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Syntax n All native speakers of a language are able to produce and comprehend an unlimited number of sentences.

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Presentation on theme: "Syntax n All native speakers of a language are able to produce and comprehend an unlimited number of sentences."— Presentation transcript:

1 Syntax n All native speakers of a language are able to produce and comprehend an unlimited number of sentences.

2 Syntax –All the passengers on the plane, which is flying to Pago-Pago, would rather not listen to Abbot and Costello.

3 Syntax n All native speakers of a language are able to produce and comprehend an unlimited number of sentences. –It is furthermore, not a question of memorizing all the possible sentences in the English language, otherwise, how could you understand new sentences you never heard before?

4 Syntax n Speakers of a language are able to make intuitive judgments about sentences:

5 Syntax –The dog bit the horse. –Dog the horse the bit

6 Syntax n Speakers of a language are able to make intuitive judgments about sentences: –The dog bit the horse. –Dog the horse the bit n Without giving grammatical explanations, any native speaker of English can determine that the first example is correct.

7 Syntax n This intuitive skill is a reflection of our linguistic competence, as opposed to our linguistic performance

8 Syntax n Competence vs. Performance

9 Syntax –Real speech (Performance) is marked by lapses, memory gaps, coughs, “umms” and “uhs”, etc.

10 Syntax n Competence vs. Performance –Real speech (Performance) is marked by lapses, memory gaps, coughs, “umms” and “uhs”, etc. –Our competence is much more consistent.

11 Syntax n Structural ambiguity: –In languages which depend on word order, the syntax may not lead to perfect understanding.

12 Syntax n Structural ambiguity: –The mother of the boy and the girl will arrive soon.

13 Syntax n Structural ambiguity: –The mother of the boy and the girl will arrive soon. –Such a sentence needs further clarification.

14 Syntax n Structural ambiguity: –The mother of the boy and the girl will arrive soon. –Such a sentence needs further clarification. n The mother of the boy and girl is arriving soon. n The mother of the boy and the girl are arriving soon n The mother of the boy and the girl will arrive soon, won’t she? n The mother of the boy and the girl will arrive soon, won’t they?

15 Syntax n Structural ambiguity: –The mother of the boy and the girl will arrive soon. –Or, meaning can be gathered through context, for example, if you knew you were talking about a certain group of people, further clarification probably wouldn’t be needed.

16 Syntax n In studying syntax, a linguist tries to state explicitly the grammar rules of a given language - beyond what might be taught in a grammar book.

17 Syntax n Example: the English question rule...

18 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-I –John can lift 500 pounds.

19 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-I –John can lift 500 pounds. –

20 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-I –John can lift 500 pounds. – –Reverse the order of words 1 and 2

21 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-I –John can lift 500 pounds. – –Reverse the order of words 1 and 2 –Can John lift 500 pounds?

22 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-I –Yesterday John could lift 500 pounds. – –Reverse the order of words 1 and 2

23 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-I –Yesterday John could lift 500 pounds. – –Reverse the order of words 1 and 2 –John yesterday could lift 500 pounds.

24 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-II –To form a sentence from a delcarative sentence, place the first verb at the beginning of the sentence

25 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-II –To form a sentence from a delcarative sentence, place the first verb at the beginning of the sentence –Could yesterday John lift 500 pounds?

26 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-II –To form a sentence from a delcarative sentence, place the first verb at the beginning of the sentence –Could yesterday John lift 500 pounds? –Close, but no cigar… also what about: n Know you those women?

27 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-III –Place the auxiliary verb at the beginning of the sentence –If there is no auxiliary verb, place an appropriate form of the verb “do” at the beginning of the sentence

28 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-III –Place the auxiliary verb at the beginning of the sentence –If there is no auxiliary verb, place an appropriate form of the verb “do” at the beginning of the sentence –Do you know those women?

29 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-III –What about sentences with two auxiliary verbs?

30 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-III –What about sentences with two auxiliary verbs? –John will have left.

31 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-IV –Place the first auxiliary verb at the beginning of the sentence...

32 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-IV –Place the first auxiliary verb at the beginning of the sentence… –Will John have left

33 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-IV –Place the first auxiliary verb at the beginning of the sentence… –Will John have left –Works fine for simple sentences, but what about: The people who were saying that John is sick will leave soon.

34 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-V –Locate the first auxiliary verb that follows the subject and place it at the beginning of the sentence

35 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-V –Locate the first auxiliary verb that follows the subject and place it at the beginning of the sentence n Yesterday John could lift 500 pounds. n Could yesterday John lift 500 pounds? n Yesterday could John lift 500 pounds?

36 Syntax n Example: the English question rule… n QR-VI –Take the first auxiliary verb and place it immediately to the left of the subject –Yesterday could John lift 500 pounds?

37 Syntax n The notion of subject

38 Syntax –The farmer fed the ducklings

39 Syntax n The notion of subject –The farmer fed the ducklings

40 Syntax n The notion of subject –The farmer fed the ducklings –In declarative sentences, subject generally precedes the main and auxiliary verb.

41 Syntax n The notion of subject –Did The farmer feed the ducklings? –In declarative sentences, subject generally precedes the main and auxiliary verb. –It forms the constituent around which an auxiliary is fronted in forming a questions

42 Syntax n The notion of subject –The farmer feeds the ducklings, does he? –In declarative sentences, subject generally precedes the main and auxiliary verb. –It forms the constituent around which an auxiliary is fronted in forming a questions –It is the constituent with which a pronoun in a tag agrees in person, number and gender.


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