Syntax: Fundamentals
Introduction and overview:
In this, rather lengthy chapter we deal with the preliminaries of syntax...
• Structure classes (grammatical words, function words, closed sets…) These include
pronouns, prepositions, auxiliaries ...
syntax – syntactic units, which include:
• Phrases
• Clauses
• Sentences
A phrase can be considered the lowest s...
Complement(s) Postmodifier
has never written а letter ...
I think that you will succeed if you try hard.
main clause subordinate clause subordinate
A cute little puppy that probably got lost stayed in front of my door all night because
it felt safe there, but I didn’t...
Constituent structure and constituency tests
Constituent structure
The term constituent structure is sometimes used para...
In (18a) the prepositional phrase, functioning as an indirect object is moved to the
front, separated by a comma, specif...
The guy who phoned me last night is your friend, isn’t he?
What you told me last month proved to be true.
 subject(ive)...
It should be stressed that all these functions can be realized by single words, but also
by word groups, such as phrase...
linguistics, linguists began to realize the sheer diversity of human language, and to question
fundamental assumptions ...
an element that requires two NPs (its subject and its direct object) to form a sentence. This
is notated as (NP/(NPS)) ...
Alternatively, it may refer only to what is common to the grammars of all, or of the vast
majority of English speakers ...
subfield of the emerging discipline of modern linguistics. The Serbian grammar by Vuk
Stefanović Karadžić arrived in 18...
"grammar school" historically refers to a school teaching Latin grammar to future Roman
citizens, orators, and, later, ...
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Introduction to syntax


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Introduction to syntax

  1. 1. 1 Syntax: Fundamentals Introduction and overview: In this, rather lengthy chapter we deal with the preliminaries of syntax, which should serve as the foundation for further work. We examine basic syntactic notions, modes of description and classification, and some tools for syntactic analysis. What do we do when we perform a syntactic analysis? 1. The first step is to determine the relevant component parts of a sentence (or any other syntactic unit). 2. The next step is to describe these parts grammatically The first step means that we break down the sentence (or a syntactic unit) into its constituents. For instance, in the sentence (1) Hopefully, every student will learn the procedure. we can determine the following components parts, the constituents: hopefully, every student, will learn, the procedure. The second step means that we assign some grammatical label to each constituent, stating what type of constituent it is (i.e. its form or category) and what grammatical function it has. For instance, we label the identified constituents according to their form and sentence function as follows: hopefully – adverb by form, sentence modifier by function every student – noun phrase by form, subject by function will learn – verb phrase by form, predicator by function the procedure – noun phrase by form, direct object by function Let’s now perform the syntactic analysis of the following sentence: (2) When I arrived in London, I thought I knew English. Modes of syntactic description In syntactic description, we describe syntactic units in terms of their FORM, FUNCTION and POSITION, so these can be considered the modes of structural description. FORM Another term, sometimes used for this, is category. This actually refers to the grammatical shape of the unit that we analyze. According to their form, we distinguish two major types: a/ single words b/ word groups (phrases, clauses, sentences) Single words can be broadly divided into two major classes, according to morphological, syntactic and semantic criteria. These are: • Form classes (Also known as lexical words, content words, open classes…). These include nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.
