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Syntax

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Syntax

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Syntax

  1. 1. University of the PunjabDepartment of English Language & LiteratureLahore, Pakistan
  2. 2. SyntaxThe study of:• Grammatical relations between words andother units within the sentence• Word order• Sentence formation
  3. 3. Syntax• Languages differ not only in sounds, but also the ways inwhich words can be put together into larger units this is Syntax• Rules about how words can be put together differ according tolanguage , dialect, social group, time frame etc• “They know not what they do”– does not follow the rules we use– for modern English, but was totally normal in the 17thCentury• Even though the word meanings haven’t changed, the syntaxhas
  4. 4. Syntactic Theory• Syntactic theory is about the rules and principles thatdetermine:– how people combine words to make meaningful sentences• Sentences are not just strings of words– in the same way that words are not just strings ofmorphemes• There are strict syntactic rules about the structure of sentences– how to combine words in specific way to reach a certainmeaning• Structure at a phrasal and sentence level
  5. 5. Bag of words• Consider these words: Bit A The Dog Cat–A cat bit the dog–The cat bit a dog–A dog bit the cat–The dog bit a cat• All of these have specific, and different meanings• These different meanings come about solely from ourcombinations of words
  6. 6. Syntactic CategoriesLexical categories• Noun (N)• Verb (V)• Adjective (A)• Preposition (P)• Adverb (Adv)Examples• moisture, policy• melt, remain• good, intelligent• to, near• slowly, now
  7. 7. Syntactic CategoriesNon-lexical categories Determiner (Det) Degree word (Deg) Qualifier (Qual) Auxiliary (Aux) Conjunction (Con)Examples the, this very, more always, perhaps will, can and, or
  8. 8. Phrase Structure• We have rules in syntax about what word classes can patterntogether in phrases• NP -> (Det) N• This means that Noun Phrases can be made up of Determiners andNouns. Determiners are optionalThe girlAyesha• Both of these are NPs - they each contain a N,• and the first also has a determiner
  9. 9. NP Rule• First, DET means determiner– Function words like the, a, this, several• NP  (DET) N– That means a noun phrase can have a determiner, and itmust have a noun– S  NP VP– VP  V NP– NP  (DET) (ADJ) N
  10. 10. Phrases• NP : Noun PhraseThe car, a clever student• VP : Verb Phrasestudy hard, play the guitar• PP : Prepositional Phrasein the class, above the earth• AP : Adjective Phrasevery tall, quite certain• AdvP:quite happily
  11. 11. Noun Phrase Structure Rules• NP (Det) N (PP)• PP P NPThe bus (NP)TheNDetbusThe bus in the yardNPTheNDetbusPPinNPPtheDet Nyard
  12. 12. Verb Phrase Structure Rules• VP V (NP) (PP)• S NP (Aux) VPtook the money (VP)tookNPVtook the money from the bankVPtookNPV PPfromNPPtheDet NbanktheDet NmoneytheDet Nmoney
  13. 13. PPP NPfrom Det N PPa boy P NPin Det Na bubblePrepositional Phrase Structure Rules
  14. 14. Sentence
  15. 15. Sentence structure• This allows us to build up sentences from phrases• If we want to analyze the sentence “the cat sat on the mat”, welook at the internal phrases• The cat sat on the mat• Det N V P Det N• NP VP PP NP• However, there are rules in syntax (as is morphology) aboutwhat order these interact in• It’s not just a bag of words!
  16. 16. Constituency• A sentence is divided into groups of words• The connections between words in one group is closer thanbetween words belonging to different groups• A group of words that cling together is called a constituent– To test whether a group of words is a constituent, we have3 tests:• Replacement/Substitution:– a constituent can be replaced by a single word• Movement:– a constituent as a whole, can be placed in a different• position in a sentence– Clefting: Change sentences to “it was...”
  17. 17. All languages have constituents• Sentences are not just strings of words, have a morecomplex structure• which linguists call: CONSTITUENT STRUCTURE• We can call the sentence S, and label the syntacticcategories N and VSNJohnnyVdanced
  18. 18. The Main Structure Rules1. S NP (Aux) VP2. NP (Det) (AP) N (PP)3. VP V (NP) (PP) (Adv)4. PP P NP5. AP A (PP)
  19. 19. The Analysis of Sentence Structure
  20. 20. ExampleThe old tree swayed in the windoldV PPinNPPtheDet NwindTheNswayedSNP VPDet AdjtreeAuxpast
  21. 21. ExampleThe children put the toy in the boxV PPinNPPtheDet NboxTheNputSNP VPDetchildrenNPtheDet Ntoy
  22. 22. Ambiguity: a word, phrase orsentence with multiple meaningsSynthetic buffalo hides (NP) Synthetic buffalo hides (NP)Synthetic buffalo hides Synthetic buffalo hidesBuffalo hides that are synthetic. Hides of synthetic buffalo.
  23. 23. Ambiguities often lead to humorousresults• For sale: an antique desk suitable for lady withthick legs and large drawers what does “thick legs and large drawers”refer to?The desk or the lady?
  24. 24. Structural AmbiguityThe boy saw the man with the telescopeV PPwithNPPtheDet NtelescopeTheNsawSNP VPDetboyNPtheDet NmanAuxpast
  25. 25. Structural AmbiguityThe boy saw the man with the telescopeVPPwithNPPtheDet NtelescopeTheNsawSNP VPDetboyNPtheDet NmanAuxpast
  26. 26. Declarative – Interrogative• Move the auxiliary to the left of the subject.The boy will leave.SVPNPDetAuxNThe boy will leaveWill the boy leave?SVPNPDetAuxNthe boyWill leaveThe deep structure The surface structureV V
  27. 27. Reasons for studying syntax• Our knowledge of a language consists of:– A finite number of words– Rules (the grammar of the language)• Infinity of expressions:– an infinite number of possible utterances in every language– all these utterances cannot be stored in our brains• It is the job of the syntactician to find out what theserules are
  28. 28. Language Acquisition• Understanding syntax helps to understand:– how young children learn their native language– how to use the rules• But nobody can really state exactly what therules are!– it is amazing that children can do it so fast
  29. 29. Universal GrammarTheory of Chomsky UG has Principles + Parameters:• Principles, true of all languages– All languages have the same underlying structure• e.g. all languages have nouns and verbs• Parameters, whose setting varies from language to language– English and Chinese SVO; Japanese SOV
  30. 30. Basic Word OrderWORD ORDER ENGLISH EXAMPLEPORPORTION OFLANGUAGE (%)SOV I YOU LOVE 45SVO I LOVE YOU 42VSO LOVE I YOU 9VOS LOVE YOU I 3OVS YOU LOVE I 1OSV YOU I LOVE 0
  31. 31. Basic Sentences PatternsSentence Pattern ExampleSV JOHN SLEEPS.JILL IS EATTINGSVO I LIKE RICE.SHE LOVES HER JOB.SV Adj HE IS FUNNY .THE WORKERS ARE LAZY.SV Ad JIM IS HERE.FLOWERS ARE EVERYWHERE.SVN SHE IS MY MOM.THE MEN ARE DOCTORS

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