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Syntax The Structure of Sentences Asian 401. Syntactic Categories = Word Classes = Parts of Speech All languages have syntactic categories. The syntactic.

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Presentation on theme: "Syntax The Structure of Sentences Asian 401. Syntactic Categories = Word Classes = Parts of Speech All languages have syntactic categories. The syntactic."— Presentation transcript:

1 Syntax The Structure of Sentences Asian 401

2 Syntactic Categories = Word Classes = Parts of Speech All languages have syntactic categories. The syntactic category of a word determines the role it can play in a sentence. Only a noun can complete the sentenceGive a __________ to me.

3 Lexical vs. Nonlexical Noun Verb Adjective Preposition Adverb Clearly identifiable meanings Determiner (a, the, this, etc.) Conjunction (and, or, but, etc.) Degree word (too, very, etc.) Functional

4 Identifying Categories Native speakers may have a good intuition about the syntactic category of a word. But linguists require more objective ways of determining syntactic categories. There are two tests one can use:

5 Test 1: Inflection Certain inflectional paradigms apply only to one syntactic category. For example, if a word can take the inflectional suffix -ed in English, it must belong to the verb category. Problem 1: What about sing? Problem 2: Analytic languages

6 Test 2: Distribution The words with which a word may co- occur can be used to determine its syntactic category. Example: only nouns can come after a or the in English. All languages have such distributional restrictions on syntactic categories.

7 Other languages Different languages have different syntactic categories. Some Asian languages have no adjectives. They have verbs meaning to be red, to be happy, etc. Many Asian languages have a syntactic category called classifier.

8 Classifiers Also called measure words. In Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, etc. Co-occur with counted nouns Examples: one student, two students; one book, two books Different classifiers co-occur with different nouns

9 Distribution tests Distribution tests for syntactic categories are different in all languages. Chinese has no articles like a, the. So you cant test for nouns with them. But in Chinese, only nouns co-occur with classifiers. If a word can come after a classifier, it must be a noun.

10 Sentence Structure Recall from morphology that words are not simply strings of morphemes. They have a hierarchical structure that we can represent with trees. devaporize vaporize de-vapor-ize

11 Sentence Structure Similarly, sentences do not consist of a string of words. They also have an internal hierarchical structure. The structural elements of sentences are called syntactic constituents.

12 Constituents The following sentence is not just a string of eleven words: Bill and John ate all the cookies yesterday at the park. It is made up of four basic constituents: Bill and John ate all the cookies yesterday at the park.

13 Constituency tests I can demonstrate that these are constituents by movement and substitution tests. Only constituents can be moved to another part of the sentence; only constituents can be substituted for in a sentence.

14 Test 1: Movement Bill and John ate all the cookies yesterday at the park. We can move at the park: Bill and John ate all the cookies at the park yesterday. We cant move at the: *Bill and John ate all the cookies at the yesterday park.

15 Test 2: Substitution (1) Bill and John ate all the cookies at the park yesterday. Substitute they for Bill and John: They ate all the cookies at the park yesterday.

16 Substitution (2) Bill and John ate all the cookies at the park yesterday. Substitute did so for ate all the cookies: Bill and John did so at the park yesterday.

17 Substitution (3) Bill and John ate all the cookies at the park yesterday. Substitute there for at the park: Bill and John ate all the cookies there yesterday.

18 Substitution (4) Bill and John ate all the cookies at the park yesterday. Substitute then for yesterday: Bill and John ate all the cookies at the park then.

19 Substitution 5 Cant substitute across boundaries: Bill and John ate all the cookies at the park yesterday. Substitute did so for ate all the: *Bill and John did so cookies at the park yesterday.

20 Substitution 6 Cant substitute across boundaries: Bill and John ate all the cookies at the park yesterday. Substitute them for cookies at: *Bill and John ate all the them the park yesterday.