  2. 2. 2 • Structure classes (grammatical words, function words, closed sets…) These include pronouns, prepositions, auxiliaries and modals, conjunctions, numerals. Diagram 1 gives the summary of form types. FUNCTION The term function can be broadly understood as the grammatical job that a particular unit has within a larger unit. Function therefore means ‘syntactic’ function. For instance, in the sentence Girls enjoy chocolate, the nouns girls and chocolate have the function of the subject and direct object of the sentence, respectively. POSITION The term position usually refers to the position a linguistic unit can take within another unit. Thus, it is common to talk of elements occurring in initial, medial or final positions within the higher-order unit, or about pre- and post-positions in relation to a specific unit. For example, a time modifier can occur either in the initial (3a) or final (3b) position in a sentence: (3) a. Yesterday they had an enormous dinner. b. They had an enormous dinner yesterday. Syntactic units The hierarchy of linguistic units would look like this1 : • (Distinctive features) • Phoneme • Morpheme • Word • Phrase • Clause • Sentence • (Paragraph) • (Text/discourse) In this book we are going to focus only on the linguistic units which are relevant for 1 The status of a linguistic unit is disputable for the units given in brackets and depend on a particular linguistic theory or discipline. FORM SINGLE WORDS WORD GROUPS Lexical words (form classes) Grammatical words (structure classes Phrases Clauses Sentences
  3. 3. 3 syntax – syntactic units, which include: • Phrases • Clauses • Sentences Phrases A phrase can be considered the lowest syntactic unit. It can be defined as a syntactic unit that contains more than one word and lacks the subject-predicate relationship.2 The phrase contains one word which is more important than the others (headword) and some other single-word or word group elements that specify, modify or complete the headword in various ways. They can be placed in front (specifiers, premodifiers) or after the headword (postmodifiers, complements). The type of the phrase is determined by the type of the headword, so there are the following types of phrases: • Noun phrase (NP) • Verb phrase (VP) • Adjective phrase (AdjP) • Adverb(ial) phrase (AdvP) • Prepositional phrase (PP) Noun Phrase (NP) A noun phrase is a syntactic unit which consists of a noun and all the words and word groups that cluster around the noun and add to its meaning. For example, the structure of the noun phrase the lively little painting of Paris which I bought last year can be represented as: Specifier Prenominal modifiers Head noun Postnominal modifiers The lively little painting of Paris which I bought last year The only obligatory element in a noun phrase is the head noun, which means that a noun phrase minimally consists of a noun. Verb Phrase (VP) A verb phrase is a syntactic unit which consists of a verb and all the words and word groups that cluster around the verb and add to its meaning, functioning as auxiliaries, modifiers and complements. The structure of the verb phrase has never written a letter to his aunt when he lived in Rome can be represented like this: 2 It should be noted that in recent theories it has been recognized that some phrases can actually consist of a single word. For instance, the word group the second-year students of English is clearly the noun phrase with the headword students, but the single noun Students or the personal pronoun They can also be considered minimal noun phrases, since they can be used in a sentence in the same way as the larger noun phrase. Moreover, the term ‘phrase’ in Transformational Generative Grammar has a broader meaning and refers to any kind of syntactic unit in the analysis.
  4. 4. 4 Aux- iliary Pre- modifier Verb head Complement(s) Postmodifier Direct object Indirect object has never written а letter to his aunt when he lived in Rome Adjective Phrase (AdjP) An adjective phrase is a syntactic unit which consists of an adjective and all the words and word groups that cluster around the adjective and add to its meaning. Look at the structure of the adjective phrase quite fond of chocolate: Premodifier Adjective head Complement (of the adjective) quite fond of chocolate Adverb Phrase (AdvP) An adverb phrase (also called adverbial phrase) is a syntactic unit which consists of an adverb and all the words and word groups that cluster around the adverb and add to its meaning. The structure of an adverb phrase is rather simple, as can be seen from the following two examples: Premodifier Adverb head very well unexpectedly reluctantly Prepositional Phrase (PP) A prepositional phrase is a syntactic unit which consists of a preposition and a word/word group that completes its meaning. Premodifier Preposition head Object of the preposition right into the centre Clauses The term ‘clause’3 in various grammar books and grammar theories is used to refer to different things, so it is always a good idea to check what particular authors really mean by it. Most commonly, a clause is defined as a syntactic unit which has a subject-predicate relationship and is part of a larger unit. Usually it is viewed as a linguistic unit smaller than a sentence and larger than a phrase. In the following sentence we can identify three clauses – one is the main clause and two are 3 The word derives via Old French from the Latin clausula, the close of a sentence.
