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Defining Syntax. Lec. 1. 1. What is Syntax? O Syntax is the scientific study of sentence structure O Science: methodology of study O Hypothesis  observation.

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Presentation on theme: "Defining Syntax. Lec. 1. 1. What is Syntax? O Syntax is the scientific study of sentence structure O Science: methodology of study O Hypothesis  observation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Defining Syntax. Lec. 1

2 1. What is Syntax? O Syntax is the scientific study of sentence structure O Science: methodology of study O Hypothesis  observation  generalization

3 Sentences O A declarative sentence asserts that an event or a state of affairs has occurred (or hasn’t occurred). e.g. Susan ate an apple. Susan didn’t eat an apple O a yes/no question is a question that can be answered by yes, no or maybe. e.g. Did Susan eat an apple?

4 Exercise 1 O Identify which of the following sentences are yes/no questions, which are declarative sentences, and which are neither: O John hasn’t eaten anything. O Does Bill really prefer meatballs? O Has Peter eaten his smoked salmon yet? O What Has Peter done now? O Heather smokes too much. O John did WHAT?

5 Hypothesis 1 O yes/no questions are formed by moving the second word in the equivalent declarative sentence to the front:

6 O Frodo will eat the magic beans. (declarative) O Will Frodo eat the magic beans? (yes/no question) O The little hobbit will eat the magic beans. (declarative) O Will the little hobbit eat the magic beans? (yes/no question)

7 Ungrammatical sentences O In syntax, ungrammatical sentences are always marked with an asterisk * O The hobbit who will dance at the party has eaten the magic beans. O * Will the hobbit who dance at the party has eaten the magic beans? O Has the hobbit who will dance at the party eaten the magic beans?

8 Hypothesis 2 O yes/ no questions are formed by moving …………………………………………………………… (Complete) *It is often the ungrammatical sentences that inform us as how to revise our hypothesis

9 Hypothesis 3 O yes/no questions are formed by moving……………………………………………………..

10 The structure of sentences O The formation of yes/no questions makes reference to whether the auxiliary is embedded or not. Sentences are heirarechily structured.

11 Exercise O Yellow, singing, a, the, elephant, mouse, sniffed O Using each word only once, and using every word, try to come up with as many grammatical sentences as possible. 1. A singing elephant sniffed the yellow mouse 2. 2………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………..

12 Notices O The position of the words relative to one another makes a difference in meaning O Sentences are structured entities O We can represent the syntactic structure of sentences with (i) tree diagrams, (ii) bracketing, or (iii) boxes.

13 Tree diagram The singing elephant sniffed the yellow mouse Thr singing elephant TheSingingElephant Sniffed the yellow mouse Sniffed The yellow mouse ????

14 2. Syntactic data O The scientific method requires data, so it is reasonable to ask how we gather that data and what kind of data we use. One obvious source of data is what we hear spoken around us or find written in books and newspapers.

15 Corpora O A collection of written or spoken material representing real-world usage of a language is called a corpus (plural: corpora) O Judgment task & the analysis of sentence structure

16 Corpora O A corpus with an interlinear gloss has 3 lines: 1. The example in the original language 2. a word-by-word gloss 3. An idiomatic translation into English

17 Corpora & word-aligned gloss المدرسةالىفاطمةذهبت schooltoFatima go+ed Fatimawenttoschool

18 Syntactic definitions O Nominative case: Is the marking associated with subjects. For example (I, we, you, she, he, & it) O Accusative case: Is the marking associated with direct objects. For example (me, him, her, & them) O Dative case: Is the marking often associated with indirect objects and nouns marking the location of an event. For example (to, in, at, & on)

19 Exercise O In English, the order of word is: Subject + Verb + Direct Object + Dative O What is the order of words in Arabic? O Note that there arte limits to the number/ kinds of generalizations that can be found in corpora

20 Acceptability & Grammaticality O Acceptability refers to native-speaker judgment, whereas grammaticality refers to what our hypothesis predict O Native speaker judgments come of 2 kinds: syntactic judgment & semantic judgment e.g. *John peanuts the ate # the coffee table brushed its teeth

21 Acceptability & Grammaticality O Chomsky (1957) came up with a famous sentence to show the independence of meaning & structure: O Colorless green ideas sleep furiously

22 Exercise O Mark each of the following sentences as being syntactically * and/or semantically # unacceptable: 1. The book was arrived by John 2. Susan taught Tom mathematics 3. Michael thought that mathematics bored himself 4. Susan said that Bill books read 5. The stone ate a carrot 6. Tom learned Susan chemistry

23 Exercise 7. I think Louis bought a syntax book 8. I wonder who bought what 9. Who do you think bought a syntax book? 10. What do you think Louis bought? 11. What do you wonder who bought? 12. Who do you wonder who read a book by?

24 Exercise 13. John’s sister is not his sibling 14. Who do you think that saw Bill? 15. William gave a book to Marian 16. William gave Marian a book 17. William donated a book to the charity 18. William donated the charity a book

25 Hypotheses O Hypotheses are described in terms of formal rules & formal constraints O A rule is a statement phrased in a positive form that describes possible structures. Structures that are claimed to be acceptable by a native speaker

26 A paradigm O A paradigm is a list or table of forms that represents the combination of different grammatical dimensions NominativeAccusative SingularpluralSingularPlural 1 st Iwemeus 2 nd You 3masche They him them 3femsheher 3neuterit

27 A paradigm O Now consider the following sentences: I kissed her * Me kissed her She loves her * Him ate it

28 Exercise O Rule 1: Use the nominative case when the pronoun appears ……………………….the verb. O Rule 2: Use the accusative case when the pronoun appears ……………………….the verb.

29 Constraints O A constraint is a formal statement of structures that are impossible structures that are claimed to be unacceptable to native speakers O Rules and constraints are two sides of the same coin: Rules state what you must do, constraints tell us what you cannot do.

30 Rules & Constraints O Rule 3: To form an affirmative statement, put the subject noun before the verb. O Constraint 3: In affirmative statements, do not put the subject anywhere except before the verb

31 Prescriptive & Descriptive Rules Prescriptive rule Descriptive rules O They prescribe how we should speak O Prescriptive rules are not scientific. e.g. O Never end a sentence in a preposition O Do not use a noun as a verb O The describe how we should speak e.g. O A yes/ no question is the question which answer is either yes, no, or maybe.

32 grammar O A grammar is a collection of descriptive rules & constraints


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