21 Constituents are phrases all the cookies is a noun phrase. We can substitute any noun phrase for it: They ate cookies yesterday. They ate some cookies yesterday. They ate the cookies left over from dinner last week yesterday. They ate the cookies that their mother told them several times not to eat yesterday.

22 Sentence structure We form sentences by combining words into phrasal constituents, phrases into larger constituents, and these constituents into sentences. All phrases have the same basic structure:

23 Phrase Structure Phrase (XP) Specifier Head (X) Complement(s) The specifier narrows the meaning of the head. The complements give more information about the head.

24 Phrase types Noun Phrase (NP): Functions like a noun, head is noun (N) Verb Phrase (VP): Functions like a verb, head is verb (V) Adjective Phrase (AP): Functions like an adjective, head is adjective (Adj) Prepositional Phrase (PP): Head is preposition (Prep) [in, on, with, etc.]

25 Exercise 1 On your handout, identify the specifier, head, and complement(s) of each phrase. Hint: In English, specifiers come before the head, complements come after the head.

26 Exercise 2 On your handout, say whether each phrase is a noun phrase, verb phrase, adjective phrase, or prepositional phrase. Then identify the specifier, head, and complements of each phrase. Warning: Some phrases have other phrases inside them!

27 Specifier types In NPs, specifiers are determiners like a, the, this, that, these, those. In VPs, specifiers are adverbs like always, never, seldom, often. In APs, specifiers are degree words like very, quite, too, so. In PPs, specifiers are adverbs like almost, nearly.

28 Complement types In NPs, complements can be PPs: cabin by the lake, book on the table. In VPs, complements can be NPs or PPs: ate the cookies, ate at the park. In APs, complements can be PPs: happy about the new job. In PPs, complements are NPs: at the park.

29 Sentence structure The basic English sentence structure is: S NP (Subject) VP (Predicate) For this course, we ignore the I (for inflection) found in your textbook.

30 Simple Sentence The NP and VP might only contain a head (no specifiers or complements): S NP VP N V Bill swam

31 More complex sentence 1 S NP VP Det N V The boy swam

32 More complex sentence 2 S NP VP DetNV PP Prep NP Det N Theboyswam inthe stream

33 More complex sentence 3 S NP VP Det N PP V PP Prep NPPrep NP NDet N The boy from Ohio swam inthe stream

34 Exercise 3 On your handout, draw trees illustrating the constituent structure of sentences. Start by labeling all the syntactic categories. First identify main subject NP and predicate VP of the sentence. Then move from right to left, arranging [Specifier Head Complement(s)] groupings into phrases.

35 Syntax in Asian languages In all languages, sentences are formed from constituent phrases. We often say that word order is different in different languages. More accurate to say that constituent order is different.

36 Syntax in Asian languages Languages differ in the order of these constituents. In particular, languages can differ in the order of specifier, head, and complement within a phrase. Consider the basic order of constituents in a simple sentence:

37 SVO S NPVP N V (head) NP (comp) N JohnspeaksEnglish [Subject][Verb][Object]

38 SOV (Japanese) S NPVP NP (comp) V (head) John-ga eigo-o hanasemasu [Subject] [Object] [Verb]

39 NP (head-complement) NP N (head)PP (complement) Prep NP N boy fromTacoma

40 NP (complement-head) NP complement N (head) Tacoma lái de nánhár

41 Main Points (1) Words belong to syntactic categories. They determine the role a word plays in a sentence. Sentences have hierarchical structure. They are composed of constituents. The most basic constituents are phrases.

42 Main Points (2) Phrases have three types of components: head, specifier, complement. All phrases have a head. In English, specifiers precede heads and complements follow. Specifiers are single words; a complement may itself be a phrase with internal structure.

43 Main Points (3) Languages differ in their syntactic categories. Languages differ in the order of constituents in a sentence. Languages differ in the order of elements within a phrase. We will learn more about the syntax of Asian languages in Week 9.

44 End


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