  5. 5. 5 subordinate. I think that you will succeed if you try hard. main clause subordinate clause subordinate clause Subordinate clauses can be further classified into various syntactic and semantic types. According to their function in a sentence clauses can be divided into: a/ Nominal clauses b/ Adjectival (relative) clauses c/ Adverbial clauses Finally, we should note that clauses can be classified according to the type of the verb and we distinguish: a/ finite clauses I don’t know where I should go. b/ non-finite clauses I don’t know where to go. The best thing is to tell the truth. It is impossible for him to tell the truth. c/ verbless clauses You can start reading, when ready. Too proud to join the group, she remained an outsider. Sentences For our syntax course we are going to consider a sentence the largest syntactic unit and use the following working definition: a sentence is string of constituents characterized by the subject-predicate relationship. Sentence, utterance, proposition According to their inner structure or level of complexity, sentences can be: • Simple Simple sentences have one subject-predicate relationship. NOTE: In some theories and grammar books such sentences are called clauses. A cute little puppy stayed in front of my door all night. • Complex Complex sentences have one main and at least one subordinate clause. A cute little puppy that probably got lost stayed in front of my door all night because it felt safe there. The underlined clauses are subordinate. • Compound Compound sentences have at least two independent clauses (they make up the structure of coordination). Some grammarians also distinguish a special type which they call complex-compound sentences and these consist of one main clause and at least one subordinate and one coordinated clause.
  6. 6. 6 A cute little puppy that probably got lost stayed in front of my door all night because it felt safe there, but I didn’t notice it before morning and I fed it then. A cute little puppy stayed in front of my door all night and I fed him in the morning. According to their function in discourse, sentences can be functionally classified into: • declarative sentences (expressing statements) They study English. • interrogative sentences (expressing questions) What do they study? • imperative sentences (expressing commands or requests) Go and study! • exclamative (exclamatory) sentences (express exclamations) How nice! Basic syntactic structures We are going to adopt a more specific classification and identify four basic syntactic structures, i.e. four basic types of syntactic interrelationships. They are: 1. The structure of PREDICATION 2. The structure of MODIFICATION 3. The structure of COMPLEMENTATION 4. The structure of COORDINATION Structure of predication The structure of predication is the relationship which exists between the subject and the predicate of the sentence. S + V a/ Sam is sleeping. b/ Sam and Pat are walking down the street. Structure of modification The structure of modification is such a relationship which means that there is the structural dependence of one grammatical unit upon another; one element is considered ‘more important’ than the others. This element is known as the head, or headword of the structure of the modification. premodifier(s) + Head + postmodifier(s) Structure of complementation The complementation traditionally refers to the relationship which exists between the verb and the words and word groups that complete the meaning of the action specified by the verb. Since in most languages these complements come after the verb, the structure can be represented as follows: Verb + complement(s)
  7. 7. 7 Constituent structure and constituency tests Constituent structure The term constituent structure is sometimes used parallelly with the terms syntactic structure and phrase structure to refer to the components of a syntactic unit and their relationships. We present a series of tests for identifying strings of words inside a sentence as units or constituents. These tests are called constituency tests or phrase structure tests, and are used as diagnostic tools in a syntactic analysis. (The student) (bought a laptop) Substitution Substitution means that we try to substitute a group of words by a single word. If we can do that, and preserve grammaticality (but not necessarily the meaning!), it means that this particular group of words is indeed a constituent. (The student) (bought a laptop). (John) (slept). Substitution with pro-forms A special case of substitution is when the sequence of words in question is substituted by a pro-form (a pronoun or a word with a similar function). The student bought a laptop. She bought that. Mr Heathcliff little imagined how my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows as I announced my name. Mr Heathcliff little imagined that. Sometimes this kind of test is called anaphora, since we can create such a context where the particular constituent will be used as antecedent and the pro-form will follow. Movement Movement here means that if we can move a group of words to another position in the sentence, and retain both the grammaticality and the meaning, then the group of words is question is a constituent. The term ‘move’ should be taken rather loosely, since it actually means that we paraphrase the sentence in such a way that the group of words is question appears in a different position, relying on our knowledge of English. In (18a) and (18b) we try to prove that the word group for his sister is also a constituent, by two different movement/paraphrase options. (18) John bought a pink bike for his sister last year. (18a) For his sister, John bought a pink bike last year. (18b) It was for his sister that John bought a pink bike last year.
