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Structures of sentences Syntax. Syntax is… Openness Ordering words in sequences to express meanings for which no separate word exists. Meanings we want.

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Presentation on theme: "Structures of sentences Syntax. Syntax is… Openness Ordering words in sequences to express meanings for which no separate word exists. Meanings we want."— Presentation transcript:

1 Structures of sentences Syntax

2 Syntax is… Openness Ordering words in sequences to express meanings for which no separate word exists. Meanings we want to express far outstretch the resources provided by the lexicon & morphology

3 Syntax is… Openness Ordering words in sequences to express meanings for which no separate word exists. Meanings we want to express far outstretch the resources provided by the lexicon & morphology Though the lexicon & morphology are somewhat open (to new members/meanings), syntax gives another way to express new meanings/nuances/ precision/links between ideas

4 Syntax is… Openness Syntax enhances the creativity of expression All grammatical systems (phonology, morphology, the lexicon) are open, however openness is a more salient feature in syntax.

5 Syntax is… Sentences The largest linguistic unit showing grammatical structure (over which patterns apply)* Opposite the morpheme – the smallest such unit

6 Syntax is… Sentences The largest linguistic unit showing grammatical structure (over which patterns apply)* Opposite the morpheme – the smallest such unit Bloomfield: S= a string of words not included in any larger form by virtue of grammatical structure John went home. I saw him. 2 sentences; bec the 2 are gram’ly independent

7 Syntax is… A system of principles constructing & interpreting new sentences (hence, it’s open) New sentences are quite common, more so than words. They’re more likely to be considered unremarkable (vs. words)

8 Syntax is… Grammaticality Not to be confused with ‘meaningfulness’ Some grammatical sentences are nonsensical Some ungrammatical sentences are sensical

9 Syntax is… Grammaticality Not to be confused with ‘meaningfulness’ Some grammatical sentences are nonsensical Some ungrammatical sentences are sensical Recognizing the ungrammatical tells us about the syntax of a language. As across all science, finding ‘problems’ leads to insights about the system.

10 Hierarchy: sentence structure Grouping ‘above’ the level of morphology and words (the lexicon) and ‘below’ the sentence, we have another unit which we need to recognize in order to understand language.

11 Hierarchy: sentence structure Grouping ‘above’ the level of morphology and words (the lexicon) and ‘below’ the sentence, we have another unit which we need to recognize in order to understand language. We find evidence for these ‘chunks’ of words in three tests: movability, contractibility, & structural ambiguity.

12 Hierarchy: sentence structure Grouping: Movability If certain groups always move about together, they constitute a single group

13 Hierarchy: sentence structure Grouping: Movability If certain groups always move about together, they constitute a single group A reasonable criterion but imperfect: ‘on the fence’  ‘the fence….the net on’ (p 109)

14 Hierarchy: sentence structure Grouping: Movability If certain groups always move about together, they constitute a single group A reasonable criterion but imperfect: ‘on the fence’  ‘the fence….the net on’ (p 109) However, words that don’t belong together don’t consistently move around in concert Cf. ‘the net on’ (p 109)

15 Hierarchy: sentence structure Grouping: Contractability The potential for a string of words to be replaced by a single word (if it is, that string = a gr’mtcl element)

16 Hierarchy: sentence structure Grouping: Contractability The potential for a string of words to be replaced by a single word (if it is, that string = a gr’mtcl element) Also imperfect: are ‘through the mtns’ or ‘the line through mtns’ replaceable?

17 Hierarchy: sentence structure Grouping: Contractability The potential for a string of words to be replaced by a single word (if it is, that string = a gr’mtcl element) Also imperfect: are ‘through the mtns’ or ‘the line through mtns’ replaceable? Again, groups of words which don’t belong together cannot be replaced by a single word E.g. ‘chugged along the’

18 Hierarchy: sentence structure Grouping Meaning differences/structural ambiguity Sometimes a sentence/phrase which has ambiguous meanings can be interpreted by alternative groupings (or construing the structure differently) E.g. ‘to shoot the man with the rifle’ This, thus, recognizes the various groups as valid units

19 Syntactic units Grammatical units showing unified behavior E.g. morphemes, words, sentences…clauses & phrases

20 Syntactic units Grammatical units showing unified behavior E.g. morphemes, words, sentences…clauses & phrases Clauses Simple sentences: just one verb and one event Complex sentences: combine simple Ss

21 Syntactic units Grammatical units showing unified behavior E.g. morphemes, words, sentences…clauses & phrases Clauses Simple sentences: just one verb and one event Complex sentences: combine simple Ss Simples Ss or their modified versions = clauses

