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Lecture #9 Syntax, Pragmatics, and Semantics © 2014 MARY RIGGS 1
Syntax is the grammar of language Chomsky says we have an innate Universal Grammar Exposure to meaningful contexts allows humans to develop an internal system of syntactic rules Prescriptive grammar does not improve writing ability; students retain little of traditional grammar © 2014 MARY RIGGS 2 Syntax
Transformational generative grammar is: A way of looking at languages deep structure and surface structure Its hot in here. A means of accounting for ambiguous sentences The fish is too old to eat. A way to understand word order in sentences *Throw the cow over the fence some hay. A method of comprehending the semantic and pragmatic implications of sentences © 2014 MARY RIGGS 3 Syntactic Theory
Is based on the linear order of words, the morphological categories of words, and functional parts of sentences Describes the structure of sentences Involves a set of phrase structure rules May include recursive rules (the output of one rule forms the input for another), making it challenging for computer parsing programs to comprehend © 2014 MARY RIGGS 4 Syntactic Theory
Noun phrases (NP) can include determiners (DET), quantifiers (Q), adjective phrases (ADJP), and prepositional phrases (PP) Auxiliary verbs (AUX) may include modals (can, could, would, should, may, might) and the verb do [but the AUX may be empty] Verb phrases (VP) can include NPs, PPs, and adverb phrases (ADVP) © 2014 MARY RIGGS 5 Syntactic Elements
These elements combine to form a simple sentence: The quiet student finished the math problem. © 2014 MARY RIGGS 6 Sentence Structure S DETADJNVDETADJNAUX=0 ADJP NP VPADJP NP
Compound sentences are a combination of two or more simple sentences joined by and, or, but [coordinate conjunctions]. She looked for her mother, but she found her father. © 2014 MARY RIGGS 7 Sentence Structure
Complex sentences are composed of a simple sentence (main, or independent clause) and one or more subordinate (dependent) clauses, joined with a subordinate conjunction (such as when, although, which, because, etc.) Since she couldnt find her mother, she asked her father for the answer. © 2014 MARY RIGGS 8 Sentence Structure
Complex-compound sentences are a combination: Because she couldnt find her mother, and her father was nearby, Leila asked him and he gave his permission. © 2014 MARY RIGGS 9 Sentence Structure
A strategy to improve student writing Allows students to analyze good writing Teaches grammar in context Allows for possibly infinitely long sentences; the human brain can accommodate such sentences, but they might challenge a computer. © 2014 MARY RIGGS 10 Sentence Combining
Syntactic knowledge helps readers predict meanings as they read Semantic knowledge (lexical knowledge) helps cue readers when they encounter unfamiliar words Use of Cloze can indicate reading strengths and weaknesses and may be a form of assessment © 2014 MARY RIGGS 11 Lexico-Syntactic Cues
Properties of words: Meaning: o cow means female, bovine, adult Ambiguity: o bear (put up with) o bear (give birth to) o She cannot bear children. © 2014 MARY RIGGS 12 Semantics
Relations between/among words: Synonyms o sofa, couch, settee, divan, davenport o plane, aircraft, jet Homophones (homonyms): o bank(side of a river) o bank(financial institution) Antonyms: o hot vs. coldtall vs. short © 2014 MARY RIGGS 13 Semantics
Semantic Field Kinship terms: mother, father, son, daughter, grandmother, aunt, cousin, father-in-law, etc. Color words: black, yellow, orange, magenta, gold, pewter, peach, fuchsia, chartreuse, rose, cerulean, azure, etc. © 2014 MARY RIGGS 14 Semantics
Idioms and figurative language: Cut it out! (Stop!) Bite your tongue! (Dont say that!) Go ahead, make my day! (I suggest you dont try anything, or it will go badly for you.) He cant see the forest for the trees. (He doesnt see the big picture because hes focusing on the details.) © 2014 MARY RIGGS 15 Semantics
Extralinguistic knowledge a speaker needs to get meaning from a situation Partly situational, partly cultural, partly determined by demographics I dont suppose youd like some coffee. Look what the cat dragged in. Who do you think you are, coming in here like that? © 2014 MARY RIGGS 16 Pragmatics
End of Lecture #9 © 2014 MARY RIGGS 17
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