  8. 8. 8 In (18a) the prepositional phrase, functioning as an indirect object is moved to the front, separated by a comma, specifying a special reference. In (18b) we have the so-called ‘cleft’-sentence – a special emphatic construction which can be used to stress some sentence constituents. What would happen if we assumed that, for instance, the sequence for his sister last year is a sentence constituent? We could move it in the same way, but definitely we would have to separate the parts for his sister and last year by a comma, or in speech, to pronounce the with a small pause – try to read aloud (18c) and (18d). This proves that it is not one constituent, but two. (18c) For his sister, last year, John bought a pink bike. (18d) It was for his sister, last year, that John bought a pink bike. Finally, in (19), (19a), (19b) and (20), we try to prove by movement tests (passive paraphrase and clefting4 ) that a pink bike, and John are also constituents. (19) A pink bike was bought by John for his sister last year. (19a) It was a pink bike that John bought for his sister last year. (19b) What John bought for his sister last year was a pink bike. (20) It was John who bought a pink bike for his sister last year. Passive paraphrase and placing a time/place adverbial sentence-initially are two very useful tests to prove or check whether particular constituents are direct objects or adverbial modifiers. Look at these two: (21) She left him last week. (22) She left him last apples. Two different movement tests work as positive and negative evidence. (21a) Last week she left him. (21b) * Last week was left him by her. (Numbers refer to the original numbers in the book) Coordination Another useful constituency test is coordination – if a word group can be coordinated with a similar structure, it is a constituent. In (23), (24) and (25) we coordinate a word group similar to the one whose constituency we are checking. The coordination is given in brackets, and the word group we want to check is underlined. (23) The little rabbit (and the big squirrel) ran down the hill. (24) The little rabbit ran down the hill (and passed the river bank). (25) The little rabbit ran down the hill (and by the river bank). Syntactic functions: subject (S) John is your friend. 4 Clefting, or cleft-sentence, is a term referring to a special emphatic construction in English, which breaks the regular order of sentence constituents to give prominence, focus to one of them. The form is it + be + focus element + the rest of the sentence.
  9. 9. 9 The guy who phoned me last night is your friend, isn’t he? What you told me last month proved to be true.  subject(ive) complement, complement of the subject (SC, Cs) (= imenski deo predikata) The guy is your friend. The guy seems intelligent.  direct object (DO, Od) I know that you love books. You love books.  indirect object (IO, Oi) Give me the book. Send this note to all the students.  object(ive) complement , complement of the object (OC, Co) (= dopuna objekta, objekatska dopuna) They consider her beautiful. The team appointed him captain.  object of the preposition (OP) They are in the classroom.  predicate They travelled all over the world.  predicator, verb (V) They travelled all over the world  adverbial (modifier), adjunct5 (A, AM) (= priloška odredba) They are in the classroom. Cross the street carefully.  premodifier, postmodifier (Mod)6 The students who don’t have the homework will not get the bonus. A pretty white kitten, fluffy and cuddly.  sentence modifier, sentence adverbial (SM) When you finish the classes, give me a ring. Frankly speaking, I don’t think he has any chance with her.  complement of a noun (Cn) Your decision to study English proved wise. Students hate the idea that they should have tests every week. complement of an adjective (Cadj) I’m delighted to see you! We’re afraid that someone might break into the house while we’re away.  retained object (RO) They were given dozens of books. Dozens of books were given to them. 5 The term adverbial complement is also used by some authors for obligatory adjuncts (Wekker and Haegeman 1985). Quirk et al. (1985: 475-563) make the distinction between syntactically different types of adverbial modifiers and consider adjuncts to be major sentence elements, whereas subjuncts are not so important for the sentence structure and disjuncts and conjuncts are peripheral to the sentence structure. 6 The Serbian term used for prenominal modifiers is atribut.