22 Syntactic units Clauses 1. minor clause: basically no structure (e.g. interj.) 2. major clause: refers to real/imaginary event & “has” a verb and accompanying nouns A. Independent – stand alone B. Dependent – but correspond to ind. clauses

23 Syntactic units Phrases Intermediate-sized units b/w words & clauses

24 Syntactic units Phrases Intermediate-sized units b/w words & clauses Grouped by internal structure: NP & VP - found in most languages NB nouns & verbs are not separate p.o.s. in all languages

25 Syntactic units Phrases Intermediate-sized units b/w words & clauses Grouped by internal structure: NP & VP - found in most languages NB nouns & verbs are not separate p.o.s. in all languages PP, AdjP, AdvP – even less common

26 Syntactic units NPs Typically refers to some concrete/abstract entity May include: Determiner, Possessive Pron, Demonstrative, Adjective

27 Syntactic units NPs Typically refers to some concrete/abstract entity May include: Determiner, Possessive Pron, Demonstrative, Adjective VPs Refers to events that NPs are involved in Includes: lexical verb + gram &/or lex free/bnd morphemes

28 Clause structure Clauses – sequences of phrases of various types Similar to phrase structure Sample structures: NP VPI ate NP VP PPI ate at home VP NP PPAre you at home?

29 Clause structure Clauses – sequences of phrases of various types Similar to phrase structure Sample structures: NP VPI ate NP VP PPI ate at home VP NP PPAre you at home? PP VP NPIn Norway lives a nysse VP NP NPAre you my mother? NP VP NP NPI will give her something precious INT VP NPWhat is that thing? INT VP NP PPWhen was the train in Voss?

30 Clause structure However…. Consider questions which use auxiliaries: Should we go? Do you like me? Will you give that to him?

31 Clause structure However…. Consider questions which use auxiliaries: Should we go? Do you like me? Will you give that to him? Notice the AUX and its VERB are split

32 Clause structure However…. Consider questions which use auxiliaries: Should we go? Do you like me? Will you give that to him? Notice the AUX and its VERB are split We can ‘record’ such sentences but that would greatly increase the number of sentence patterns that we store.

33 Clause structure However…. Consider questions which use auxiliaries: Should we go? Do you like me? Will you give that to him? Notice the AUX and its VERB are split We can ‘record’ such sentences but that would greatly increase the number of sentence patterns that we store. As you’ve noticed, linguistics: looks for ways to streamline all language-related units we store

34 Clause structure However…. Consider questions which use auxiliaries: Should we go? Do you like me? Will you give that to him? Notice the AUX and its VERB are split We can ‘record’ such sentences but that would greatly increase the number of sentence patterns that we store. As you’ve noticed, linguistics: & tries to do so by making generalizations/rules. (thus, this increase in sentence patterns to be memorized is rejected in favor of formula which capture pattern regularities)

35 Clause structure Grammatical relations Furthermore…the NP VP PP variety description, although capturing generalizations about clause structure, fails to say anything about meaning: Leaving out any acct of systematic sims & difs in mng

36 Clause structure Grammatical relations Furthermore…the NP VP PP variety description, although capturing generalizations about clause structure, fails to say anything about meaning: Leaving out any acct of systematic sims & difs in mng Such a description merely specifies possible formal shapes, related only in that they involve similar component units

37 Clause structure Grammatical relations Furthermore…the NP VP PP variety description, although capturing generalizations about clause structure, fails to say anything about meaning: Leaving out any acct of systematic sims & difs in mng Such a description merely specifies possible formal shapes, related only in that they involve similar component units Gr roles show differences in mng expressed by formally related Ss & also deepens understanding

38 Grammatical relations Gr roles show differences in mng expressed by formally related Ss & also deepen understanding:

39 Grammatical relations Gr roles show differences in mng expressed by formally related Ss & also deepen understanding: …by recognizing gr’tcl roles or functions assoc’d w/ the formal syntactic shapes it is possible not just to acct for differences of mng expressed by formally re- lated Ss, but also to describe clausal syntax beyond merely listing alternatives

40 Grammatical relations Gr roles show differences in mng expressed by formally related Ss & also deepen understanding: …by recognizing gr’tcl roles or functions assoc’d w/ the formal syntactic shapes it is possible not just to acct for differences of mng expressed by formally re- lated Ss, but also to describe clausal syntax beyond merely listing alternatives 3 different types of gr’tcl functions: Experiential roles, Subj/obj, Theme

41 Grammatical relations Experiential roles NP VP PP etc tell us a S’s structure But meaning

42 Grammatical relations Experiential roles NP VP PP etc tell us a S’s structure But meaning 1 The Northstar is leaving from track 2 2 The Northstar is being shunted from track 2

