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Chapter 4 Syntax. The definition of syntax A subfield of linguistics that studies the sentence structure of language A branch of linguistics that studies.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 4 Syntax. The definition of syntax A subfield of linguistics that studies the sentence structure of language A branch of linguistics that studies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 4 Syntax

2 The definition of syntax A subfield of linguistics that studies the sentence structure of language A branch of linguistics that studies how words are combined to form sentences and the rules that govern the formation of sentences.

3 The basic components of a sentence Subject ◦Referring expression Predicate ◦comprises finite verb or a verb phrase and says something about the subject

4 Types of sentences Simple sentence: consists of a single clause which contains a subject and a predicate and stands alone as its own sentence. Coordinate (Compound) sentence: contains two clauses joined by a linking word called coordinating conjunctions, such as “and”, “by”, “or”…

5 Complex sentence: contains two, or more, clauses, one of which is incorporated into the other Embedded clause  matrix clause ① subordinator ② functions as a grammatical unit ③ may be complete

6 The linear and hierarchical structures of sentences When a sentence is uttered or written down, the words of the sentence are produced one after another in a sequence, which suggests the structure of a sentence is linear. But the superficial arrangement of words in a linear sequence does not entail that sentences are simply linearly-structured; sentences are organized with words of the same syntactic category, such as NP or VP, grouped together.

7 Tree diagram of constituent structure Brackets and subscript labels

8 Categories Category refers to a group of linguistic items which fulfill the same or similar functions in a particular language such as a sentence, a noun phrase or a verb. The most central categories to the syntactic study are the word-level categories (traditionally, parts of speech)

9 Lexical categories: (parts of speech) Major lexical categories (open categories): N. V. Adj. Adv. Minor lexical categories (closed categories): Det. Aux. Prep. Pron. Conj. Int. Phrasal categories: NP, VP, PP, AP

10 The criteria on which categories are determined Meaning Inflection Distribution Note: The most reliable criterion of determining a word’s category is its distribution.

11 Phrase structure rules The grammatical mechanism that regulates the arrangement of elements that make up a phrase is called a phrase structure rule

12 NP VP NP → (Det) + N +(PP)…… e.g. those people, the fish on the plate, pretty girls. VP → (Qual) + V + (NP)…… e.g. always play games, finish assignments.

13 AP PP AP → (Deg) + A + (PP)…… very handsome, very pessimistic, familiar with, very close to PP → (Deg) + P + (NP)…… on the shelf, in the boat, quite near the station.

14 The XP rule XP Specifier X Complement Head The phrase structure rules can be summed up as XP rule shown in the diagram, in which X stands for N, V, A or P.

15 Coordination rule Coordinate structures No limit on number Any category can be coordinated Same type Identical category type

16 Phrase elements Specifier Semantically precise meaning Syntactically phrase boundary Det.+N. Qualifier+V. Degree+A./P.

17 Phrase elements Complements Subcategorization The XP Rule(revised) Complementizers Complement clause Complement phrase Matrix clause

18 Phrase elements Modifiers AP for N. Adv.P and PP for V.

19 Sentences S rule S →NP VP

20 Transformation Auxiliary movement Do insertion D-structure and S-structure Wh movement Move ἀ and constraints on transformations

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