  10. 10. 10 It should be stressed that all these functions can be realized by single words, but also by word groups, such as phrases and clauses, as can be seen from the examples. The following functions are almost always performed by single words. (Complex words are syntactically considered single words, not word groups!)  Head (of a phrase) (= upravna reč) Noun head (NH): a lovely girl behind the window Verb head (VH): usually goes home late Adjective head (AdjH): so glad to see you Adverb head (AdvH): rather soon Preposition head (PrepH): in the garden, in front of the house  Specifier (determiner in an NP) my lovely daughters a student of English  Connector (coordinating conjunction in the structure of coordination, they can be single or correlative conjunctions) apples and oranges either teachers or students not only attend the classes but also do all the homework  Subordinator (subordinating conjunction in subordinate clauses) I’ll help you if you tell me how. I don’t know what you want. S Y N T A X In linguistics, syntax (from Ancient Greek σύνταξις "arrangement" from σύν syn, "together", and τάξις táxis, "an ordering") is "the study of the principles and processes by which sentences are constructed in particular languages". In addition to referring to the overarching discipline, the term syntax is also used to refer directly to the rules and principles that govern the sentence structure of any individual language, for example in "the syntax of Modern Irish." Modern research in syntax attempts to describe languages in terms of such rules. Many professionals in this discipline attempt to find general rules that apply to all natural languages. The term syntax is also used to refer to the rules governing the behavior of mathematical systems, such as formal languages used in logic. (See Logical syntax). Early history Works on grammar were written long before modern syntax came about; the A ādhyāyī of Pā ini is often cited as an example of a premodern work that approaches theṣṭ ṇ sophistication of a modern syntactic theory. In the West, the school of thought that came to be known as "traditional grammar" began with the work of Dionysius Thrax. For centuries, work in syntax was dominated by a framework known as grammaire générale, first expounded in 1660 by Antoine Arnauld in a book of the same title. This system took as its basic premise the assumption that language is a direct reflection of thought processes and therefore there is a single, most natural way to express a thought. (That natural way, coincidentally, was exactly the way it was expressed in French.) However, in the 19th century, with the development of historical-comparative
  11. 11. 11 linguistics, linguists began to realize the sheer diversity of human language, and to question fundamental assumptions about the relationship between language and logic. It became apparent that there was no such thing as the most natural way to express a thought, and therefore logic could no longer be relied upon as a basis for studying the structure of language. The Port-Royal grammar modeled the study of syntax upon that of logic (indeed, large parts of the Port-Royal Logic were copied or adapted from the Grammaire générale). Syntactic categories were identified with logical ones, and all sentences were analyzed in terms of "Subject – Copula – Predicate". Initially, this view was adopted even by the early comparative linguists such as Franz Bopp. The central role of syntax within theoretical linguistics became clear only in the 20th century, which could reasonably be called the "century of syntactic theory" as far as linguistics is concerned. For a detailed and critical survey of the history of syntax in the last two centuries, see the monumental work by Giorgio Graffi (2001). Modern theories There are a number of theoretical approaches to the discipline of syntax. One school of thought, founded in the works of Derek Bickerton, sees syntax as a branch of biology, since it conceives of syntax as the study of linguistic knowledge as embodied in the human mind. Other linguists (e.g. Gerald Gazdar) take a more Platonistic view, since they regard syntax to be the study of an abstract formal system. Yet others (e.g. Joseph Greenberg) consider grammar a taxonomical device to reach broad generalizations across languages. Generative grammar The hypothesis of generative grammar is that language is a structure of the human mind. The goal of generative grammar is to make a complete model of this inner language (known as i-language). This model could be used to describe all human language and to predict the grammaticality of any given utterance (that is, to predict whether the utterance would sound correct to native speakers of the language). This approach to language was pioneered by Noam Chomsky. Most generative theories (although not all of them) assume that syntax is based upon the constituent structure of sentences. Generative grammars are among the theories that focus primarily on the form of a sentence, rather than its communicative function. Among the many generative theories of linguistics, the Chomskyan theories are: Transformational grammar (TG) (Original theory of generative syntax