43 Grammatical relations Experiential roles NP VP PP etc tell us a S’s structure But meaning 1 The Northstar is leaving from track 2 2 The Northstar is being shunted from track 2 Same phrase patterns (NP VP PP) but NP is an Actor ‘doers of event’ (in 1) and an Undergoer ‘patient or sufferer’ (in 2)… (Verb = Event)

44 Grammatical relations Subject/Object – needed in add’n to above 3 experiential roles The sniper shot the tourist The tourist was shot by the sniper

45 Grammatical relations Subject/Object – needed in add’n to above 3 experiential roles The sniper shot the tourist The tourist was shot by the sniper But note how the unfortunate tourist is ‘undergoing’ in both but functions grammatically differently. i.e. it ‘moves’ to the front, before the verb; verb ‘agrees’ w/ NP; NB use of pronoun substitution for the NP and the use of tag Qs.

46 Grammatical relations Subject/Object – needed in add’n to above 3 experiential roles The sniper shot the tourist The tourist was shot by the sniper But note how the unfortunate tourist is ‘undergoing’ in both but functions grammatically differently. i.e. it ‘moves’ to the front, before the verb; verb ‘agrees’ w/ NP; NB use of pronoun substitution for the NP and the use of tag Qs. Thus subject differs from actor

47 Subject/Object: not so easy Is it (the S or O) just a formal gr’tcl role assoc’d w/ an NP in a particular structural position?

48 Subject/Object: not so easy Is it (the S or O) just a formal gr’tcl role assoc’d w/ an NP in a particular structural position? Or is it also a meaningful gr’tcl reln? (like actor,etc)

49 Subject/Object: not so easy Is it (the S or O) just a formal gr’tcl role assoc’d w/ an NP in a particular structural position? Or is it also a meaningful gr’tcl reln? (like actor,etc) If yes, consider: Subject = perspective clause is viewed from Viewed from sniper/tourist’s p.o.v.

50 Subject/Object: not so easy Is it (the S or O) just a formal gr’tcl role assoc’d w/ an NP in a particular structural position? Or is it also a meaningful gr’tcl reln? (like actor,etc) If yes, consider: Subject = perspective clause is viewed from Viewed from sniper/tourist’s p.o.v. (or) Sub= the thing about which the truth of the proposition can be evaluated

51 Subject/Object: not so easy Is it (the S or O) just a formal gr’tcl role assoc’d w/ an NP in a particular structural position? Or is it also a meaningful gr’tcl reln? (like actor,etc) If yes, consider: Subject = perspective clause is viewed from Viewed from sniper/tourist’s p.o.v. (or) Sub= the thing about which the truth of the proposition can be evaluated (or) Sub= cognitive prominence; …events are profiled from the subject’s perspective

52 Subject/Object: not so easy So, if it’s also a meaningful gr’tcl reln? (actor, etc) …then, what of Object?

53 Subject/Object: not so easy So, if it’s also a meaningful gr’tcl reln? (actor, etc) …then, what of Object? Perhaps it represents the secondary vantage pt

54 Subject/Object: not so easy So, if it’s also a meaningful gr’tcl reln? (actor, etc) …then, what of Object? Perhaps it represents the secondary vantage pt NB ditransitive verbs (e.g. ‘give’ …takes 2 objects) Which ever is fronted takes on secondary prominence

55 Subject/Object: not so easy Hence S/O are not the construal of the world of experience/experiential meaning;

56 Subject/Object: not so easy Hence S/O are not the construal of the world of experience/experiential meaning; S/O = selecting perspectives that the speaker wants to represent…which leads perhaps to the hearer adopting the same angle.

57 Subject/Object: not so easy Hence S/O are not the construal of the world of experience/experiential meaning; S/O = selecting perspectives that the speaker wants to represent…which leads perhaps to the hearer adopting the same angle. AKA ‘the establishment of a shared perspective… Lx as interactive; mng as interpersonal

58 Grammatical relations Theme (AKA ‘topic’) Can be either what the clause is about, or establish a setting for it: it anchors the message, fixing a pt from the message can be expanded Cf German example on p 121

59 Grammatical relations Theme (AKA ‘topic’) Can be either what the clause is about, or establish a setting for it: it anchors the message, fixing a pt from the message can be expanded Cf German example on p 121 ‘Der Priester’ & ‘Den Bischof’ are S & O respectively

60 Grammatical relations Theme (AKA ‘topic’) Can be either what the clause is about, or establish a setting for it: it anchors the message, fixing a pt from the message can be expanded Cf German example on p 121 ‘Der Priester’ & ‘Den Bischof’ are S & O respectively The 4 examples have same experiential & interper-sonal mngs; & NPs maintain roles (NOM & ACC) But the theme hinges on which NP comes first

61 Undergoer – indicates patient or sufferers


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