>often followed by the morpheme -ly. E.g. swiftly , quickly , angrily . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exceptions: abroad , now , fast , often , well , also , very , too , never , so , ... </li></ul></ul>
  29. 31. Adverb <ul><li>Syntactic properties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>modifies a verb; E.g. walks quickly , quickly walks . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>modifies an adjective; E.g. swiftly angry , angry swiftly . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>modifies another adverb; E.g. very angrily . </li></ul></ul>
  30. 32. Determining Part-of-Speech <ul><li>noun or adjective? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a blue seat a child seat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a very blue seat *a very child seat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>this seat is blue *this seat is child </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>blue and child are not the same POS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>blue is Adj, child is Noun </li></ul></ul>
  31. 33. Determiners <ul><li>S ignal an upcoming noun, although a modifier can come between the determiner and the noun. </li></ul><ul><li>S pecify the discourse familiarity (new vs. old, specific vs. non-specific, definite vs. indefinite), and the quantity of the entity described by the noun phrase . </li></ul>
  32. 34. Determiners <ul><li>Subclasses: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A rticles : a, the </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstratives : this, that, those, these </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quantifiers : many, several, few, some, all </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>( Interrogative ) pronouns : he, her, whose, what, which </li></ul></ul>
  33. 35. Determiners <ul><ul><li>Numerals : one, two, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Possessive pronouns : my, your, his, her, its, our, their . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Special combinations allowed with pre- and post-determiners: all the children, half my friends, both their houses, these three trees, etc. </li></ul></ul>
  34. 36. Determiner Distribution <ul><li>A t the beginning of a (subject) noun phrase , before an adjective : </li></ul><ul><li>(1 ) The stupid TV show should be cancelled. </li></ul><ul><li>F ollow ing a verb that requires an object, and occurs at the beginning of an (object) noun phrase, before an adjective and then a noun : </li></ul><ul><li>(2) No, I want a cold beverage. </li></ul><ul><li>Any of the above slots can be filled by a, the, some, this, my, any, every . </li></ul>
  35. 37. Auxiliary Verbs <ul><li>There are three in English: be , have, and do </li></ul><ul><li>They are 'function' or ‘ helping ’ verb s, as their name suggests: t hey always occur with lexical verb s, adding some grammatical meaning to the structure. </li></ul><ul><li>They have a fixed order in the sentence: they always occur preceding lexical verbs but following modal verbs , if they also occur ( Note: this doesn’t apply to do , it seems ) . </li></ul><ul><li>They appear with inflection , although some are irregular. </li></ul>
  36. 38. Auxiliary or Lexical? <ul><li>The three verbs can sometimes be lexical and other times a uxiliaries . So you have to pay attention to their distribution and semantics. </li></ul><ul><li>Lexical verb be : </li></ul><ul><li>(1)a. She is funny. b. She will be the recipient of the award. </li></ul><ul><li>Lexical verb have : </li></ul><ul><li>(2)a. José has two pets. b. José might have two pets. </li></ul><ul><li>Lexical verb do : </li></ul><ul><li>(3)a. Jerry does his homework. B. Jerry can do his homework. </li></ul>
  37. 39. The auxiliary BE <ul><li>(i) Expresses progressive aspect : selects for Verb Root (VR) + ing. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(1) John was runn ing home. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(ii) Expresses passive mood : selects for VR + - ed/en . </li></ul><ul><li>(2) John was encourag ed by his teacher. </li></ul><ul><li>Q: What about the occurrences of BE in (3)? </li></ul><ul><li>(3) John was be ing praised for be ing smart. </li></ul>
  38. 40. The auxiliary HAVE <ul><li>Expresses perfect aspect. That, is, the culmination of an event described by the sentence at the topic or reference time. </li></ul><ul><li>Selects for Verb Root+ - ed/en. </li></ul><ul><li>John has already left . </li></ul><ul><li>John has be en working on this problem for 3 years. </li></ul><ul><li>By the time Bill finishes her English homework, John will also have finish ed his math homework as well. </li></ul>
  39. 41. The auxiliary DO <ul><li>Selects for a bare form of a verb. </li></ul><ul><li>Adds emphasis : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(1) a. John likes Barry vs. John does like Barry. </li></ul></ul><ul><li> b. John liked Barry vs. John did like Barry. </li></ul><ul><li>Forms negative sentences when there is no other auxiliary or modal verb : </li></ul><ul><li>(2) a. Glen reads well. </li></ul><ul><li>b. Glen does not read well. </li></ul>
  40. 42. The auxiliary DO <ul><li>Forms question sentences when there is no other auxiliary or modal verb : </li></ul><ul><li>(3) a. The cat throws up often. </li></ul><ul><li>b. Does the cat throw up often? </li></ul><ul><li>(4) a. The cat will throw up often. </li></ul><ul><li> b. Will the cat throw up often? </li></ul>
  41. 43. Modal (auxiliary) verbs <ul><li>They differ from typical auxiliaries both syntactically and semantically. </li></ul><ul><li>(i) They do not inflect for person and number  No subject verb agreement. </li></ul><ul><li>(ii) They come in present and past pairs but the forms reflect on the differing degree of possibility or obligation , rather than present vs. past tense. </li></ul><ul><li>a. I can meet you tomorrow. </li></ul><ul><li>b. I could meet you tomorrow. </li></ul>
  42. 44. Modal (auxiliary) verbs <ul><li>They precede both auxiliaries and lexical verbs if both are present. </li></ul><ul><li>Standard English only allows one modal per sentence . </li></ul><ul><li>Nonstandard English, the Southern dialects tend to allow more than one modal per verb phrase: e.g., used to could/might , can/might ought to . </li></ul>