laid out by Chomsky in Syntactic Structures in 1957).Government and binding theory (GB) (revised theory in the tradition of TG developed mainly by Chomsky in the 1970s and 1980s).Minimalist program (MP) (a reworking of the theory out of the GB framework published by Chomsky in 1995) Other theories that find their origin in the generative paradigm are: Generative semantics (now largely out of date).Relational grammar (RG) (now largely out of date).Arc pair grammar.Generalized phrase structure grammar (GPSG; now largely out of date).Head-driven phrase structure grammar (HPSG).Lexical functional grammar (LFG).Nanosyntax. Categorial grammar Categorial grammar is an approach that attributes the syntactic structure not to rules of grammar, but to the properties of the syntactic categories themselves. For example, rather than asserting that sentences are constructed by a rule that combines a noun phrase (NP) and a verb phrase (VP) (e.g. the phrase structure rule S NP VP), in categorial→ grammar, such principles are embedded in the category of the head word itself. So the syntactic category for an intransitive verb is a complex formula representing the fact that the verb acts as a function word requiring an NP as an input and produces a sentence level structure as an output. This complex category is notated as (NPS) instead of V. NPS is read as "a category that searches to the left (indicated by ) for a NP (the element on the left) and outputs a sentence (the element on the right)". The category of transitive verb is defined as
  12. 12. 12 an element that requires two NPs (its subject and its direct object) to form a sentence. This is notated as (NP/(NPS)) which means "a category that searches to the right (indicated by /) for an NP (the object), and generates a function (equivalent to the VP) which is (NPS), which in turn represents a function that searches to the left for an NP and produces a sentence). Tree-adjoining grammar is a categorial grammar that adds in partial tree structures to the categories. Dependency grammar Dependency grammar is an approach to sentence structure where syntactic units are arranged according to the dependency relation, as opposed to the constituency relation of phrase structure grammars. Dependencies are directed links between words. The (finite) verb is seen as the root of all clause structure and all the other words in the clause are either directly or indirectly dependent on this root. Some prominent dependency-based theories of syntax: Algebraic syntax.Word grammar.Operator grammar.Meaning–text theory Functional generative description Lucien Tesnière (1893–1954) is widely seen as the father of modern dependency-based theories of syntax and grammar. He argued vehemently against the binary division of the clause into subject and predicate that is associated with the grammars of his day (S NP VP)→ and which remains at the core of all phrase structure grammars, and in the place of this division, he positioned the verb as the root of all clause structure. Stochastic/probabilistic grammars/network theories Theoretical approaches to syntax that are based upon probability theory are known as stochastic grammars. One common implementation of such an approach makes use of a neural network or connectionism. Some theories based within this approach are: Optimality theory.Stochastic context-free grammar Functionalist grammars Main article: Functional theories of grammar Functionalist theories, although focused upon form, are driven by explanation based upon the function of a sentence (i.e. its communicative function). Some typical functionalist theories include: Functional discourse grammar (Dik).Prague linguistic circle Systemic functional grammar.Cognitive grammar.Construction grammar (CxG) Role and reference grammar (RRG).Emergent grammar G R A M M A R In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that governs the composition of clauses, phrases and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics, and pragmatics. Linguists do not normally use the term to refer to orthographical rules, although usage books and style guides that call themselves grammars may also refer to spelling and punctuation. The term grammar is often used by non-linguists with a very broad meaning. As Jeremy Butterfield puts it: "Grammar is often a generic way of referring to any aspect of English that people object to." However, linguists use it in a much more specific sense. Speakers of a language have in their heads a set of rules for using that language. This is a grammar, and the vast majority of the information in it is acquired—at least in the case of one's native language—not by conscious study or instruction, but by observing other speakers; much of this work is done during infancy. Learning a language later in life usually involves a greater degree of explicit instruction. The term "grammar" can also be used to describe the rules that govern the linguistic behaviour of a group of speakers. The term "English grammar", therefore, may have several meanings. It may refer to the whole of English grammar—that is, to the grammars of all the speakers of the language—in which case, the term encompasses a great deal of variation.
