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Syntax 1

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LING 201
Alex Drummond

Syntax Monday Oct 29 2012 - the study of the abstract structural patterns that underlie sentences and phrases - all English speakers have an unconscious knowledge of how to construct and manipu- late language structures Knowledge of a Language - basic vocabulary - phonology: sound inventory, phonological rules (recognize allomorphs) - morphology: rules governing affix use - some of linguistic knowledge is unconscious: might not know ‘redestablize’ is a verb, but it can be shown an English speaker knows it - acceptability judgments: can determine in what contexts a word sounds right - syntactic and semantic rules (the rest of the course) Syntactic Knowledge Includes: - parts of speech - word order - agreement - subcategorization - relations between sentences Parts of Speech - whether any given word can be a N, V, Adj, etc - which are possible in a particular environment - some words can be both a N and a V, etc Testing Parts of Speech - figuring out whether a word is a N/V/Adj/Adv/Prep - Inflection + Distribution tests help determine what category Inflection: - noun: can add plural -s, possessive -’s - verb: past tense -ed, progressive, -ing, 3rd person sing -s - adjective: comparative -er, superlative -est - not all N/V/Adj can have these inflections Distribution - noun: occurrence w/ a determiner (the, a, this) - etc. Word Order - isn’t a question of ‘what makes sense’, languages vary in word order - English: Subject Verb Object, SVO and SOV are must popular across the world Agreement - ex) John likes Mary. The generals’ key to the safes with the red doors is on the table. - an English speaker must be able to figure out which noun agrees w/ the subject Subcategorization - some verbs are intransitive: don’t permit an object: John dined. - some verbs are transitive and require an object: John hit Bill. - some verbs re
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