  13. 13. 13 Alternatively, it may refer only to what is common to the grammars of all, or of the vast majority of English speakers (such as subject–verb–object word order in simple declarative sentences). Or it may refer to the rules of a particular, relatively well-defined variety of English (such as Standard English). "An English grammar" is a specific description, study or analysis of such rules. A reference book describing the grammar of a language is called a "reference grammar" or simply "a grammar." A fully explicit grammar that exhaustively describes the grammatical constructions of a language is called a descriptive grammar. This kind of linguistic description contrasts with linguistic prescription, an attempt to discourage or suppress some grammatical constructions, while promoting others. For example, preposition stranding occurs widely in Germanic languages and has a long history in English. John Dryden, however, objected to it (without explanation), leading other English speakers to avoid the construction and discourage its use. Etymology The word grammar derives from Greek γραμματικ τέχνη (grammatikē technē), whichὴ means "art of letters", from γράμμα (gramma), "letter", itself from γράφειν (graphein), "to draw, to write". History The first systematic grammars originated in Iron Age India, with Yaska (6th century BC), Pā ini (4th century BC) and his commentators Pingala (c. 200 BC), Katyayana, andṇ Patanjali (2nd century BC). In the West, grammar emerged as a discipline in Hellenism from the 3rd century BC forward with authors like Rhyanus and Aristarchus of Samothrace, the oldest extant work being the Art of Grammar (Τέχνη Γραμματική), attributed to Dionysius Thrax (c. 100 BC). Latin grammar developed by following Greek models from the 1st century BC, due to the work of authors such as Orbilius Pupillus, Remmius Palaemon, Marcus Valerius Probus, Verrius Flaccus, and Aemilius Asper. Tolkāppiyam is the earliest Tamil grammar; it has been dated variously between 1st CE and 10th CE. A grammar of Irish originated in the 7th century with the Auraicept na n- Éces. Arabic grammar emerged with Abu al-Aswad al-Du'ali from the 7th century who in-turn was taught the discipline by Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth historical caliph of Islam and first Imam for Shi'i Muslims. The first treatises on Hebrew grammar appeared in the High Middle Ages, in the context of Mishnah (exegesis of the Hebrew Bible). The Karaite tradition originated in Abbasid Baghdad. The Diqduq (10th century) is one of the earliest grammatical commentaries on the Hebrew Bible.[8] Ibn Barun in the 12th century compares the Hebrew language with Arabic in the Islamic grammatical tradition.[9] Belonging to the trivium of the seven liberal arts, grammar was taught as a core discipline throughout the Middle Ages, following the influence of authors from Late Antiquity, such as Priscian. Treatment of vernaculars began gradually during the High Middle Ages, with isolated works such as the First Grammatical Treatise, but became influential only in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. In 1486, Antonio de Nebrija published Las introduciones Latinas contrapuesto el romance al Latin, and the first Spanish grammar, Gramática de la lengua castellana, in 1492. During the 16th-century Italian Renaissance, the Questione della lingua was the discussion on the status and ideal form of the Italian language, initiated by Dante's de vulgari eloquentia (Pietro Bembo, Prose della volgar lingua Venice 1525). The first grammar of Slovene language was written in 1584 by Adam Bohorič. Grammars of non-European languages began to be compiled for the purposes of evangelization and Bible translation from the 16th century onward, such as Grammatica o Arte de la Lengua General de los Indios de los Reynos del Perú (1560), and a Quechua grammar by Fray Domingo de Santo Tomás. In 1643 there appeared Ivan Uzhevych's Grammatica sclavonica and, in 1762, the Short Introduction to English Grammar of Robert Lowth was also published. The Grammatisch- Kritisches Wörterbuch der hochdeutschen Mundart, a High German grammar in five volumes by Johann Christoph Adelung, appeared as early as 1774. From the latter part of the 18th century, grammar came to be understood as a
  14. 14. 14 subfield of the emerging discipline of modern linguistics. The Serbian grammar by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić arrived in 1814, while the Deutsche Grammatik of the Brothers Grimm was first published in 1818. The Comparative Grammar of Franz Bopp, the starting point of modern comparative linguistics, came out in 1833. Development of grammars Grammars evolve through usage and also due to separations of the human population. With the advent of written representations, formal rules about language usage tend to appear also. Formal grammars are codifications of usage that are developed by repeated documentation over time, and by observation as well. As the rules become established and developed, the prescriptive concept of grammatical correctness can arise. This often creates a discrepancy between contemporary usage and that which has been accepted, over time, as being correct. Linguists tend to view prescriptive grammars as having little justification beyond their authors' aesthetic tastes, although style guides may give useful advice about standard language employment, based on descriptions of usage in contemporary writings of the same language. Linguistic prescriptions also form part of the explanation for variation in speech, particularly variation in the speech of an individual speaker (an explanation, for example, for why some people say "I didn't do nothing", some say "I didn't do anything", and some say one or the other depending on social context). The formal study of grammar is an important part of education for children from a young age through advanced learning, though the rules taught in schools are not a "grammar" in the sense most linguists use the term, particularly as they are often prescriptive rather than descriptive. Constructed languages (also called planned languages or conlangs) are more common in the modern day. Many have been designed to aid human communication (for example, naturalistic Interlingua, schematic Esperanto, and the highly logic-compatible artificial language Lojban). Each of these languages has its own grammar. Syntax refers to linguistic structure above the word level (e.g. how sentences are formed)—though without taking into account intonation, which is the domain of phonology. Morphology, by contrast, refers to structure at and below the word level (e.g. how compound words are formed), but above the level of individual sounds, which, like intonation, are in the domain of phonology. No clear line can be drawn, however, between syntax and morphology. Analytic languages use syntax to convey information that is encoded via inflection in synthetic languages. In other words, word order is not significant and morphology is highly significant in a purely synthetic language, whereas morphology is not significant and syntax is highly significant in an analytic language. Chinese and Afrikaans, for example, are highly analytic, and meaning is therefore very context-dependent. (Both do have some inflections, and have had more in the past; thus, they are becoming even less synthetic and more "purely" analytic over time.) Latin, which is highly synthetic, uses affixes and inflections to convey the same information that Chinese does with syntax. Because Latin words are quite (though not completely) self-contained, an intelligible Latin sentence can be made from elements that are placed in a largely arbitrary order. Latin has a complex affixation and simple syntax, while Chinese has the opposite. Grammar frameworks Various "grammar frameworks" have been developed in theoretical linguistics since the mid-20th century, in particular under the influence of the idea of a "universal grammar" in the United States. Of these, the main divisions are: Transformational grammar (TG).Systemic functional grammar (SFG) Principles and Parameters Theory (P&P).Lexical-functional Grammar (LFG) Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar (GPSG).Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG).Dependency grammars (DG).Role and reference grammar (RRG) Education Prescriptive grammar is taught in primary school (elementary school). The term
  15. 15. 15 "grammar school" historically refers to a school teaching Latin grammar to future Roman citizens, orators, and, later, Catholic priests. In its earliest form, "grammar school" referred to a school that taught students to read, scan, interpret, and declaim Greek and Latin poets (including Homer, Virgil, Euripides, Ennius, and others). These should not be confused with the related, albeit distinct, modern British grammar schools. A standard language is a particular dialect of a language that is promoted above other dialects in writing, education, and broadly speaking in the public sphere; it contrasts with vernacular dialects, which may be the objects of study in descriptive grammar but which are rarely taught prescriptively. The standardized "first language" taught in primary education may be subject to political controversy, since it establishes a standard defining nationality or ethnicity. Recently, efforts have begun to update grammar instruction in primary and secondary education. The primary focus has been to prevent the use of outdated prescriptive rules in favor of more accurate descriptive ones and to change perceptions about relative "correctness" of standard forms in comparison to non standard dialects. The pre-eminence of Parisian French has reigned largely unchallenged throughout the history of modern French literature. Standard Italian is not based on the speech of the capital, Rome, but on the speech of Florence because of the influence Florentines had on early Italian literature. Similarly, standard Spanish is not based on the speech of Madrid, but on the one of educated speakers from more northerly areas like Castile and León. In Argentina and Uruguay the Spanish standard is based on the local dialects of Buenos Aires and Montevideo (Rioplatense Spanish). Portuguese has for now two official written standards, respectively Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese, but in a short term it will have a unified orthography. The Serbian language is divided in a similar way; Serbia and the Republika Srpska use their own separate standards. The existence of a third standard is a matter of controversy, some consider Montenegrin as a separate language, and some think it's merely another variety of Serbian. Norwegian has two standards, Bokmål and Nynorsk, the choice between which is subject to controversy: Each Norwegian municipality can declare one of the two its official language, or it can remain "language neutral". Nynorsk is endorsed by a minority of 27 percent of the municipalities. The main language used in primary schools normally follows the official language of its municipality, and is decided by referendum within the local school district. Standard German emerged out of the standardized chancellery use of High German in the 16th and 17th centuries. Until about 1800, it was almost entirely a written language, but now it is so widely spoken that most of the former German dialects are nearly extinct. Standard Chinese has official status as the standard spoken form of the Chinese language in the People's Republic of China (PRC), the Republic of China (ROC) and the Republic of Singapore. Pronunciation of Standard Chinese is based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin Chinese, while grammar and syntax are based on modern vernacular written Chinese. Modern Standard Arabic is directly based on Classical Arabic, the language of the Qur'an. The Hindustani language has two standards, Hindi and Urdu. In the United States, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar designated March 4 as National Grammar Day in 2008.